When it comes to content length, there is no general rule of thumb. But allow me to use the analogy of food (once again). You can think of content as either being a crème brulee or a bag of chips. While both items are enjoyable, they each come with their own set of differences. A crème brulee is a pleasantly sweet small dish for a reason. When you want it, one is often enough. But with a bag of chips, one is often never enough. Content can play that similar role in either case. It all depends on what you can and want to achieve with your content.
Know your platform
Some platforms contain a word limit. Some do not. In the latter case, you have the freedom to set your own word limit. It is important to know the purpose of your platform as a compass to guide your writing. Be mindful of those word limits as you’re writing. Content can make its presence on a variety of platforms: websites, advertisements, books, brochures, abstracts, and the list goes on. If you have a small platform to write on, be concise and only bring in the most important and effective content. If you have a large platform and a word limit is not much of an issue, be generous with your content.
Know your audience
Learn as much as you can about your audience. This is the point where you empathize with your audience. How much content do you think they will need in order to get the point of your message? How much time will they have to read your content? If you’re trying to reach out exclusively to parents, you may need to consider their busy lifestyle. If you’re writing for a broader audience, then you may want to consider topics that appeal to those wider audiences. Avoid using jargon filled content that may seem unfamiliar to your audience.
Avoid fluff for the sake of filling up space
In the case of the creme brulee analogy, consider what would happen if you added a shot of whipped cream, sprinkles, and marshmallows on top. Each of those additional items have their place, just not on a creme brulee. In fact, the original intent of a creme brulee would drown in all those options. That’s what happens when you add fluff to content just for the sake of filling up space: the original message drowns. This writing error often occurs when we put pressure on ourselves to meet an intimidating word limit. However, I’ve learned over time that word limits were set for a reason. That reason being the feasibility of filling up that space with meaningful content. Resist that temptation and believe in yourself. Believe in your ability to do your research and synthesize your messages appropriately.
Know when it’s done
Sometimes a writing job is never finished. Word limits, whether big or small, are sometimes a non issue when your aim is to be comprehensive. You can find yourself with less of an issue when you don’t have a word limit. But there comes a certain point in your writing when it has to be done. It’s always good to plan ahead by creating an outline of how you plan to convey your message.
When my clients ask me this important question about content, I never give a short answer. There’s certainly no one size fits all approach when it comes to content. I provide a unique answer each time mainly because every piece of content is unique.If you would like to discuss this matter with me within the context of your content, feel free to do so. I’d love to learn more about your unique content needs and help you get your message across!