3 Ways to Make Long Marketing Pieces Work

Your marketing content writer needs to think about length

When is a piece too short? When is it too long? Your content marketing writer needs to factor length and page-/word count into how she writes for you.

Last night I attended a presentation at my son’s school. Two presenters spoke in sequence, both with slide decks. Each spoke for 20 minutes about online learning, a topic well suited to the audience.

The first presentation felt as though it took an hour because it was so poorly organized. The second felt like 5 minutes long because it was more methodical. The first one added up to a rambling chat. The second one added up to a good story well told.

That makes all the difference.

Long vs. Short

Jonathan Morrow posted on Copyblogger about blog posts that are too long. He kicks off a series on the topic with this observation:

Long blog posts don’t scare away readers; sloppy writing does.

The same thing applies to almost any content. Readers will put up with a long piece, even if they have to Pocket it or print it out for later. But only if it tells a good story.

In fact, they’d rather have a good story than content that is good for them. Your writer’s job is to combine the good story with valuable content.

Tell Your Story with Long Marketing Pieces

Does your content marketing writer send you drafts with the remark, “If it’s a little on the long side, just let me know what you want to cut out”? If she understood the content and the ideal reader, that kind of trimming won’t be necessary.

Here’s how to make long marketing pieces work:

  1. They need to be memorable. The Iliad survived as long as it did in oral form because listeners wanted to remember it.
  2. They need to be well organized. If your readers can find the structure in your story – chapters, questions, turning points, images – they can follow it in their own minds.
  3. Readers need to finish them ahead of where they were when they started reading. See Denise Wakeman’s Four E’s: Educate, Entertain, Engage, Enrich for information on providing valuable content.

How do you deal with marketing pieces that are long? And how do you define “long?”


Author: John White

John White of venTAJA Marketing is a content marketing writer for technology companies. He posts about technology writing from the perspective of the marketing manager. It’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it. Download his eBook, “10 Questions to Ask When Hiring Your Content Marketing Writer.”