Minted’s Top 7 Tips for Writing Compelling Greeting Cards

The art attracts and the verse sells. That saying in the greeting cards biz definitely rings true—shoppers are initially hooked by compelling design, but it’s oftentimes the copywriting that seals the deal. By combining high-quality writing with Minted’s signature design-forward aesthetic, we believe sky’s the limit for innovating the greeting card market.

Keeping in mind that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to successful copywriting, here are seven of Minted’s top tips for crafting fresh, original copy.

1. Keep it brief

Save the lengthy novels for, well, your novel. In today’s attention-deficit world, many people appreciate cards that quickly get to the point. In fact, we recommend a max word count of 30 for greeting cards.

2. Pack a punchline

Humor appeals to a large segment of shoppers. I mean, who doesn’t like to laugh? Funny copy is just about always popular, and interior punchlines can help win over the customer. Don’t be afraid to use humor in unexpected places — even on a sympathy card.

“Again and Again” Minted x Target Greeting Card copy by Hannah Wilson; design by Up Up Creative

“Birthday Tacos” copy and design by Olivia Herrick

3. Be original

You’ll hear us say this over and over: Uniqueness rules. Avoid incorporating brand or company names that are copyrighted or trademarked, and do not pull copy from song lyrics, famous quotes, or published books. We’re looking for original works of authorship that are copyrightable under United States law as “literary works.” Read helpful advice in “What is Truly Unique? Sound Advice for Ensuring Your Work is Original” 

“Llama Birthday” by Lori Wemple

4. Think outside and inside of the card

As you’re writing copy, visualize a customer’s reading experience from the outside in, and include thoughtful interior copy that ties back to the design. Elements of surprise recommended.

Although some card designs succeed with just exterior copy, keep in mind that the majority of greeting cards at Target include interior copy. Oftentimes, simple interior copy like “happy birthday” is just fine. In fact, studies show that Millennials are happy with brief interior copy and are comfortable writing their own personal sentiments.

5. Keep it casual

Use conversational voice and avoid sounding overly formal. Read your copy aloud — does it sound natural?

6. Focus on quality over quantity

We suggest submitting your strongest 5-10 works into Minted Greeting Card Challenges, and avoid submitting iterations of the same concept. 

7. Broaden the appeal

Though writers are often encouraged to visualize a particular person they’re writing for, we recommend taking that advice with a grain of salt for greeting cards. You’re more likely to appeal to a wider audience if you avoid overly specific copy that narrows the audience. With that in mind, also think about the demographics of the people who are shopping for greeting cards. For example, will the messaging resonate with both New Yorkers and Tennesseans? Along those same lines, avoid identifying specific recipients (i.e., “to my uncle”) or specific ages (i..e, “2nd birthday), but do write accessible messages that many folks can relate to.

(exterior) “Beautiful Strong Smart” Minted x Target greeting card design by Alethea and Ruth; copy by Nicole Ido

interior “before” copy

interior “after” copy

“Hey Handsome” Minted X Target greeting card design by Madalena Earnest; copy by Annie Montgomery

Inside card copy “before”

Inside card copy “after”

Also avoid making the card “giver” too narrow. The designs below refer to “Dad” instead of “my dad.” A subtle change like this can make the card suitable for many more “givers”: children, spouse, parents, and friends.

“Dad, You Nailed It” Minted X Target greeting card by Noonday Design

The above interior works well because it doesn’t specify a recipient. Overly specific copy such as “Happy Father’s Day from your loving daughter” does not appeal to a wide audience.

Looking for more tips? Visit the Minted Artist Education page.


About the author: Amy Schroeder, Minted’s Sr. Manager of Community Content, founded Venus, the magazine about women in the arts and DIY culture, and has written for Etsy, West Elm, Pitchfork, and NYLON. Connect on Instagram @thevenuslady.

Published November 8, 2018

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