This is how Contently defines various formats of written content. Please refer to these definitions to ensure communication with editors and clients are consistent.
Short (500–700 words) & Article (701–1,000 words)
Standard articles typically include 2–3 secondary sources from anything previously published—stories on the internet, white papers provided by the client, etc. They include basic analysis and familiarity with the subject. The reporter adds original analysis / POV and reuses information already in a published form.
Examples: Tips posts, listicles, commentary and generally what you think of as an article or blog post.
Reported Article (701–1,000 words)
One or two primary sources focused stories on a single topic, person, institution, or event. The reporter builds off entirely new facts and sources to tell an original story. Primary sources may also include research material and data, but the key is that the information shared has never been published before, which requires the reporter to turn it into a narrative. The main cost in a reported story is the upfront research, i.e., the reporting.
Examples: Interviews, feature stories, short-form magazine-style pieces, rewriting research material, investment reports, scientific papers.
Long Reported Article (1,000–1,500 words)
Three or more primary sources, meaning original interviews, research documents, or raw data. These are deeply reported, often explanatory reports on a person or institution’s experience with the topic. The main difference between this format and a "Reported Article" is the number of sources of new information involved. The price increases for this type of story because of the complexity required to weave together multiple speakers and source material in a cohesive manner.
Examples: Classic long-form stories like magazine-style features with many supporting interviews and in-depth research.
White Paper or E-Book (custom words)
As many primary and secondary sources as needed. A deeply researched story that covers the topic comprehensively from all angles and for a broad audience, supported by multiple sources and data resources.