UX and Copywriting are MFEO

(made for each other, if you had to look it up like I did)

Right now I’m working on a landing page. As I sit here, you know what I’m honestly spending a lot of time on?

The copy.

You see, I don’t have a copywriter.

This wouldn’t have bothered me before — I thought I was a good writer. Then I worked with a copywriter and I learned I was actually this:

Found here — see I even cite my sources! Sort of.

While I do want to get better as a writer, I’m perfectly happy to admit that isn’t my greatest strength and likely will never be.

But man, as I stare at this landing page — more is at stake than a mere ‘Contact Us’ page. I know copy can be easily changed later, but prototypes really do set the foundation for the page.

I think back fondly to this day when I was working at Ansira:

I had put together a prototype, and like any good UX’er, I do not use Lorem Ipsum. Still, something had to go there, and the client refused to pay for a copywriter. Thankfully I had the website to reference — but let’s face it, I write in a very particular voice and I have little (okay no) training in how find a company’s voice and use it.
Luckily, I sit next to a copywriter, Anna Beth, who I asked if we could work through the many content chunks I was having trouble with — she graciously said yes.
We spent maybe an hour or two with her spinning words and me copy/pasting them into my prototype. We were able to produce a fully fleshed out prototype with all the right words and layout in one deliverable.
The client loved it so much, they said they were going to use what she had written for their marketing materials.

I’ve been so impressed by the efficiency and great collaboration of that experience (and others along the way), that if I ever get the courage to start my own agency, my second hire will probably be a copywriter to work with me. (My first is a bouncer to get money from clients, ok? JK. Sort of.)

I don’t want you to take my word for it, I asked her to share her thoughts on the collaboration.

When it comes to the marketing world, I started out as an old-school creative. I write the words, an art director chooses the types and the graphics and works his or her magic, and voila! Work is completed.

It was in this time that my then company said, “Hey, we’re hiring a new role, it’s called UX.” Just like Ashley had to Google MFEO (Sleepless in Seattle ref, anyone?) I had to spend some time wrapping my mind around what UX even was, much less how it could benefit me as a writer. Writers, if you didn’t know, can be slightly stodgy.

That’s me on the inside.

I was intimidated by this new role, because I had been so accustomed to the system I had in place:

Art + Copy = Success

Having new experience, I will tell you this: Copy + UX = A WAY BETTER PRODUCT FOR THE CLIENT.

Here’s the thing: a good Copywriter needs to think not only about the tone of words, but also on a timeline. Where in the journey will a consumer read this copy? What will her needs be? What will his anxieties be? What does the consumer need from this brand at this particular point in time?

A solid UX strategy helps me do what I do best: write sentences. The structure UX provides is invaluable.

Benefits:

  • Less time spent talking about words = $$ saved
  • More accurate prototypes and less time spent on them= $$ saved
  • Less time spent writing the words = $$ saved

So, if you’re considering hiring a UX designer, make sure you give them a copywriter.

It’s a terrible thing to break up true love.

Ashley Crutcher is a Digital Designer at Intervarsity located in Madison, WI. She tweets at @ashleyspixels and enjoys cuddling with her cat, crafting, working out, and thinking too much about everything.

Donate to Paul & Ashley @ InterVarsity

Anna Beth is a Senior Copywriter and Content Strategist at Tattoo Projects located in Charlotte, NC. She has a dog who looks like a panda named Knightley. She also has a flower business, a cat named Lady Bird, and a constant case of the giggles.