Bob Bly is a long time writer about marketing and sales copy, and it was interesting to see his latest article in “Target Marketing” about how long different kinds of marketing copy needs to be to get productive results.

Several firms researched the optimal length for the following communications forms:

Type of document Length Results
Blog Post 1,500 words SEO results
Podcast 22 minutes / 2200 words
Blog posts (research by SEOMoz) 1800-3000 words Attracts over 15x more inbound links
Blog posts (research by HubSpot) 2500 words Get more shares on social media
Web pages 500+ min. words
2,000 words
Rank higher in search engines
Article length/Web (research by serpIQ) 2,000 words or longer Highest ranked on Google search engine
Whitepapers (Gordon Graham) 6-8 pages Effectiveness and readership
Press release 400-1000 words
Google AdWords advertisement 85 characters

There has been a long term argument between sales and marketing teams and graphic design teams because more words are harder to design in pleasing ways.  I know because I’m both a designer and writer!  But results speak for themselves.  People who are truly wanting to buy your product or service want the FULL story, not just teasers or headlines and beautiful colors.  They want to know the features, the value, the benefits to them and their companies.  And they will take the time to read the details if they want to buy.

So the question — the elephant in the room — becomes, WHO do you want to read your copy:  serious buyers or browsers?

This is not to downplay the role of design in communication tools — but to change the focus from downplaying the copy, to arranging and highlighting it for easy, productive reading. And design can also lead the eye in a logical fashion to get the facts, evaluate them, and ask for action:  either a free trial or an outright purchase with full understanding of the risks and the guarantees and service that will accompany the purchase.  And the results they can expect!

We’re facing a brave new world in marketing communications every month, it seems, and new tools, new channels, etc. keep us challenged.  But the consistent factor in the mix is our brain!  We absorb information in very specific ways, and we make decisions in very specific ways — so it is important for marketing and design professionals to work together to create the message and deliver it in a way that our brains work.  We love words!  And we love color!  And we appreciate great design that gives us value and results!

Carolyn Allen
CEO of SureToMeet, experienced in marketing communication including writing, editing and design.