In early silent films, the “chase scene” was a tried-and-true tactic for extending film length. It was also the main reason many viewers paid to go to the theater. A dawdling screenwriter or director might be told, “Cut to the chase!” – literally – by splicing the reel to abruptly introduce the chase scene.
Here are three ways you can cut to the chase…
#1 Match copy to attention span.
Attention spans are shortening. No doubt, you’ve already read the articles and seen the statistics. Here’s a quick reminder:
- Attention spans have shortened from 12 minutes to 5 minutes over the last 10 years.
- Studies have shown that tweets with 100 characters or less receive 17% higher engagement rates than longer tweets.
Cut to the chase in your content writing Ernest Hemingway-style. Take his anecdotally famous six-word story as an example: “For sale: baby shoes, never used.” We can’t all be Seth Godin, but we can at least make experimental forays into Godin-esque brevity, right?
#2 Let readers make inferences.
Not everything has to be said to be understood. Your readers are intelligent; allow them to make inferences that your copy doesn’t explicitly state.
#3 Wow readers with what they want!
Let’s say you’re advertising membership for a meal planning website. You could try selling this way:
“Learn how to prepare delicious, healthy meals at home – no planning or cooking skills necessary. Only $15 per month!”
Meh. Probably not going to pull in a lot of leads.
Or, you could try this line:
“Julia Child visits my kitchen for 50 cents a day. And she’s looking for more work.”
The first example is… well, boring. To make matters worse, it throws everything out on the line. The majority of readers are going to know in a split second whether or not they’re interested in a meal planning service, whether or not it meets their budget, etc.
The second line, on the other hand, tantalizes and intrigues. If a viewer has been frustrated with cooking and meal planning, then this line stands a good chance of resonating, warranting a click through to a fuller page that can provide more information and make the pitch.
A Note on Website Speed
Finally, it’s important to note that it’s not all about your content writing. Website speed and load time plays a significant role in user engagement. According to The Guardian (my emphasis):
Studies have shown that 32% of consumers will start abandoning slow sites between one and five seconds. Bounce rate can be improved by up to 30% with the reduction of page size and resulting speed improvements. A one second delay in page load time can result in 11% fewer page views, 16% decreased customer satisfaction and 7% lost conversions.”
How do you trim down your blog and website content? Share your tips with other readers below.
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