How to Write Copy for Billboards

Write Label
3 min readDec 23, 2021


by Maria Wojciechowski

Writing copy for billboards can be a difficult task. Billboards must capture the attention of a viewer who likely is driving at high speeds and, even more likely, not paying attention to billboards.

An effective billboard allows viewers to recognize a brand in just 2–3 seconds. Below are a few helpful tips to follow when writing your billboard copy:

Be Clear and Concise

Billboard content will only be visible for a few seconds at a time. Good billboards communicate without a lot of words. Most drivers stop reading after five words. Try to convert the essence of an idea into a short slogan rather than describing it with prose.

Bad Example:
Life is better when you have a cake from Mr. Kipling!
Good Example:
Life is better with cake | Mr. Kipling

Be Memorable, But Not Too Clever.

While you want your message to have an impact, remember that people have limited time to digest your copy. If your quip is a thinker, chances are the viewer will read it and forget it. You’ve got just a few seconds. Keep it simple.

Bad Example:
Wenh Lfie Sotps Mkanig Snese. | Colorado Crisis Services
Good Example:
When Life Sotps Mkanig Sense. | Colorado Crisis Services

Write in the Voice of the Company

Take a moment to review the company’s website or online presence to familiarize yourself with the brand. Is their online presence funny or professional? Try to write in the tone the company has already established.

Remember, this does not mean you should simply copy and paste phrases that have already been used by the company. The client is coming to us for a fresh take.

Bad Example:
Don’t be insane! Break for a train so you don’t get slain! | Angels on Track
Good Example:
Save your life. Stop for trains. | Angels on Track

Use Appropriate Content

Because both the Write Label client and the Billboard owner must approve billboard copy, all ad content must be appropriate for all audiences.

Keep the CTA Simple

Including too much contact information makes the billboard look busy. Use the most memorable form of contact — probably a website- since most people won’t have time to memorize a phone number. Try not to be redundant. If the URL is the same as the business’ name, you do not need to repeat it more than once.

Bad Example:
For A Hunger-Free Central Gulf Coast | Feeding the Gulf Coast
(251) 653–1617
Good Example:
For A Hunger-Free Central Gulf Coast

Avoid Questions

Don’t ask a question that a customer could possibly answer “no.”

Need your dirty car cleaned?
Where dirty cars come clean!


  • No profanity, hate speech, personal attacks, or innuendos.
  • No statements that are verifiably false or needlessly inflammatory.
  • No ‘fine print.’
  • All political ads must have a clear and legible “Paid for by…” statement from a legitimate organization. This disclaimer may be written in the second submission box.
  • No negative or potentially controversial copy.
  • All music artists with explicit lyrics must put “explicit content” in their ad copy. This disclaimer may be written in the second submission box.
  • Use any copy from the brief verbatim. Clients pay extra for the copywriting service so we should give them a fresh take on their existing messages.
  • Include any extra copy in the second submission box. The “Company Name or URL” box should be reserved for the company name and/or the requested point of contact. Social media handles, addresses, phone numbers, etc., may be included if explicitly requested in the brief. Otherwise, please use the website as the default contact information.

Billboards are considered “Top of Funnel” marketing, meaning the goal of a billboard is awareness. Bob’s Tires knows that the viewer won’t immediately buy a new set of tires after seeing their billboard, but they want the viewer to remember the name Bob’s Tires in six months when it is time for that new set of tires.

So, as you write your billboard copy, consider the viewer. They need to have time to read it, so keep it short. Understand it, so keep it simple. And remember it, so be creative!

For any remaining questions, please email

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