On Copywriting

“This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals—sounds that say listen to this, it is important.”

– Gary Provost

Most churches are focused primarily on delivering information verbally. Sermons, announcements, prayers, scripture readings… all verbal. Part of the reason for that is that most people vary the tone of their voice, their inflections, and their posture when they speak. It just comes naturally.

But in writing, people only hear the voice in their head. The only variations in cadence, tone, and posture are often just the ones they’re projecting onto the words they’re typing – unless they consciously make an effort to vary those things.

When you write shorter copy for things like promotional pieces or short bits of information in your app or website, keep it clear, use the 3 C’s I mentioned elsewhere. But when it comes to blogging,  or longer-form content, make sure you incorporate variety of sentence length throughout your writing.

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