“Keep it short.”
Worst copywriting advice I ever got.
I didn’t know that at the time. I was young. And it sounded like less work. My favorite.
From there, I embarked on a career of summarization.
Writing became an exercise in wrapping things up, every sentiment as crisp as a communion wafer while just as flavorless. Each sentence was stripped of its succulence, every word paraded down the catwalk, all perfect posture with nothing meaningful to say.
Sales didn’t budge, but nobody questioned the copy because it all sounded so good.
Later in my career, I got some new direction. Again, three simple words, only these courtesy of copy legend Drayton Bird.
“Brevity doesn’t sell.”
This made no sense to the Town Elders.
“People don’t have the attention span for long copy,” they shrieked.
Wrong. People don’t have the attention span for dull copy—long or short.
If a sentence’s only job is to get you to read the next sentence, then you can write loads of them as long as you maintain the reader’s interest.
You’d never expect a salesperson to cut his pitch short to beat the traffic home. So why would you sacrifice compelling details for an economy of words? Instead, you need to shepherd your prospect through every reason why they should buy your product, while draining every objection along the way.
The only way to pull that off is through assembling a series of specific, relevant, mouthwatering words.
Written well, copy has the power to be “transportive,” says conversion copywriter, Eddie Shleyner. “Good, long copy lets us fantasize.”
Still not convinced? Let’s try this…
If you’ve ever binge-watched a Netflix series…
If you’ve ever viewed a TED Talk…
If you’ve ever begun air guitaring to “Stairway to Heaven” at the 5:35 mark…
…then you may just have a soft spot for long copy.
So, whether you’re writing copy or evaluating someone else’s, don’t base the success of your message on word count. If it holds your interest from start to finish, it works. And if it doesn’t…
Edit to strengthen your words’ meaning—not to reduce their number.
Only 29 words to go…
Care to shower me with compliments or snarky remarks? Go ahead and get in touch.
See you next time. – Matt
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