Less Writing, More Meaning

Jeff Lowe

June 23, 2020

When it comes to writing, more is more, right? Long, complex sentences, million-dollar words, and excessive wordcounts get A’s in English. So, why doesn’t anyone want to read that kind of writing in the real world?

Competing for Copy

Most humans have a shorter attention span than the average goldfish. With so much competition for time and attention, writing that gets to the point is much more effective at delivering meaningful messages to the masses.

A Concise Device

From first light to last light (both lights being cellphone screens), people spend a lot of time absorbing information via their phones. These small screens, and a world of information at the ready, have contributed to the trend of reducing writing to the bare minimum required to communicate.

Attack of the Acronym

Today’s online culture is so obsessed with succinctness, it has even reduced expressions of frustration with long-winded writing to a simple acronym—tldr. There’s no better feedback (see slap in the face) to a verbose writer than this 4-letter phenomenon.

Advertising Effectiveness

Long-form writing has its place in advertising, but when trying to convey quick meaning and promote memorability, short quippy copy stands out. Even when long-form writing is called for, copy should be kept to a minimum.

Simple, Short, and Surprising

As a general rule, less writing = more meaning, especially in advertising. There’s power in brevity. Keeping copy simple, short, and surprising speaks volumes and, in an ironic writing twist, tends to have a longer lasting impact on readers.