How long should my copywriting be? Is long copy better than short copy? Have you seen my glasses? These are questions I’m asked quite often and the truth of the matter is… It depends. Yes and no. And they’re on your head.
The long copy vs short copy debate has been going on since, well, since advertising masters wrote copy about things we never thought we needed. There is a copywriting mantra: “The more you tell, the more you sell.”
This lovely little rhyme doesn’t apply in every case though. Each copywriting style offers pretty compelling benefits and each is useful in different scenarios. So the best one is the one that works.
Ug. That’s a frustrating answer, I know.
So this post will take you through long copy and short copy and why you might choose one over the other.
Let’s start with long copy
Do you remember those really long sales letters that went on for pages and pages? You still see them as magazine advertorials (advertising parading as articles) or direct mail selling Reader’s Digest. Nowadays, long copy is more commonly seen on online sales landing pages that are thousands and thousands and thousands of words long.
Long copy usually opens with a story and specific challenges that make you go, “Hey, that’s me!”
The story is emotionally charged as our pain points are agitated like hell.
The solution presented has lists of inclusions, special bonus offers and lots of testimonials showing you how much other people have benefited.
Long copy lets you include more detail about your product (or service) so it really suits unusual products and customers who like to have a lot of information before they make a decision.
Long copy lets you tell more of story, which can help you overcome any objections in an engaging way while triggering an emotional response from the reader.
Long copy lets you pack in lots of testimonials to show off the proof of other happy customers. This is especially important if your price is quite high.
If your target audience is really connecting with your message, they will read every word.
Want to see some long copy pages in action?
GoodLandingPages.com is jam packed full of long copy.
Some tips if you are writing long copy:
- Include great subheadings so your readers can skim through if they want, jumping in and out of sections without having to read every single word.
- Use lists and different formatting to break the copywriting up and make it more interesting for the eyes.
- Repeat your call to action so your reader doesn’t have to scroll up and down looking for where they can take the next step.
Now we get short copy
Don’t be discouraged by the copywriters who tell you that “long copy outperforms short copy every time”. They are stuck in the past, man. Consumers are more sophisticated and savvier about marketing, not to mention time poor.
If you make your copywriting engaging and interesting, people will read it but that doesn’t mean you can’t achieve the same goals with fewer words. It really depends on what you’re trying to achieve and who is going to read it.
Short copy is great for lower priced items that require less persuasion to sell: think convenience products or even items that consumers will shop around for.
Short copy works when your customers could join your sales pipeline at any point. This is where having shorter stories and more of them can be useful so people don’t have to wade through the entire backstory.
Short copy is great for image-heavy marketing. The words are important but if it’s the images that will really sell your product or service, then short copy should simply back them up.
Some tips if you’re writing short copy:
- Spend time distilling those messages so you focus on the elements that will connect, engage and motivate.
- Resist the urge to write more.
- Infuse as much personality as possible!
I want to go back to something I said at the start of this post: “The best one is the one that works.”
Whichever length you choose, make every word count and don’t write a single word more than you need to.
Keep the reader in mind and spend time thinking about how much they need to know to move them forward and achieve the objectives of the piece.
So now it’s over to you. Do you have any strong feelings about long copy or short copy? Save on therapy bills and air them here.