Quote of the Week 19

I’d like to touch on the perpetual “long copy versus short copy” battle one more time. Don’t worry, I’ll keep it brief. (Sorry, that was funny to me.)

This week’s inspiration comes from French Enlightenment political thinker  Charles de Montesquieu:

“What orators lack in depth, they make up in length.”

Again, the lesson is pretty plain. Many times, a person who has little to say will take a long time saying it. Their comments seem more substantial (in their minds) because they are more lengthy.

This goes for writers as well. All kinds of writer, from novelists to journalists. And, yes, copywriters, too.

Many times you will read a marketing message that takes 1,000 words to say what could be stated in 500.

Writing is a discipline. A huge part of what makes it a discipline is deciding on the best words and the best way to make a point. Well-chosen words and sentences keep writing tight, and protect your readers from boredom.

In advertising, a writer can’t afford to be too long-winded. Each word has to earn its place on the page. Like poetry. The audience needs to get all that you have to give, but you have to keep them interested in reading.

In the interest of brevity, I won’t drone on. My point, in short is this: GET TO THE POINT! The quicker the better.

That doesn’t mean I favor short copy over long.  I do prefer it when writers don’t waste words. Say everything that needs to be said. Then, not another peep.