Size matters: an argument for writing short

December 2, 2014
by Admin

I’m just coming off a huge weekend binge. (No, not that kind of binge.) I recently spent a Saturday and Sunday catching up with the 5 million other people who have downloaded or streamed Serial, a weekly podcast in which a reporter looks at the minute details of a 15-year-old murder case. It is a slow, exhaustively told story – and its unhurried pacing works to its advantage. If listening to 20 minutes of speculation about the existence of a payphone, for example, builds suspense around a piece of “infotaining” content, then audiences will sit still and listen.
That kind of patience does not apply to all other content formats, unfortunately. If your goal is primarily to inform or persuade, suspense should not direct your content strategy.  Let’s say you want to position yourself as the go-to authority for safeguarding sensitive data. Your content mix should include several long-form tactics: white papers, contributed articles, in-depth blogs and, yes, potentially podcasts.
However, you’ll also want to create briefer content that can also be easily found online, easily delivered to contacts’ inboxes, easily scanned for relevance, easily consumed and easily applied. So how do you write short, and still communicate big? Try these approaches:
Give your reader informative subheads.
A subhead can be a valuable onramp into an article. Break up big text blocks.
Turn a key quote into a graphic.
Go with a listicle.

  1. A reader can scan a list quickly.
  2. She can remember it easily.
  3. She can apply it to a problem she needs to solve.
  4. She can share it with a colleague.

Let visuals tell the story.
Create an ebook.
Design an infographic.
Build a SlideShare.
Watch your word count.
This is not 8th grade English, and more words will not earn you a higher grade. Cut the superfluous stuff.
Sometimes your prospects will want more in-depth information from you. When they’re getting ready to make a big decision, for example, they’re more likely to devote time to reading, viewing or listening to content that helps make their decisions easier. At other times, those prospects want quick-hit information. They need to identify a problem or find some ideas they can use to solve one. When you deliver material that meets these needs, you can move prospects toward your more comprehensive, premium PR and marketing content, and ensure that they keep tuning in to find out what you’ll share next.
Mapping out your PR content strategy? We can help. Connect with Metis on LinkedIn.

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