Seth Godin says: start with a classified

Published on: 2015-02-05

As if he was taking a page from our best practices for digital signage content, Seth Godin has this to say about tackling a new marketing/writing task:

Copy gets in the way.

Actually, thinking about copy gets in the way. You start writing and then you patch and layer and write and dissemble and defend and write and the next thing you know, you've killed it.

So, try this instead:

Write a classified ad. What's the offer? What do you want me to do? You're paying by the word!

"Lose weight now. Join our gym."

Six words. Promise and offer.

Now, you can make it longer. Of course, if your gym is on the space station and it's the only gym around, and if the people reading your ad are looking at the bulletin board and seeking out what they want, then your ad is now long enough.

But most of the time, in most settings, a little longer is better. So, add a few words or even a sentence. Is it better? More effective? Gently and carefully add words until it's as effective as possible, but as short as possible.

Our take:

As mentioned at the top, this is precisely the technique we suggest, though we use the example of Google AdWords, which might start out a bit longer than 6 words, but not much.  Doing this not only forces you to distill your message down to its core and thus identify what's the most important part, but it also gets you started down the path of optimizing the message for quick viewing -- especially important in the digital signage world considering that many screens set up for so-called glance media may only be seen for a few seconds at a time.  Thus, longer messages not only don't impart more information to the majority of viewers, but may also be cut short before the typical viewer has a chance to see the "important part."

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