Many prospects skim through catalogs and brochures, glancing at
the photos and reading the accompanying captions only when a
particular image arouses their interest. That’s when you have
their attention. And so that’s when you sell them.
My advice for writing captions is to never describe what readers
can see for themselves in your photo.
If your photo shows a man in a golf shirt, for example, don’t
place a caption beneath the photo that simply says “New Golf
Shirt.” Instead, write a subhead that communicates a benefit
that the reader cannot see, one that the photographer could
never capture. Write something like this:
NEVER A HOLE IN ONE: Our new
Glengarry Golf Shirt features a Teflon fabric protector that
forms an invisible shield around fibers for superb protection
against tears and punctures.
My second piece of solicited advice (you subscribed to the
newsletter, after all) is to start your captions, whenever
possible, with a pithy intro phrase. In five words or fewer,
capture the essence of what you are saying with a clever word
play, like the one above. Here’s another example.
My local newspaper ran a story about the problem that my city is
facing this summer with some homeowners watering their lawns
every day when they should be watering every other day to
conserve water. The story was illustrated with a photograph of a
city bylaw officer, in uniform, at the door of a homeowner who
was in the very act of breaking the bylaw. The photo caption
LAWN ORDER: Bylaw Enforcement
Officer Jack Phillips issues a warning to homeowner . .
That caption put a smile on my face and forced me to read the
story. Your captions and subheads will do the same if you make
them clever, interesting and laden with benefits that interest
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