User Experience Copywriting Gives Writers a New Way to Stand Out
There’s a major shift happening in the way companies engage with their customers.
It actually began in the early part of this century when a few companies decided to shift their priorities.
Instead of making their own goal their top priority, these companies put their customers’ goals above their own. If they could help their visitors achieve what they wanted, then these companies believed they would thrive.
Thrive, they did. And then some.
This approach came to be known as user experience (UX), and you may be familiar with some of the pioneers … Companies like Apple, Amazon, and Google.
In the course of the last decade, businesses in nearly every industry have started to follow suit. They’ve begun to prioritize delivering a better user experience.
This is affecting how companies approach anything their customers and potential customers interact with — from the products they create to the design of their websites to how their marketing materials are written.
Companies in nearly every industry, and of all different sizes, are embracing UX. And since almost everything a company does impacts the user experience, they want to work with people who understand UX principles and how to apply them.
Knowing how to create a good user experience through copy and content can open a lot of doors for you as a writer.
Companies Are Looking for UX Knowledge
In the last two years, every new client I’ve landed has asked me about user experience before hiring me.
They want to know I’m familiar with the term and that I understand the basic principles underlying user experience and how those principles shape the copy on a page.
To date, I’ve never had a client ask me to explain those basic principles and how I apply them … but they’ve all been relieved when I say, “Yes, I know UX and how it affects messaging … in fact I specialize in it.”
But don’t just take my word for it.
A quick scan of copywriting jobs on Indeed — full-time and freelance — shows companies asking for things like …
- The ability to partner with UX designers
- An understanding of how user experience affects conversion optimization
- The capability to craft UX copy
- An understanding of how UX affects customer journeys
When you understand how to craft copy that supports a deliberate and positive user experience, you’re going to stand out to your potential clients … especially as more and more businesses are clamoring for UX skills.
You’re Not Reinventing the Wheel
The good news is, if you already have copywriting skills, learning UX will just give you one more way to apply those skills to help your clients achieve their goals.
And if you begin by learning UX, you’ll be learning how to write in a way that’s in growing demand on the internet. In fact, within the next 5 years or so, I anticipate most companies will expect all the freelancer writers they hire to understand UX.
So learning this skill now won’t just open doors for you now — it will put you ahead of the game in the future.
UX Copywriting builds on traditional persuasive writing. The primary difference is you’re writing your copy to support the user’s goals over and above the company’s goals.
Traditional Writing with a UX Twist
There are several fundamentals that go into writing good copy. Among the most important are:
- Knowing your audience.
- Focusing on benefits over features.
- Recognizing that people don’t like to be sold.
- Appealing to your reader’s emotions.
- Offering logical reasons to support the purchase of your product after you’ve made the emotional case.
UX Copywriting relies on these same fundamentals, but with a little twist.
Knowing your audience is imperative. To provide a good user experience, we don’t just strive to learn everything we can about our audience in general, we also strive to understand the state of mind our audience is in when they arrive on the page. By understanding their emotional mindset and their primary goal, we can write our copy in a way that helps them move forward.
Focusing on benefits is key. Your audience is interested in how a product will help them fulfill a desire, fill a need, or solve a problem. Those are benefits. When writing for the user experience, we focus on the most likely outcome of the product, not the outlier cases. We’re careful to back up every claim we make. We provide information for our reader to draw conclusions rather than telling our reader what they should think. And we’re transparent about what they’ll have to put in to achieve the results they want.
Because the focus of user experience copywriting is on helping our reader achieve their goals, we help rather than sell. We want to help the reader identify where they’re trying to go, and then help them get there if we can — and it’s usually the product we’re writing about that will make their journey possible.
People buy for emotional reasons. They also buy from people who they know, like, and trust. When writing for the user experience, we work to make an emotional connection with our reader by anticipating their needs and responding to them with empathy.
Once a reader can see themselves using and benefiting from our product, we need to help them see that there’s evidence to support their decision to buy. In user experience copy, we always provide honest, objective proof that we can fulfill any promise we’ve made.
These Projects Need a UX Copywriter
Just about any copy or content a customer will read will be more effective if it provides a good user experience.
But there are some marketing pieces where the user experience is more important than others.
Email marketing benefits hugely from UX. When your client sends an email, it’s because a customer invited them to. A bad user experience will destroy that good faith.
Web pages — your client’s online storefront — are often responsible for making a first impression with a potential customer. A good user experience is vital, and if you don’t deliver, the chances of that visitor leaving, never to return, are frighteningly high.
The content your clients use on their website often shows how they think about, talk to, and treat their customers. If the user experience there isn’t good, content can actually hurt a company’s reputation.
E-commerce pages and messages including product pages, transactional messages and emails, order pages, and onboarding emails all rely on user experience to deliver the best result.
UX may sound like a technical term, even a little scary, but often the projects that need it the most are short and simple. And once you understand the basics behind creating a positive user experience, you’ll be able to easily bring that to your writing.
The Best Part about UX Copywriting
UX Copywriting is wonderful because of the doors it can open. Clients are eager for writers with this skill and they’ll pay a premium for your services. You’ll also stand out from other copywriters in your niche, which means you’ll have more potential clients reaching out to you.
But the demand and money aren’t the best things about UX.
The best thing about UX is that it’s all about helping your reader, which means you’ll feel good — really good — about every project you do.
Do you have any questions about getting started as a User Experience (UX) Copywriting Specialist? Please share in the comments so we can guide you.
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