Does it seem like copy is shrinking? Everywhere you look you find Facebook ads, tweets and bullet points, the longest of which is a total of 140 characters. I’ve had lots of questions lately about writing short and compelling copy so I thought I’d reveal a few tricks I use that might help you out.
1. Remember Your Goal – The purpose of short copy is not — I repeat NOT — to close the sale. The purpose is to drive traffic to someplace that will close the sale. Take for instance, Facebook posts or ads. You include a URL with your post so that you can drive traffic to a Web page that provides enough details for a visitor to make a decision. E-mail subject lines work the same way: piquing curiosity so that e-mail recipients will open your message and read (and hopefully click) it. Don’t wear yourself out trying to close a sale in such a short space. Leave the heavy lifting to your website.
2. Read Headlines and Titles – A great way to gain experience with writing headlines and blog post titles is to read as many as you can and take notes. You can quickly translate that knowledge into Twitter-ready skills. In 140 characters or less, you can get people very interested in what you have to say.
Take, for instance, blog post titles. Here are some clever ones that make you want to read more:
- Get Cold Cash in Tough Times (30 characters)
- 50+ Easy Ideas for Losing Weight Without Dieting (48 characters)
- What the Kirby Vacuum Cleaner Man Taught Me About Copywriting (62 characters)
3. Know Who You’re Communicating With – The most important of the three tips by far. How can you entice or tantalize anyone and persuade them to click for more information if you have no idea who you are communicating with? Simply put… you can’t. Take the time to understand the target audience you hope to reach and then deliver tidbits of copy tailored specifically for them.
4. Start Large and Whittle Down – For many people, it’s very difficult to write ultra-short copy off the tops of their heads. If that’s the case with you, start with a complete thought… maybe a paragraph in length. Then whittle down the idea until you get to one or two sentences. From there, work the thought into PPC, mobile or Twitter format.
5. Think of End Results – Just as with the weight loss and cash snippets above, give your readers something to look forward to, let them know what the end results of buying your product/service will be: Lose weight, get cash, learn copywriting. Whatever the result is, define it in a few words and build the copy around it.
Chances are you already have the skills you need to write short copy. By revamping what you’ve learned about crafting tweets, titles and bullet points, you will be well on your way to mastering the art of saying a lot in a little bit of space.