Writing Captions 101: How to Craft Perfect Captions

    June 02 2021

    Picture this all-too-familiar scene. You’re gearing up for a major day of productivity spent crafting and planning all your Instagram posts for the upcoming month. Your branded hashtags are locked and loaded (shout out to PLANOLY's Hashtag Manager feature!), and previews of your graphics and photos are looking top-notch across your unscheduled grid. Except you’re forgetting one pivotal piece of the puzzle – captions.

    Despite it typically being an afterthought when planning content, captions carry a ton of weight for each post and have the ability to be one of the more challenging parts of content creation. But don’t let this little strip of text slow you down – we’ve put together the following caption writing 101 workshop to turn anyone into a master copywriter. 

    Why Captions Matter

    Captions are more than just the white space where popular song lyrics and recycled sayings go to party – they’re an integral part of your content strategy that require just as much thought as the more graphic elements of your post. This tiny bit of copy should be leveraged strategically as a driving force within your post, prompting your audience to click a link, feel a feeling, or learn more about you and your brand.

    Captions provide the context needed to solidify a dynamite social post, adding straightforward details, background information, and ultimately, value, where your visual content falls short. 

    As CareerFoundry muses: “Think of microcopy as a little voice leading and aiding users in their journey.” It’s a literal and figurative expression of your brand’s voice speaking to your audience, so be intentional in how you cultivate your personality and impart tone with your language. Can you still craft good captions on the fly? Sure. Do the best ones come to life when there’s strategy behind their character-count? One-hundred percent. Let’s dive into what considerations are integral to a successful and unforgettable caption strategy. 

    Crafting Your Caption Strategy

    So, here you are: staring blankly at a blinking cursor and white text box wondering why such a tiny crumb of text elicits so much consternation. We completely understand. Writing captions is another form of copywriting, a practice that marketing professionals dedicate tons of hours to learning and finessing, so don’t fret if it feels harder than it should be. Thoughtful copy takes time and effort, and works for the betterment of your content. The first step to making caption writing easier is developing a simple strategy to focus your writing. Think of it like an evergreen writing prompt that’s applicable to everything you post. 

    A good caption strategy, much like a brand guide, should be mindful of your overall goals and objectives. Why are you on this platform? What are you aiming to impart to your audience via content? Having a clear sense of your overarching mission will help cultivate and refine your caption strategy, and alleviate the stress of writer’s block. 

    If you’re a disciple of content bucketing like us, you likely already have a sense for the themes and topics that frequent your content. You can easily create a caption strategy based on these content buckets or pillars, and identify the core functions of your copy. For instance, if your content buckets are promotional, inspirational, and educational, your captions might aim to impart the following:

    caption table-1

     

    Key Things to Remember When Writing Instagram Captions

    • Every good caption should contain value, purpose, and a strategic end goal
    • Ensure your captions have a clearly defined call-to-action: What should people do or take away from the post? 
    • Maintain an original, authentic voice and tonality that matches your brand personality, i.e. don’t force popular slang, sayings, or meme language if it doesn’t feel natural to your brand
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    Caption Writing 101 Workshop 

    Sometimes examples are the best teacher, and we totally get that. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of the top post types, and crafted a few sample captions for you to add to your copy arsenal! 

    Announcements 

    Think of this caption as a bite-sized news release. It should contain key details related to the announcement that can’t be surmised from the visual, and most importantly why it’s significant, and why someone should care. Here are a few examples of captions for announcements.

    New Hire - Meet [NAME], our newest [JOB TITLE]! [He’s/She’s/They’re] is a frequent [hobby], and loves [passion]. We’re excited to bring [his/her/their] talent on board, and hope you’ll join us in welcoming them to the team!

    New Product - It’s finally here – introducing [BRAND]’s new [PRODUCT]. It’s [NEW FEATURE], and [NEW FEATURE], and ready to add to your cart. Tap the link in our bio to [shop/subscribe to] our new arrivals! 

    Get to Know Me

    Utilize these posts to share new and/or valuable information about who your brand is. Here are a few examples of captions for announcements.

    Three Things - Here are three little things all about [BRAND]. Tell us your three things in the comments!

        1. What We Do:
        2. What We’re Known For:
        3. How We Want to Be Remembered:
    Promotional

    Spotlight your brand, services, or products in a thoughtful way with one of these strategic caption formats. Here are a few examples of captions for promotions.

    Tip - Did you know [INDUSTRY STATISTIC]? Here’s a pro-tip: Our [PRODUCT/SERVICE] helps solve all your [CHALLENGE] needs with just a few simple steps. Learn more by visiting the link in your bio!

    Reshare - Take a note from [USER]’s book when using our [PRODUCT]! Instant win. Repost: @[USER] 

    And that’s everything you need to know (and then some!), about crafting captions. We hope this handy guide serves as a jump start for adding a shiny new caption strategy to your Instagram game. To check out more PLANOLY resources on caption writing, check out our past blogs below:

    Learn more about Asia Phua, on PLANOLY

    Asia Phua

    Asia Phua is a contributing writer at PLANOLY. Combining her love for the three C's: culture, communication, and creativity, she thrives in helping brands tell their stories through content.

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