• Posted in copywriting
  • By Galen O'Hanlon
  • 15th September 2015

Go short or go home

Keep your copy short, and there's less time to be boring. Your reader will thank you.

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Don't waste time

If there’s a shorter way to write something, it’s usually the better option. For example:

The Circumlocution Office is proactively committed to providing the best service to our customers, wherever possible dealing with complaints in a timely and efficient manner.

Versus

We try to give you the best service possible. If something’s gone wrong, contact us.

Or even

Is something wrong? Contact us.

And it’s not just for functional web copy – apply it to everything you write. Often the temptation is to try to make things sound more official by inflating them with pompous, elongated language. It doesn’t wash. Always read over what you’ve written, and question the length. Does it change anything if you take that word, phrase or sentence out? Could you crunch those words down to something simpler? Could this paragraph be a little slimmer? Probably.

BE Short and clear

The results? Shorter, more direct copy. And without trying to make your copy more important than it needs to be, it will start to assert a little authentic confidence of its own. Keep it short. Say no more than you need to.

Keep your copy short, and clarity will follow. If you’ve had to really think about what you’re writing, and how you’re going to write it, then the final product will be a whole lot easier to read. Your message will be clearer: go short or go home.

It keeps your reader conscious

Go short, and your reader will thank you. There’s more chance your copy will stick if they haven’t had time to lose consciousness midway through a bloated paragraph. Because unless you’re writing the next best-selling thriller, which you aren’t, chances are your copy is – admit it – a bit boring. In which case, make it quick.

Got a long problem? Give us a call.

Having said that, it’s harder to write a short thing than a long thing. The longest jobs we’ve had have been for three-word briefs. It’s tough, whittling the copy down without breaking it entirely. But that’s our job – so if you’re having problems with copy that’s longer than it needs to be, give us a shout.

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