“The ideal reading length for a blog post is seven minutes. That translates to roughly 1,600 words.” – Content writing advice offered by marketing experts.
Seven minutes? That makes sense. I haven’t timed my eyeballs or my brain, but spending seven minutes on a blog seems right. If you want an engaging blog, it should take seven minutes to read. However, here we are at the mere 70-word mark and, whoa boy, I’m not sure I can make it to the full 1,600 with this little blog. Right now, it’s more a greeting card than a blog. And we all know how non-impactful (impactless?) and non-viral (healthy?) a greeting card is. I don’t want this to be a willowy and weak greeting card. This is a powerful and mighty blog! This needs to be something big, something substantial, something you can print out and nail to the wall with a railroad spike!
However, according to the marketing data, right now, I don’t have enough words for a blog — a full, all-the-way, totally engaging blog. As such, I worry about you. What will happen if I don’t hit that word count or the time requirement? Where will your eyes go? Your mind? Your soul? I can’t leave you here, alone and stranded in the internet like a powerless Neo trapped in the Matrix without Morpheus to guide him.
No. I will stay with you for these seven minutes. I owe you that much. Here are a few words to help us pass the time: Pineapple, tightrope walker, vernacular, Martha, vestibule, and lanyard.
I need you to stay for the full seven minutes. Can I get you anything else while you’re here? Want to read some numbers? Numbers are words that are easy to spell: 1, 17, 8, 809. And here, have another Martha.
This content is really picking up steam! Soon this will be considered an engaging blog because of all the words and the time required to read the words. You’ve been here for, roughly, a minute and a half now, judging by the word-per-minute ratio (about four words per second).
Be honest: Do you feel engaged? Are you still with me? Did I lose you with the whole Martha thing? That was a stretch, but, dammit, if I don’t make the word count I don’t know what will happen. This could end up being a non-engaging blog, something you read halfheartedly while waiting for an ad to finish on a YouTube video. I need this blog to fill out and become seven minutes. I’m doing my best here. I’m trying. I really am. Martha.
Some of you may be slower readers, to which I say…great! Reading slowly isn’t a bad thing. But, I’m trying to reach everyone with this blog, engage with all human beings, so I need y’all to be on the same word at the same time. To help get everyone up to speed, the sentence following this one will feature very short words, and lots of them so that you slow readers can catch up to the normal people. Dogs eat food and cats eat food and frogs eat food and red is a color of a ball in the car and Tom went to the moon. I took out the commas back there to make it smoother for your brain. Now you’re back on track, partner! We’re gonna do this! All 1,600 words! All seven minutes of words! Engage!
And for those who read too fast, slow the hell down! What are you trying to prove? This isn’t a race, and if you plow through this content too quickly, you won’t retain the information! You won’t be engaged! And I have analytical tools hiding behind the screen that will tell me if you are or are not engaged. Don’t try to fool me!
Stop reading so fast! Why are you in such a hurry? Where else are you going to go? Reddit? Reddit doesn’t need you. It doesn’t need you like I need you. Stay with me through this. Stay with this blog, this engaging blog, and I promise at the end there will be karate fights. Please? Please don’t read too fast and don’t skim? Come on! Be cool about this. Engage with the words. And stop reading so fast!
You think you’re so cool with your fast reading? Well, I have a secret weapon. Here’s something that’ll stop even the zippiest readers: Worcestershire.
Ha! Now your brain grinds to a halt as it tries to form that collection of letters into the correct-sounding word. And I have one more trick to play: Pete played with the bass. And you’re like, what’s so special about that? But did I mean the drum, the sad guitar, or the fish? Only I know the answer. Go ahead and search for context clues. THERE ARE NONE! That’ll engage you. That’ll engage you real good. That’ll eat up a few precious seconds.
That’s what you get for reading this content too swiftly! Fool!
You’re engaged now, aren’t you? I can sense it in the way your eyes carefully, fearful dart from line to line.
Are you engaged? Maybe not yet, but you can feel it stirring in your brain and churning in your belly. You are engaging with this content and because it requires the optimal time to consume, there’s little you can do to stop it. You will be one with the content. Don’t fight it. Let it wash over you like a warm ocean wave of thoughts and ideas. It’s seven minutes of heaven. Enjoy this. It’s all for you!
That’s right. Keep your eyes on these words…watching the words…reading the words. That’s it. That’s nice. That’s good, my lovely targeted audience, my precious reader. You are so close to being engaged! I’m so happy for you! So happy! Everything is about to change for you. I only wish it were possible to read this content again for the first time. Imagine.
You are engaged and reading each and every word because you know more words are coming up over the horizon, but you don’t yet know what they’ll be or how they will sound. The next word could be hamster or even volcano! And just when you think you know how a sentence will end, along comes gelatin! See how engaged you are? And it’s all because of marketing data!
Hmm. We’re not quite done. I still need more words. But you know what? Boom!
One picture is a thousand words. Everyone knows that. I didn’t need a full thousand words so this is 30% of a picture. It’s Al Pacino. Looking at this partial-picture should eat up the same time it would take to read 300 words, or about 75 seconds of chronology.
Test yourself by looking at the picture and, in your mind, repeating the word “gravy” 300 times. Should be about thee same amount of time. Ready, set, go! Gravy, gravy, gravy…
Look, I know this blog feels padded out and fluffed up, but it’s beyond my artistic control. If the marketing data dictates an engaging blog should be seven minutes, then I must adhere to those rules. I really want you to enjoy this experience. I want you to share it with your friends and use this blog to change the world. I couldn’t do that with a mere sentence or paragraph. Don’t make this difficult. I’m doing this for you. All of this, even the Marthas, were for you.
Maybe you won’t get it now. Maybe you’re too young, too hasty, too stressed. But there will be a time in your life when you’re sitting by the fire, cat in your lap, robot butler at your side, when you’ll say, “He was right. That blog…it really stuck with me. It was truly engaging. And it was the correct length.”
Thank you for your time.
For more information on proper blog etiquette and reaching a target audience, make it all up because when it comes to internet things, no one has any freaking clue how to do it well. Bye!