If you’ve been a copywriter for any length of time, you know the ongoing debate of what the ideal length of a sales letter should be. As long-time A-list copywriter Mark Ford notes, everyone purports to despise long copy, yet it has always consistently out-pulled and outsold short copy.
But what about social media posts? Is shorter copy is the ticket to higher sales?
Some say that copywriting has evolved—and social media is to thank (or blame) for it. But saying it has evolved is too broad a brush to paint this picture.
It’s more accurate to say that copywriting has expanded. Different media platforms may take center stage now, yet the same principles upon which advertising and marketing were built in the mid-20th century still apply.
So, in today’s social media-dominated world, how much is too much? Is it possible to optimize the length of a post to engage and convert readers? What’s the ideal length of a post to drive viral engagement that reaches as many people as possible?
As always, it’s up to you to find out what your unique audience wants and cares about. To know their pains and concerns so you can offer the best solution, service, or product for them.
Generally speaking, though, it depends on your forum. But to know for sure, you’re going to have to test and find out what works for you. Neither guessing nor being creative for the sake of it is going to cut it.
Remember when writing was somewhat pedestrian and simple? When presenting compelling and provocative prose to draw audience attention was solely a factor of how you string sentences together? You can suspend that, at least partly. Key in a migration of communications from print to digital is the necessary intrusion of technology, which means wording sentences and ideas in a way that they are captured and rechurned through algorithms on search engines.
But it’s possible that the race to tap into somewhat robotic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) may be a bit premature. There are still arguments to be made for focusing on the human target as opposed to a reliance on converting your input to a system that delivers ordered results.
By now you’re envisioning your 9th grade composition teacher’s pleas to embrace a conversational voice. Turns out there’s still a solid argument for that, because the predominant search entity, Google, still evaluates text for its readability and adherence to rules of approachable writing.
Here’s a rather protracted guide of how Google attempts to legitimize and rank search criteria.
High on Google’s list is a reputation-based evaluation. How trustworthy is the source? How much expertise does the writer have? Low-quality submissions that are not verifiable will be ranked lower.
And make no mistake about it: Google employs human beings to assess these things.
Whether you’ve been doing business online for 5 years or 5 minutes, you’ve probably utilized some form of content marketing to reach potential customers. It’s all the rage these days, and it’s easy to see why.
After all, a consistent output of quality content has immense potential. It has the power to grab prospects’ attention, gain their trust, and elevate you as an authority in your niche - which, if you’re doing it right, leads to increased sales, a loyal customer base, and more money in your pocket. (Cha-ching!)
Perhaps you’ve focused on social media; on likes and shares and building a community to promote your brand. Or perhaps you’ve found your efforts better spent on growing your list and creating killer email sequences to get people clicking and buying. Maybe you’ve found success in blogging, in reaching people through original, thought-provoking written content. Or, if you’re like most business owners, it’s likely a combination of all of the above.