Don’t make them have to think
While copywriting is about splashy headlines and quippy one-liners, content design is about going entirely unnoticed. Your copy is now about bringing the user from intention to resolution without them having to think twice. This means simple, warm, and conversational… not robotic.
There will be moments when your creativity can (and should) surface—such as 404 pages, empty states, placeholders—but mostly your writing should be in plain, everyday language.
Don’t be mistaken: Simple language isn’t easy to craft. The less space you have, the fewer words you can use, and the harder it is to write. Don’t be afraid to kill your darlings.
Poke around in your favorite products
When you use the Dropbox app, you’ll notice that we call your photos Camera Uploads. What you don’t know is how many hours of discussion and cross-functional vetting led to this name.
And that’s true with all the copy in the app and on dropbox.com: Each and every word you see is well-considered and purposeful.
So challenge yourself:
Think about why we didn’t choose a name like Mobile Photos Album or My Phone Gallery. And look at other products. Apple uses Photos, and Samsung uses Photo Gallery. Google uses Google Photos. Now return to Camera Uploads and try to formulate an argument as to why it was the best name for our feature.
This isn’t a trick: There’s nothing glaringly wrong or obviously ill-fitting with the other names, but try to argue in defense of Camera Uploads. It will get you into the mindset of a content designer who has perspective.
Use technology to your advantage
Have a dream job? Search it on LinkedIn. Find the hiring manager or a person who’s already on the team and reach out to them.
I’ve done it a bunch—it works.
Isn’t it annoying to message people directly? Maybe. But we’ve all stood on the shoulders of the giants before us, and 90% of us want to pay it forward.
Use this outreach to very succinctly—in 3 to 4 sentences—express enthusiasm and ask specific questions about the role.
Reaching out to an existing employee has the potential to set you apart from the pile and, if nothing else, opens the door to finding a mentor.