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Copy: The Long and Short of It


We can all agree that marketing campaigns are meant to get a response out of a consumer. This could be an emotional response, a financial response, or even a physical response. We take the time to look at data to find the perfectly targeted audience to send our copy to. However, without good writing, even the most fine-tuned audience might not understand the narrative of your offer, or they might not even be interested enough to finish reading the piece you wrote just for them.       

One of the biggest challenges about writing is determining how long a piece should be. This challenge is even more of a concern when writing marketing copy. Grabbing the audience’s attention is one thing, but maintaining it is a whole different ball game. Marketers are tasked with creating content that remains interesting throughout the piece to keep readers interested.

This prompts the question, “How long should the copy be?”

And the answer? “As long as it needs to be to sell your product.”

The fact is, there really is no right or wrong answer for how long your marketing copy should be. It won’t be too long or too short, it will only be effective or ineffective. If the length is effective, then that is the length to use. Consultant Boyd Butler shares that, “Copy should be long enough to emotionally engage the prospect and give them enough rational reasons to back their emotional decision to purchase.”

Because engaging people is the overall goal of any type of copy, the focus must be on appealing to your audience. So logically, the length required for emotional engagement, as Butler puts it, will vary depending on who your audience is. For example, if you were targeting teenagers, their short attention spans would lead you to creating a shorter piece than if you were targeting an older demographic.

While there is no magic formula for determining copy length, there are tools to use. The most important one to look at is the data. Testing your copy length within your target audience will give you good insights on how the copy is performing.

Because at the end of the day, analyzing the results of these tests will only help your copy become stronger. When you know who and what you are writing for, you can make decisions that will contribute to that elicit response from your audience in a positive way. Testing the length of your copy will show you what works and what doesn’t work for the audience in question.

And remember, while every word counts, there is hardly ever a reason to count words.

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