There are plenty of ‘rules’ when it comes to length of text on a website, newspaper advertisement, even iPhone applications. The favourite one of mine is to keep your text short as nobody reads. I like this one, not because I believe it nor because I think it is true but because it is the possibly the greatest half-truth and complete lie sprouted by non-experts about copywriting.
This ‘keep it short’ mantra has been recycled so many times between so many hands and from so many mouths that many non-copywriters believe it to be true. Sadly a lot of non-copywriters come in the form of clients and they do tend to have a fair say in a piece being produced for themselves!
The simple truth is that if a reader doesn’t care, want or desire your topic then there is no content short enough for them.
I am not advocating words for words sake. Who would? But put simply, if your reader or prospect doesn’t care about the topic then you shouldn’t care about them – they are clearly self-selecting themselves away from your pitch. If however your topic does interest them then it is important not to short-change them with a lack of text,depth or a full exploration of the topic. You need to give the reader, prospect or potential client the detail they are looking for. If you are their trusted source then you are well on the way to getting the sale or making the conversion or accepting the pitch.
In the age of 140 character tweets from twits on twitter, longer, efficient, tight and interesting writing will always win the sale over 140 characters or longer of boring writing.
“There is no copywriting that is too long, there’s only copy that’s too boring!”
You have reached the 307th word in this article and you’re still reading so this sort of proves the point I would have thought!
Mark Twain apologised to a friend in a letter late in his life: “sorry for the long letter, I didn’t have time to write a short one!”
So don’t be afraid to break the number 1 rule of copywriting, go for depth but always write tight.