Copywriting tips: does short or long copy work best?

Copywriting tips does short or long copy work best_IMG

One issue copywriters often discuss with clients is whether or not people will read a brochure or website page that has a lot of copy.

By the time you include benefits, supporting features and testimonies in, there can be a significant amount of text, so it's understandable that the question is asked.

The discussion arises because clients can become concerned that there might be too much text — and that potential customers won't read it.

"Just use a few bullet points" they say, "And keep the info to a minimum".

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And so the argument rages. Long brochure copy? Or short?

Long website copy? Or short?

Which works best?

It is an understandable question.

Firstly, to get some perspective, let's look at what is going on when you ask it...

You are sitting there, looking at your brochure or website, and wondering if people will read it. Fair enough too. Producing a brochure or a website is going to cost you, and you want it to be right.

The problem is though, you are looking at it through the wrong eyes.

You are looking at it from the perspective of "will the punters read this". You SHOULD be looking at it through the punter's eyes. Their view is "is this information going to help me to get what I want, without buying the wrong thing?".

Your view is about SELLING your products. Your prospects view however is about getting what they want, (information, confidence, benefits, trust etc) so they can decide whether to BUY your products.

Here's WHY long copy has a role to play...

Put simply: The people reading your brochure or website don't know all the 'stuff' that you know.

  • They weren't sitting in the meeting with you and your troops as you discussed how great your product or service is.
  • They weren't there last Tuesday when Mrs Fudpucker raved about how you transformed her life from misery to happiness.
  • They didn't get to hear Gavin, your production manager, talking about the extra strength and durability built into the machine you sell.
  • They don't yet appreciate your integrity, and your sincere and genuine desire to do a good job.
  • They haven't seen the streams of gloomy-faced people coming to your office because an idiot competitor mucked up their job — nor have they watched them leave... positively aglow with happiness because you made it all better for them.

They DON'T KNOW this stuff.

And they can't read your mind to find out about it.

So your brochure and website copy must tell them for you. Warmly. Interestingly. Convincingly. Persuasively.

If there is a story to tell about your product or service that adds to the perceived value, soothes away hesitations and creates a sense of urgency to take action to own it, then that story MUST be told!

Clearly, you don't want a sea of text. That's why graphic designers need to work closely with copywriters to make sure the layout is appealing and makes it easy for people to read the information.

Is all long copy good copy?

Of course not. If the copywriting in your brochure or website is ALL about you, what you do, how clever you are and how you killed the dead sea bare-handed, then yes, it WILL be boring and prospects won't read it. Putting it bluntly, your prospects don't give a fat rat's clacker about you. Their main interest in life is themselves.

But, dear reader, if your brochure or web copy is about a solution to a problem your prospect has, then she or he will devour every word. This article is a case in point. It addresses a question you had. You weren't sure how much copy is right for your brochure or website. And because it gave you an answer, your were happy to read it so you can market your business with confidence.

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