“Things that drive me nuts: people using a superfluous amount of words when a few will do.”
Those words appeared on my Twitter timeline earlier this week. I echo that sentiment.
A St. Louis PR pro recently apologized for the long title of his new book. He said it was necessary in the modern era of SEO.
A new book with a normal length title, Good Prose: The Art of Nonfiction, includes this succinct suggestion: “Writing is revision.” (Yes! And it’s easy to do in today’s digital world, compared to the “white out” revisions we made a few decades ago.)
Along with the challenge of expressing thoughts for Twitter in 140 characters or less comes another challenge: making tweets even shorter to facilitate retweeting. (The tweet at the top of this post is a good example of one that is retweetable.)
A good reason to edit is competition. With numerous individuals and organizations vying for the attention of readers and prospects, your message cannot be long and tedious. As I think about all the emails I delete each day, most are dumped because I don’t find them worthy of even a few seconds of my time. Generally, the longer emails are more likely to go into my trash.
The best reason to edit may be the smartphone. Much of today’s writing is done on computers but much of it is consumed on the small screens of smartphones. Keep paragraphs short. Whether you are writing emails or web content, consider how your content will appear on a mobile device.
You can find plenty of articles on the web debating the virtues of long copy versus short copy in generating sales. In a sad irony, many of these articles are too long. Edit.