“Omit needless words.”
– E.B. White, “The Elements of Style“
Answer these three questions:
- What determines the difficulty of a school writing assignment?
- What kinds of books are you likely to brag about reading?
- What is the basis on which a writer should charge for his or her work?
If any of your answers involve pages or word counts, you’re stuck in the mentality that the value of a written work is based on its volume.
Now answer this question: Which are you more likely to read, a short article or a long one? Which are you more likely to value, remember, repeat, or link back to?
Focus on quantity and you’ll create swollen, fluffy content. “Happy talk,” to use a term from Steve Krug’s “Don’t Make Me Think.” Lots of words; low value density.
Focus on quality and you’ll create quick, easily-digestible content that makes visitors more likely to read, spread, and convert. Fewer words; high value density. Exactly the way your visitors want it in the age of Twitter-induced information overload.
Quality is the new quantity, ladies and gentlemen. Don’t forget it.