Deciding on your topic isn’t the only challenge of writing online content—you must also consider the form and length of your message. Feeling stuck? Don’t worry. Let the Rumpus Writing and Editing team explain the advantages and disadvantages of short-form and long-form content writing, and why you’ll want a balance of both when writing content for your veterinary practice or business. 

What is long-form content writing?

Long-form content writing has no set definition, but is generally described as any piece with more than 1,200 words. As such, this form typically includes lengthy blog posts, detailed articles, research and academic papers, sales letters, e-books, and online guides. Long-form writing requires longer audience attention, so is most often used to relay substantial content or provide in-depth education.

What is short-form content writing?

Short-form content writing is anything less than 1,200 words—so this category is used much more broadly. Short-form writing includes social media posts, text messaging, email, promotional materials, and short blog posts. In addition to writing, digital short-form content often incorporates visual mediums such as infographics, images, and video. Short-form content is designed to grab the audience’s attention and provide scannable information that highlights one key message or a few memorable takeaways.

The long and short of it—what’s the best format for veterinary content?

Long- and short-form content both have distinct advantages and disadvantages, and veterinary businesses need to balance both forms for effective messaging. You achieve this balance with content that satisfies your business goals as well as your target audience (i.e., existing and potential clients). When choosing the form for your project, ask yourself the following questions.

  •  What’s the goal?
    First, know your “why.” Why are you writing and publishing this specific piece? And, what do you hope to achieve? Example goals for veterinary content include:

    • Growing online engagement — Social media growth thrives on audience engagement. The more clicks and interactions you receive, the more visible your post. Short-form writing has the natural advantage here.
    • Attracting new clients — Long-form writing is a great way to show off your veterinary expertise. In addition to providing potential clients with in-depth education, you can showcase your services, establish an authoritative voice, and strategically employ search engine optimization (SEO) keywords and internal links to enhance your visibility and improve your search engine rankings.
    • Promoting a special offer — Promotions should be mobile-friendly, eye-catching, and easy to scan, which makes them ideal for short-form writing (e.g., social media ads, texts, and posts on your business page).
    • Highlighting a new service — Introducing your audience to something new? Long-form writing lets you lay out all the information your reader needs to know about the unfamiliar topic, service, or product. 
    • Addressing common pet owner questions — Long-form writing is generally considered more trustworthy and valuable to the audience, and ideal for client education. Blog writing allows you to build your own branded client education library to address the subjects most concerning to pet owners.

  • Who is your target audience?
    Millenials are the pet-owning majority, and this generation craves easily digestible and engaging content. Well-crafted short-form writing can distill your message into a few key takeaways, and equip digitally inclined—but proactive—Millennial pet owners with vital information they will remember. And, because short-form writing is tablet and smartphone-friendly, you’ll enhance your visibility among on-the-go pet owners.

To satisfy broader audiences—and longer attention spans—an internal or external link to additional in-depth resources (e.g., blog posts, papers) can provide a balance for every interest level.

Finally, consider your audience’s interest—are you writing about a hot topic? Are clients asking about this subject? If so, they’re more likely to respond to high-quality, long-form content that conveys authority and perspective, provides a thorough breakdown, and addresses their concerns. Long-form pieces will also rank higher for SEO, and help cultivate a new audience of pet owners searching for information on the topic.

  • What platform are you using?
    In general, social media posts are scanned or skimmed, especially if they’re over the ideal character count (i.e., 40 to 50 characters for Facebook, 125 characters for Instagram). If your goal is to generate engagement, grow your social media presence, prompt audience action, or deliver a quick, memorable message, short-form writing will deliver your desired result.

To increase website traffic and the time each user spends on your site, create long and informative content that encourages lingering and provides value (e.g., blog posts, downloadable e-books, and client guides). Accessible, relevant high-quality long-form content that ranks high in search engine results will satisfy your audience and drive new and returning traffic to your page.

  • How much time can you allocate to writing?
    Consider how much time and resources you can spend on writing—and refreshing—your online content. Review or create your content calendar, consider your platform and messaging needs, and calculate the time you’ll need to gather resources, research, write, and edit your long- and short-form pieces. In today’s busy world, this step may dictate your content amount. But, never write off long-form writing. Instead, aim to balance your faster and easier short-form content with an occasional long piece. No matter what length you choose, if you focus on quality—not quantity—content, you’ll always be making the “write” choice.

If short-form writing isn’t short enough for your busy schedule, Rumpus Writing and Editing can help. Our team of veterinary writers can craft customized online content that is unique to your brand and mission. Contact us to schedule a consultation or request a quote.