Copy vs Image. What's More Important?

Copywriting Vs Imagery

Image of clouds and cotton together to create a new context to images.

What is More Important

Copy or The Image?

When it comes to high volume engagement with your audience, is copywriting more important or image being used?  When you see an ad or post that grabs you, is it more about the message, the visual imagery, or both?

To really generate views and engagement with your posts, it is important to know your audience and what they come to expect from your product or service you offer.  If you want to learn more, peruse some of our recent blog post to learn more about engaging with your media. When you have that down, you will want to get familiar with how tests are done with the “Creative” [image/s] + the copy pr message used.  First, let’s breakdown what copy and content means in today’s traditional context.

*Copy is a derivative of the latin “ad copies” meaning “to provide” which in turn may be traced back to Greek “ad copium” meaning “to nourish” or “to give”. In a modern context it was adopted by the advertising industry as a means to describe the process of writing text with the intent of “providing” the consumer a particular service or product.

Communication theory philosopher Marshall McLuhan famously coined the phrase, “The medium is the message.” Whereas, the “medium”, affects how the end user perceives content, the “message”***. The medium Mr. McLuhan describes can be either the copywriting or any other medium- visual or audio that will portray a message. Most importantly, how the end user receives the message.

Providing meaning is relevant in most marketing campaigns.   To win them over, to have your audience “call to action,” go to a site, an offer; The copy of an ad should provide meaningful engagement to the piece of content.  In other words, the copy should complement the image viewed.

When it comes to provoking copy, there are some great research tools to source to find out what types of posts that can go viral **.  From emotional and inspiring stories, puzzles & riddles, motivational content to case studies, there are many types of creative content to explore. 

It is also a good idea to look into the posts that have done well in recent years.  For copy-centric or “viral headlines” posts they can be direct such as, “How to Quit Your Job, Move to Paradise and Get Paid to Change the World,” to headlines that evoke emotion, “40 Belief Shaking Remarks From a Ruthless NonConformist***.  After looking through a series of these viral headlines, you can surmise that they focus and getting people to “Learn More,” or better yet, share the post.

Instagram post of egg that set most liked post record.

We can also examine the posts that were extremely successful engaging with their audience.  The simplicity of the beige shaded egg that hit millions of views, comes to mind. A simple stock image of an egg and a very focused challenge as the copy, “Let’s set a world record together and get the most liked post on Instagram.”****  Although, this example is an anomaly and experts are still scratching their heads on how it went viral, it shows how a even a simple image and direct message could have so much engagement.  It is also a study on how Kylie Jenner’s and Beyonce’s high volume engagement posts can be challenged.

In short, the importance of content is equally as important as the copy if done right.  While the image stops the viewers from scrolling, the copy provokes the response or call to action. Provide value, provoke emotion, stump their minds with a brain teaser.  Knowing your brand, content strategy and having goals to your strategy is instrumental.  You can fine tune that message and experiment with the pieces creative [content] that will resonate with your audience.  You will never know until you try. 

Anderson Seal is an award-winning filmmaker, video producer, editor, writer and director. A graduate of Cal State University Long Beach, community advocate, father, husband and entrepreneur. For more information on Seal Media and the services we provide, please visit website.

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