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When TMI Is Absolutely, Perfectly, the Right Amount of Information

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012 by Stacy Crinks

On October 27-28, it was my great honor and pleasure to walk 39.3 miles in the Charlotte, N.C., Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. One might argue that I was a little too excited (nervous) about this activity in the weeks that led up to it, and told too many people that I would be walking. But when a perfect stranger at the Lululemon store in Walnut Creek, Calif., offered to loan me her own pink jacket for the walk—an offer I gratefully accepted, with tears in my eyes—I decided that sometimes “too much information” is absolutely, perfectly, the right amount of information.

And this brings me to marcom, of course. Because sometimes you have oodles of great content to share, and you should share it, people! Don’t hold back. There are times in a marketer’s life when it makes perfect sense to create a very long marketing asset.

When is it OK—even advisable—to go long?

1. When you need to include all the information, such as your entire product list. One of our clients wanted to give its channel partners a single, stand-alone document listing all of its products and services. A 100-page interactive PDF was the ideal solution. Partners can navigate to the content they want using the document’s tabs and links. It looks awesome on an iPad, and doesn’t require a wireless connection.

2. When you’re telling a fascinating, data-rich story, such as why to invest in your fund. We use standard PDF layout when writing 100-page private placement memorandums for our venture capital and private equity clients, because investors tend to read PPMs in a linear fashion—from start to finish. Executive summary at the beginning! Data in the middle! And legalese at the end.

3. When you’re describing a complex process, such as your global supply chain operations. One of our consumer packaged goods clients recently revamped its global supply chain, and needed a single process document to guide its employees. Our clients opted to keep this 180-page beauty in Microsoft Word, with a hard-working table of contents, so they could easily and cost-effectively update it in-house.

Danger! Danger! Long documents can be a disaster—confusing and/or total snoozers—if they’re not logically structured, beautifully written, and rigorously edited. And if the field will be using them, they’ll need to be small enough that you can send them via email. So that 140-slide PowerPoint deck you’ve been working on? Quite possibly TMI. (Call the Content Bureau for triage!)

Naturally, I feel compelled to close with a little over-sharing. Here’s a photo of my beloved breast-cancer-kicking BFF Barbie, her breast cancer-kicking mom Carole Ann, and me finishing the Avon Walk. May I point out that pink jacket tied around my waist?

Stacy runs the Content Bureau, @contentbureau.

runs the Content Bureau, @contentbureau.

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The Business of Copywriting

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