Depending on who you ask, the answer to “Which is best: short or long copy?” might sound a little different. It’s been a long-standing debate in the world of copywriting, but now’s the time that we settle the score for good — or at least try to. Those who stand by longer copy believe that more copy means more sales, while short copy supporters believe people don’t have the attention span nowadays to care to read longer text. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, and in some cases, it might truly be better to choose.
So, when it comes to copy — does length really matter? Let’s dive in.
The Case for Long Copy
Before we get into which content length is better, we need to understand what each entails. So what is long copy exactly? Some could say that longer copy in reference to advertising started as magazine advertorials or direct mail ads. As things are more digital now, long copy comes in the forms of dense sales landing pages and blogs that are usually up to a thousand words.
With so much space and a hefty word count to play with, long-form copywriting allows you to really sell your story. Marketers opting for long copy should craft a strong narrative used to tell their brand mission and include any and all details that could potentially sway prospective customers. More context means little to no confusion from your audience.
When Should Long Copy Be Used?
Even though less is usually more, there are some cases where it’s actually beneficial to up that word count. For instance, when a brand new company or startup is first introducing themselves to the world, it’s not realistic that one simple tagline will adequately explain what they’re all about. So when trying to encourage loyalty from a new audience or customer base, it pays off to write longer, albeit still compelling copy.
Additionally, marketers should use longer copy when they have a narrative to tell. Stories can’t be told in just a few short sentences or one heading. So if you believe it is beneficial to whatever you’re promoting, try out long copy to trigger an emotional response from your audience.
What should longer copy look like in action? It’s important to use headlines, subheadings, bulleted lists and a strong call-to-action. These elements break up huge blocks of text and make your long copy seem … a little less long.
What Are the Benefits of Long Copy?
So you have this long piece of text, but what are the actual advantages of promoting it? Here are just a few examples of how longer copy can benefit your business or campaigns:
- Answer more questions and address more objections.
- Helps give context to more complex products or services.
- Better explains new companies to their audiences.
- Can be made scannable using headlines and subheadings.
- Improves SEO rankings for content such as blog posts and articles.
- Leaves room for testimonials and customer quotes.
The Case for Short Copy
So now it’s time to take a look at the other side of the coin. Shorter copy comes in several different forms: headlines, subheadings, product descriptions, call-to-actions, social ad copy, email banner copy, and much more. And fewer words doesn’t mean less of an impact. Great copywriters have the knowledge and skill to make every word matter. Action verbs and strong tone and style are the pillars of excellent short ad copy.
When Should Short Copy Be Used?
Yes, it is possible to achieve the same conversion and sales results with shorter copy. It just all comes down to how you go about it. Passive copy will never boost conversions or sales no matter what the length. However, it’s even more important for short-form copywriting to pack a bunch since you’re working with a much smaller word count (and probably less space.) When you are confident that you can accurately describe your brand story in just a few compelling words, shorter copy could be a viable option.
You should also use shorter copy when the platform or medium you’re dealing with requires it. Email banners and social media ads are just two examples of formats that need more concise language. It’s not realistic to put a long paragraph at the top of an email blast and expect conversions. This is when the copywriter really has to work their magic and write something clear, compelling, engaging, and of course, short. Starting sentences with an action verb usually helps keep things brief. Make every word count and take out the fluff!
What Are the Benefits for Short Copy?
We know what benefits marketers can get from longer copy, but what does short copy bring to the table? Let’s take a look at what short copy can offer us:
- Works better with the size and design of whichever platform you use.
- Encourages action from your audience effectively.
- Allows familiar/well-known companies to get a point across quickly.
- Works for lower-priced items/services that require a little less convincing.
- Lets imagery speak for itself.
So — Which Is Actually Better?
… It depends! When push comes to shove, people don’t want to read fluffy marketing copy. Both long and short copy can turn scrollers into clickers and browsers into buyers, as long as every word and sentence drives your point home and works toward conversions.
So when trying to decide which to opt for, think about your message, how you want that message to look to your audience, and your overall marketing strategy.
What Makes the Best Copy?
Whether you opt for long copy or short copy, at the end of the day, you still need quality messaging to get your point across or promote your product. No matter which length you choose, here are some copy best practices to keep in mind:
- Have a clear understanding of your audience.
- Use emotion and FOMO to your advantage.
- Avoid using negatives when possible.
- Be conversational and don’t over-use jargon.
- Focus on action verbs.
- Use clear CTAs when possible.
Write Copy of Any Length with Anyword
Long copy, short copy, something in between — all is possible with the help of Anyword’s AI Copywriting Platform!
Whether you need copy for a Facebook ad or an entire landing page, Anyword’s powerful AI can generate text for every major channel and platform. Anyword uses a huge database of existing ads to better determine which style of writing will trigger higher conversion rates. And it doesn’t matter what length your copy is! Depending on what type of project you decide to create, Anyword’s technology understands what will perform best for a variety of formats.
Create blog posts, social media ads, landing pages, and entire emails
With Anyword’s wide array of offerings, you can generate all the copy, long or short, you need to run effective and efficient marketing campaigns. And who knows — maybe spending some time playing around with Anyword’s AI tool will make you pick a side in the copy length debate.