Just because it’s a button doesn’t mean it’s boring

Just when you thought copywriting was all about the words, I’m going to break your heart. You’ve already heard the rants about copywriting being different to content writing but there’s more. Yep, I’m going to add extra layers of expectations  – like a grandchildless Mother in Law at Christmas dinner.

Good copy. Conversion copy. Copy that makes your ideal client get itchy in the clicky finger. That copy is considerate of a lot of things: brand storytelling, tone of voice, content and visuals, but also user experience (UX in copy lingo), reader psychology, and * gasp * tech.

So, how can we make tech be our worker bee when it comes to excellent copywriting and user experience? Firstly, we can go over and above with our copy skills. We’ve spent hours and weeks and millennia working on our header copy, hooks, headlines, and brand statements. The top of our pages are sweet. But have we looked at the little stuff? Have we given our micro copy some love?

Micro copy is the little bits of writing often ignored by website builders but extremely powerful to those who read it. It lives in tiny spots – footers, above the menu bars, on forms, and on buttons.

Here’s truth: no one wants to subscribe to your newsletter. Literally, zero people want another bleeding email in their inbox to deal with. Nope, nada, zip. So writing:


is boring. And also offputting. And not in the least bit enticing to, well, anyone.

But switch that copy up to outlining a benefit to being on a newsletter? Well, then your micro copy starts working for you.

Micro copy has the ability to bring a shiver of delight and a quick smile to your reader. It can also reassure them with brand promises (like not selling your email to cowboys). Write (and design) them in a way to make your reader do something, but also be entertained, and you have a winning conversion copy combo.

So, it should be easy because it’s just little, right?


Ask any copywriter or editor worth their salt and they’ll tell you – short is harder than long.

Blog titles can take just as much time to write as the blogs themselves. Headers to hook the reader into wanting more can be harder going than the actual page copy. It’s the same with micro copy – you want it to be:

  • punchy
  • clever
  • engaging
  • speak directly to the ideal client
  • answer possible questions
  • allay fears
  • promise something
  • be on brand
  • have quirk (maybe, if quirk is part of your brand) but not be obtuse
  • be clear and direct
  • call the reader to take an action
  • be helpful (think the micro copy that tells you you’ve put in the wrong password)
  • informative
  • AND look good while doing it (no one needs buttons that are massively unmatching – you know what I mean?)

Probably the best first step to take would be to change up your micro copy in a small way. Make sure you have no:

“Subscribe to our newsletter” or “Click here”

But don’t get too fancy. You still want the reader to easily be able to tell what you want them to do at a glance.

Make them work too hard and you have an unmotivated clicky finger and a reduced conversion rate. And boo hoo to that.

How do you know your micro copy is working?

Easy peasy. If people are clicking.

Micro copy doesn’t have to live on your buttons, either. It can introduce or reassure a reader either before or after a CTA on a button.


The great thing about the micro copy/tech team is they play nicely together.

You can test how your micro copy is performing using a huge array of tech options and then tweak to see if something works better.

Bonus: not as onerous to rewrite a button like it is an About page.

(Anecdotal proof: do you know how many emails I get about the micro copy in my footer about stealing my words and a threat of teenagers and kittens? I’m not joking, by the way. I will send them to your house.)


A much shorter version of this blog was originally published in Roooar Magazine. Roooar is free to download here. Yes, I upcycled (with their express permission, of course!) 


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Jay Crisp Crow + Crisp Copy

If you steal my words I'll
send my teenagers to your house

...with their kitten

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