Blog Shorts: Business Blogging The Easy Way

StanfordSmith
Stanford Smith Managing Director, Pushing Social

Posted on July 27th 2012

Blog Shorts: Business Blogging The Easy Way

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Small business bloggers are caught in an annoying dilemma.  On one hand blogs that post quality content frequently attract up to 5x more traffic than less updated blogs.  But, small business owners don’t have time to research and write more than a couple posts a month.  Something has to give.

I asked myself the question, “Do quality posts have to be long (700+ words)?”  After looking through past posts on Pushing Social, I discovered that my better posts were my shorter ones.  I also scanned through other small business blogs and noticed that the shorter posts gathered more comments and social shares.

Hmm…  Could there be a use for short, concise posts?

The Blog Short

Most people are familiar with Seth Godin’s short pithy missives that come out everyday before the rooster crows.  I’m not recommending these.   Instead, I suggest you try writing 400 – 450 word posts that bundle one powerful idea in a concise package.

Here’s the “Blog Short” template:

1. First 100 words: Explain your idea.  Only write about one idea.  You’ll see why in a moment.
2. Next 100 words: Demonstrate how your idea is relevant to your reader
3. Next 100 words: Offer advice on implementing the idea
4. Last 100 words: Recap your idea, benefits, and call-to-action.

Sticking to the template has its benefits -

Why Your Readers will Love the Blog Short

On average people can read 400 words in about 90 seconds.  As you know, time is a finite and scarce resource for most folks.  Your readers will appreciate your ability to quickly get to the point.

After 15 years listening to presentations, I know that the person that needs 30 minutes to say something is often less intelligent than the person who can elegantly get their point across in 10 minutes.

Brain researchers theorize that we have about 7 open spots in our short-term memory.  Once the spots are filled, we start dumping information to accommodate the new data.  Long posts often weave dozens of ideas into one document which means that most of these ideas get lost.  Not so with Blog Shorts, they only have one idea making them easy to understand and remember.

Blog Shorts Solve The Quality + Quantity Dilemma

One idea posts concisely explained will meet the quality bar.  Four-hundred words take about 30 minutes to write, even less with practice.  Two even three posts a week are possible with this format.

Your readers will love your new focused approach.  You’ll love the extra time you gain.  Win-Win.

(This post is 432 words just in case you were counting)

StanfordSmith

Stanford Smith

Managing Director, Pushing Social

Stanford teaches passionate people how to lead spectacular and influential tribes at www.PushingSocial.com - Follow him on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/pushingsocial

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Comments

Stanford:

Thank you for your perspectives. Respectfully read, respectfully disagreed. Templates should not ever be used or recommended for writing blog posts. In my experience, templated blog posts = cookie cutter = zero originality.

 

A better approach is to stick to the one-idea principle and write as much as needed to get the point across, without setting artificial limits on word count or stupid SEO practices of stuffing posts with text-rich keywords.

 

I agree with you that readers have short attention spans, but why create multiple short blog posts in a short time? What exactly are you trying to accomplish with that approach? Increased readership does not equate to quality readership. I would prefer to have 30 die-hard followers of my humble blog (http://socciwriter.blogspot.com) than to have 500 who subscribe to my e-newsletter just because and delete those e-mails from their inbox each day.

 

Every person has a unique perspective and should be given a chance to express themselves in writing without being constrained by the false premises of brevity = good writing as you suggest.

Hi Amanda, thanks for the comment.

Couple of points.  

Having a framework/template for writing posts doesn't stifle originality or creativity.  For example, the Hero's journey framework has been used in countless creative ways (i.e. Star Wars, The Matrx, even the Godfather).  You get the same cookies if you use the same ingredients.  I'm not advocating using the same ingredients, just a simple straightforward process for presenting the blog.

 

The problem with "write as much as needed to get the point across" is that this could lead to long-winded posts that lose the reader.  For businesses, it doesn't make sense to have an open-ended post structure that kills any chance of the post getting read.  And, I never mentioned anything about SEO practices or keyword stuffing. 

Multiple short posts = posts that are concise and likely to get read.  Multiple short posts in a short time keeps your great information top of mind with the reader.  This is the goal.  

Infrequent long posts would not accomplish the same objective. 

The standard argument "I would rather have xx number of quality followers versus the xx number of crappy subscribers" makes logical sense.  I'm offering a way to get a large number of quality followers.  You can have your cake and eat it too if you think creatively.

Last, writing long-winded, unstructured, infrequent posts is an option.  However, I wouldn't want this person writing for me.  My premise is that focused, concise, and short blog posts = posts that get read and understood.  This isn't inherently false.  My hope is that readers will test the premise before rejecting it out of hand.

 

Standford and Amanda I have to agree with you both. I'm in the middle of a total career change here recently obtaining my MBA at the age of 57 and have never blogged. From an I'm a partner in a business that requires me to blog at least twice a week with at least 300 words. The idea of having a format and guide that Standford has suggested is just what a 56 year old newbie needs to get started and to maintain my sanity. On the other hand Amanda my thoughts were right on target with your comments until I received my new assignment. In this case we have to do something I learned in the military; let the terrain dictate your movement and progress.