Continuing on from part 3 of this mini series “How To Get New Ideas”, here’s a recent question: “does white space in copy lead to more attention?”. Here’s my koanic answer: “never take anything at face value” (full answer in the PS).
J K Rowling became the world’s first billionaire novelist (in her own lifetime). It was achieved by packing as much text as possible into as little space as possible.
That’s exactly what every book publisher does (to minimise printing and distribution costs). Yet it gets maximum attention with minimum white space. When something is interesting enough, we’ll consume it whatever form it takes. But is that true?
Not quite. If we came across a book with white space between every (short) paragraph, our first thought is likely to be “hmm, looks like they padded this out just to make it look like a book, not buying that”
NOTE: Many have tried and failed – not least in the Internet Marketing space, where they also believe a 7 at the end of a price point has some magic benefit.
There are two things at work here. Assumptions and Expectations. Strictly speaking, assumptions are about the past and expectations are about the future.
By creating a bunch of assumptions and expectations, we can start writing copy that aligns so strongly with our prospects, they stop questioning the story and become a participant in the journey.
New ideas start when we question the status quo. Get into that habit and it will lead to wonderful things.
PS. White space in text affects our automatic internal attention estimation calculator. The more white space there is, the less time we believe it will take us to read the text (the idea being that we’re more likely to read it till the end). Does it work? Yes. We expect dense text in books, magazines, and newspapers, but not anywhere else.