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AMiable Solution #289: Every Word Counts



How quickly can you get to the point, argue your case, and win a sale?

For copywriters participating in a recent American Writers and Artists Inc. (AWAI) email writing contest, the answer is 75 words. On September 11, AWAI challenged its newsletter readers to write an eight-word headline and 75-words of “compelling, descriptive text” based on the product, audience, and features information AWAI provided, in just 48 hours.

Most of us probably don’t think of our marketing—aside from blogs, perhaps—in terms of word counts. We tend to think in terms of pages. Long form versus short form. SEO text versus brochure text.

Could you do it? Could you write a compelling, persuasive email in 75 words?

In case you need a little perspective, consider the following:

  • The Pledge of Allegiance contains 31 words.

  • The first paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, a one-sentence declaration beginning with, “When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them,” is 71 words.

  • The Gettysburg Address starts with a 30-word sentence: “Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation: conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

  • The first verse of the “Star Spangled Banner” contains 80 words.

  • Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech ended with a 77-word vision of the future.

When you’re trying to capture your audience’s attention and appeal to their needs and interests, particularly in a setting that’s as disposable as email, every word counts.

How concise and persuasive can you be in 75 words?


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