Whether you’re a solo blogger working on a personal essay or a copywriter looking to bulk up your latest assignment, read on for five strategies to help you add length to your blog post.
Bloggers who want to reach the highest ranks on Google and succeed in creating content that readers can’t help but share often find themselves asking: How long should my blog posts be?
It’s a question that digital marketing analysts and content creators alike have studied and debated for years. Without enough words, readers may be left feeling dissatisfied and frustrated that all of their questions weren’t answered. Too many words, however, and you risk alienating readers who don’t have a lot of time to spare and can’t—or won’t—read to the bottom of your post.
The latest reports from sources like Yoast and HubSpot suggest that in 2020, bloggers should aim to publish posts that range from 1,000 to well over 2,000 words, depending on your content goals. It’s a fairly wide margin, and you’ll likely have to do some of your own research (or attempt some trial-and-error) to find the sweet spot for your unique audience.
If you find you do want to give your readers more content to gobble up, here are five ways to add length—and value—to your latest blog post:
1. Make sure all your loose ends are tied.
It’s great to leave your readers wanting to learn more, and many may decide to do further research on the topic at hand. That said, you don’t want your audience clicking away from your blog to search for answers to obvious questions.
Try reading through your draft through the eyes of someone who knows very little or even nothing about the subject at hand, and make note of any questions that such a reader might have. While you may not be able to answer all of these questions in a single post, practicing this strategy can help you find holes in your narrative and places where you can provide more context—i.e., add more words—that will help give your readers the payoff they’re looking for.
Some questions that may arise as you look over your draft from the eyes of a reader include:
- What problem does this blog post intend to solve?
- What makes you, the author, qualified to write about this topic?
- Why is the solution presented better than what others have suggested?
- Why is this information relevant to me, the reader?
You can also take a look at your comments section for clues as to what you should include next time. Look for patterns: What questions are your readers asking? What do they want to know more about?
2. Bring in a counterargument.
Don’t argue with the void. What do the naysayers think? Why is your idea better than theirs? Be specific. Not only will answering these questions provide an opportunity for you to beef up your word count, but it will also strengthen your argument by forcing you to respond to a specific position, rather than a mere idea.
Remember, too, that your opposition likely has data they’re citing that backs up their own position. Acknowledging the validity of their side can help build your rapport with the reader and ensure that you’re giving a well-rounded argument. If you can provide evidence—whether by citing outside research or conducting your own study—that counters the status quo, include it here to further justify your claims.
3. Get expert insight.
Your readers are there to hear what you have to say, but sometimes, you need to call in the experts. Business leaders in a variety of industries are often looking for opportunities to share their names and ideas, and your blog post can benefit from a fresh perspective.
Scour your professional network down to your LinkedIn connections to see if you can set up an interview with someone else in your niche who may know more about this topic than you do. Your conversation might even give you an idea for a new section to add to your piece—or a new blog post altogether.
4. Add a list of additional resources.
The conversation doesn’t have to end with your conclusion. Where can the reader learn more? What else can help them? This could include other posts on your blog, as well as resources from other content creators online and on social media.
When searching for resources to include, consider questions such as:
- What should my readers’ next steps be?
- How can my readers get involved?
- Where can my readers go to learn about the history of this topic?
- Who is consistently reporting on this beat?
5. Make it personal.
Add to a data-filled post by telling a personal story. Why does this subject matter to you? What brought you here? How did you learn what you know? In addition to adding context, this strategy can bolster your credibility by establishing you as someone with a relevant background and interest in the topic. Making your story personal will also help your readers feel more connected to you, boosting the chances that they’ll come back for another post.
Bonus Tip: Break it down.
Especially when you’re first starting out as a writer, it can seem daunting to think about churning out a 2,000-word blog post. But speed—and speed that doesn’t sacrifice quality—comes with time. It may help to think about your piece in sections: set a goal to write 300 words about five points relating to your topic. Add an introduction and a conclusion, and you’re good as golden.
By breaking up your piece and implementing the strategies listed above, you may find it’s easier than you think to give your readers the length and quality of content they’ve been craving.
What other tips do you have for writers looking to beef up their blog posts? Share with us in the comments below!