Copywriting tips — how to write better taglines

McDonalds LogoAs a freelance copywriter, I find that brand names and taglines can be the most difficult copy to write. All copy is subjective, yes, but brand names and taglines are even more so. One that sounds great to the writer could sound horrible to the client — and vice versa.

There’s no real answer to the subjectivity problem, apart from:

  1. giving as many tagline options as possible to the client, and
  2. making sure those options are as diverse as possible.

I’m not suggesting, of course, that tagline generation is just about quantity. There is an art to writing them, so there’s no point providing tons of taglines that miss the point. For this article, I will condense the art of tagline generation into three quick tips…

Note: You’ll have heard of “straplines” and “slogans” as well as “taglines”. Some people will point out that there are subtle differences between them. For instance, a tagline is a phrase that sums up your company and is normally found underneath your logo, whereas a slogan is a catchy statement that’s used as part of an advertising campaign or to support a particular product. For our purposes, we can treat them as the same thing because the three tips I’m about to give are quite general.

My three tips:

  1. Be clear, not clever

If your company and brand are well established and everybody knows you, that gives you licence to come up with a clever tagline. A tagline that plays on words, makes a joke or says something really bold. And that something doesn’t necessarily have to communicate what your business does.

For example, the tagline “I’m lovin’ it” works perfectly well for McDonalds — because everyone knows who McDonalds are and what they sell. It wouldn’t work for any company trying to establish themselves — because it says absolutely nothing about them.

If you can be clear AND clever in your tagline, go for it. But your priority should be telling people who come to your website or look at your advert who you are and how you can help them.

  1. Communicate benefits

There are lots of taglines that just explain what a company does (sometimes because the company name doesn’t). But a descriptive tagline — one that just says who you are and what you do — is not as useful to a potential customer or client as a benefits-driven tagline. The best copy generally focuses on not what a business does, but how they can help. Your tagline should tell people what’s in it for them.

  1. Add some pizzazz

You want your tagline to be memorable. You don’t want it to be boring and the same as what everyone else is saying. You want your tagline to reflect your company’s personality, which means you need to get to the heart of the company’s values, image and any existing branding it may have. Pick an adjective that matches the business’s image and incorporate that into the tagline. Are there any buzzwords that the company already uses to describe itself? See if any of those might work.

My tagline is “Words mean business”. It’s a simple, three-word phrase that does exactly what I need it to do: tell people that I can turn words into business. It’s short and clear, but it does have the added advantage of incorporating the idiom “mean business”, i.e. be really serious about something, as a double meaning — which hopefully makes it memorable.

If you need any help creating taglines or slogans, contact me on 07411 331721 or cr_berry@outlook.com. You can find examples of my work in my portfolio and more advice and copywriting tips on my blog page.

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