Clear Concise Copy: How To Move Readers Through Your Long-Form Content

by John McIntyre

Clear Copywriting Long-form content.


Is there a more iconic form of old-school copy?

You know..

Those long, one-page, “we couldn’t afford a graphic designer, because the copywriter charged five-figures” sales letters.

You already know why they are used so much, right?

In the right situation:

They elicit higher conversions, through a more compelling (and complete) message.

It’s easier to deal with all of the potential sales barriers, and connect with every possible buyer on an emotional level.

But here’s the one downside…

Now you need to get readers to actually READ through all of it.

Lump together a clunky long-form sales letter without paying any attention to readability…

And you get the same result every time: a conversion disaster.

Learn how to move readers through your copy:

Persuasion First, Readability Second?

Above all, if you want to get that conversion…

You need to speak the same language as your reader.

Seems simple enough, eh?

Not exactly.

Did you know that studies have proven:

Consumer comprehension may be compromised if content exceeds a 7th-grade reading level, which is the average American reading level identified by the United States Department of Health and Human Services – (Source)

Yup. It turns out, if you want to communicate effectively to an American adult…

You should pretend they have the reading-level of a 12 year old. (Or below.)

Do you follow?

When writing long-form copy, make sure that your readers can in fact comprehend the wording.

As Gary Halbert used to say:

Don’t use a ten-dollar word when a simple one will work just as well. – (Click To Tweet)

A few other quick-tips from the legend:

  • Try to keep your sentences around 14-17 words
  • Break up any longer sentences with ellipses or dashes
  • Keep paragraphs between 2-4 sentences (6 at the absolute max)
  • Don’t be afraid to throw in some one or two word paragraphs.

This type of communication is perfect for email marketing…

Because it HOOKS the reader in, leaves out the FLUFF, and drives the point HOME!

But it is also great for long-form copy.

Now — to be completely fair — this does depend on your target audience.

If you’re selling a product to rocket-scientists… you might not need to dumb down the copy.

But if your demographic is rather broad… it might be worth testing a more simple version of your copy.

Try it: Leave out the “$10” words & pretend you’re writing at a “Homer Simpson” persona.

Here’s the key: Force yourself to be just as compelling — with more clear and concise writing.

It’s not easy… but it is extremely effective.

This might seem like simple advice, but this is a key piece of copywriting…

When you need to squeeze every potential click, impression, and open out of a campaign.

Is This A Numbers Game?

Do everything in your power to make your copy compel (and connect with) as many people in your target audience as possible…

For example, let’s pretend you’re running a paid traffic campaign.

Would you want anything but the absolute best copy?

Anything but perfect copy would lead to missed opportunities…

And when you’re spending real, tangible money on each and every click… you can’t afford to lose a conversion.

The same thought-process should apply to every sales letter, landing page, and email you ever write.

Don’t settle for anything less than clear, concise, and compelling copy.

2 thoughts on “Clear Concise Copy: How To Move Readers Through Your Long-Form Content”

  1. I was kind of hoping there would be an offer for you to write a sales letter at the end! Nice article nonetheless. I’ll keep the 7th grade thing in mind. 🙂


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