When to use short-form vs long-form content

Head Giraffe Lynda Schenk sitting at desk with laptop and notebook working

In the growing age of social media and digital technology, it is imperative to have a solid content marketing strategy. Both short-form and long-form content are powerful tools your business can incorporate into your marketing strategy for effective performance.

First, it is important to understand the difference between short and long-form content. Once decided, you can then take the next step and decide when it’s best to use it.

As suggested by the names short-form content is short and succinct while long-form content is more detailed averaging 2,000 words or more. However, both forms of content are so much more than their names suggest.

Short-form content is used to deliver a message and information simply and quickly to ensure engagement from the audience.  It needs to be easily digestible and usually involves communicating one idea or message in a basic way.  Examples include tweets, short videos, infographics, emails, blogs and status updates.

Long-form content aims to convey more detailed information on a topic or a series of messages in greater depth and detail. It is not intended as a simple communication tool, but more educational.  Examples include longer blog posts, e-books, white papers, guides and tutorials, webinars, video content and podcasts.

Both short-form and long-form content are important in a successful content marketing strategy. They can also be very powerful tools in your marketing toolbox – when used appropriately.

So, what are the advantages and disadvantages?

Short-form content

  • Short-form content is the best type of content to swiftly and clearly convey a single idea without requiring too much of a time commitment from an audience.
  • Works most effectively on social media as it makes communication easier for those with short attention spans.
  • You can produce short-form content quicker and with fewer resources compared to long-form content.
  • It is simpler to read, and, depending on the circumstances, it is easier for you to view it on mobile devices.

However, you shouldn’t always use short-form content as

  • It is more difficult to go in-depth on a subject.
  • It may quickly get repetitive, which may deter your audience’s attention and lose its appeal and effectiveness over time.

Long-Form Content

Unlike short-form content long-form content is beneficial as

  • It typically ranks better on the search engines as there are a higher number of keywords due to covering more depth of a topic.
  • Audiences are more likely to revisit the page, click backlinks and share the content increasing the content’s performance and search engine rankings.
  • Long-form content can assist in positioning your brand as a leader and a voice in your industry as it educates, informs, and helps your audience in making decisions.

Although, it is important to be aware…

  • Long-form content requires you to dedicate more time and resources into its production, so you should carefully analyse the overarching benefit and return.
  • It can be challenging to show long-form material on mobile devices in a visually appealing way.
  • The attention spans of individuals are shorter than ever averaging at only 8.25 seconds! This makes it harder to ensure individuals remain engaged with long-form content (thetreetopthreapy 2022).

Knowing how and when to use short and long-form content is the key to harnessing the potential of your content marketing strategy.

We recommended reflecting on the following to get the best out of your strategy.


  1. Your objectives

GOAL SETTING is the first and most fundamental step for content creation. Ideally, instead of having one overarching goal for all your content you should set your goals for each specific content, and then strategise how you can achieve them.

For example, if you want to raise awareness about a new product or produce content quickly short-form content is most suitable. Posting across various social media platforms or sending emails to subscribers.

However, if you are trying to establish a relationship of trust with consumers or increase search engine rankings long-form content is best suited.

For example, a blog on a particular topic will create site traffic through keywords used and increase your brand credibility. Additionally, a blog on your company’s journey, what your brand stands for and what the business’s mission is will develop a consumer’s confidence and loyalty in your brand.


  1. Your competition

It is important to be aware of your competition and what is working for them.

When deciding between long-form and short-form content see what comes up in the top search results and decide where you can improve.

Particularly, long-form content is one of the easiest ways to increase your search engine results.

For example, if you notice your competitor’s 2,000 word article is the top ranked search result it is unlikely that you will outrank it by writing a 500 work article even if you follow every SEO practise.

However, this does not imply that in order to compete, you must produce a 3,000 word piece. REMEMBER that a piece of writing with solid content and relevant SEO terms will increase the traffic and visibility of your brand.


  1. Your audience

When deciding when to use either short-form or long-form content you must consider the interests and intentions of your audience.

You should use short-form content if you believe your audience is more likely to:

  • Skim read.
  • Engage more attentively with a short-form video.
  • Stay up to date with current events.

Comparably, long-form content should be used if you believe your audience is more likely to:

  • Research the topic discussed.
  • Obtain valuable in-depth knowledge about the topic from the content.
  • Be actively engaged with the long-form content.


While the above tips can assist you in deciding when and how to incorporate short-form and long-form content it is important to remember that they both play an important role in your marketing strategy regardless of the product or service offered.

If you’re looking to enhance your marketing strategy, chat to us today.  Our team of marketing specialists can assist you in developing your strategy and creating short and long-form content specific to your business.

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Picture of Fiona Puccini

Fiona Puccini

Fiona is studying a double degree of Law and International Business at the University of Adelaide. With an interest in all things digital marketing and copywriting, Fiona is currently undertaking an internship with Purple Giraffe to broaden her knowledge and gain industry experience.

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