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.

“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. As for the suggested length of interior copy, shoot for quality over quantity. The average amount of interior copy is about two lines, but don’t force yourself to write two lines if it’s not working with your concept. 

5. Keep it real

Use conversational voice and avoid sounding overly formal. Read your copy aloud — does it sound natural, like something someone would actually say?

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. Write for someone in particular without addressing them “by name”

When Minted first entered the greeting cards business, we suggested writing copy that appeals to a broad, multipurpose audience. But now that Minted’s greeting card business has grown, we’ve massaged our advice to align with what many writers are accustomed to hearing: “Visualize the person (or kind of person) you’re writing for.”

Taking this advice a step further, we also suggest putting yourself in the shoes of the target card giver. Perhaps your card giver is a daughter or son who wants to find just the right card for her/his mom who has a goofy sense of humor. Perhaps your card giver is a wife who wants to give her longtime husband an unexpected Valentine’s Day card. Or perhaps your card giver is an office worker who wants to give a birthday card to a coworker he doesn’t know very well. In the latter case, this doesn’t mean that you should write, “Happy birthday to my coworker whom I don’t know well,” but we do suggest keeping the persona in mind as you’re creating the look, feel, and sentiment of the card.

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

interior “before” copy

interior “after” copy

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.

Minted’s Top 9 Tips for Creating Irresistible Greeting Cards

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 | Updated on March 12, 2019

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