5.2: Avoid Long, Overwhelming Paragraphs

There’s a reason your doctor’s waiting room is filled with magazines rather than medical textbooks. It’s not just to avoid giving hypochondriacs anxiety attacks, it’s because very few people love to pick up a heavy tome of text for a casual read.

This is also the reason most instruction booklets are relegated immediately to ‘that-kitchen-drawer-for-instruction-booklets-we’ll-only-read-if-something-absolutely-goes-wrong”

When you’re writing your copy I want you to start thinking about using this magazine approach. Using space, design and also an approach to your content that makes it easy to read.

If your customer is faced with a page of dense text it pushes them away because:

  • It looks like a difficult task to read
  • It’s hard to see the differing sections
  • There’s no focus of attention, it’s not clear where they should look

A page that is purely text heavy is like holding a rock concert with only one entrance. You’re asking your customer to start at the top and work their way through line-by-line.

However if you provide more variety, they have more possible touch-points to access your message – like having multiple turnstiles into your rock arena.

Some ways you can introduce this variety and access include:

  • Font sizes
  • Vary your font size for headlines, subheadings and body copy to guide them through (read this headline first, then subhead, and now the body)
  • Images
  • Images are a great way to break up your copy. Especially if they show your product in action.
  • Break down long paragraphs
  • Try to avoid large chunks of text. If possible, break a long paragraph into two or more separate sections.
  • Use bullet points
  • Great for splitting up a list of points into more digestible content
  • Segment your text

Your text doesn’t have to read in a linear fashion from top to bottom. More landing page software now offers ways of splitting your text into different sections, so you may have a blog of text, followed by three sections side-by-side describing the benefits. Again, mimicking that magazine feel.

In summary, when you glance at your copy, it should be:

  • Easy to access the content quickly
  • Obvious where the reader should look first

Breaking up your text this way gives you multiple chances to reach out and connect with your customers, giving you more chances to persuade and compel them to take your offer.