Content Writers: The Wordsmiths of UX

keywords: the best copywriter, user experience intern

Having trouble deciding on the best user experience intern? Look for the best copywriter in the bunch. Internet copywriting, sometimes known as web or content writing, is a powerful but oft overlooked tool for your design department’s arsenal. Beyond the obvious applications to UI writing and content strategy, web-centric writers tend to hone their information architecture instincts and user advocacy well before they learn visual design.

But how do they do it? And what makes them such great choices for interns?

They ask questions.

1. Who Will Read This?

Considering the audience is by far the most important step before writing for professional content writers. No matter if you’re trying to compose the post-it note to end all post-it notes or drafting a formal email to a client, the best copywriter will shift literary gears to match the expectations of their audience.

The result of repeatedly asking yourself about the people (real, live, and human people) who might interact with your writing facilitates an ingrained, relentlessly pervasive user experience ethos. As such, when content writers turn user experience intern, they’re already subconsciously considering the audience vantage of every potential touch point. Unnecessary features, like fluff and click-bait, are automatically omitted from the thought process. Function never subordinates to form.

2. What Do They Need?

Copywriters frequently dabble in a particular subset of content creation known as search engine optimization writing, or SEO writing for short. When faced with a keyword string, particularly if the writer is unfamiliar with the topic, the best copywriter will devote extra time to figuring out what matters to the audience. The result of taking pause to consider the needs for the audience is almost always more thoughtful, pointed content and less revision requests.

That same skill translates well to a user experience intern: rather than take user feedback at face value, copywriters know to look between the lines to find the purest summation of the user’s desires and frustrations.

3. How Do They Want It Delivered?

Deliverables are familiar friend and foe to the designer, but while writers typically deliver more monochromatic solutions, seasoned writers ask many of the same questions as designers. For instance, a writer might ask,

  • Does my client prioritize readability?
  • Is my client using this piece to communicate brand voice?
  • Will my client need this piece to be recyclable?

Thus, in the same way you’d mind every column gutter and touch point in design, writers already mind their deliverables and are comfortable with hard deadlines.

The Business Case

And finally, while there’s no guarantee the best copywriter will translate into the best user experience intern, there is a strong business case for selecting an intern with professional communication skills: you won’t have to invest in their soft skills training — they’ve already got the Oxford comma in the bag (and probably have very strong opinions about it).

SEO/Content Writing

Like most content writers, my professional work is wrapped in three layers of nondisclosure agreements and I operate primarily as a “ghostwriter”. But just because my name isn’t attached doesn’t mean I let myself phone it in — content creators owe it to users to create as compelling and engaging copy as they can while still capturing brand image and perpetuating content strategy. Thus, in an effort to showcase my technique while reaping some reward from it, I’ve included the full text in the section above. The PDF version is available for download here.