Does Size Matter?

It’s the age-old question, “does size matter?” The answer is yes… when it comes to your blog posts and tweets.

For Blog Posts:  In startup marketing, there are a lot of elements that go into making a blog post effective. Ideally, the checklist includes your keywords, voice, vivid language, provocative ideas to stimulate the reader, and a strong supporting visual (not necessarily in that order). Perhaps you’ve read the same studies (thank you, Hubspot) about which are the best days and times of the week to post your blog for maximum reach. But what our clients seem to worry the most about is the length of their blog posts – as if each post has to have a prescribed length to be valuable to the reader.

This concern reminds us of the comedy routine by the late George Carlin who famously reduced the Ten Commandments to just two. Or, there’s journalist, book author and celebrated food activist Michael Pollan who summed up his food advice to Americans:  “eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” Both of those examples are pithy, to-the-point, wonderfully memorable and brief. If only every blog post were similarly short and sweet.

When it comes to blog posts, we sometimes find that the value is in reverse relationship to the length. Our advice to startups is to think about distilling your commentary into a single key takeway—two, max. Focusing on that takeaway and how to best to support it will ensure a brief, tight, valuable post.

For Tweets:  How can size matter for a tweet that has a built-in limit of 140 characters? It can matter a lot if you follow a best practice we often hear about that dictates that you have to include “the three” in every tweet: a link, an @ mention and a #hashtag (and today’s hashtags seem to be getting longer and longer). In reality, including “the three” leaves you with very little room to communicate your own unique thought.

The point of tweeting is to be timely, current, and responsive – again, all in 140 characters.  Saddling your tweet with “the three” will weigh you and your followers down and significantly constrain the spontaneity of tweeting. As Twitter continues to evolve, we already see the length of a tweet becoming the length of the new elevator pitch. Twitter is already becoming the successor to traditional wire services like AP and Reuters for breaking news coverage. So, our advice is to let the size of your tweet support your message, and that means not trying to squeeze “the three” into every tweet.