brevity of messaging

November 22, 2017



The brevity of your brand story

Queensland Writer’s Centre and outdoor media provider goa recently launched a short story competition, #8wordstory, with a limit of, you guessed it, just 8 words. The number of submissions that came flooding in from local creatives and internationally renowned authors alike was overwhelming, and the best of the best have been showcased on goa’s billboards around Brisbane.

But why the hype around fulfilling such a short brief? Because despite its apparent simplicity, selecting those eight little words to encapsulate the entire essence of your story is, in fact, a metaphor for the art of writing, and presents the perfect writer’s challenge.

Challenge accepted. And I wrote my small masterpiece. #8wordstory

As a creative agency, writing content to meet our clients’ briefs is something with which we are very familiar. And while it would seem that coming up with short copy is easier and certainly a quicker task than writing a full-blown article, any writer will tell you the opposite is true in most cases.

When writing a longer piece of content, you can generally assume that by the time a reader encounters it, they have already decided upon giving it a read. The pressure to make every single word, sentence and paragraph potent with attractive language and ideas is lessened.

With short copy, as a writer, you must assume the opposite. That whoever is going to give your words a split second of their attention – flicking through Facebook, driving past a billboard – is not yet engaged with your message. In order to grab their attention for long enough to even consider clicking on the link or buying your product, that copy needs to be brief enough to read fast and enthralling enough to make an impact.

She was brief and to the point, effectively.

In brief, what I’m trying to say – and the irony of this long-winded article is not lost on me – is that when it comes to short copy like social media posts, EDM subject lines or a tagline, short and snappy wins the race.