Have you ever signed off with something like “If you’ve got this far, thanks for reading!” or “wow, sorry for such a long post” or “well, I better stop rambling now”?
There are many, many things to thank our customers and followers for, but reading our Instagram posts (or blogs, or emails) is not one of those things.
Your content is a gift to your audience.
You’ve taken time to create or commission it; repurpose, adjust and polish it; and put it out there in the world.
And we WANT to be entertained, or informed, or inspired, or encouraged. That’s precisely why we follow you on Insta, or subscribe to your mailing list, or read your blog.
So you never need to apologise for writing a long post, because you haven’t forced anyone to read it. If somebody does get bored at some point, they’ll click or scroll away when they lose interest (and therefore they won’t get far enough to read your apology anyway.)
The people who ARE reading to the end stayed because they wanted to. They’re enjoying what you have to say. Perhaps they didn’t even realise how long it was – until you pointed it out.
Create content that you feel good about
It would be weird to finish each post a la Maui from Moana (YOU’RE WELCOME!) but that’s the energy we’re going for, right? We want your people to reach the end thinking ‘ooh that was interesting’ or ‘so funny, I need to share this’ or ‘I’m definitely going to try that idea’.
Imagine going to a café and buying a cappuccino for a friend. Then handing it over like this: ‘Thank you for accepting this coffee, I know it’s such an inconvenience, but thanks so much for drinking it!’
See where we’re going with this? Your content is a gift to your audience. They’re welcome.
If you feel apologetic, check in with where that urge is coming from.
Is it too long? Edit. When you know you’re waffling, simply take the waffle out. What’s the core message you’re trying to share?
Is it a filler post? When you’re scrabbling for content (‘I need to post something. Anything!’) or feeling panicky because it’s Time to Post, it could be the catalyst for awesome creativity…
But if we’re honest, it’ll probably be a random pebble you found. Or your lunch again.
Don’t let perfectionism get in the way
OK, so we want to put out stuff we’re proud of, which serves and/or delights our audience. And maybe we’re a teensy bit perfectionist. So that means hours a day putting all this gorgeous stuff together, then?
Nope. Just quality over quantity.
Step away from whatever the latest recommendation is for how many times a week you should post on Instagram, or how many times a month you should email your list. What’s realistic for you? That’s your number. Trying to do more will either lead back to the filler stuff, or create extra labour that may not be financially worth your time.
Then bring in your smart processes. Make a plan for the next month or two, and batch whatever you need to write/shoot/make/research. Review the data: what’s really getting your audience engaged? What gets people clicking through to your website? Reshare this juicy goodness.
Remember: you don’t owe anyone free stuff.
Instagram, Facebook, email marketing, blogging, TikTok, podcasting, LinkedIn… they can all play a part in a marketing strategy. But I honestly don’t think there’s a single one that’s essential for building a thriving business. Go with the things that are doable, and hopefully spark at least a little joy for you, and leave the rest. This is a choose-your-own-adventure story.
Oh, and while we’re weeding out unnecessary apologies? You also don’t have to apologise for taking a healthy break from any of these platforms.
How to end a long post or email
If you feel like it’s on the chunky side, put a TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read) at the end, summarising a couple of the key points.
There’s no need for a thank-you or sorry here, just recognition that sometimes we skim-read or skip bits, and that’s totally OK. In fact, you’re providing even more value: a summary!
- your content is a gift to your audience, so share that good stuff without apology
- if it feels long, add extra value with a summary of the key points at the end
And if you got this far,
thanks for reading… you’re welcome!
Illustration by Amy Collins
Photos from Unsplash