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10 tips for writing great microcopy to improve user engagement

Woman's hand on a black keyboard typing with a phone to her left. Microcopy are the important instructions and error message in your apps on websites that help guide you through the UI.

Microcopy can often be forgotten when developing a product and it’s not until a user provides negative feedback that companies realise they need to look at it.

What is microcopy?

Microcopy are the words in a user interface that help you work out how to do things. For example, the words on buttons, error messages and pop ups.

For such a small amount of content they punch way above their weight. If you get the wording wrong you end up with confused users, or even worse – no users at all.

Creating great microcopy

Here are my top 10 tips to write great microcopy:

  1. Keep it short and sweet 

Nobody likes to read paragraphs of boring text, especially when it’s just a tiny bit of copy. Use concise sentences that get straight to the point. Remember, microcopy is all about clarity, so don’t beat around the bush!

2. Be conversational

Microcopy is a great opportunity to showcase your brand’s personality. Don’t be afraid to inject some humour or personality into your copy. Just make sure you follow your organisations voice and style guide.

3. Use active voice

Active voice is the superhero of writing. It’s direct, it’s powerful, and it’s engaging. Use active voice in your microcopy to grab your user’s attention and keep it. 

4. Make it easy to understand

Your users are busy people, and they don’t have time to decode your copy. Use simple language and avoid jargon or technical terms. If your users can’t understand your copy, they’re not going to engage with it!

5. Give clear instructions

Microcopy is often used for calls-to-action (CTAs), so make sure your instructions are clear and concise. Use action verbs and avoid ambiguity. Your users should know exactly what to do when they read your microcopy!

6. Use visuals

A picture is worth a thousand words, and that’s especially true for microcopy. Use visuals to enhance your copy and create a more engaging experience for your users. Just make sure your visuals are relevant and don’t distract from your message!

7. Personalise your content

Personalisation is key to creating a memorable user experience. Use your user’s name or location in your microcopy to create a sense of connection. It’s a small detail that can make a big difference!

8. Test, test, test

Don’t assume that your first draft of microcopy is perfect. Test different variations to see what works best for your users. Use A/B testing to compare different versions and track engagement. Your users will thank you!

9. Be empathetic

Empathy is the secret ingredient to effective microcopy. Put yourself in your user’s shoes and think about what they’re feeling. Use your copy to address their pain points and provide solutions. Remember, your copy should be all about your users, not you!

10. Don’t be afraid to rewrite

Writing effective microcopy is a process, and it’s okay to rewrite your copy multiple times. In fact, I strongly encourage it! Take the time to review and refine your copy until it’s perfect. Your users will appreciate the effort you put in!

Adapt microcopy to user feedback

Microcopy can be the difference between a user continuing with your product or leaving. Keep tweaking your content until you’re sure it works and always test with your users. Just because you think it works doesn’t mean your user does.

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