Write a caption and you will know what a struggle is! Sounds relatable? Well, we have been there plenty, and no, we don’t judge.
Writing a caption, undoubtedly, is a painstaking experience. You write, you edit, but it just doesn’t sound nice, and you end up discarding.
You want your captions to sound witty, to introduce your products and services subtly to engage the audiences, and whatnot? But only if writing a caption was as easy as discarding them.
So here is the deal: in this article, we will talk about microcopy – captions to be exact. We will talk about their importance, and how you can craft a perfect one.
The Importance of Microcopy and Captions
For starters, microcopy is a wider term that includes more than just captions. It collectively refers to different types of short texts that are used in marketing as well as product design, such as:
- Texts on website and app interface or buttons
- Short disclaimers, for example, the disclaimer on Facebook that says “this doesn’t let the app post to Facebook”
- Texts on product packages, for example, “contains caffeine” or “doesn’t contain fruits” written on soda cans.
For this article, we will only focus on writing captions.
The perfect caption can draw immediate attention to targeted ads and sponsored or regular posts. They can even urge audiences to follow a call-to-action. In fact, captions can even make audiences stop and give a second glance to your post which would have been ignored or scrolled through otherwise.
So, now that we’ve established the importance of captions, let’s take a look at how you can start crafting interesting captions for your social media posts.
A Step-by-step Approach to Crafting the Perfect Caption
Rather than giving you random tips and techniques, we will guide you through a series of steps for writing captions. If you follow them to a tee, you will see the improvement in your captions after a few attempts.
Step 1: Have a clear mental picture
The first step is to have a clear understanding of how you want to use the caption.
If it’s just a fun post that aims to create audience engagement without being too promotional, then a funny or witty caption will be suitable.
If you’re trying to promote a product or service, your caption should include a compelling call to action. So based on what you are posting or promoting, you need to decide the theme of your caption accordingly.
Step 2: Deciding the appropriate length
Captions are not always one-liners. In fact, Instagram allows a maximum of 2200 characters for captions. Different studies have suggested that it’s best to have captions that are 80 to 150 characters in length but even this is not a hard and fast rule. And you’ve probably seen some long captions on Facebook or Instagram. So, how do you determine how long your caption should be? Here are a few tips that can help you out:
Write a draft of your caption that fully justifies the message you want to convey, without worrying about words and character length.
- If your draft is already short, to begin with (less than 200 characters), then you don’t need to shorten it further.
- If your draft is quite long, revise and edit it so that you can shorten the length and omit some words without compromising on the quality and content of the message.
- In most cases, it’s best to avoid long captions unless your business or brand is already reputed and has a loyal customer base.
Step 3: An attention-grabbing first line
The first line of your caption should have the viewers immediately hooked. Here are some prompts to write an attention-grabbing first line:
- Ask a question! It’s one of the easiest and most effective ways to get your audience to stop and think.
- Include a statistics and facts-backed statement. Statements based on stats and facts are perceived as reliable and useful info by readers.
- Include ‘If-then’ or ‘what if’ type of statements. For example, a post by a tourism service can have these type of captions – “What if we told you that there are more than 50 countries you can travel with a budget less than 200$?” or “If money is stopping you from traveling, then check out these 50 destinations that you can visit under 200$.”
Step 4: Include CTA and brand voice in the captions
So you have decided the message that your caption will convey, fixed the appropriate length, jotted down a draft, and decided on a killer first line. Next, there are two things that you should integrate into your captions:
- Your brand voice: What does your brand, product, or service, stand for? Is the post itself targeted towards a certain demographic group of customers? Keeping these things in mind, you must put in a sentence that signifies your brand value but at the same time, fits in seamlessly to the theme of the caption.
- Call-to-Action: CTAs that urge audiences to visit a link, make a purchase, etc. should be included in promotional posts. But even when your post is not promoting anything, you can still include CTAs such as “Double tap if you…”, or “Let us know in the comments…”. In fact, ending your caption with a question or a prompt that asks users to comment and interact on the post is a great way to increase audience engagement.
Writing a caption doesn’t have to be tough if you follow the right steps. We will highly recommend you create multiple drafts for a single caption. Take your time, write a few different drafts with various choices of words, and only post it when you’re confident with what you’ve come up with.
What are your views on this? How do you craft amazing social media captions? Do let us know in the comments below. Also, stay tuned for more such interesting insights and takeaways on social media.