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AP 0194: What Is the Ideal Length for Epic Content?

AP 0194: What Is the Ideal Length for Epic Content?

By Pat Flynn on

AskPat 194 Episode Transcript

Pat Flynn: Hey what’s up everybody Pat Flynn here and welcome to Episode 194 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me here today. As always I’m here to help you by answering your online business questions five days a week. We have a great question from Ryan today.

But before we get to that, no sponsor but I do have a resource for you and if you are at all interested in SEO, you know search engine optimization or back linking, which is a part of search engine optimization, I recommend this guest post by Brian Dean from Banklinko.com. All on my blog at SmartPassiveIncome.com. This has recently gone pretty viral and a lot of people are calling it one of the best posts written this year in this space of SEO and very easy to read. I recommend checking it out AskPat.com/backlinking. Again that’s AskPat.com/backlinking and then I’m going to be referencing this article in today’s answer to Ryan’s question. So let’s get to Ryan’s question right now.

Ryan: Hey Pat, this is Ryan. My question for you is in regards to epic content versus smaller, more digestible posts, I always hear epic content is the way to go, big long article, chock full of information. While some others suggest that the smaller, more digestible 500-750 word articles generate better results. If you can talk a little about that and also what you think about taking a older epic content post like a huge, long post and breaking it up now after the fact into smaller chapters and separate articles. I hope you can answer the question and thanks for everything that you do.

Pat Flynn: Hey Ryan, thank you so much for the question today. You got a two-parter here and let me start with the first part. Epic content, longer evergreen stuff, versus smaller, digestible, snackable posts. Which one is better? Well there is room I feel on every side for both. I think for example SmartPassiveIncome.com includes both smaller, digestible posts, but more often actually epic content, and by epic I mean not just length, but in terms of the type of content and the solutions that it’s provided in. Some examples are the backlinking post. Like I mentioned in the intro here. Again AskPat.com/backlinking. There’s also my podcasting tutorial, you can go check that out at PodcastingTutorial.com and I have number of other posts that I would consider epic content and it’s epic not just because it’s long and length really isn’t the factor there. It’s more so what you are talking about. The content.

How are you sharing that information. And often when you provide that kind of content it becomes lengthy. It’s not you’re trying you hit a certain length, but it’s just what you’re talking about and how you’re talking about it becomes a lengthy process. And so I feel that if you really want to make a bang in your niche, if you really want to drive home the fact that you are an authority in the space that you’re in, you’re going to need some epic content. Yes, smaller, digestible, snackable posts are great and you might have seen some trends lately for a lot of sites, more the viral sites like ViralNova.com, they have a lot of snackable content. They only have snackable content but they’re using a lot of different strategies in terms of viral growth and things like that, but I think if you’re trying to be a leader in a particular niche, in a market, in a space, you gotta write epic content. It’s going to be long. But here is why you need to write it and this goes back to that post I was talking about AskPat.com/backlinking.

There’s one section in there that is a technique for getting your content to really stand out. Not just when people read it, but in the search engines. Again, this post is about getting ranking in the search engines. He says “length is strength,” and there is actually proof behind it. So Noah Kagan from OkDork and BuzzSumo recently teamed up to answer the question, “What makes content go viral?”, and after analyzing over 100,000,000 articles they found that longer content generates significantly more social shares than short content. And there’s graph here on this post that shows this very, very obvious rising trend the more words there are in a post, the more shares there are. And you can even see this on SmartPassiveIncome.com too. Brian Dean who wrote this guest post, he analyzed my site and he clearly found that the more words that were in my blog posts, the more shares there were. Definitely. So he says, “As you can see, past long-form content performs head and shoulders above shorter posts. Longer content also tends to rank better. That part was about more shares. This part is about better ranks in Google.

There’s a website called SerpIq that analyzed Google’s first page results for 20,000 keywords and they found that longer articles tended to rank higher in Google as well. Bottom line, make your piece of content at least 2,000 words. If you’re going for epic content, evergreen content meaning it will last long time, it’s not just something that’s going to be relevant now and not be relevant later, you want epic content to be relevant two years from now. Three years from now. It’s going to be harder to know that but you know, shoot for that and don’t be afraid to publish something that’s 5,000 words plus. The longer the content, the better it tends to do both in terms of sharing and ranking higher as well, and those of course both go together.

Now in terms of your second question, Ryan, breaking down an epic piece of content and turning that into repurposing it and turning it into other forms, I think that’s definitely a very smart thing to do. Especially if you tend to write a lot of epic content like I do. I know for example I’ve written a lot of lengthy posts that go step by step over various things and it’s hard sometimes to bring those back to life because they just get buried in the archives. I do a number of different strategies and I haven’t really broken them down into smaller chunks, although I have taken pieces of larger pieces of content and talked more in depth about them and that’s something you could definitely do. I have also—for example I have one piece of epic content about how to start a newsletter and that actually made it easy for people to find that, especially because I do a lot of video and more so podcasting. If you go to StartAnEmailList.com, that’ll take you there.

Again, that’s a very easy way to promote that older content, which is again epic content that people can consume, which actually in that post specifically, and also many other posts, has affiliate links in it and things like that, it gets shared quite often. Doing that really, really helps. I also in my podcasting tutorial at PodcastingTutorial.com, you’ll notice that there are six videos in there too. Six separate videos, each talking about a different component of creating a podcast and that’s very smart, because a lot of people actually start that podcasting tutorial by finding videos specific to their need in terms of podcasting. How to edit, which isn’t step one. Editing is not step one. But because I’ve broken those videos down into a step-by-step process, each of those videos is a lot quicker to consume and each of those videos on YouTube reference the whole podcasting tutorial. Oftentimes people come in and video three, four or five and they go, “Wow, this is really good, I wonder what everything else has?” and then they go back to the beginning and watch it or they come back to the blog and they become fans after that.

Those are different ways you can repurpose, you could even turn a lot of your epic content into downloadable PDFs, one thing you could do that’s trending lately is to have upgraded content, so for example you could provide a download at the end of your epic blog post, which I really should be doing and we should all be doing it. If you want to increase your email list conversions, offer a giveaway, a free gift or an incentive to subscribe to your email list, related to that particular post. That’s what they call upgraded content and it can be as easy as—and I think James Schramko does this and a number of other people—as a summary or maybe a checklist based off of that epic content that they can download and it gets delivered to them automatically after they subscribe.

Now there are manual ways to do that, I use Leadpages AskPat.com/leadpages, a company that I’m an advisor for, which makes that digital delivery process super easy even if people are already on your list and again that’s something you could do to … I guess that’s not really re-purposing your content, that’s sort of enhancing your existing content.

But you could take and I’m just spitballing here, thinking out loud, you could take older epic content and re-purpose that into a PDF, for example, and give it away in a later piece of content. Maybe in an upgraded version or something like that. I don’t know there’s a number of different things you could do but definitely don’t make all that time and effort and all those words go to waste. You can figure out ways to re-purpose and you can break those things apart and talk about them in more detail for sure.

Ryan I hope that answers your question, thank you so much an AskPat t-shirt is going to be headed your way. You’ll get an email from my assistant in the next week or two about that. For those of you listening if you have a question you’d like potentially featured here on the show just head on over to AskPat.com and again there was no sponsor for today’s episode but a very, very important resource. If you go to AskPat.com/backlinking you will check out that blog post, that guest post from Brian Dean over at Backlinko.com.

Thanks so much for listening everybody and I’m going to end it with a quote like I always do and this one is one from one of my favorite people, Gary Vaynerchuk, he says, “Please think about your legacy, because you’re writing it every day.” Cheers, take care and I’ll see you in the next episode of AskPat.

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