Writing 101: 5 Tips for Writing a Billboard

By Jeremy Miller, March 3, 2016 // Copy/Copywriting

[About a 2 MIN read]

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What if every single play, a coach called for a Hail Mary? What if every batter, every time, swung for the fences? It’s not going to make for a very good (or very interesting) game, is it?

The same goes for marketing. Sometimes it feels like, as an organization, you have to get your whole message across all at once. That you have to go for the jugular every time. In fact, marketing is better as a slow-play, patiently managing your messaging so that eventually, you’ve saturated your audience, and won them to your side.

Billboards, whether you like them or not, can be great tactics for the slow-play. They are a secondary medium that can support an existing brand or campaign in a creative way. Customers aren’t likely to purchase a vehicle, shop your website, or change their point of view just because they saw your billboard. But it could get their attention, and place your brand in their minds with a positive association. You might even make it memorable enough that they talk about it.

What does that all mean when sitting down and writing the actual copy? Here are five tips to keeping your billboard short and sweet:

  1. Stick to around seven words. Max 10. This includes the company name. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule (though this one proves it).
  2. Communicate only a single message. You’ve got just a few seconds, so keep it simple.
  3. Be memorable, but not too clever. People have limited time to digest your message.
  4. Rely on a strong visual to communicate the message. An interesting, or unexpected visual can grab attention quickly.
  5. Generally, don’t include contact info; it’s distracting and difficult to remember.

The most important thing? Remember that you have mere seconds to get your message across to someone who’s not paying full attention as they pass by. So make it creative, make it memorable, but don’t go for the Hail Mary.

Author

Jeremy Miller
Jeremy Miller

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