Long-Form Copy vs. Short Copy: Which Content Length Is More Effective?

Plus, the tactics that make long-form copy effective.


Maybe you’ve heard the idea that nobody reads long copy anymore. 

But is it true?

Has technology and social media really shortened our attention spans? 

Or are we just more selective about what we give our attention to?

I mean, we have no problem sitting down and giving the newest Marvel movie 3 hours of our attention…

This is because for content to be long and leave an impression, it must be captivating!

And copywriting is no different.

In fact, readers often need more information when they’re deciding whether to buy. Effective long copy walks them through that decision-making process and helps them feel better about their decision. When done well.

So, how do you catch and keep someone’s attention? You’re about to find out. 

How to Decide on Your Content Length

Your audience has a lot of thoughts to consider before they decide to buy from you. For example, this is especially true if your offer is on the pricier side.

You could leave the audience to do all this thinking on their own, like whether they can afford your offer right now.

But as they consider your product, they will come up with objections and reasons not to act. They may even talk themselves out of the sale and click away.

What if, instead, your copywriting guided them along their decision-making journey?

You could explain the reasons they need to believe, handle their objections, and incentivize them to act now. So that, when they get to the checkout, they don’t hesitate to click “purchase.”

That’s the power of effective long-form copy. Long copy is especially crucial on sales pages, but it can also be effective in other places.

Here are the aspects to consider when deciding on your copy length:

  • Price. In general, the more expensive your offering is, the more copy you need to convince your prospect to buy. This is because the higher the investment, the more things your audience needs to consider. And your copy should address these considerations.

    That said, long copy shouldn’t only be used on expensive offers! The longer the copy, the more value you can communicate, even on a lower-priced or free offer.

  • Placement. Consider the amount of virtual space you have available for your copy. Are you writing sales pages? There’s no limit. Are you creating a Facebook ad? You may only have a few lines to work with.

    You can still create effective copy even in a short format. I actually love writing product descriptions that pack in value and incentive to buy. Even a few lines can make a huge difference.

  • Content Length for SEO. SEO, or search engine optimization, increases the chance of your content appearing in Google searches. The best content length for SEO is at least 1,200 words per page.1 And honestly, longer quality copy is even better.

    Keep the content length in mind if you’re writing website copy, blog articles, or any other content you want to rank on search results organically.

As an effective copywriter, you can make either long or short copy successful. But long-form copy is often the best way to increase your sales, SEO impact, and the value you offer to your audience.

Though I feel like it goes without saying, I’m gonna say it – Never make copy long just for the hell of it! All copy should serve a point, be persuasive, and not ramble on and on. 

6 Tips for Writing Effective Long-Form Copy

Creating long copy doesn’t mean writing more words just to increase the content length. Every sentence should be there for a reason and move your reader towards the end goal.

Wondering how to write long-form copy like that? Here are six effective tips…

  1. Use Connective Copy. Connect each of your sections with compelling copy that moves your reader down the page. For example, one section could end on an idea or question that the following headline answers.

    We tend to use headlines as section placeholders. But these are actually opportunities to get the person to keep reading. Incorporate a keyword into your heading to also impact SEO.

  2. Evoke Emotion. Most of us make decisions based on our emotions. Of course, the logic needs to be there, too – but we usually make the final call based on how we feel.

    Evoke emotion in your copy to help the reader visualize the offer in their life. A powerful way to do so is by using a story or visualization instead of an explanation.

  1. Handle Objections. Think of the reasons that may cause people to doubt or hesitate to purchase your product or service. Call them out and address them head-on

    Here are two simple places to do this:

    • Frequently asked questions. FAQs are a direct place to include questions and objections that you suspect your audience may have. They handle the hesitation before it even becomes an issue.

    • Testimonials/case studies. Include a story from someone who emulates why the objection isn’t true. Let’s say your audience may think they don’t have enough time to complete your program. Include a testimonial from someone who finished it while juggling a full time job and family responsibilities. 


When left unaddressed, objections cause the reader not to buy. So don’t try to avoid them! Get ahead of the concern.

  1. Edit! Make sure every sentence has a purpose, even if the content length is long. Is each line helpful, saying something new, and there for a reason? If not, it might be fluff that you can remove.

    Pro Tip: Go through and edit the copy multiple times with different goals in mind. For example, do one editing pass for clarity and another for adding emotion. This helps you stay laser-focused as you read through and edit the piece.

  1. Format Strategically. Long blocks of text overwhelm your reader. Format the piece so it’s easy to read or skim. 

    You can do so by…
    • Using lists and bullet points
    • Bolding or italicizing essential sentiments
    • Creating new sections for new ideas
    • Using short and punchy sentences

The goal is for the reader to understand the value even if they skim.

  1. Use Multiple CTAs. If your content length is long, you don’t want your reader to have to get all the way to the end to find the call to action. Use your CTA in multiple places after stating the value and prompting action.

    Only use one type of CTA per page in multiple places. You want the reader to be crystal-clear on the action they take next – and then remind them of that one action. 

Effective long-form copy walks the audience through their questions, objections, and logic. And most importantly, it helps them visualize the offer in their lives. Together, these tactics compel your audience to buy an offer that benefits them.

How to Create All Content Lengths Effectively

How can you make your long or short copy more effective? By understanding the psychology behind human decision-making. And how to lead someone through that journey.

When you write your content this way, selling can truly feel authentic instead of sleazy. Because you’re helping people make a decision in a genuine, honest way. 

Plus, it leads to better results for you and your clients, which is always what we copywriters are striving for.

If you’re ready to master copy tactics and techniques, learn about my course, Write Your Way to Freedom. It teaches you everything from emotional and persuasive techniques – to understanding the full customer journey.

Plus, you get step-by-step instructions on exactly how to write different content-length pieces, like: 

  • Landing pages 
  • Product descriptions 
  • Emails 
  • And so much more

To learn more, sign up for my free copywriting masterclass: How to Build a Lucrative Freelance Copywriting Career. It’s time to master your skills!

Prefer to Watch?

View my Youtube video on how to decide what content length to choose. Subscribe here for more tips on copywriting, growing your skills, and building a freelance business.

Resources:

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About Sarah

I’m an entrepreneur on a mission to help other people become entrepreneurs.
My blog is a place where I provide business building advice and explore how we can create more meaningful work.

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