More Is Less

A century ago, conventional wisdom held that a print ad with more copy would elicit greater response than one with less copy. This belief applied mainly to products sold by mail order. (Consumer products sold well then, as now, with ads that had illustrations and smaller amounts of copy.)

A person reading a magazine or newspaper then did not have other media competing for his attention. No radio. No TV. And most homes did not even have a phone in 1914. A reader had time to peruse lengthy ad copy.

Now, we are bombarded with competing messages and competing media. Yet, writers of ads and articles often continue to deliver more words than necessary to make their points.

Has this ever happened to you? You get halfway through a longread when you begin to notice redundancy. The writer is restating facts or arguments mentioned at the top of the piece. They may appear again near the end of the piece.

Especially when we consume content via mobile device, a longread can be challenging. While there is excellent writing that is also long-winded, much of what we click on or pick up to read blathers on much longer than necessary.

It’s a short attention span world. Say your piece. Make your point. And be done with it!





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