“But what do I write?!” A Guide To Caption Writing
We spend hours each week talking with different business owners, makers, and artists who seek our advice on Social Media Marketing. It’s really interesting to hear the unique, individual experiences with different platforms –the different obsessions as well as struggles. Overwhelmingly, the most prominent “Content Pain Point” we hear is this: “I just don’t know what to say!?” or “I know what to post but… What do I write!?”
We get it. Writing captions for 4-7 (or more!?) posts per week, on 3-4 different platforms can total up to 1000 words a week… OF JUST CAPTIONS!
There is so much research out there that covers the best power words or the most effective words for viewer engagement. Don’t get me wrong, the numerous articles are incredibly helpful and chalk full of knowledge, statistics, and studies. But in this blog post, I want to go in the opposite direction from these resources. I want to look at this topic with some fresh perspective.
How should I caption my photos?
We’ve all been there. All you need to do is write a simple caption and BAM—you have writer’s block.
Here is my best piece of advice: in those moments, take a step back and think about your brand’s personality, goals, and conversation.
Let’s take a closer look at this.
What Is Your Brand Voice? How Do You Want People To Feel When They Visit Your Social Media Platforms? What Is Your Vision For Your Posts and Platforms?
This may be a silly illustration but it’s always helpful for me. If you could personify your brand, who would they be? Would they be the friend that never fails to make you laugh so hard your stomach hurts? Or would they be the girl wearing that stylish outfit who passed you on the sidewalk? Sometimes creating a persona for your brand helps you create a voice for it.
Think about how you want your followers to feel when they view your social media platforms. Do you want them to feel empowered? Informed? Connected? Maybe all of the above. Whatever it may be, establishing those feelings with your followers is your big picture social media goal. Over time, your brand voice will form brand loyalty, consumer action, and brand reputation within your audience.
Your brand voice will guide your social media posts. The photos you choose and the words you write will be the result of pursuing your brand voice and vision.
Different Types Of Goals: What Are Your Goals? Why Are You Posting This?
With each photo taken and caption written, it is important to think about WHY you are posting it. What is the goal of it? Is it to increase online sales or store foot traffic? Is it to create a connection with followers or to share a vulnerable moment of the brand? If your post does not have a clear goal, do not post it. Each post, regardless of the intent, must add some measure of value to your brand. Without value, your brand voice doesn’t make a peep. It won’t have a mighty voice that resonates throughout your social media platform. It won’t impact your followers or leave a lasting impression.
So… How Do You Figure Out What Adds Value To Your Follower’s Lives?
We all know how saturated social media platforms are today. When a person posts something (somewhat) original, it is posted by a million other people in a million different ways, all with the same idea. It’s nearly impossible to post something that hasn’t been posted before. People are sick of seeing the same thing over and over again. They are hungry for original and fresh content. How can YOUR brand add value to people’s lives? What do you have to offer that is special?
Take a step back and reflect on your experience, brand, and vision. It is unlike anything else. How can you translate this into content? Perhaps you could post about your first day opening the company or the moment you knew you wanted to start your brand. Share your passions and advice to your people. Channel all of these experiences into photos, quotes, stories, blog posts and videos. Build upon them. Ask your audience what they want to hear about. Engage them.
The Conversation: Humans Connect With Stories
One of the best ways to connect with people is through stories. Think of a commercial or ad that really impacted you. I almost guarantee the ad included some form of story narrative. Humans connect with shared experiences. When you talk to someone who has gone through a similar life experience, it’s almost like you are automatically besties with them.
Think about what your brand’s narrative is. What is the story you are sharing? Now there are two levels of stories: the big picture and smaller picture. The big picture story is the overall narrative of your brand’s voice. It’s the vision and mission. It’s what’s driving your brand’s content. The smaller pictures are short and temporary stories. Maybe you share the story of a co-worker or you are hosting a flash sale for one day only. These smaller picture narratives contribute to the larger picture. They add to the brand voice.
Regardless what you are sharing, it all comes down to connecting and interacting with people. Incorporating stories on smaller and larger levels will shape how you view your brand’s voice, how you write and how you curate content.
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Here are 3 amazing articles we’ve curated for you. Each dives into this topic in unique ways. We highly recommend reading them as you develop your brand voice!
189 Powerful Words That Convert: Write Copy That Gets Your Customer’s Attention Every Time
The Two Most Important Words In Blogging
How to Write The Best Instagram Captions: Ideas, Tips, and Strategy