Micro copywriting is a field in the copywriting industry that covers writing for UX. That includes pop up forms, sign up fields, error and confirmation messages, loading screen placeholders, all the clever 404 you’ve ever landed on and more.
Many consider microcopy a mechanical and obvious undertaking, but the reality is that all the tiny bits of texts on all those buttons and in the text fields across any website actually play an important role in every user’s experience and make a difference in conversions.
Here are the 4 micro copywriting principles that you can apply not just in your website design, but when creating graphics for social media and ads. Read on to find out how and why!
Principle 1. Sound human
FELLOW HUMAN SCROLLING PAST THIS VISUAL REPRESENTATION ON THEIR DIGITAL DEVICE, FOLLOW THIS LINK TO ACQUIRE THE DISPLAYED ITEM(S) BY MEANS OF CURRENT MEDIUM OF EXCHANGE.
The above text is an exaggeration of the stiff copy we all sometimes encounter in the wild. Surely, not all dry and overly long texts on promotional materials posted on social media and beyond sound straight out of r/TotallyNotRobots (by the way, follow Crello on Reddit), but a lot of them could use a humanizing makeover.
No matter how much time or effort you put into creating your visuals, your final product must feel effortless and conversational. Talk to your audience in a friendly, human voice that exudes charisma, confidence and good manners. Sprinkle some humor if your brand voice allows it, but remember to steer clear of getting too chummy as you risk being seen as patronizing.
Any text on your designs feel like a line in a chill, pleasant conversation.
Principle 2. Get contextual
Make sure you fully understand the context of your image – where exactly it will be placed on the page, what your audience will have seen before and after your visual. Context allows you to drop any unnecessary messaging from your text and focus only on the essential points you need to make.
This approach will also help you include the needed information so that your user doesn’t get confused by an extra short piece of copy. Say, you are creating a Facebook event page cover – you know most will see the image without the caption and it will be located at the top of your event page. Thus, your piece is like a digital poster, while an Instagram post about the same event will be displayed on your followers’ feeds with a caption, thus, requiring a different copy.
One advice to figure out how well your piece fits into its context is to read the text out loud. This will help you notice any weirdness or confusion in the presented information.
Principle 3. Follow reading patterns
People tend to read the text top – down, left to right. Develop and place your copy accordingly. Just like when writing text for, say, a web form, you need to place the text prior to the visual item the text introduces to help your user understand how your interface works. That makes it intuitive, simple and predictable.
If you scroll back up to check out our example to illustrate Principle 1, you’ll probably notice that the text on the sides is a little off:
Now, be honest, did you catch this before we pointed it out?;)
Principle 4. Be encouraging
You might not think of the text within your designs for social media posts or blog illustrations as CTA (check out our guide to creating one), but it’s very likely that you actually want to inspire an action with the text – for subscribers to remember about your event or read your news update, join your giveaway or subscribe to your newsletter.
Whatever the intention may be, your visual design copy could benefit from being just as encouraging as microcopy – you want users to click whatever button or link it is that you are pushing in your message after all;)
The discussed principles of creating microcopy aren’t an exhaustive list of such, as you probably guessed, but these four are the concepts that will help make your visual designs for social media posts, blog illustrations, images for your website and ads that much more effective. A compelling copy is one crucial element to any brand’s on- and offline presence, so we intend to continue exploring the topic of copywriting in our future posts.
Let us know what aspects of creating text for visuals you’d like to find out more about in our exclusive Users Group on Facebook.