What is the ideal article length?

Articles can vary from 250 to 1500 with many online publishers only taking 500 or 1000 words. And short articles, less than 500 words, are popular for email newsletters and blogs.

So what is the ideal length for an article?

The article length is not as critical as the relevance of the content to the reader’s needs. More important is some publishers set their submission guidelines and you’ll need to abide to their rules to be published by them. For this reason, you may even need to shorten or lengthen your article.

My Word Count it too low. How can I lengthen my article?

To lengthen articles, you can substantiate your information with statistics, facts and examples. You can also add anecdotes, analogies and quotes to liven up your articles and make the information more memorable.

Be careful not to fall in the trap of padding your articles with redundant words to increase the word count. This would reflect on your professionalism.

My article is too long. How can I shorten it?

Here are a few strategies…

  • Cut the padding out. Stephen King, author of 50 books, learned from his editor to cut 10% from the first draft. It reads as:

Second draft = First draft – 10%.

  • Delete self-references such as ‘in my last seminars, my clients learned to write articles’. Confine self-promotion to your Resource Box and reduce your word count.
  • Replace pompous phrases such as ‘in regard to’ by ‘about’. It saves two words and it reads more user-friendly.
  • Add commands. You can replace ‘You should do’ by ‘Do’. It gives more punch to your sentence while reducing the word count.
  • Use bullets. You can reduce long sentences to key phrases.
  • Reduce the scope of your article. To do so, you have a choice of either giving a broad overview of your topic and leaving out the details such as in ‘What is Article Marketing’ OR singling out a specific segment of your topic ‘How to shorten an article’.
  • Split long articles into two or more short articles. This will provide you with more opportunities to promote your business.

Before writing articles, do your market research. Consider the attention span of your target market and the submission guidelines of potential publishers when deciding on the length of your article.

Posted in article marketing, copywriting