Photo by Andrew Neel
UX writer, product copywriter or a content designer (whichever you prefer) is one of the most in-demand skills in the world today. In a sea of competition, brands are beginning to realise just how important content is – if you create valuable content, more people will engage with your brand and in return, make you more money.
Business’ are turning to content in their digital strategy – Social media, blogs, videos and email campaigns – to differentiate themselves from their competitors. The phrase “Killer Content” is being used more in workplaces, but what is content without an audience?
“Content informs design: design without content is decoration” Jeffery Zeldman
Writing exceptional content with the reader (user) in mind will help you build an audience. Below we have shared 6 principles that will guide you to create killer content.
Add value to your content
People want to feel good about themselves, if you can do this you have added value to them. There are 3 key ways to add value to your audience;
Entertain –Can you make the reader smile, laugh, be excited or even cry? Changing the emotional behaviour will have an impact on the reader and this will add value to your content.
Teach or Inspire – It’s a true fact, humans seek to learn new things whether it is news, trending fashion or the latest space rocket launch. By making the user more knowledgeable will add value to their everyday life.
Solve a problem – Everyone needs answers at some point. Does your product or service solve a problem? Share this with your audience, you never know what answers people are looking for. It could be product or service that adds value to their lives.
Create content that is clear & concise
No matter how technical the product is or how complex its features, always aim to keep things simple. Use simple language so that the average person can understand –it is crucial to be clear and concise. Communicate the absolute minimum information your reader needs to understand the product and how to use it.
Good copy can easily get hidden under a bad layout. The same information written in a different form will produce very different results from your users – so, keep it clean and concise.
The title of the blog post, campaign or collection is the most important section of the whole content piece. Why?
The 80/20 rule suggests that 80% of your results come from 20% your actions. David Ogilvy in ‘Confessions of an Advertising Man’ states 80% of people will read your headlines, 20% of those people will read the rest of your content
“On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” David Ogilvy
You may be wondering why? Well, the title is the most read element of your post, campaign or collection, if people aren’t intrigued by the title they aren’t going to read anything else.
Write for scanners
Many readers will scan the copy to find the information they are looking for. Research by Jakob Nielsen suggests that only 16% of people read web pages word-for-word.
“[What most web visitors do] is glance at each new page, scan some of the text, and click on the first link that catches their interest or vaguely resembles the thing they’re looking for” Steve Krug
When writing content be sure to communicate what you’re about in the headline and summarize key points in the sub-heading. Your user is looking for information, it is essential they understand your information at a glance.
Consistency is key
This is a key principle in UX design, without it, we can’t get far. Being consistent will allow you to create a process that will be proven and refined over time. The more consistent you are, the better the content becomes because you are committing time, resource and strategic thinking to every piece of content.
Consistency is intuitive design, users will learn fast how to interact with your content and eliminate confusion. Content that has been predefined saves time and money.
Write for users
UX writing is about creating the best possible way for someone to easily learn how to use a product/service. UX writing should simply describe the product and its features, not the writer’s vision/opinion of the product. The less convoluted the content, the easier it is to read.
Test your copy
Ask people to read your content before putting it live on a website or app. If its confusing to someone if probably needs further work. Individuals and organizations are going global, it will be useful to ask someone who speaks another language. If they don’t understand it, users certainly will not.
The best user experiences are based on effective design and clear content. Keep it simple, foresee any questions, be honest and talk to the user.