There's a lot of chatter out there about how long online content should be for maximum SEO value. We do know (as much as we can know anything about Google) that you get the most "juice" from content that's at least 300 words long and, some say, less than 500 words. That's also a size that works nicely with those teeny-tiny screens on even the biggest mobile phones.

A writing strategy for short-form content

Anyone who's tried it knows it can be a challenge to fit truly relevant, actionable information in 300 words. But it doesn't have to be. Here's a strategy we use that takes some of the pain out of writing yet meaningful content:

The Idea-Details Strategy

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Here's how it works

Draw up a teensy t-chart and jot down 4-6 pieces of key information, comme ça:

The Idea-Details Strategy

  • The IDEA is the most important thing you want the reader to know. It's usually closely aligned to your purpose -- what you want the reader to know about or do with the information. It helps if this is a complete sentence.
  • The DETAILS are the supporting information your audience will need. You'd like to have three to 5 details, which can be evidence (data, stats, etc.), an example or an explanation. For more on identifying the right details, click here.

Spend 5-10 minutes doing this pre-writing/planning. Then write a complete sentence out of your idea and each detail. Boom! Instant paragraph-long blog post! And if you want to get more detailed, write a few sentences about each detail for a longer piece. You'd still only need to spend about 15 minutes. Then put it away for a little bit. Come back to re-read, do a little tuning up and publish that bad boy.

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