Long Articles or Short Tweets Five Ways Short and Long Copy Can Compliment Each Other. A debate that raged in places where I worked continues and evolves. Short articles and short videos are the popular choice for the short attention span generation. I prefer long narratives. The longer narrative is the preference for those (like me) who believe David Ogilvy’s instruction: long copy sells. As an old school public relations and ad man, I prefer the long article. I always and still believe that a lengthier narrative signals that you have expertise and something interesting to say.
Others maintain, and not without justification, that people are in a hurry and want answers to questions fast. Like the people who bemoan that there is nothing faster than a microwave oven, they are the ones we want to reach and sell to. I instinctively rejected these ideas (in the past) and believed that the guy banging on his microwave was not really a prospect. How many times did I hear, “no one is going to read this.” How many times was I ultimately right? Often enough. But in being mostly right, I missed an opportunity and I regret that I lacked the brainpower then to see a mutually beneficial solution that made the best use of both the long narrative and the short burst of communication.
So here is how to take a long and thoughtful article and shape it for both those who think and write in 140 characters and those who do not mind more reading.
- Produce your long narrative. You know you want to, so go ahead and write it. A long position paper, white paper or technical draft can be merchandized and used in lots of ways.
- Post your long narrative to your website. Best practice is to make this so that people who are interested can download the paper directly to their desktop. Ask only that in exchange for the free information, you receive a name and e-mail address. A great way to expand your e-mailing list and identify a prospect.
- Start tweeting. In my opinion, a short tweet that is tied to a longer bit of knowledge that resides on your website is a great way to draw eyeballs to your site. Asking them to give an e-mail and name in exchange, allows them to self identify and qualify as more interested in your product or service than most. Prospects self separate from suspects. You can arrange to follow up with these folks later.
- Make the longer piece several shorter one. Start dividing your long form into pieces and re-purpose them as “stand-alone” titles. Post them as such to the web site, and tweet about them. Use the same name/email registration tactic for identifying those who download the piece.
- Post and tweet until the contents of the original long article are completely re-purposed and promoted via twitter. If you took your original long article and then divided it into 5 parts, you essentially created 5 separate pieces of actionable and promotable content. You gave yourself 5 chances to be noticed instead of 1. And you gave your SEO a boost with meaningful content by a factor of 5.
I wish had thought of this sooner.