UX in Copywriting: Copy from an Experiential Point of View

Good copywriting is about creating an experience with only the letters in the alphabet and the space on a page.

Despite their apparent simplicity, these two tools are incredibly powerful, and have been put to great use since the genesis of the written word. In recent years, however, the medium through which copy is delivered has shifted, and the way that audiences consume content has changed. In other words, the user experience of reading has completely evolved.

As much as copywriting is about creating engaging content, there is an increasing need to consider audience’s online experience in order to fully engage them.

The internet is a fathomless sea of content — much of it written — that is ever-growing and evolving at an exponential rate. Ensuring your content breaks through the clutter has never been more important, nor more competitive. An excellent way to do this is by considering your copywriting from a UX perspective.

ux in copywriting

UX in Copywriting

What is important to remember when implementing the concept of UX into copywriting is that one size doesn’t fit all.

Every publisher of content, from a gig guide to a music publication to Time Magazine, has different goals, different values, different motives, and most importantly, different audiences. This will have a huge impact on how you orchestrate your user experience.

So, let’s get into some of the ways in which you can adopt a better approach to copywriting for your readers…

Language and Style

Understanding your audience is an integral part of copywriting and content marketing as a whole. The language you use should reflect your target audience, as well as your brand. And although this should come naturally, it is important to occasionally take a step back and look at the bigger picture; to read your own copy with a little perspective.

Language is acrobatic, flexible, it’s ductile and impressionable. It is putty in your hands, ready to be moulded in whichever way necessary.

Formal & Technical

Good copy needn’t be university-level writing or poetic prose, it is whatever the user needs it to be. Stiff, pragmatic language may be lifeless, but for instructional text like how-to guides or a product instruction manuals, it is the most effective way to ensure the reader can easily access the information at hand.

Take for example an support guide on the Apple website:

technicalcopy_outbrain_ux

On the flipside, this kind of writing isn’t all that engaging, but is rather serving a direct purpose, i.e. helping the user complete a task with as much ease as possible.

The key premise behind UX is accessibility and the transference of information — ensuring the user connects with the system. However, in copywriting terms, this may not always mean access to information, but rather an emotional connection, as well. Which brings us to another user-friendly approach to copywriting…

Conversational

Conversational copy, or inclusive copy, is an extremely persuasive writing technique as it elicits an emotional connection between the writer and the reader. The key here is conversational tone, much like a vendor talking face-to-face with a customer.

Inclusive words like “you” and “me” and “us” are fantastic emotional conductors that draw a reader in, asking them to engage on a more personal level, which can be a really powerful way to get a message across.

Take for example an excerpt from a newsletter from digital strategy guru, Brian Dean from Backlinko:

conversationalcopy_outbrain_ux

In a different context — like a more traditional media outlet (think the New York Times) – conversational copywriting may be read as sloppy and unprofessional. A casual approach to copy may be a great way to create a connection with the user, but in some contexts, it might only serve to alienate those who are expecting a little more narrative.

Long-form

Long-form copy is another type of copywriting that is an excellent way to convey information with depth and body — to tell a story or to explain something more complex. That’s not to say that long-form copy cannot establish a connection with the user like conversational copy. In fact, quite the opposite. Longer passages are sometimes necessary to lay all the information on the table, or to hook a reader with thick description and expressive language. Long-form copy also has fantastic benefits for SEO, if done properly.

Take, for example, this excellent article from Chevrolet celebrating 100 years of the brand, titled “100 Years of Icons,” an expansive article providing a wealth of historical and in-depth information about each car, while also taking the reader on a journey through the brand’s history.

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These are just three approaches to shifting language and style to suit prospective users, though there are many out there to explore…

Read our full article about UX in Copywriting on Outbrain.

Radi Safi

by Radi Safi

Radi Safi is the Creative Director at IYBI. In 2012 he launched Happy, a music blog and media company.
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