Length doesn't matter. Getting a message across as quickly, clearly, and powerfully as possible does.
In just 298 words I'll tell you what you need to know about optimal caption lengths for Instagram.
Some say to always write long captions. The reason being it can keep people on the platform longer.
But don't forget. We're writing for people first not social algorithms. To please the algorithms you must first please the people on the platform. It's the actions people take on your content that'll signal to the algorithm "hey this is some good shit!"
My opinion is it's easier to write for humans first and optimize for algorithm-pleasing technicalities later.
Time is precious. Make your audience's time worth it. If you can deliver the same value in 500 characters versus 2,000 - do it. If you need all 2,000 characters to deliver maximum impact - do it.
Be ruthless. Edit like a minimalist. Kill words like "that". If you can eliminate a word, sentence, or even an entire paragraph and still convey the same message...kill it! Having a hard time with getting started? Try the ugly first draft where you dump the messy ideas first for your eyes only and clean it up after (Everybody Writes, 40-43).
The more you write – be it an Instagram caption or blog post – you'll find you spend more time editing than writing. It's a process of elimination, repositioning, and reworking things to craft a story that'll resonate with your audience.
Have a question? Tweet me.
I'll also repurpose the best questions into a more in-depth response through my content
- Ann Handley, “The Ugly First Draft,” in Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content (New Delhi: Wiley India Pvt. Ltd., 2017), pp. 40-43.
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