Rich Content Creation in the Age of TL;DR

When it comes to rich content creation that delivers value and nurtures conversions, entrepreneurs face a tricky dilemma.

On one hand, the average attention span measures at 2.7 seconds, which means short, SEO-friendly tidbits produce the greatest effect. (But engagement won’t be all that spectacular.)

On the other hand, in-depth articles that contain relevant information leverage your expertise. (But few people will take the time to read 700 words, let alone 4000.)

Hello, Catch-22!

This double-edged sword leaves many business owners in a content creation tizzy, scrambling to engineer the perfect balance between succinct and comprehensive.

Where powerful slugs of information may increase web traffic, a lack of in-depth content leads to lower engagement levels. When presented with trimmed content the audience thinks, “That’s great, but where can I find information that matters to me?”

This happens because we live in the age of TL;DR.

If you don’t frequent Reddit, this may be your first time seeing these four letters, so let me explain. When someone creates a wall of text that requires more than a few seconds of reading, she will often provide a Too Long; Didn’t Read (TL;DR) synopsis at the end.

If Shakespeare did such a thing for Hamlet, it would go something like this:

The king gets killed by his own brother. The prince who couldn’t make up his mind tries to impress his ghost dad, but pretty much every character ends up pushing up daisies.

Here’s the deal: headlines and brief messaging increase web traffic, but longer content promotes deep crawl, and shows your target market that your business provides value.

The logical solution must be to take the Goldilocks approach, wherein you trim the content into three different lengths. While that strategy works like gangbusters for split testing sales pages, that’s not the case for your website content.

Related: Why Split Testing is Like a Content Marketing Crystal Ball

Truth: you don’t have to somehow marry long and valuable copy with punchy messaging. That relationship will end up with signed divorce papers.

Solution: keep them separated.

That’s right. Not every combination is peanut butter and jelly. In the age of TL;DR, rich content and snippets of copy are more like tequila and cornflakes—they don’t mix well.

So how do you write website content that gets the message across quickly and powerfully, while providing your audience with comprehensive and helpful material.

We’ve got a few ideas.

Make Your Blog a Valuable Resource Hub

If your home page (or even your about page) takes more than a minute to read, you’re headed toward treacherous territory. When it comes to web copy on your central pages, it’s best to be brief.

But that doesn’t mean that your website shouldn’t include some seriously comprehensive content.

Here your blog comes to save the day!

Since you’re reading this blog right now, it means that you’re interested in copywriting, content marketing, search engine optimization, etc. If you just so happened to land on our website without a purpose, you wouldn’t be reading this sentence right now.

See the picture?

Offer Dynamic, In-Depth Content to Those Who Want It

Here’s the deal: sometimes your audience won’t have the time to read a blog, a white paper, or an in-depth article. So offer them a download to read at their leisure.

Time so often remains in limited supply, but that doesn’t mean your audience doesn’t need or want what you have to offer.

In fact, if you want to improve your content strategy and content marketing easily and quickly, you can get instant access to Your Quick-Start Guide to Successful Content Marketing.

The Content is Long. Does that Mean It’s Hard to Read?


At least, it shouldn’t be.

When you write articles, make an express point to create easily digestible copy. When presented with a cascading waterfall of text, your audience will run no matter how great the content is.

That said, break up your content. 3- or 4-line paragraphs ought to the trick. Remember, even if you have a lot to cover, this isn’t a dissertation over Schopenhauer’s influence on Nietzsche…

It’s an action-oriented piece that covers valuable information in-depth. Long-winded paragraphs will scare the crap out of your audience, so take it easy on their eyeballs.

Related: Copywriting Tips: How to Write for the Eye

Provide a TL;DR

When in Rome, right? Since TL;DR has proven effective, why not give your audience a short summary before and after the body of content. In doing so, you’ll entice readers to engage and give them something that ties it all together.

In fact, let’s do that right now.

TL;DR. Entrepreneurs often have no idea how to create content. Should it be short and punchy or long and comprehensive? The answer is both.

Stuck in a marketing content rut? Take a peek at our professional copywriting services.

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