When it comes to our copywriting word count, there is a natural tendency to think we need to use more words to express ourselves. I should know, I’m 100% guilty of this.
The logic makes sense: my product/service offering has a whole variety of features and different shoppers have different pain-points. We need to use this opportunity to cast the widest net possible.
The trouble is that this mindset leads to word-count inflation.
We often end up with a message that’s a little bit of this and a little bit of that.
But all aspects of our differentiation are not created equal.
Usually, just 1 or 2 things contribute to 80% of our appeal.
The role of copywriting isn’t to “cover as much ground as possible.”
The role copywriting is to “get to the core of what makes you the absolute best choice for a very specific audience.”
This distinction is a big deal.
If your team is focused on the first point then that copy style will influence every aspect of your business. It might be good for SEO (I’m told) but it will be utterly boring for actual human beings.
The second strategy forces us to only think in terms of details that really matter. And that mindset doesn’t only impact how you write copy, it’ll influence every aspect of how you think about your business. It’ll make it super easy to know what does and doesn’t fit your core vision.
Looked this way surgical copywriting is really a business optimization strategy. I hadn’t considered that before.
Let’s Look at an Example
I’d like to end by sharing an example: I’ve been seeing this LinkedIn ad for the last 5 years and the design has remained the same.
I love it. Their central pitch is that when you take money from an investor you give up equity.
With just 2 words and one algebra symbol they are communicating a powerful idea:
Lighter Capital understands, at least with this ad, the effect their copywriting word count can have on readers. Their message is concise and easily understandable. A simple, almost universally recognized symbol (≠) helps send a message without the user needing to read more than 2 words.