Content marketing can be defined as a form of marketing focused on creating, publishing, and distributing content for a targeted audience that causes a behavior change. Content marketing has become very popular as a way to reach the target audience online by breaking through the clutter since it does not sell the user a product or service explicitly.
Now an important question is, is longer content better? I think the answer is not straight-forward; I think it depends at the end of the day if the content is doing its job of providing a service for users. Quality is more important than quantity (length) but length can be used to induce changes in behavior that is favorable to your brand if the quality is there.
Content marketing is supposed to provide a service for your users and cannot explicitly sell your product. The idea behind content marketing is that it builds trust and establishes your brand as an authority on a subject while providing useful or entertaining content for the user. For example, a home-improvement store runs a blog on tips, tricks, and techniques related to different aspects of improving your home. In this case, the content has to be useful and accurate in order to gain the trust of your target user.
This blog also serves to establish that particular home-improvement store as the authority of home improvement. Therefore, a user implementing a project from the blog will most likely visit that particular home improvement store for supplies. The user could have alternatively prepared for this project by purchasing a book or magazine for home improvement which would have cost him or her money. Instead, the home improvement store is providing the information free of charge but is receiving a utility by generating a sale. As far as length in this example, the blog must be long enough to educate the user with enough accuracy to implement but without boring the user.
While the actual content is more important than the length, you can use length to push the user to make a behavior change. An example of this is to have a portion of a very useful or entertaining piece of content available with no strings attached. This could be, for example, a meal plan in the case of an organic grocery store chain. The grocery store could provide the first week of the plan with no action or behavior change required, just as a sample per se. Then, the user would need to like the grocery store’s page on Facebook or click the link to purchase ingredients to be able to see the next week of meal plans.
In this strategy, the business is actually using length as leverage to cause a behavior change and therefore length is better. However, length is purposeful in this example and that’s an important distinction. Adding length just to add length is never a good idea.