When Less is More in Your Content Strategy

by · May 10, 201315 comments

Recently, a friend and fellow marketer asked what aspect of their favorite podcasts did people enjoy the most. I admit, I didn’t give my most honest answer.

My favorite thing about my favorite podcast is that it’s only 15 minutes long. I’ve been listening to the very excellent Writing Excuses podcast for over a year now. While the writing and publishing advice is solid, I love their tagline.

“Fifteen minutes long, because you’re busy, and we’re not that smart.”

Most marketing and business podcasts run at about 45 minutes to an hour. If you asked most business professionals if they could spare an hour a week to listen to a presentation, they’d wince.

So why are most podcasts longer than a weekly drama?

Why do so many blog posts approach the word count of a burgeoning novella?

Why are so many infographics 15 screens long?

Because most marketers are long-winded and terrible at self-editing, that’s why. And we think we’ll sound smarter if we just use more words.

There’s a lot of emphasis on “more content, more frequency, more platforms” in all the talk about content strategy. But editing is an important strategy, too. Cutting out the fat, and going for quality is a strategy. Condensing, distilling, and simplifying are all strategies.

Otherwise, your audience response might just be “tl;dr.”

 

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About Kat French

Kat French

Kat French is the Digital Operations Manager at CafePress. An exceptional writer both on the web and in other genres, Kat combines creativity with an agile, get-it-done attitude across a broad range of experience in community management, SEO/PPC, social media strategy and program management. She has worked with national brands like Maker's Mark, Daytona Beach Tourism, Optima Batteries and more.

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  • Roman Jakubowycz

    Amen!

    • http://www.internet-bard.com KatFrench

      Hallelujah!

  • Shauna McGee Kinney

    Kat, Long live the legacy of Meis van der Rohe – Less is More!

    ‘ …Whether or not you agree with Mies’ assertation that less is more …’ http://www.miessociety.org/legacy/

    But, Google does prefer at least 200 words and pattern matching UNTIL Google learns reading comprehension. Ahh, that *thick* line between human and AI!

    • KatFrench

      Two hundred words isn’t that long, really. Unless of course I’m sitting working on a writing work-in-progress and I’m 200 words from my goal for the day. Then it’s MASSIVE. ;-)

      Thanks for the comment!

    • KatFrench

      Two hundred words isn’t that long, really. Unless of course I’m sitting working on a writing work-in-progress and I’m 200 words from my goal for the day. Then it’s MASSIVE. ;-)

      Thanks for the comment!

  • http://indispensablemarketing.com/ Patrick McFadden

    I have practiced blogging exactly how I talk which straight to the point and informative. Just like your post above. It’s been great for me and my audience. Shauna I didn’t know that! But I guess I didn’t know because I was always told to write for your readers and screw the things like that. :)

    • KatFrench

      Writing for your readers is always good advice, whether it’s fiction or blogging. Glad you enjoyed the post.

  • BSStoltz

    This makes a lot of intuitive sense to me, BUT there’s been a lot of discussion about the impact of content on SERPs, and this article in particular seems like a rebuttal:

    http://www.quicksprout.com/2012/12/20/the-science-behind-long-copy-how-more-content-increases-rankings-and-conversions/

    Patel has points in the end that marry up well: Don’t aim for a long-winded article, and “Your results may differ”, etc. But overall, there’s definitely a difference of opinions out on this subject.

    • KatFrench

      Good points. I think “don’t ramble” was my main point, and Neil and I seem to agree on it. Thanks for chiming in!

      • BSStoltz

        Not a problem! To me, keeping things brief has always seemed to be more intuitive. So much has changed in the past 2 years with Google’s algorithms for SERPs, what they look for in content, what readers want in content…there’s definitely a middle ground that I think everyone wants to be in.

  • VirginiaMargaret

    You are so right. Your post is one of the few I didn’t look at, scroll to see how far until the end, and close!

    • KatFrench

      Ha! Happy you made it all the way to the end, Virginia. :)

  • http://www.feldmancreative.com/ Barry Feldman

    Hey, where’s the rest of this article? Too short ;-)

    • http://www.internet-bard.com KatFrench

      It’s a serial, Barry. We’re doing a throwback to the Glory Days of Radio.

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