• Steve Ridley

Copywriter or UX Writer?

Updated: Mar 4, 2020

Copywriter and UX writer… aren’t they the same? No, they’re different and here’s why.

Both need exceptional writing skills, but copywriting is about the psychology of words and the UX writer is about making the user experience easy.

Copywriting is a sales and marketing activity

A copywriter uses the psychology of words to channel customers to your products. Also, a copywriter works with marketing to create captivating headlines and compelling stories. It’s pushing content out and pulling customers in. In doing so, the writing must not draw attention to itself because it’s not a creative writing assignment. Think storytelling but also think sales. A copywriter works on sales and marketing collateral which can include web copy such as the front-end or about us pages.

UX writing is all about the user experience

Once you analyse the user experience then you’re into UX writing which is a whole different ballgame. It’s not about selling or creating demand for products through words. UX writers are experts in guiding users through an online experience in an intuitive but interactive and seamless manner. To achieve that they must be tuned in to every part of the business. Do you remember when new software used to come with a weighty tome called a user manual that doubled up as a doorstop? These days forget manuals because it’s all about the interactive and intuitive experience.

Some UX writers were copywriters in a previous life

The two are different though. A copywriter provides sales and marketing copy that leads to action. A UX writer is likely part of a team of product managers and designers. They may be a designer. They need to be involved at the beginning of a project or the design phase. The UX writer solves the users’ problems. Therefore, a UX writer will likely need some design and technology skills. Next time you use an online form and you think wow that was easy (or maybe not) then you’re unwittingly passing comment on the UX writer’s skills.

No more Lorem ipsum

Seasoned copywriters will remember being sent a chunk of Lorem ipsum text. The task was to replace it with compelling copy. Once the words were done it was back to the designer to make the web site fit the copy. With UX writers and designers it’s now all about the user experience so you never have to think “where’s the damn manual.” A UX writer might use emojis or chatbots to make the process engaging and interactive. And it doesn’t just mean creating a snazzy interface… although we like a snazzy interface that’s no use if the user experience is poor. If you need a Next button, they’ll create a Next button. There’s no need for something witty. Users just want to get to the end of the process.

Copywriters and UX writers should be engaged at the start of the project

Ideally, I urge businesses to engage both types of writers in the design phase. But we don’t live in an ideal world and both copywriters and UX writers are used to being engaged at all stages of a project. Whatever the task and whether it’s a copywriter or a UX writer the job involves using words without allowing them to overwhelm the fundamental objectives of the task. Whether that’s reading a web site or navigating through a process both types of writers have one basic task and that’s to make it human.

And we’re off… now it’s about measurement

Once something is launched it's over to the copywriters, content marketers and the sales teams. Here the focus is on website hits, bounce, and conversion rates. This is where the copywriter is responsible for creating the copy that will drive people to the web site, grab their attention, get them to read on and begin to engage with the company leading to successful business and an ongoing relationship. A UX writer’s focus needs to be on areas such as form analytics, A/B testing and multivariate testing.

If you have any comments to make on this blog post, I’d love to hear from you.

Steve Ridley

Professional Copywriter

07752 207080

You can phone me on 07752 207080

or please use the Get in Touch Button.

I'm based in Cambridgeshire.

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