The best books for copywriters looking to move into UX content design

Rachel McConnell Author Of Why You Need a Content Team and How to Build One
By Rachel McConnell

The Books I Picked & Why

Strategic Writing for UX: Drive Engagement, Conversion, and Retention with Every Word

By Torrey Podmajersky

Book cover of Strategic Writing for UX: Drive Engagement, Conversion, and Retention with Every Word

Why this book?

For anyone just starting out in content design or UX writing, this book is a must-have. It focuses on the technicalities of creating user-centered microcopy for web journeys, and includes frameworks and guidance to help you get it right. It also features one of my favourite exercises to try with designers – a conversational design workshop to help everyone consider the content before jumping into visual design. Torrey’s extensive knowledge comes from designing content for companies like Google and Microsoft, so she knows her stuff!


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Nicely Said: Writing for the Web with Style and Purpose

By Nicole Fenton, Kate Kiefer-Lee

Book cover of Nicely Said: Writing for the Web with Style and Purpose

Why this book?

I’m picking this book because it’s actually useful for anyone in content, whether you’re a marketing strategist, UX writer, or content designer. It’s easy to read, and a lovely overview of creating more effective content – with guidance on how to adapt tone for different scenarios, and a brilliant exercise for proposition development. It was one of the first books I read about web content, and still one of the books I refer back to again and again.


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Writing Is Designing

By Michael J. Metts, Andy Welfle

Book cover of Writing Is Designing

Why this book?

I first read this book as a technical reviewer and loved how the book almost felt like a double-act, with both Andy and Michael sharing their tips for great content design. The book takes you through the design process for good content, from creating the content itself to testing and measuring with your team. It’s simply written and laid out, so it doesn’t feel like a technical read, and you’ll feel well-equipped to approach even the trickiest content design challenges.


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The Content Strategy Toolkit: Methods, Guidelines, and Templates for Getting Content Right

By Meghan Casey

Book cover of The Content Strategy Toolkit: Methods, Guidelines, and Templates for Getting Content Right

Why this book?

Despite this book being a few years old, it’s as valid today for anyone who works in content strategy or design as it was when it was published. In fact, in many ways, I think it was ahead of its time. It features a number of tools and templates for content designers and strategists to strengthen the rigour and process behind their work. I like it because it helps anyone in a content role to think more operationally too, whether that’s putting a value on the content, or prioritising content creation. My copy was given to me for my first content design role, and is full of bookmarked pages I’ve returned to many times since!


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Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability

By Steve Krug

Book cover of Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability

Why this book?

My final pick isn’t like the others, because it’s less of a technical content ‘how to’ book, and more of a broader look at the main principles of web design. It’s relevant because when we move from traditional copywriting or marketing content into content design, our work becomes less about ‘selling’ and much more about writing for usability. This is a classic and a book that many user experience designers have relied upon to understand the heuristics of a good experience. It was recommended to me when I first moved into web design, and despite its age (it was first published over twenty years ago!) it’s as relevant as ever. 


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