I was recently asked to write an article for a newsletter. I love to write and was looking forward to the task. I found myself asking a few questions:
Are there specific topics or areas of interest you would like me to focus on?
Who is the audience I am writing for?
How long should the article be?
And there it is, “How long should the article be?”
Google it. There is a plethora of articles and books on this topic. I use WordPress and when a post is created, there is a plug-in that grades your SEO-ability. One specifically deals with word count and the desire of search engines looking to gaze happily upon articles of 300 words or more. Newspaper articles range 600-900+ and magazines range in word count from 600 to 3000. Considering ‘they say’ that the average reader has the attention span of a goldfish, we are averaging about 7-9 seconds to grab the reader’s attention out of the gate. What happens after that is up to you.
(Evelyn Wood speed reading has nothing on the scanning skills of a reader perusing the internet.)
So, what do we do? Write. Just write concisely and cohesively with a focus in mind. Back in the day when I typed on an IBM, there was no ticker in the lower left corner telling me the word count. I wrote from index cards with points of interest on each card to be formulated into the article or story. My college professors were sticklers for the basic five paragraph essay. That format had a purpose and the reader could scan the essay and unpack each point of interest.
As content writers, we go to great lengths to understand our client’s business before we write. Many times, it is easier to have someone write about your business from a position of objectivity and discernment. Clarity comes from the distance.
Need help? We are here anytime, and we also proofread and edit if you are ready to take that literary step yourself.
(Note: 340 words)