3 Principles to ensure strong on-brand copy and text

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Copy in a Visual World

In the world of digital commerce, powerful visual elements attract a lot of attention. But what about copy? Copy often takes the form of a headline, caption, or short synopsis before the meat of the content—the “real” content. For copywriters, that can seem like an uphill battle, especially when social media (a largely visual space) is so prevalent in marketing.

Well I’m here to offer encouragement to fellow writers everywhere. Copy might seem like the plain-jane companion to flashy visuals, but good creative directors and savvy marketers know that the best work uses both copy and design to deliver a single message that’s relevant to customers and exactly on brand. Even small amounts of copy are opportunities to reinforce the voice, tone and personality of a brand. If you want to see an example, Prana successfully executes that in this post on their Facebook page.

Enhancing  your copy on Social Media

The more you look, the more you realize that even in social media, copy is everywhere. Companies send emails and curate their presence on Facebook. Instagram photos need captions and sharp, snappy hashtags. Twitter stands out to me as still text-reliant, but even there, the challenge is obvious: how to say as much as possible within the limit of 140 characters. A lot of writers love that character-limit challenge: crafting the perfect headline or caption, creating a concise, impactful tweet has its intrinsic rewards as well. Getting it right feels like solving a tough puzzle.

So how do you make the most of your written content? Whether it’s a blog post, photo caption, product summary or the company bio, the same basic principles apply:

  1. Keep it short. I know I’ve just finished explaining this one, but it’s worth repeating. Getting to the point quickly is the best way to ensure that consumers grasp the service or benefit that you’re offering them equally quickly. If you need a hand figuring out what the ideal length is, check out this summary.
  2. Speak authentically. Every brand has design principles and creative standards for the assets they use. When your copy reinforces that, it strengthens your message and brand. Use your voice both to reflect your brand, and connect in a real, authentic way with your target audience.
  3. Speak to one person. Maybe your posts will get millions of views, but your best chance of making a true connection is to speak as though you’re talking to one person. Imagine you get a chance to talk to your exact target audience face to face about your product/brand, etc. How excited are you? How do you get their interest? How do you find common ground? All of these things come through when consumers read concise, relevant, enlightening content.

Great copywriting, whether it’s an ad campaign, social media post, customer email or brand blog post, stands on its own two feet, and can capture an audience. Without a visual element, great copy should be great writing. Combined with video, photography or design, it makes an even bigger statement and helps an idea come to life in a powerful way.

About the Author

Katherine Robinson is a copywriter for Schoening Digital and loyal Pacific Northwesterner who is often found enjoying sunrises while rowing, running or sitting still with a piping hot cup of coffee. Good books, crossword puzzles and fierce Scrabble games fuel her obsession with words.

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