Despite Twitter’s imposed 140-character limit that has us all thinking in shotgun bursts, I still see some really long posts on Facebook and Linkedin—many of these without an image. The result? Forget it. No one’s going to take the time to stop and read this. Like it or not, we want our messaging condensed into quick, easily digestible sound bites.
Ask any writer: it’s much harder to write a little than a lot
If you’re writing headlines, social media posts, ad copy or taglines, think efficiency. Pare down your copy to the fewest number of words that will make your point.
Here are some tips that have helped me be a better, more efficient writer
1. Identify the single message you want to communicate
Time to prioritize. What is the single most important thought? Not the reasons it’s going to enhance your clients’ lives. Save that for other parts of your content-marketing program–an e-book, presentation, blogpost or a white paper, where you have the space to build a compelling case. Identify the one primary message and whittle away the excess.
2. Rely on images to help tell your story
With limited space and character limits, images and graphics take on an enhanced role. Incorporating a great image will help convey your message without contributing to the word count. Be selective; not all images are created equal. Spend time finding not just a good image, but a really great one that will get people’s attention and contribute to the overall impact. A note: avoid clickbait. Way too cheesy and it will hurt you in the long run. Select images that are relevant—but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be funny, fun, clever, whimsical, etc.
3. Get rid of everything that doesn’t contribute to the core thought
Even great writers have blocks and struggle. The cure? Start writing. Forget about word or character limits or making it sound good; rather, focus on your main point without regard to how many words it takes to convey your story. Once you’ve finished, sit back and review what you’ve written, and begin to edit. Apply liberal does of your delete key. It will take a few passes, but you will be able to trim this down to its core.
Another tip: A longtime writer, it’s always my goal to write efficiently, making my point with the fewest possible words. My favorite strategy is to write something one day, then come back the next day to review it. The passage of time provides startling clarity. I’ll look at something I’ve written and wonder what in the hell I was thinking!
4. Keep your perspective. It’s just one piece
Concerned that someone will see a single tweet and form an opinion? Let it go—that may be the source of your problem of trying to cram too much information into one thought.
A single piece of content isn’t likely to be the decision-maker for a potential client. A social media post is only one piece of a greater whole, which is an integrated content marketing program.