How to Write Better Captions for Instagram

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The only thing that might be more difficult than taking pictures for Instagram is writing captions for Instagram and there definitely isn't just one way to do it. This blog covers what to write in your captions, how long they should be and how to format them!

What Should I Be Writing In My Instagram Captions?

Too many times have I been sitting with a blank mind in front of a pretty photo thinking, “wtf do I say about this”. So I made a rule for myself - I want to write a caption that gives value in at least one out of every three posts.

How to Give Value

  1. Share a Tip - Sharing tips and DIY hacks for things in your industry are super valuable to readers. If you are a hair stylist let them know ONE ingredient to look for on a package to know if they should put a product back on the shelf, or share what a specific type of hair brush is used for.

  2. Tell a story - Humans have been communicating through stories since..forever. It’s a very natural way to converse so becoming a good storyteller is super important for social media. When you're telling a story you open up a channel for conversation and you're showing a vulnerability that your followers will definitely appreciate even if it's just a silly or happy story. 

  3. Motivation - Everyone loves a feel-good motivational message and more often than not your audience will love to celebrate with you. So share a win or an inspiring story.

  4. Entertainment - In many cases bloggers/Influencers/personalities are bringing value through entertainment. This might be in the form of witty captions, funny videos, or beautiful photos.

I give value by including tips for Instagram, digital marketing or personal branding, being vulnerable through story telling, showing up with good imagery, sometimes writing a little feel-good motivational message.

Creating value in captions is huge to me! If I go onto someones page and don't learn something new about them or something else I'm interested in I'm probably not going to follow them unless their images are serious goals and I'm inspired by the photos. So if your last 5 captions are, "missing this", "#TBT", *random emoji*, "song lyrics", or "a quote"....and you're trying to sell a product and/or brand yourself, I'd reassess!! If you're a beauty blogger make sure you list every product you used and maybe throw in a blending tip. If you're a food blogger toss up the recipe or a kitchen hack. Fashion? Tell us what/who inspired your outfit choice and where you find the trendiest clothes at lower prices. You ARE an expert in your field so share your wisdom! 

Pro Tip: Start a note in your phone for when caption ideas like stories or tips come to you but you aren't quite ready to post. Then once you have a high quality photo lined up you can go back into your note and use your great caption idea!

How Long Should My Captions Be?

If you are the person who kills it with pretty pics and funny one-liners on the daily then keep doing your thing! It's all about finding what works for you anyway. I honestly don't notice a huge difference in engagement with my longer captions but the engagement is slightly higher when I'm giving value through tips and even more so when I'm telling a story and talking about myself..what?! lol. I know it sounds vain but it basically comes down to this. We are all the same. We love feeling connection and love, and that is why when we read other peoples stories on IG we feel compelled to continue that conversation, it's like they writer is speaking right to us. 

How Do I Format My Captions?

When it comes to the actual formatting style of your captions it’s important to keep in mind that one huge long paragraph of text won’t stop many people in their scroll. It’s overwhelming to the eye to see a huge block of text even if, on a desktop, the same amount of text would look much much shorter. It takes about 30 seconds to read a full caption but when since attention span on a post is usually less than 2 seconds we want to make sure our caption is attention grabbing.

Start with a Headline

Start your caption with a headline or tagline that describes what the rest of the caption discusses. For example

“Networking Changes My Business”, “Landing Clients As A Freelancer”, or “Outsourcing vs. DIY”.

With a headline like this the reader can quickly decide whether they are interested in the rest of the information.

Break Up The Body

The body of your caption is where you are sharing an actionable takeaway or tips, telling a story or providing entertainment. Try and create space between each thought (1-2 sentences) to help increase the readability of your caption. You can do this by using “.” or “_” or emojis between paragraphs. If you don’t like the look of a space between every sentence I’d then encourage you to use something like an emoji within your paragraphs.

Include a Call To Action

It’s important to tell your audience what you would like them to do next! This could be…

  • link in bio

  • leave a comment regarding XYZ

  • answer this question in the comments below

  • DM me with XYZ

It’s common to put the CTA at the end of a caption but you can include it wherever. Sometimes CTAs in the beginning of the caption render more comments because not everyone reads till the end.

I love starting my longer captions with a witty (well I think I'm funny) or cute one-liner so that the followers who aren't down to read a longer caption are still entertained and hopefully engage. Then I leave a space and head into the rest of the text. 

XXXXXXXX <-- One liner

_                        <-- space

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx <--- long portion of the caption
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

How to Space Your Caption so it Actually Works

Formatting can be tricky. I love this website . I know it looks random and a little sketchy but it works like a charm! I always type my captions in iMessage or a note, then copy them into my little caption hacker site , then copy and paste from there into Instagram! As long as you don’t make any changes after that it will hold the formatting. This site also allows you to use bold and italics.

Okay friend, that’s all the tips I have for you! I hope you never have to wonder what to write in your captions again!

Chat soon,

xx. 

Jo

PS. Did you like this blog? Pin it so I know it’s valuable to you and so others can learn too! ♥

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