Is long copy dead?

| November 16, 2009

What is long copy?

Long copy is… well, long. Say, a direct mail letter more than one A4 side long or a web page containing thousands and thousands of words.

Why is long copy a pain in the ass for readers?

For decades everyone believed long copy worked best. And back in the olden days it often did. But times have changed. The internet has shortened attention spans and most people aren’t interested in wading through endless pages of guff.

Look online and you’ll see plenty of websites still using long copy. A lot of them fall into the get rich quick category and I’d be willing to bet the owners of the websites rarely if ever enjoy the response they’ve been led to expect.

If you want to appeal to people online, throw out long copy

If you persist with rambling copy you’ll get some response – chuck enough mud at a wall some of it will stick. But you’ll be limiting your market to the handful of people who can be bothered to get to the bottom of your long-winded offer. The same goes for direct marketing offline. You need to be succinct, quick off the mark and clear as a bell when creating direct mail too.

Direct marketing is all about testing. If you want to see for yourself which works best test long copy against short copy, head-to-head, to a big, statistically relevant database and see what happens.

Tags:

Category: copywriting and marketing

By Kate Goldstone - ()

Originally from Middlesbrough, I lived in Brighton for many years before moving to North Devon. I’ve had a passion for words all my life and this is my twelfth year as a freelance writer. In my spare time I draw, paint, sculpt, carve wood and rock, garden, read, write poetry and enjoy long distance hiking. I sing and play the recorder. I collect modernist paintings, vintage rugs and mid-century German art pottery. I’m a member of The Poetry Society. And I am an experienced volunteer shepherd, a ‘Lookerer’.

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