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How to Write Sticky Copy for Print and Social Media

Writing copy that is worth reading and sticks to your customer’s brain is important for both digital and print marketing if you want to connect, create relationships, and ultimately convert readers to customers.  But how do you do that?

Consumers are bombarded with thousands of messages daily, so having your “sticky message” be the one they post on the wall in their head can be a challenge. Here are some tips to get you started.

1. Forget about what you want to say

Don’t just say what you want to say. You need to write about “what matters to your customers in a way that speaks to them.”1 Know your value proposition and speak to the customers who will be interested.

2. Provide relevant timely offers, information, or invitations

“Strawberries taste good in summer. Hot chocolate taste good in winter.”2 As they say, timing is everything.

3. Be an interesting storyteller

Today’s new kind of marketing is “driven by good stories.”1 Becoming a good story teller is just one of the tools you need to have in your repertoire. Social media loves good stories. 

4. Make it easy, make it short

Whether you’re sending a postcard with a special promotional invitation or trying to engage customers via Facebook by asking them to take your online survey, don’t make them jump through hoops or fill out long forms.1

5. Go for the long, slow, burn

Think in terms of building a long-term relationship rather than selling anything. Your initial contact should get them to respond in some manner so don’t focus on trying to get them to hit the “buy now” button.

6. Keep it fresh

Before your message turns sour, pull it. Limit the time of your campaign3 or the number you’re selling.

7. Don’t hedge4

I’m thinking about telling you that you might want to give a thought to considering writing copy that does not flip flop, so you have a somewhat better chance of turning at least some readers     into customers. Ugh. Here’s what I should have said: “Write copy with a forceful point of view and turn readers into customers.” You can’t write to cover those “strictly speaking” issues. It’s true, you will never write anything that turns all readers into customers. It’s more true that it will only be “some”.  But don’t write it that way.

8. Make your offer irresistible4

Creating an irresistible offer gives the customer something highly compelling in such a way that it sets you apart from everyone else. Consider this copy:
When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight. Yup, when you have to have your package there the next morning, no matter what, who will you call? No matter the cost?

9. Track what’s working

Keep track of what works and what doesn’t by seeing who responds to which copy and offer,   how many clicked through from your social media sites, and other basic metrics. This will help you fine tune future campaigns as you hone the most effective messages.

Once you launch your campaign, don’t keep the contents secret – announce it across all print and digital channels. Don’t forget to make the content easy for customers to share with social links. Now go forth and create sticky content.     


  1. Brewing up Great Social-Media Content
  2. Problem Solved: How Do I Turn a Touch Into a Relationship?
  3. Does Your Customer Want What You’ve Got to Offer?
  4. 10 Secrets to More Magnetic Copy
  5. “Kids Eat Free” and Other Irresistible Offers

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