Just how long should copy be?

Many people still ask, “Just how long should copy be?”

In all fairness, there is no such thing as the copy being too short or too long. If the number of your words are effective enough for what you want them to sell, then, that length would suffice.

Still, there is disagreement about whether people will bother to read your copy if it is too long.

Having said that, people read what interests them, and what they wish to read. 

When somebody scours the internet for information about a product they need, then they’ll want to read your long piece of copy. If your work is detailed enough, readers will even go over your writing repeatedly, just to make sure they haven’t missed on anything useful.

You have the words I really want to hear

The length of your copy depends on what you are selling and how emotionally triggered your product is. 

Take, for example, tractor wheels. I don’t think this will necessitate you to write too long a copy about this product. I’m not knocking them as they make farm machinery work efficiently, which is an essential function.     

But…I can’t imagine anyone fantasizing about their purchase, and I’m quite certain their brand new owner won’t feel all warm and gooey inside.  

However, if you are touching someone’s soft spot with your product, like a wedding ring for your other half, or any other item having sentimental value, then your copy might need to be fairly long, convincing, and “touching”.

I think you understand where I’m going with this.

The words you carefully pick to use, have to push the right buttons to get your prospective buyer to be emotionally moved enough to take action. And at the same time, buy from you and not from your competition.

Involve me, and I’m yours

The more involved your potential buyer becomes determines the length of your copy.

Expensive products typically require a long copy since this performs so much better. 

The larger the document, the more value it will appear to have, so it will seem like a better deal for potential buyers. This will put them in a better frame of mind to engage with your copy. 

Should your prospective client’s time be limited, writing your copy far too long might work against you. In such a scenario, the shorter form of content will stand a better chance of making a hit, especially if the product isn’t too expensive.

Getting your reader engaged quickly is key.   

The most important points of your message must easily stand out and be digested almost as soon as your reader sets eyes on your copy. 

The headline, first paragraph, and subheadings come into play here. This is especially more so if a reader just scans your copy. 

While anybody could buy a cheap product without batting an eye-lid, it takes quite a bit of convincing to get somebody to purchase something worth thousands. 

There is usually an element of emotion involved when purchasing expensive items. You think deep and hard, weigh out the pros and cons of the situation before you make your ultimate decision. 

My heart belongs to you

You then opt for the one which wins your heart…and your heart can be won through the right words, through your strategically written copy.

The initial part of the process of winning somebody’s heart is through the headline.

If you can’t at least manage to get their attention, how can you win their heart?

This is perhaps the most crucial piece of your whole copy. 

If people don’t connect with your headline, then all the words of wisdom and the emotional copy that follow would have all been a total waste of time and effort.

Yes, that is really a shame, which is why you genuinely need to work on your headlines, first and foremost.

Once people go past the headline, their next port of call would be the first paragraph, then the second, and so on and so forth, until the end of the copy.  If there is also a ‘P.S.’ at the bottom, then this too has to be included.

In between the headline and the last line, sub-headings play a vital role in keeping your reader gripped all the way down to the Call to Action button!

Nothing in copywriting is written just to fill up space and to add to the copy’s word count.

Using words in this way might work for most types of writing, but in copywriting, every word has to have an impact, a purpose, an aim…and the ultimate goal is to urge your reader to do something.

Your reader needs to take action

It makes absolutely no difference if your message is effectively delivered in just a few paragraphs or a few pages. However, it is crucial the reader is kept hooked on your words all the way through. 

And the only way to keep a reader glued to your words is by writing emotionally engaging content.

So, the answer to one of the oldest questions in the history of copywriting regarding the length of your copy is: “The copy has to be at the right length, and also influence your prospective buyer enough to prompt an emotional desire (and to make a purchase)”

If space and time are not an issue, and you’re still in doubt whether you should write short or long copy, I honestly do recommend you write long copy.

This is because a reader can always scan the sections that are interesting enough, and read more still, but if your copy is short, then your reader will be stuck for want of more information which isn’t readily available.

If space and time are an issue, and you need to pass your prospective buyer a great deal of information, but the medium at your disposal doesn’t allow this, just inform the people where to go to get all the information they’ll need to make an informed decision.

Whichever option you choose to go for, always make sure that both the short and the long versions are complete sales stories, from the first word…to the last.