There are all kinds of messaging available to you and your brand: social media posts, advertising calls to action, blog posts, landing page copy, email newsletters.
The one thing that all of these have in common is that they need robust and well-crafted content to push your intentions and get you the results for which you’re hoping. But how you choose to word your message and the word count for each platform is a different matter entirely. Short-form content, long-form content, what is the best for your business?
Let’s define short-form content.
Short-form content is precisely what it sounds like: brief yet poignant phrases meant to deliver an argument or information without overdoing it on detail or exposition. Here at Sage Island, our marketing team frequently utilizes this format for our clients’ social media posts.
Character limits aside, most platforms are not suited for paragraphs of thorough explanations and in-depth stories. Instead, we use language that provides the average Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter follower with enough to understand the post’s point, but not so much that they aren’t curious enough to click the link or otherwise seek more information. It’s a balancing act, but one that pays off in the end.
Is short-form content best for your business?
However, other instances might call for short-form content, namely advertising copy. When you want to sell something, the best approach will be the concise one. With this in mind, direct calls to action and punchy phrases are critical to the overall sales strategy.
Marketing teams need to condense product or service details to accommodate the literal and figurative space constraints to make these the most effective messages as possible and promote sales.
Let’s define long-form content.
Long-form copywriting is what most people think of, though, when the topic of content marketing arises. This category can include everything from landing page content to blog posts and even applies to press releases and content articles for non-digital mediums.
Those platforms will dictate the precise word count and overall tone of the message. For example, some brands use blog posts to promote services and spread the news to their clients in a more personable manner, rather than the professional voice they might apply to product and service pages contained in other parts of the company website.
Is long-form content best for your business?
The same idea can be applied to the differences in copywriting for a press release and an article included in an email newsletter. Both might carry the same general idea, but an experienced copywriter will know that the content will have to be formatted and written in different ways to fit the platform. A press release meant for news editors’ general public will be more formal than an email that’s being sent to a select audience of the company’s clients. But as is the case with a blog post or website content, the writing space allowance also clears the way for more exposition than a quick announcement on Facebook or link preview on Twitter. This is an excellent way for companies and brands to show clients how dedicated they are to keeping them in the loop and including them in plans for future campaigns and offers.
Some questions to ask to find the best copy length for your business.
Since there is no official rule for the best length of content to use in all situations, you can use some principles to determine the best length of content for your given situation. Before creating any copy, your entire team should review your customer personas and ask these questions.
- How much do our customers know – Long-form copy can significantly outperform shorter forms of content when your readers need more knowledge about your business. In cases where your customers don’t know much about what your offering, it might be best to use long-form content because it is perceived as more valuable and trustworthy. However, if your readers are familiar with your brand and products, you should use short-form copy to increase your conversion rate.
- How interested is our audience – Your audience comes to your content with a pre-existing interest in your product or service. Readers with a higher level of interest are more likely to read lots of information and details about the product before buying. However, if your readers are not very interested in your product or service, you will likely want to use short-form content to capture their attention quickly.
- What are our goals – Since you will be spending time and resources to produce content, you should think about why you are making content in the first place and what you consider your business goals. Since both long- and short-form copy have their positive and negative attributes, your business can benefit from considering how short-form copy could hurt your business goals.
Long- and short-form content writing are essential pieces to any great marketing strategy, so it’s essential to have a team on your side that can balance both styles and utilize them to the brand’s advantage.