How long should your content be? Only as long as it takes to tell the specific, strategic story you’re trying to tell. Resist the urge to give readers or viewers too much. Bombarding them with everything you want to say is like proposing on a first date. Write shorter content.
I get it. You’re excited about your solution, and you want to tell prospects every single reason that it’s so awesome. But you’ll be more effective at exciting your prospects when you share all that information and enthusiasm when they’re ready to hear it.
Here’s how and why you should write shorter content.
Write Shorter Content to Develop Relationships
Telling the entire story in an asset is never ideal. Yes, even at the bottom of the funnel. If your prospect has every single detail in front of them, they think they have everything they need to make a decision. They’re not going to keep clicking. They’re not going to set an appointment or call you. More often than not, they’re going to set that E-book aside “until they’re ready.”
When prospects “save you for later,” they lose the urgency that opens them up to a conversation with you. The level of interest that inspired them to open your E-book in the first place wanes, and they move on to something else. You miss the opportunity to have a conversation exactly when they’re the most interested in you.
Give your prospects only enough information to satisfy the needs they’re likely to have at their stage of the buyer’s journey. From there, encourage them to take another step. This “bread crumbs” approach gives you a greater opportunity to talk with them and learn how to finish the story in a way that’s tailored to them.
Getting potential buyers on the phone or in a video chat—even an email message—is an opportunity to listen. Hear what they care about most, and you can answer their concerns with the aspects of your solution that can help close the deal or continue to develop a relationship.
Write Shorter Content to Build Trust
Readers appreciate content that answers the specific questions they have right now. Don’t make them wade through details they’re not ready to care about.
Delivering quick answers helps you build trust. They’ll turn to you again when they have another question.
Writer shorter content helps you focused on your specific, strategic goal. What is the content intended to accomplish? If it’s early in the funnel, your goal isn’t to get them to buy now, so don’t give them endless product details or pricing. You simply need to poke at a pain point or shake up the status quo. Tease them with the fact that you know what they’re struggling with and share only the relevant, high-level details to explain how your solution will improve upon whatever they’re doing (or not doing) now.
Even when they’re in the late stages of the purchasing journey, the goal is never to tell them a complete story. It’s to inspire them to come to you.
Write Shorter Content to Be Strategic
It’s easiest to keep your writing short and tight if you always keep your messaging map in front of you. Concentrate only on what the prospect needs to know at their particular stage of the purchasing journey. Use as many words as it takes to accomplish that goal—no more, no fewer. What is your call to action? When you write shorter content, you include only what leads them to the next CTA.
Think of it as dating. Keep getting to know one another at a comfortable pace that doesn’t scare your date away. Continue sharing your best qualities until it’s time to be exclusive.
So the next time your pithy checklist turns into a five-page white paper or your quick-start buyer’s guide snowballs into a rambling manifesto, rein it in. Use your messaging map to pare things down to the brass tacks your prospects will thank you for. Write shorter content.
Need more inspiration for your next content? Play with our Content Format Discovery Tool for some fresh ideas.
Holly Celeste Fisk is an accomplished marketing pro with 20+ years of experience in B2B and B2C. She’s responsible for Content4Demand’s internal marketing efforts, managing everything from content creation and email marketing to events and sponsorships, blog publishing, website management and social media presence. When she’s not working, you’ll find her sliding into third at softball, buried in a book or practicing her Italian.