The Clock’s Ticking: Five TikTok Copywriting Lessons

TikTok copywriting is taking the marketing world by storm, with countless trends to exploit. In this guest post, Anne Elder explores five of the best.

When you open TikTok, what’s on your ‘for you’ page? Is it a man dressed as Elvis dancing with a baby? Or New Yorkers showing things in their apartments that “just make sense”? Maybe you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about right now, but you should. With a wide variety of diverse content, TikTok has become the rising star of social media, as its creators blur the lines between storytelling, entertainment, and takes on current events—with TikTok copywriting quickly gaining popularity too. 

While the app started as a fun platform with GenZ in mind, it quickly gained an older audience seeking something to cure their boredom amidst the pandemic. TikTok provided an outlet for us during stressful times, just as good writing provides an escape for its readers. And it’s no wonder—its creators serve a master class in creating quick, relatable content that will suck an audience in for hours, which is no easy feat when the next video is a mere swipe away. 

The creators’ storytelling skills cross the generational divide, valuing quick wit and building loyal viewers. Their high engagement and creativity is something all copywriters and marketers can learn from, in both creation and reaction. And while in many ways Tiktok copywriting is a natural fit, no one will force you to learn the newest hit dance to implement these tips in your writing. 

Ready? Let’s get scrolling. 

1. Grab your audience’s attention—fast 

For both TikTokers and copywriters, there are only a few seconds to get the viewer’s, or reader’s, attention. And TikTokers are well aware of this. The videos that get the most engagement start instantly, greeting the viewer with a quick, “Hey!,” “This is the story no one asked for,” or a familiar song. There is no time to waste when attention spans run short and the amount of content is seemingly endless. Readers, like viewers scrolling through TikTok, want content that they relate to, that will entertain them, and that is easily digestible in a short period of time.

2. Engage your viewers

One of the most endearing parts about TikTok is that the creators are relatable and often seek to build community—something that should be at the forefront for copywriters, too. They want to meet people as diverse as they are, or who share a similar story. As such, they pull the audience in with their demeanor, visual cues, and attention to the audience, talking to their phone as if they are talking to a friend. These techniques are a great way to create a TikTok copywriting platform, as well, and actively participate in the conversation surrounding the copy, rather than staying removed from it. 

3. Play with trends

In the TikTok universe, trends catch on—fast. Take the earlier example of, “Things in my NYC apartment that just make sense.” This sound of a girl narrating her apartment began with a Carrie Bradshaw-esque tour of a beautifully decorated one-bedroom apartment. But clever TikTokers quickly disrupted this, using her voice to narrate a tour of their own apartments, with leaking ceilings, broken refrigerators, and ovens filled with groceries because there is no other storage space. And while it began as a tongue-in-cheek response to the original trend, it is now a trend of its own merit, albeit slightly more gritty and in many ways, more unexpected, than the original. This ability to pivot quickly and take what is familiar and upend it should be in the toolbox of all copywriters, especially those writing online where things change instantly. 

4. Don’t tease a Part Two 

Frequently, long-winded storytellers on TikTok will run out of time—the allotted 60 seconds—to finish their story, and instead will quickly sputter, “Like for part two!” in one exasperated breath. The comments almost always reflect the viewer’s disappointment of having to go search for the second video, not feeling like it was warranted, and are ultimately dissatisfied with the story’s conclusion. Don’t be like these creators! The joy of a media dedicated to shorter formats, whether short copy or fast videos, is instant gratification—that is what the viewer wants. They want to get in, get out, and still take away a morsel of knowledge they didn’t have before, and if you oblige, they will come back again and again. 

5. Be yourself

“Be yourself” might as well be the golden seal at the doors of social media and copywriting, because there, authenticity is paramount. No audience wants fake, posed content, whether they are reading an Instagram caption or watching 15 seconds of how you obtained gorgeous, curly hair. Honesty and transparency build trust with the audience, and in turn, create an active following that will want to engage with brands and individuals alike. 

The creativity and openness shown by TikTok creators could easily be the backbone of relatable, compelling copy. And while we as copywriters may not have a hit song to accompany our storytelling, we can still draw in an active audience by taking pointers from those who do. 

Are you looking to disrupt and engage with your copy? Get in touch with MarketSmiths today. 

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