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“I need insight on writing a tagline,” wrote a member of my online writing group. “Does my blog really need one?” Great question.
But first, let’s get some clarity. A tagline is a short (5–10 word), descriptive phrase that represents your blog or biz. It defines your special benefit, advantage, value, distinctiveness, or uniqueness. Your tagline is a way to make a promise to your reader, as in …
Before you invest time and creative energy in the process, is writing a tagline really necessary? Find your answer in the name of your blog or biz. If your name doesn’t make a promise to your readers in a way that either (1) shows how you are unique or (2) sets you apart from others in your niche, then you need a tagline.
Let’s say your business is called, “Fast Frog Bakery.” You’re a bakery … we get that. But why should a user call you to place an order instead of calling the bakery a mile down the road from you? The name doesn’t specify why. Frogs and bakeries don’t seem to go together — a frog is green and has warts. Cakes are rich and cookies are sweet.
But what if readers understand that you offer quick service? You can turn around a custom order in less than twenty-four hours. So you create a tagline to go with your “Fast Frog Bakery” name: “We’ll hop right on it.” Your tagline reinforces your name and sets you apart from all the other sugar-and-spice businesses in your area.
Like any good tagline, this one offers a benefit. In this instance, the benefit is speed. Your bakery promises to fulfill an order quickly — probably faster than your competitors. If a shopper is in a hurry, you’re the sweet shop to call.
If you’ve determined that you need a tagline, take these steps to write one. (You can also download this Tagline Generator worksheet to guide you through the process step-by-step.)
Start by writing down the benefits of your product, service, or blog. Benefits are advantages. How do you make life useful, affordable, interesting, convenient, simpler, or productive for the reader? Take your time and name as many advantages as you can.
For instance, if you create resources for volunteers, your reader’s life will look easier because you provide printables. If you write a mommy blog, your reader’s life will be less hectic because you offer practical tips for raising toddlers. If you’re an automotive repair shop, your customers will have the convenience of a replacement car while you’re fixing theirs.
Which are the most overarching benefits … or the most important one or two distinctives that define what you do?
Use your list to write a couple of sentences or a short paragraph that explains the benefits you give to a set of specific readers. Your key benefit makes a promise to readers that "this is what you'll get when you land on my site."
Don’t be worried about the readers you’ll “leave out” by not targeting them when writing a tagline. Just because you don’t address them with your main distinctive or value proposition doesn’t mean they won’t find you or use your services. Plenty of consumers order cakes and desserts from Fast Frog Bakery even if they’re not in a hurry.
Narrow your content to a sentence, focusing on the benefit. Are there specific terms you can replace in your phrasing to capture your distinct personality or position? Here’s where you can have fun! Play with the descriptors. Use your thesaurus. Tighten your sentence to a few pithy words that resonate with you.
You don’t need to be the only blog or biz in the world that provides your content or your service.
Think back to Fast Frog. There are thousands of bakeries in the world. What makes yours different from others? Maybe it’s your location. Maybe it’s a signature product. Maybe it’s a special kind of content or packaging or type of service you provide.
Find your distinctive … and you’ll find your tagline.
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