In Praise of Brevity
The fact that I am having rotator cuff issues has me thinking about writing shorter posts. Or, to mash up a quote often misattributed
to Mark Twain, “I would have written a shorter piece but I didn’t have that much Aleve.”
There is a young legal tech influencer who is thinking big thoughts and taking #lawtwitter by storm and I want to get inside her head and mine her wisdom so I can be half as smart as she is but her posts are Too. Damn. Long.
I start in on one of her pieces, and my eye keeps drifting to the right side of the screen to that little bubble that indicates how much more copy I need to wade through. Not good. I have yet to finish one of her think pieces, and I’m getting tired of feeling guilty about it.
There’s constant conversation among SEO engineers and marketers on the ideal length for posts. This stat-heavy piece on analyzing post lengths
on Medium is an 8-minute read, if you really want to dive in that far. If not, scroll to the end for a simple go/no-go call on post length. You’re welcome.
Some law firm marketers erroneously assume that if a 6-minute post was a breakout hit, all their posts should be 6 minutes. (The average adult reads 265 words per minute. Using those metrics, a 6-minute post is 1,590 words.)
That’s flawed logic, of course. There are numerous reasons why a post becomes an outlier, and not all of them are obvious. Don’t assume that because one deep dive succeeds, your readers want a constant stream of them.
Pick up your topic without preamble, say what you need to say succinctly, and then Get. Out. Rest a bit, then edit ruthlessly.
None of us are Victor Hugo. Busy readers will not survive a lengthy trip through the Parisian sewers
to return to our narrative, no matter how gripping.