How To Write A Winning Instagram Caption

So, one of the main areas that people dm me about with regard to Instagram tips, is the writing of the perfect caption. No longer is Instagram just about sharing a fabulous image, sitting back and letting the magic happen. No, no, no. You are now under pressure to write a headline worthy, Oscar contender speech engaging caption that has your followers stumbling over themselves to double click that heart and reply. The pressure is real! You want to show your followers who you are. You don’t want to be boring but still you can sit there for way too long overthinking what to type. Your brain in a total scramble as you find nothing of interest to convey. How can I be this illiterate you find yourself asking? Or why have I got writers’ block on Instagram. OK, let’s just be safe and mention coffee, or is that just me? Whether you over procrastinate or would just appreciate a little help with writing that banging caption, I enrolled the help of some of my favourite captioneers (not a word but it kind of works!) and asked them to share with me their top caption tip!

First up is Talitha from @rubyandb. Talitha is one of those super warm Instagrammers that makes you feel like she is talking to you and not to all of her thousands of followers. I think that’s such a wonderful skilled way to make your caption appear and her advice is fabulous:

“ I actually find the caption writing hard sometimes but try to make it personal by talking about what I'm reading or doing that day. I find asking a question is great for getting to know the people I'm interacting with. I personally love coming to Instagram as a bit of an escape from real life so if I'm having a really bad day I won't usually talk about it. I absolutely love the captions on @jorodgers posts!”

Photo  @rubyandb

Photo @rubyandb

Next up is from Agata at @windmilldreams whose photos are absolutely stunning that she almost doesn’t need a caption but always her words make me feel that I want to sit in a cafe drinking coffee with her chatting about life. Agata has a wonderful warm way about her that makes you feel you really know her (oh and she’s super kind and helpful too) and her advice for writing that winning caption is:

“In my opinion we shouldn’t underestimate the power of a good caption! While creating good quality content for your feed is important, writing captions that encourage people to comment is a great strategy to drive more engagement under your photo which help you boost your posts and even reach new audiences.

In my opinion a great caption is one that shows off your personality, adds a bit of humour, provides the right context and all in all inspires your followers to engage with your content. Ask yourself what message you’d like to convey that day and how you want to convert it into something that adds value for your audience. And remember - it doesn’t have to be an essay-long caption to be engaging! And finally, if you do it right, I am sure your followers will understand #captionstrike from time to time...It happens to all of us!😄”

Now this Instagrammer never fails to make me laugh. If humour is what you are looking for then this is your man to follow. David from @frenchieyankee has that ability to turn everyday situations into relatable humour. He would be at the top of my dinner party guest list for sure! Anyway, David’s advice is heartfelt and I think we could all learn a lot from his words:

““I used to blog (food, travel, recipes, cultural/personal experiences) before I focused on Instagram solely. My feed is what I call micro-blogging and with that in mind I try to focus on captions as an enhancement to the photos - whether or not both photo and caption are related to each other. Some people only care about the photo without reading the caption and some love the caption, it varies. 

Just like curating your feed and finding your editing style, find a caption style that portrays you without copying someone else’s personality and do create them so you can engage with others on Instagram. You have to find the right balance between being yourself yet not narcissistic and sparking some interest so others continue to enjoy being connected with your account. It does not have to be silly, or witty, or funny whiny, it just has to be you. While it is a platform that is visually based and photo driven, people will want to know more about you and your personality at some point.

Whether it is about drawing people in to build communication or making people react with an amusing or intriguing comment, at the end of the day my captions are drawn from experiences and situations I observe around me. Most of the time they come to light as I’m about to post - no rhyme or reason. It is off the cuff, last minute and/or from memory unless I took some notes about a funny comment/quote my husband or one of my friends said. I was blessed with two cultures that give me loads of inspiration and a husband who blurts out really good caption gems once in a while.”

From one humorous Instagrammer to another, I bring you Rebecca from @malmoandmoss as I seriously think this girl is the Queen of captions. Rebecca is a guru on both captions and stories, her humour outrageous! Oh and she has the most beautiful home too. Her advice is top:

“Don't be afraid to be different. There are so many people on Instagram you need to find a way to stand out and get your personality across so be brave and share things a little more personal than your thoughts on the weather! My captions are never what people expect when they look at my pictures but they have become my usp.  If you share a little bit of you then people feel inclined to share back and then you get to have some really great conversations. So basically in a nutshell be brave not bland!”

This next grammar is a social media expert, literally! And she is all about brand on point that I regularly find myself thinking I must stay true to brand like Helen @notaboutthekids! It helps as people know what to come to expect from you. Helen has also written an expert blog on writing captions and you can view that here but her advice for you today on my blog is fabulous too. Helen says:

“This is how I approach writing captions, which is more or less the same way that I approached writing radio news bulletins back in the day. Life skills💪. Write for just one person, don’t address your captions to the whole of Instagram 😊, make it personal. I try and write as I speak, or at least how I text or email, only using casual language that feels natural for me. To check, read aloud.

A really successful Instagram caption invites a response, engagement. That doesn’t mean asking a direct question, just thinking about a small way in which someone might feel like starting a chat. Open conversation in the same way as you would over coffee with a friend.

When time allows, I draft a comment, go away (to sleep probably) and then have another look before I post it. There’s always room for improvement 😉. Oh and my preference, keep it short (ish), who has time????”

It’s true that we can all overthink captions which is why I just love this advice from Harriet @yomargey as she tells it how it is. Harriet’s captions are always humorous but she was this ability to not take herself too seriously in this Instagram crazy world oh and her photography is simply stunning! I look forward to Harriet’s words every day for that little pick me up for sure. Harriet’s advice on captions is:

“Captions are more important than ever it seems, just posting a beautiful picture is no longer enough. It’s the place to show your personality, an essential factor in keeping your followers engaged.”

Photo  @yomargey

Photo @yomargey

And last, but no means least, is Rufus (though I’ve been reliably informed that this is not his real name!) from @rufus_airlines who writes the most poetically beautiful prose and has a heart full of love that he shares daily with his followers. Rufus has something different to share with you which is an example of writing inspired from a picture:

“Someone told me : Run Rufus .. Go and find them and photograph them secretly. I took a taxi to catch up. They had morning lesson 7:00-8:00 am and their teacher was tough and a bit quaint. I entered the classroom by tapping my toes  (like theme). The pianist played a melody of Ravel and they were dancing incessantly. They were so beautiful, all of them. It was a miracle! I left my camera down. I could not post on instagram, in any case, photos of “The Dance Class“! Mr. Edgar Degas would berate me.” How beautiful is that?!

I can’t thank all of you enough for agreeing to take part in my blog. I was overwhelmed with your generosity of tips. Here’s to eradicating all future form of writers’ block going forward, or as Agata from @windmilldreams said #captionstrike! And, if you aren't following these awesome accounts then I can’t urge you enough. These accounts are up there in my top list of helpful, engaging kind grammers for sure. Oh, and some final words that I wanted to add come from Daria @dariashew who summed up this Instagram community so well when commenting on one of my posts this week, saying so eloquently “that’s why I love long captions and sometimes oversharing my thoughts … I want to connect with others and feel like we are all real, not just an emotionless pretty picture.’ Daria I fell in love with your words and couldn’t have put it better myself.

Thank you so much for reading and happy scrolling.

Helen x

Helen Sandle3 Comments