So the word is out: create long-form content and the world is your oyster. Not so fast. Rand Fishkin, who I greatly respect, tends to disagree, or at least provide a strong argument for considering the value of shorter content. It’s time to take up this discussion with your digital marketing agency.

I have often wondered about this subject, and to be honest, I come down on the side of one hard and fast rule. Create content as long as it needs to be. If two paragraphs do the job then write two paragraphs. If two pages make the case, then write that. How many “super guides” do we need anyway? Most aren’t worth much from what I’ve seen; they are often feeble attempts to write to length, not quality. But what to do when you know your competition is beating the pants off you with great long-form content? Learn from someone who knows how to produce it.

Long form can be especially daunting. You and your digital marketing agency can use a quality piece of long-form content as a template. I don’t mean to copy from it, and unless you are in the exact same business as your template article, that will be impossible. But notice how the copy is formatted. If you sell shoes, you may very well learn how to write great long-form content from someone who sells cars. Keep an open mind. From time to time in this space I am going to share awesome examples of long-form and short form content. Note how they are constructed. Break them down into sections and try to replicate the step by step format and clarity with which they are written.

Today I want to share this amazing long-form piece about buying pergolas and pavilions. It’s more than a sales piece; it’s a superbly written long-form article that offers a lot of facts to people who are in the market for this product. Share this piece with your agency and have them learn from it and produce this kind of content for you. And be forewarned: There are a bazillion ‘Complete Guides’ out there for most every subject. Carefully note how this piece is formatted. It offers incredible photographs, plus a helpful table of contents that’s linked by section so people can skip around, if they want. Another great feature is the frequent use of drawings that show close-ups of important details. Immerse yourself in this PDF and learn what great long-form content looks like.

Watch this space. In a future article I will share one of the best short-form pieces I’ve found.

And check it out: this post is less than 500 words.