A Letter to Long-Winded Keyboard Jockeys (From Everyone)


Dear content creator:

I’m writing to you today because of a disturbing trend I’ve noticed lately.

The online world seems to have recently become more long-winded.

Long-winded can come in handy from time to time when, say, establishing the founding documents of a newly formed country – or maybe when writing safety manuals for equipment in nuclear power plants.

Long is also useful in certain articles, books, and ultimate guides. Scratch that… those things aren’t just long. They’re thorough, and that’s a whole different thing. A good thing.

But long for the sake of long… cut it out. Seriously.

How have we gotten to this place where we insist on equating long-winded with substantial? Sometimes they’re the same thing, but most of the time… not so much.

When my son was a baby, for instance, he would ramble on and on – and he didn’t know a single real word. 90 minutes of gibberish – and he didn’t say a damn thing. 

It was cute when he did it… and it’s not like I could very well opt out anyway. But guess what? I can now!

No offense, but I really don’t want to scroll down 50 or 60 lines to finish your email. I have a life, a job, a family, and a dog who seems to need to go outside really badly right this very second. Plus I think my scrolling finger has developed arthritis. Thanks so much for that, by the way.

And about sales pages: Yeah, I know there is data saying that long ones convert better and yadda, yadda, blah, blah, lorem ipsum…. zzzzzzzzzzzz.

Maybe it’s just me   (except it isn’t)   but I’d rather know why your offer is awesome right away. Why do you think I visited your sales page in the first place? I wasn’t forced. It’s because I’m interested already!  So get to the point and give me the juicy details now.

Don’t tell me, “but wait… there’s more.” I don’t want to wait. Waiting sucks.

If there’s more, tell me about it up front. And if you refuse to, no worries. I have Google – so I can pretty easily find someone else who will get to the point.

Oh, and don’t get wordy to demonstrate your intellect to me. I couldn’t care less how many long words, catch phrases, and buzzwords you know. It doesn’t matter to me in the slightest.

What does matter to me is how much I matter to you and how you can help me. Tell me that you get me – and then show me that you get me. Oh, and you might want to hurry – because, well, I still have Google.

No skin off my nose. Someone out there will tell me what I want to know quickly. It may not be you, but I’m ok with that. Are you? I have less patience than I used to, you know. “Digital Generation” and all that.

So in closing: Please don’t preach to me. Please don’t lecture me.

Just talk to me like a normal human being. Relate to me. I’m giving you a chance to make a real connection here, so spit it out. Get to the point.

I want to be your fan. I really do. But you need to be courteous of my time, too.

That’s not too much to ask for my loyalty and patronage, is it?

I’ve kept this letter short as a courtesy to you. (See how that works?)

Now I really must be going. I need to let that dog out.




Let us make a special effort to stop communicating with each other, so we can have some conversation. – Mark Twain



About Gary Korisko

Gary is a battle-tested sales and marketing pro, copywriter, coach, and business strategist who teaches how to create worthwhile work on Reboot Authentic. Connect with Gary on Google+ and Twitter.

37 Replies

  1. MaryJaksch

    I love this! As a ‘keyboard jockey’ I have to admit that what I write could at times be more concise. Thanks, Gary – great reminder!

    1. For sure, Mary. That goes for all of us. Me, too. Especially online, keeping your writing *tight* is so important! Thanks.

  2. Amen, brother!!! (How’s that for being concise?)

    And webinars … why do we accept that they need to be 60-90 min or more? TED.com gives their presenters only about 18 minutes, yet it’s amazing how much you can communicate when you’re prepared and you get to the point.

    As you mentioned, if a piece of content (audio, video or text) is long, but thorough and useful, that’s fine. But long for the sake of being long or because you’re unprepared, that’s not ok.

    Thanks, Gary, for saying what needed to be said!

    1. Very concise, Mark. Well done!

      You know, my friend Mary (in this thread) Might have something to say about super long webinars. And by *might* I mean *will* 🙂

      And TED Talks are the perfect example of tight, meaningful content. I’ve seen TED Talks as shorts as 2.5 minutes. Look how powerful, thorough & useful they are. Thanks very much for adding that to the conversation!

      1. I too have my doubts about the length of webinars, Mark. I’m just gearing up to do webinars for some bloggers with big lists. I asked one of them whether he would like me to present a webinar that was a bit more concise.

        He said, “No, a webinar needs to be at least 60 minutes long, and then you follow on with a 30 minute Q&A. This method is tried and true and works best for sales.”

        I know from my own experience that I simply don’t have 90 spare minutes lying around…

        I’ve decided to create a long-form webinar, as well as a short-form webinar. I’m going to test both of them against each other to see what conversion rates are like.

        – Mary

        PS. I recently heard that these days webinar are not converting into instant sales as well as they did a year ago. What this means is that less people are buying *during* the call, and more are buying *after* the webinar. This may actually support the idea that webinars are perceived to be too long and attention spans are getting shorter.

        What do you think?

  3. Michele Kearns

    Not only do I love this article, but can relate to needing to let the dog out. 😉 In fact I’d better go check on her now.

    1. See? Busy lives, Michele. Exactly. 🙂

  4. As a copywriter, this post appeals to my thinking A TON, Gary. Yes, the stats say long-form sales pages work (and I do encourage clients to use them when the product/service warrants) but there’s a difference between writing a quality sales page, and repeating the same damn info.

    I too am sick of long emails – most GOOD writers will have you captured in the opening lines. The rest should be info that will give you details on how to buy and what you’ll get.

    – Razwana

    1. Very true, Razwana. Like the post mentioned – *long* and *thorough* can be very different things. You make some great points. Thanks!

  5. David Schuller

    Great article Gary
    I totally agree with you. I especially get annoyed when videos go on forever and ever. They promise to share a life changing secret. The only thing they don’t tell you is it will take at least 10 or 15 minutes before finally arriving at the answer. Usually a watered down answer.
    I think the dogs are calling me. lol
    Thanks Gary

    1. Ha! I didn’t think to include videos. That’s true. Thanks, David. I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

  6. Way to go Gary I loathe long winded emails and those boring sales pages that ramble on and on – hopefully they’ll get the message – thanks.

    1. I though this might hit home with some people. 🙂 I’m glad you’re one of them! Thanks, Lynne!

  7. Mia Sherwood Landau

    I love you so much right at this moment, Gary. Did you post this on Valentine’s Day to get us to tell you we love you? No matter, it worked. Honestly, I’m telling you this is your best post EVER.

    1. Awww, thanks Mia!

      I’m glad this struck a chord with you. All of us who create content need to be mindful of people’s time and the value of their attention. All of us! I know I’ve been making more of an effort to “keep it tight” lately without losing any punch.

      Happy Valentines Day 🙂

  8. I would comment on this post, Gary, but it was so long I didn’t get to the end of it.


    Completely agree with you about the difference between being thorough and being long-winded. The former is like nutrient-packed food while the latter is cotton candy. Bleah!

    1. Wow. Short attention span. 😛

      I just hate scrolling all the way through copy in anticipation of something cool at the end… and… nothing. The bad part is that over time it trains us not to read messages in their entirety. Could miss out on good things!

  9. Here’s an interesting little secret: Gary is an outstanding copywriter!
    (He’s just too bl**dy modest to mention it…!)

    He recently wrote a sales page for me that converts like CRAZY.

    What I wanted was a sales page that was both short and long… kind of elastic. I wanted the kind of page where people who are ready, can make a decision really fast, but others can choose to absorb more information if they need to.

    Gary delivered an outstanding piece of copywriting 🙂

    What I particularly like, is that the copy is conversational – not stiff or pushy. It’s as if Gary’s standing at a bar with my potential customers, listening to what they have to say and responding to them in a friendly, calm, and helpful manner. Nice!

    I predict a stellar career as a copywriter for Gary!

    1. Thank you, Mary 🙂

      The copywriting is what actually motivated me to write this post. It’s very important (especially in sales pages) to make the copy long enough to hit all the important points – but not so long as to drone on and on and bore the reader. It’s a fine line.

      Thanks again for all the compliments & I’m psyched that you like the copy so much!
      Gary Korisko recently posted…A Letter to Long-Winded Keyboard Jockeys (From Everyone)My Profile

      1. Should have asked you to pay me for the testimonial – he, he…!

        1. Maybe so. For one *that* good 😀
          Gary Korisko recently posted…A Letter to Long-Winded Keyboard Jockeys (From Everyone)My Profile

  10. Yes! Oh goodness this is something that drives me crazy about all the freelance courses/sales materials out there. I’m sure the lesson is (in there somewhere) amazing but weeding through that 5000 word pitch to buy it is so tedious its unlikely I’m going to waste my money just to get another 50,000 words of some never ending sales pitch with no real information to be had.

    Thanks for writing this, so many of us think it but so few say it!
    Jenn Flynn-Shon recently posted…3 Reasons to get Training Before Trying to Write for IncomeMy Profile

  11. Haha this is so true Gary. I end up skimming and skipping most of those long sales pages just to get to the damn point. They usually have a lot of repetition and testimonials that it gets boring. I just want to know what I’m getting and how much it’s going to cost me. That’s it. Thanks.
    Marianne recently posted…The BIG Guide to Free Images for Your Blog Posts // Part 2: Creative CommonsMy Profile

  12. It’s funny, I actually just read another blog post that said the EXACT opposite of this post. He was talking about how you have no business writing short posts unless you’ve written hundreds of thousands of words already. Basically, writing long posts gives you more practice at writing, so it’s better for novice bloggers.

    I think maybe a showdown post is in order…
    Jon Bowes recently posted…Ultimate Reading List For EntrepeneursMy Profile

    1. There are always opposing viewpoints. For instance, I HATE long sales pages, and so do most people you ask – but most actual studies show that longer ones seem to convert better. Go figure.
      Gary Korisko recently posted…Why Comparison is the Death of Great WorkMy Profile

  13. Gary,
    Enjoyed your post. I have a vegetarian cooking and nutrition blog site, and some of the information requires lots of details. I’m getting better at telling what needs a page of info and what needs a sentence or two. Takes a lot of work to learn new ways of doing things. Thanks for the suggestions.
    Sharon Reese recently posted…Mixed Bean Soup with Baked PolentaMy Profile

  14. I keep coming back to your blog to check out the archives! Fantastic posts! I am just learning to blog – for fun only- and I still have so much to learn. I appreciate the perpectives you share. I better not repeat myself, though, so I’ll keep it short and just say thanks (again). 😉

  15. Hi Gary,
    Another wonderful write-up I must confess, so true I completely agree with your point of view, an article, a sales page or a review don’t have to be 10,000 words long before the intended message can be passed across. You can still achieve meaningful communication with a short and concise write-up and am sure most readers would prefer that because it saves a lot of time.
    Obodo Charles recently posted…How To Protect Yourself While Building LinksMy Profile

    1. Hello again, Obodo. Agreed. Now, if a post is long AND heavy on actionable content, I’m good with that. It’s the fluffy, rambling ones that get to me. Good to see you!
      Gary Korisko recently posted…Why Comparison is the Death of Great WorkMy Profile

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