“Good content should be at the heart of your strategy, but it is equally important to keep the display context of that content in mind as well.” — Tim Frick
Long copy, short copy, or anything in between, all share one immutable truth …
Copywriting is “salesmanship in print.”
Former Canadian policeman turned copywriter, John E. Kennedy, coined those words back in 1905, and they’re just as relevant today as they were over one hundred years ago.
Because long copy is exactly that: a printed form of a sales presentation. Every question, every handled objection, every attempt to close the sale, all the way to asking for the order, are elements that are applied in long copy sales letters.
Copywriter Paul Myers made a wonderful point when he said, “Your copy needs to be as long as is needed to make the sale, and not one paragraph more.”
Gary Halbert once remarked, “There’s no such thing as copy that’s ‘too long,’ but copy that’s ‘too boring.’”
In other words, if the copy seems too long, it’s probably not because of the length, but rather, because at some point it started to bore the reader. The best advice on this comes from copywriting legend, Dan Kennedy, who says, “The person who says ‘I would never read all that copy’ makes the mistake of thinking they are the customer. And they’re not. We are never our own customers. There’s a thing I teach called ‘message-to-message match.’ It is this: when your message is matched to a target market that has a high level of interest in it, not only does responsiveness go up, but readership goes up, too. The whole issue of interest goes up.”
The bottom line regarding long copy is that, first of all, there’s abundant, legitimate, statistical, split-testing research