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Hello,

I have a question for the group — when (if ever) do you write and post long articles to your campus news communication venue? What length do you consider to be too long?

By articles, I mean communications we create and post to our tech news and information service. Most are either 400 to 600 words or much shorter. The few exceptions are generally complex topics or Q&As with key people at key moments. (Examples: a look at how much cyberinfrastructure the campus needs, and a Q&A with the campus chief security officer on his program, projects, and goals.) 

We're discussing this in our shop. We want accessible and concise writing, of course, however long an article is. 

Thanks!

Bill Buchanan
Senior writer/editor
Information and Educational Technology
University of California Davis
********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

Comments

I post articles at least once a week. Some are specifically student geared, but we try to drive most IT communication through our blog.  We keep the articles at a few paragraphs maximum because we are aware of the difficulty in getting our constituents to actually read them.

Depending on the importance of the communication, we may send an email linking to the blog article:
http://wordpress.sju.edu/oit/

From: "Bill Buchanan" <wrbuchanan@UCDAVIS.EDU>
To: ITCOMM@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Sent: Monday, October 28, 2013 1:40:39 PM
Subject: [ITCOMM] A question about long articles

Hello,

I have a question for the group — when (if ever) do you write and post long articles to your campus news communication venue? What length do you consider to be too long?

By articles, I mean communications we create and post to our tech news and information service. Most are either 400 to 600 words or much shorter. The few exceptions are generally complex topics or Q&As with key people at key moments. (Examples: a look at how much cyberinfrastructure the campus needs, and a Q&A with the campus chief security officer on his program, projects, and goals.) 

We're discussing this in our shop. We want accessible and concise writing, of course, however long an article is. 

Thanks!

Bill Buchanan
Senior writer/editor
Information and Educational Technology
University of California Davis
********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.




--
Olivia Ward
Manager, IT Procurement and Communications | User Services
Office of Information Technology | Saint Joseph’s University
610-660-1521 | oward@sju.edu | www.sju.edu




********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

Hi Bill,

In a past version of my job, we posted articles that averaged either 700 words or 1,500 words to the same news website. After a period of time, I used Google Analytics to do some analysis of time spent on page vs word count. I concluded that articles longer than 700 words are not generally read or even skimmed all the way through. I should note that the results were somewhat dependent on the topic of the article.

For example, our longest article was a Q&A with Gardner Campbell at 3,447 words. To date, the average time on that page is 1:50, which indicates to me that there is diminishing attention and thus return in longer articles.

Jakob Nielsen, a long-time usability researcher, has published some short articles on his research on how quickly users skim web pages at http://www.nngroup.com/articles/.

Best wishes,

Patrick Chinn

Director of Strategic Communications
Information Services
University of Oregon
541-346-0933 (office)
pchinn@uoregon.edu

From: Bill Buchanan <wrbuchanan@UCDAVIS.EDU>
Reply-To: The EDUCAUSE IT Communications Constituent Group Listserv <ITCOMM@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU>
Date: Monday, October 28, 2013 at 10:40 AM
To: "ITCOMM@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU" <ITCOMM@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU>
Subject: [ITCOMM] A question about long articles

Hello,

I have a question for the group — when (if ever) do you write and post long articles to your campus news communication venue? What length do you consider to be too long?

By articles, I mean communications we create and post to our tech news and information service. Most are either 400 to 600 words or much shorter. The few exceptions are generally complex topics or Q&As with key people at key moments. (Examples: a look at how much cyberinfrastructure the campus needs, and a Q&A with the campus chief security officer on his program, projects, and goals.) 

We're discussing this in our shop. We want accessible and concise writing, of course, however long an article is. 

Thanks!

Bill Buchanan
Senior writer/editor
Information and Educational Technology
University of California Davis
********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

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