How Long Should Your Copy Be?
Copywriters are making comments about this and throwing numbers out from 50 words to 2,500.
It’s like teaching middle school again.”Ms. Dove, how many sentences are in a paragraph?” “How many pages does it have to be?”
Word count isn’t how good writing works. Each situation is different. Each project asks you to do something different. You have a brain in your head; use it.
Obviously, there are platforms that impose limitations. Work within them. Choose the best words you can. Frequently, you will want words that motivate people to act. Command words like click, submit, buy, and get, can be effective if…
If what, you ask? If you’ve gained the reader’s trust and hooked them through their emotions. Have you given your prospect a reason to hover their mouse over your button? Have you shown them you can solve their problem?
One way to gain your audience’s attention is through a story.
I tell a lot of stories. Study after study has shown they’re effective content. People remember stories. If you have a good one, it may increase your sales.
The right story will be connected to the product/service you’re marketing. You will choose the right words, the right pacing, and the right images to strengthen your story. You may write a paragraph or two of the story and temporarily leave it as a cliffhanger just to pick it up later.
Done well, the prospect will see himself in the story. He will see himself with a problem that can be solved with your product. If you add too many details, the prospect may not picture himself. The key characters need to be the problem your prospect has and the solution he wants.
Paint a picture with your copy that your prospect wants to be in.
Stories may not be your forte. They may not be the most effective for your project.
Infographics, tables, or graphs might be the way to go. The words may be very few. With the right visual, a few words may be all it takes to sway your prospect.
There are other instances when words needed on a homepage are limited. Do you need a great deal of copy to schedule a haircut or an oil change? Write the copy needed for each individual project.
Though each project is different, there are some general guidelines you may want to follow.
Put the good stuff first. If a prospect only gives you a few seconds, give them what they want right away. For example: “Your skin doesn’t have to look that way. There is a cure”. Would someone with a skin problem keep reading? Probably.
Continuing on the idea of putting the good stuff first, subject lines and headlines need to be set up the same way. Each email provider is different. You may get 30 characters or more than 60. Make your first words count. If you aren’t sure your words will rouse their curiosity, then tell them about the solution immediately.
Another place to put the good stuff first is on any webpage. Put it above the fold or so it shows up on the first screen of a cell phone. Someone with a serious problem may be willing to dig deeper, but if others offer the same solution you do, you want to make the solution easy to get on your website or in your store.
Finally, there is the dreaded WORD WALL. If you’re still with me, you’ve read over 500 words. Hopefully they’ve been relatively smooth and easy to digest. The “word wall” fear affects two types of prospects immediately. There are those who genuinely don’t like to read and those whose interest you must continuously keep. Neither will give you the benefit of the doubt.
Make your copy easy to read.
Think about what the prospect sees, not what you see.
Ultimately, give them what they want or need.
Depending on the product, you might need to suggest infographics or video to your client.
Each project you write is different. There are reasons for long pieces and short pieces. Know why you’ve chosen the words you have. Know who your audience is. Know what your copy is supposed to accomplish, and then you’ll know how long it needs to be.
Synthia Dove writes content and copy for those who want to solve prospects’ problems. Your prospects will understand how you can help them when they read her copy. Need help getting the word about your solution out there? Synthia can help. firstname.lastname@example.org