The ideal word count for a blog post? A quick search will tell you that articles between 1,200 and 1,700 words rank highest with Google.
So that’s that then. From now on, all your blog posts will be longer than one thousand words, right?
Not so fast. The magic number, let’s say 1,500 words for arguments sake, is misleading and here’s why.
Just churning out long-form articles isn’t enough. Google doesn’t measure success by word count, a misapprehension that still lingers in many marketing departments.
Instead, Google is looking for copy that answers search intent. Which is why writing longer blog posts requires genuine expertise. You need great writing skills and deep domain knowledge to sustain the reader’s interest for the seven minutes or so it takes to read a 1,500 word article.
But still I see a lot of content that prioritises quantity over quality. The same arguments, anecdotes and turns of phrase packaged and re-packaged day after day. Stuffed to the brim with keywords, these articles are the very definition of thin content.
Find that copywriter
That said, there are plenty of good writers out there, charging reasonable rates. Are they the right ones for you? These are the qualities you should be looking for.
Academic experience: I know this is a bit old school for some but being immersed in a topic for months and years hard wires the brain with deep, persistent knowledge be it cyber-security, machine learning or SEO.
Journalism: Where did your copywriter gain their professional expertise? Writing and editing magazines, both online and print is another way to acquire the copy and domain knowledge required to make your business stand out.
Curiosity: Nobody wants to repeat the same old stories time after time. Sure, there’s value in repackaging your most successful content, but the best copywriters are always on the look out for new research, narratives and details from within their own domain and from others.
Persistence: In a world of non-stop distraction, does your copywriter have the mental focus to deliver value? Can they write copy to order with no delay? Can they isolate themselves from social media and news feeds in order to deliver an outstanding article to deadline, with no exceptions?
Truth: Yep, this matters. Doesn’t matter how long your article, how compelling the content. We live in the era of fake. Fake news. Deep fakes. There’s nothing more damaging to your reputation than an article with inaccurate facts or downright lies. The best copy writers are also fact checkers. If they quote figures, make sure they provide a source. Same for quotations.
Accuracy: They’re also demon proofreaders. Make it clear that you only accept grammatically polished copy. Spelling mistakes are not acceptable. The first 1,500 word draft requires a lot of polish before it’s ready for publication.
So much for the writing. What other skills do you need as a blogger-journalist today?
Socially sharp: Can your copywriter create an attention-grabbing social post? Do they know the difference in tone between a Tweet and a Facebook post? What about hashtags? Any copywriter worth her or his salt is as adept with 80 characters as they are with 1,500 words.
On-page SEO: Optimised meta-tags, keywords, links, URLs. Does your writer understand these categories? The quality of the body copy is everything, but without these elements, there’s a real risk that Google will downgrade the article.
Imagery: The best bloggers are also comfortable with images. They know how to size and tag to enhance SEO. They will also help make sure that the right image pulls through, in the right format, to a social post.
So there you have it. The very best copywriters not only know how to make an article grab and retain the reader’s attention, they also understand how to make that content stand out on social media and in the face of Google’s algorithm.
Needless to say, I can help you with all of the above! If you’d like to find out more, drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org