How long should an Article be?

As I sit and write this article the irony is not lost on me that I have no idea of how long this article will be. :) There are as many opinions of this subject, as there are writers of blogs, articles and Press Releases.  This idea that there is an appropriate length, a magic number of words that people will read and feel as if they have gotten the information they seek, while not getting board and leave, seems to be a false standard to me.

While it is true you don’t want to write a book in one single article, you still need to get all of your information out in an easily readable chunk.  I think the real question is not “how long should the article be?” but more accurately “how do I make sure people will read the whole article?”

There is the real question in a nutshell.  The article CAN be as long as a book, IF it’s the information they need and are interested in. Yet you can still lose the reader if it is not done right.  I can see some eyes glazing over out there so I will place a small “don’t do this” list right here to draw you into the next section on things you need to do.

  1. Don’t Babble – Stay on target!
  2. Don’t talk above your readership. – If you know your audience you, know how they like to be talked with, don’t go over their heads and sound like Star Trek if that is not who they are.
  3. Don’t write an article just for SEO – writing pages just for search engines will make them unreadable for your readership.
  4. Don’t write your articles in someone else’s voice. – There can be a real disconnect from your subject matter if you are not writing as yourself.
  5. Don’t forget to be yourself. Your passion for your services, product and company will be lessened if you are not talk (writing) as you would talk.

This small list is by no means an end-all-be-all Don’t list, but It is a big start.  Follow on to the next page to see the “do” list and a few more suggestions of how to improve your readership.