• http://clintbutler.net Clint A. Butler

    This is actually a pretty cool idea. With my current blog posts running in the 2500 word range I know that my readers will enjoy the time to read option. Thanks for the resources, especially the two online calculators.

  • RavenArienne

    Thanks, Clint! I have used Read-O-Meter several times already, just to get an idea of when something I’m writing might be too long. You would think that word count alone might give me an idea, but sometimes it doesn’t.

  • http://promored.ru/ Kristina

    Yep, the idea is great! *gone to download a WP plugin for my blog* :)

  • RavenArienne


  • LG

    So a lot of people know how important it can be to monitor read times on your blog (in the situations highlighted above, of course), but has anyone considered how valuable it could be to have insights into your PDF content like ebooks, whitepapers, case studies, etc? In today’s crowded blog space, it’s no longer enough to measure your efforts based on read times & engagement with your long-form blogs, I would argue that you need to be in tune with how people are reading through your more high-stake, lead-gen/nurturing content. Same goes for videos…

  • RavenArienne

    Lindsey, this is a good question. I don’t know if there’s a way to measure or track people who read your PDF content, though there may be a way if it’s embedded in a web page.

    I can think of two ways to measure engagement, though:

    1. How many people share or link to your PDF content? That’s an indication of whether or not your PDF content resonates with its audience. I have run the numbers on this for some whitepaper campaigns before, and it’s a decent measurement of engagement.

    2. What happens if you’re specific about how many pages are in the PDF in the landing page to download it? Does including that information increase or decrease downloads? What’s the sweet spot? I haven’t tested that myself.

    Several articles say that whitepapers should be in the 6-8 pages range. (Here’s one, for example: http://searchengineland.com/white-papers-key-to-b2b-enterprise-seo-power-170986.)

    However, I prefer that a whitepaper, guide, PDF, case studies, eBook, etc. be the length that it *should* be to address a topic. I have enjoyed case study PDFs that are two pages. I was irritated once when something promised to be “the authoritative guide” and was only 7 pages. So that’s worth keeping in mind when you prepare this kind of content. What are you calling it? Are you setting expectations correctly in the title and/or landing page?

  • LG

    Wow! Thank you for responding so quickly and thoroughly. I really like what you said about testing various lengths and of course about making things the length they need to be to provide value on a deep level. Your article and others on your blog seem really great for getting marketers (like me) to think a little bit more deeply about engagement metrics and metrics in general.

    I actually ask because I’m collecting info for my company, Docalytics, on how marketers are collecting engagement data for their PDF-type content. Not to be self-promotional, but we are a start-up with a platform that brings PDF content onto the web and extracts engagement data based on heatmaps, customized forms and more new technology. We are currently experimenting with how these insights can help marketers tailor their content for prospects better – using our own content to do so.

    I would love to stay connected with you via Twitter! Maybe some time you could write a guest blog for us with some of this helpful engagement info?

  • RavenArienne

    Docalytics is an interesting idea — thanks for making me aware of it. I can’t commit to a guest post just yet, but please do stay in touch with me on Twitter. I would enjoy keeping up with your efforts.