The Ideal Length for a Dental Blog Post, Tweet, or Facebook Update
Do you ever stop in the middle of a blog post and wonder if you are going on for too long? Or do you scroll back through something you’ve published and wonder if it’s not long enough? Longer content is almost always better (if you have enough information to support longer content), but how long is too long? And how short is too short? When it comes to dental blogs, tweets, and Facebook posts, you want to find that right balance, a length that gives you enough time to engage with readers, without making the content prohibitively long for the medium.
The rules are neither hard nor fast. In some fields, very short or very long content is ideal, while in others, moderation is the best way to go. Trial and error are the best ways to find out what really works for you and your readers, but that can take a long time, especially when it comes to blogs. We do have some general guidelines to get you started, especially when it comes to blogs, tweets, and Facebook updates. More than just playing to character limits, there actually are some lengths that seem to perform better than others.
Tweets should be 100 characters.
Sure, you’ve got more characters to play with, but that doesn’t meant that you need to use up all 140 characters in every single tweet. When it comes to Twitter, stick to the 100 character range. This advice comes straight from the source; in a study conducted by Twitter to determine which tweets saw the most engagement, tweets that were 100 characters or fewer saw more engagement than tweets which were longer.
Why? Because Twitter is a place for short snippets of information that is easily digestible. The information has to be there, but it also can’t be so long that the readers loses track of the original meaning.
Sources outside of Twitter have confirmed the research, stating that anything in between 70 and 100 characters is likely to be well-received. These tweets aren’t too short to lack substance, but aren’t so long that they might come across as long-winded. Not maxing out your characters also means that those who retweet you have a little space to add a note—which again, means higher engagement.
Other studies have found that long tweets in general see more retweets than short tweets, even those that utilize more than 100 characters.
Facebook updates should be less than 40 characters.
If that seems surprisingly short, it’s because it is. Forty characters is about a seven-word sentence, depending on the words used. This is what forty characters looks like. Without the period, that sentence is exactly forty characters long.
That’s not a lot of space to work with when it comes to engaging with readers, but studies have shown that posts in this range see more than 85% engagement, over longer posts. That’s a staggering statistic. Only 5% of Facebook updates fall into this category, and businesses are notorious for writing long-winded updates, often treating their Facebook page like a blog.
If forty characters just isn’t enough to get your point across, don’t worry. Updates with less than eighty characters still saw good engagement, at more than 65% higher than longer posts. Those are still good odds.
When it comes to Facebook posts, it seems that the shorter it is, the better. Shorter updates get more likes and more comments than longer posts. Every study conducted about Facebook updates supports this suggestion—which many find strange, considering that Facebook gives you 250 characters to work with. When compared to Twitter, it appears even more illogical. The fact is that newsfeeds are clogged with pictures and long updates from friends. Short posts stand out both visually and contextually, give a short, digestible bit of content, and make it easy for those reading to then leave a like or a comment.
Blog posts should be seven minutes long.
Minutes might seem like an odd way to measure a blog posts, but most studies about blog posts look at how long the blog takes to read and what reading times mean the most engagement. The most ideal blog post is the one that people actually read—and the research shows that blogs that take about seven minutes to read are the most popular.
What does that mean for your blog? It means that if you write straight blocks of text, you should strive for about 1,600 words per post. If your posts include any visuals, about 1,000 words will usually do. Longer content also performs better in search results, as it provides more places for keywords and more in-depth analysis of a topic.
Though it seems that shorter is better for social media, for blogs, longer is better. In today’s short attention span society, many people believe that shorter posts must be better all around, as they may be able to hold user attention for a longer amount of time, in reality, they rarely give enough space for the blogger to really get to the meat of the issue they are talking about.
Of course, the length of a blog post will ultimately be dictated by how much you really have to say about a topic. A post should not be fluffed out just for the sake of making it longer. If you have thoroughly covered everything that can be covered, call the post good, even if it tops out only at 900 words. Keep in mind that even shorter written content may be appropriate if it accompanies an infographic or a video, which present your information in another format.