Long or short?

There’s a lovely trend in journalism (and elsewhere) towards longform stories. These are typically what we think of when we think of magazine pieces — thousands of words, lots of explanations, wonderful pictures.

Is there a place for longform in marketing?

Sure there is. There’s a place for everything in marketing.

But will it do you any good to, for instance, post a 3,000-word blog? Or a multi-page explanation of how your product works? Or a book instead of a brochure?

It depends. Of course.

It depends on where your business is in its lifespan, for one thing. If you’ve just launched a product that no one has seen or experienced yet, it’s probably a good idea to give them too much information instead of too little. You’ll probably have to explain what your product is, how it works, who it’s for and why they need it. You’ll need to compare it to other products that are relatively similar. You’ll need to convince people — and for that, you’ll probably need a lot of words.

On the other hand, if what you’re marketing is well-known, you can go short. You can’t cut out the explanations about how it works and who it’s for and cut right to the chase — why your product is better than the multitudes of others that do basically the same thing.

And through all this, you need to keep the old adage “time is money” at the forefront. Think about a few thing before you publish that treatise:

  • Is your product or service so captivating that people are willing to devote an hour to learn about it?
  • Are there different ways to present the information?
  • Could you make the same points in a three-minute video?
  • Is there a way to present it visually, like a slick infographic?
  • Could you divide the information up into easily digestible portions, with lots of links?
  • Could you space out the delivery of the information?

We like information and we think it’s better to have too much rather than too little. But the answer to the question “long or short” is not nearly as neat as the question itself.