There’s a paradox that plagues every marketer. People are reading both more and less.
They’re reading web content and whitepapers. Blogs and tweets. Reviews and articles. Billboards and emails. Magazines and Facebook posts. In fact, people are spending more time reading than ever.
But they’re also reading less – or trying to. Shorter attention spans demand shorter copy. So if you want to make your point and make a sale, make it faster. Here are four ways to lower your word count without losing impact.
First, lose the clichés. Each and every one of them. (See what we did there? Slipped in a cliché. Don’t do that.) Instead, print out the copy you need to trim. Now grab a highlighter.
Highlight every cliché. Every overused word or generic expression. Every phrase that takes up space without adding depth. All of them. Now delete those and read the copy again. Then repeat. You’ll find that you’ve lost empty words and regained readers’ attention.
Second, make every sentence shorter. Every one. Trim words away until each is as short as possible. Be especially ruthless with industry jargon and technical terms. You may feel better including them, but they rarely help readership.
Third, make every paragraph shorter. What’s the key point? Drive it home. Get in, hit it and get out. Add spaces between paragraphs. Add subheads to add clarity.
Finally, strategically ignore what your English teachers told you. Or at least some of it. Write closer to the way people talk. Use contractions. Punch things up with sentence fragments. Lots of them. End a sentence with a preposition if it makes sense. And start with conjunctions. Write to be read.
One note about SEO. Yes, your website needs to include search terms and key words. But that doesn’t mean you should bury them in long sentences.
Now go get short. And make some more money.
(Need a hand? Idealogy can help. Just give us a shout.)