Let’s be real – How many times has it been easy to write Instagram captions for business?
I’m a writer myself and I understand the struggle that is writing a really great engaging Instagram caption…
In fact, one of my students, Alex, recently asked me this: How do I write captions for posts when I suck at storytelling?
If this sounds like you, and you’re struggling to write Instagram captions for business so that they don’t take forever, but they actually get a response from people, you’re in the right place, because today I’m walking you through my caption writing system so that you can easily write captions for your business.
What I’m about to share with you has worked for my student Kent, who booked in a client through the DMs, all thanks to his content. ⬇️
Before I dive into the tips on how to write captions, let’s talk about what copywriting is, because that’s essentially what you’re doing when you’re writing a caption.
So, what’s copywriting?
Copywriting is essentially words you write that are meant to persuade someone to do something.
Through copywriting your goal is to have someone take an action, whether that is to click, to buy, to sign up, to engage, to comment, to share.
Now, Instagram is storytelling through words and visuals, and because it’s such a visual platform, we often get caught up on the images we’re posting…
By the time we get to the words, we’re often a little burnt out or tired.
The thing is, with a business on Instagram, a great visual is not enough.
The caption is really, really valuable to reinforce your point.
Sorry, but a few emojis in your caption is not going to cut it…
Unless of course you’re Kylie Jenner:
How to Write Instagram Captions for Business
1. Write Instagram Captions in Batches
My biggest time-saving hack is to write your captions in batches, not just when you decide to post on the fly.
I know this is easier said than done, and I’m also guilty of writing captions on the fly.
But when I’m really on top of my caption game, it’s when I actually batch write them.
I’ll sit down on a Monday afternoon and I’ll write the three captions for my three posts for the rest of the week.
This practice is a huge time-saver.
(You can thank me later)
For specifics on batch creating your content, check out this video here ⤵️
2. Provide Value to Your Audience in Your Instagram Caption
Knowing how you give value to your audience will not only step up your Instagram caption game, but also your marketing in general.
I define providing value as a business owner on Instagram in three ways:
- Information, like tips and tutorials;
- Inspiration, through sharing an aspirational lifestyle and living the end result that your followers want;
- Entertainment – Yes, if someone’s scrolling their feed and your post makes them laugh, that is adding value to their day.
So the key to writing a good caption is to know which of these three ways of providing value you’re really good at, or what your audience has come to know you for.
Is it information, inspiration or entertainment?
You can absolutely write captions that vary between the three buckets, but generally your audience knows you specifically for one of them.
For me, it’s information. I really lean into writing captions that provide information because I know my audience likes it and I’m good at it.
If I’m ever stuck on what to write, I default to sharing information with my audience.
3. Bleed in the First Line
Yup. Did I get your attention? 🩸
“Bleed in the first line” is a great saying.
What it means is to capture the attention of people in the very first line of your text.
This is a tried and true storytelling technique where you want to jump into the action of the story right away.
You need to cut out a lot of the preamble and get right into the action, which is especially important on Instagram because your caption is minimized to the first one to two lines when people are scrolling through their feed.
So don’t waste this precious real estate space.
Make sure you’re cutting to the action and bleeding in that first line.
This will make your reader stop their scroll, want to know more, and actually click through to read the rest of your caption.
Here’s an example of a post where I bled in the first line:
4. Make Your Caption Relevant to Your Audience
Tell your audience why.
When you’re writing Instagram captions, be 100% crystal clear on why your audience should care about what they’re reading.
People are busy, and often subconsciously they’re thinking, What’s in it for me?
Literally answer the question of “What’s in it for me” for people in your captions.
One of my favorite phrases to make sure I’m answering the “why” is by using the phrase “so that“.
“So that” is an amazing bridge from what you’re sharing to why they should care.
- “Today I am sharing Instagram caption writing tips so that you can write great captions in less time.”
- “Today I am sharing Instagram caption writing tips so that you can stop overthinking what to say.”
In general, my answer to my “so that” is often the benefit for the reader that solves a problem they have.
Again, people want to know what’s in it for them. So lay it out.
5. Put a Clear Call to Action in Your Caption
Our attention spans are very, very short.
When you’re writing a caption, make it very clear what specific action you want your reader to take.
Make sure you’re only asking your audience to do one thing.
Too many calls to action, and we’ll lose people.
So, don’t be vague and don’t give too many options, otherwise, people won’t take any action at all.
One call to action you can use that I like is this:
“Share this post if you feel your followers would benefit from it.”
Now, if you’re in a sales closing season – maybe your program is open, your cart’s open, you’re launching – you want to be really, really clear.
Use phrases like:
- “Shop this post”
- “Send me a DM”
- “Visit the link in our bio”
- “Comment below for the link”
For the “comment below” Call to Action, here’s a hint: I love to give people a code to use in their comment.
Something like “Link me, Elise”.
I literally tell my audience to use a particular code and that way I’ll see the code as a comment. I know they’ve read the caption and it’s permission for me to follow up and send them the link in the DM.
How to Conquer Instagram Caption Writer’s Block
What’s my top tip for conquering writer’s block?
I use this exercise whenever I’m about to write a caption or an email…
It’s called, did, saw, heard, doodle.
This is an exercise I learned from copywriter Laura Belgray of Talking Shrimp when I attended her writing workshop in Italy a few summers ago.
What you’re going to do is take a piece of paper and a pen and draw a quadrant so you have two lines crossing each other.
The first quadrant you’re going to label “did,” the next one, “saw,” the next one, “heard,” and the last one will be “doodle.”
In the first quadrant that you labeled, “did“, I want you to think, think about your day yesterday and write five bullet points of things that you did.
Then once that’s complete, I want you to go to the next quadrant called “saw,” and I want you to write down five things that you noticed or saw yesterday.
After that, I want you to go to the “heard” quadrant and write down five things that you overheard that stood out to you.
Maybe you were at a coffee shop, or maybe in line to go to the grocery store.
What was something you overheard that you remember?
And then in the last quadrant, I just want you to doodle.
It can be an abstract image, it can be a self portrait – whatever it is, the point is just to get your pen moving.
So when I do this exercise, I generally try to look for points of conflict.
I think about if there was a moment when I was annoyed with my boyfriend, or if I saw something that was upsetting or irritating.
It may help you to think back to points of conflict because oftentimes that’s where great storytelling starts.
There you have it, my tips on how to write amazing Instagram captions for business.
I would love to know your #1 takeaway from these tips! Comment below and let me know what tip you’ll be implementing for your next Instagram post ⤵️
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