UX copywriting, or user-experience copywriting, is the act of writing and structuring copy that moves digital users, like visitors and customers, toward accomplishing a goal in an intuitive way.
Let’s start by viciously ripping that term – UX copywriting – apart.
UX = user experience
UX describes how, when and why people interact with a product or service – and how they feel about their experience. If you wear clothes, eat food and have a roof over your head, you’re having multiple user experiences every single second.
Let’s use an article of clothing as an example. Socks!
If you wear socks, you’re a user of that product, and your experience starts long before your toes get warm ‘n’ cozy.
First, you realize you need socks. Maybe, like me, you’ve got somewhat of a holey sock epidemic and almost every time you put on a pair, a circle of skin stares right back at ya. So you start shopping for new socks. You compare your options. You find some you want. You buy them. You unpackage them. And finally, you put them on.
Almost anything can contribute to a good or bad user experience. Like, if I ordered ankle socks online and received thigh highs instead.
All user experiences are affected by things like:
- The reason you decide to use or purchase something in the first place
- The time of year and time of day you use the product
- Any friction or pleasant surprises you encounter
- How you feel throughout the whole journey
UX applies to both physical and digital products but for the rest of this post, I’ll be talking about digital. In digital marketing, we can optimize UX by understanding our audience and creating brand and product interactions that are:
- Relevant to people’s needs
And we can use copy to guide them toward a user experience that satisfies both their goals – and ours.
Copywriting is all about purpose and persuasion
When copywriting, we write with a goal in mind.
And to achieve that goal, we take the desires people already have and show them how to fulfill them with a product or service. (I’m paraphrasing the legendary Eugene Schwartz and his concept of mass desire here.)
Ultimately, copy should compel people to take an action. Without a word wasted.
Enter UX copywriting
UX copywriting is the act of writing and structuring copy that moves people toward accomplishing a goal in an intuitive way.
You’ve seen this in lots of headlines, microcopy and button copy. I’ll show you an example of each.
I’m new to conversion copywriting, so I’m eager to learn everything I can. This means I’m on an endless hunt for books, courses and training to better my skills.
And even though I’m actively looking for guidance, I probably won’t buy a conversion copywriting kit from some guy in an alley.
Or blindly follow advice I find online.
I want to make sure I’m getting copywriting resources from someone I trust.
When I’m greeted with the Copyhackers headline above, I’m snagged.
The headline acknowledges where I’m at in my journey as a fresh-to-the-biz conversion copywriter and offers something I need – the essentials.
This headline contributes to a positive user experience by:
- Keeping the copy succinct
- Using bold formatting to emphasize the benefit of this page
- Directly relating to me and what I do by using the term conversion copywriting – so I’m keen to continue reading and eventually sign up to receive the Conversion Copywriting 101 course.
I write Facebook ads, so I have a vested interest in how social media advertising engages people.
When I see this post, I’m instantly intrigued by the title. Below that, I notice the name of the author – Sarah Sal – as well as the microcopy: “19 Min Read.”
The estimated reading time answers an important question:
- How much time will I need to set aside to read this?
Once I know how long it will take, I can decide if there’s enough cushion in my schedule at this exact moment or if I should save it for later.
So even though I may not read the post right away, the microcopy gives me the details I need to plan to read it another day, which still brings me one step closer to accomplishing the main goal of reading the article.
UX-friendly button copy
The copy on any button should persuade people to click it because they believe it will make their life better.
The button text above makes that click extra enticing by offering me front-of-the-line-access to Copyhackers’ guest blogging course.
In addition to that, the button copy creates a good user experience by:
- Centring the text so my eyes are focused right where the button should be clicked
- Using a different colour from the rest of the text, so I understand it has a different purpose
- Formatting the word ‘all’ in upper case which disrupts the sentence case pattern and stops me from skimming
Steve Krug said it best…
Whether clicking a button or scrolling down a page, people want clarity. And they want to make decisions they feel good about.
UX copywriting makes reader journeys easier, so we can all accomplish our goals
Our job as copywriters and digital marketers is first to listen to what people want and need, then illustrate the easiest ways to accomplish their goals – without any distractions or wasted words.
We couldn’t do this without:
- Listening to our audience. Understanding their hopes. Fears. Desires. Frustrations. These insights are essential for good copy and good user experience.
- Adopting web conventions. On landing pages, sales pages and emails, people expect buttons to look like buttons. They expect hyperlinks to be underlined. Headlines to be bolded. Messages to be matched. If we don’t follow best practices, we risk confusing (and losing) our audience.
Both clients and customers have important goals. Copywriters find where those align so they can show people how to achieve their desires. Good UX copy makes the journey effortless.