What length should your copy be? Long? Short? Somewhere in between? Or something else…

Whatever length your copy is, it will always bore someone. So the answer lies in who you choose to target.

This seems obvious, but “how long should my copy be?” is a question I get asked all the time, so let’s fix it.

Knowing who you’re targeting is one thing, but you also need to know what their one major problem is and how desperate they are to solve it.

Most people focus on features and benefits (which is fine – it’s important to know the features and benefits of the product you’re trying to sell), but focusing on ALL the features does two things: a) it makes the copy boring, and b) it takes the focus away from the ONE major problem our audience is trying to fix.

Feature/benefit bloat is a classic mistake. As soon as we’re told to “prefer benefits over features” we start running out of benefits, so we bring in more features to find more benefits.

The result is we’re writing for everyone (“feel the power of the new Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 along with its silent clock feature that has to be heard to be believed, oh, and did I mention the pet fish aquarium in the new see-through boot?”).

There’s a bigger problem though. The larger the audience, the harder the copy is to write. We don’t know what to include so we include everything and bore the pants off everyone in the process.

The solution is to choose to write for one person. Find out their problem, find a product built to fix that one problem, find a new angle that no one has mentioned before (a new old angle is fine). And then champion that new angle.

The second problem is the classic Schwartz issue: awareness:

Do they know about the solution? Do they know every feature and benefit? If so, any copy longer than a couple of short paragraphs is going to bore them. All they want to know is where to get it (and that they’re not being ripped off). Here’s an example:

“Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 for sale. Low mileage. One previous owner. 12 month guarantee. $62,000. Call 123 456 789 today.”

On the other hand, if they’re aware they have a problem, but have no idea about possible solutions, the copy will need to be longer (you’ll need to explain the why):

“Car too slow? Need a new one by Monday? Try this Ford Shelby Mustang GT500. Low mileage. One previous owner. 12 month guarantee. $62,000. Call 123 456 789 today.”

These are just fun examples, but hopefully you get the point. Copy is only boring if it doesn’t match the audience’s needs.

PS. Today’s post was inspired by the awesome Le Mans ’66 film starring Matt Damon. If you love cars, you’ll love this. 9/10.



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