31 Mar 2016

Don’t let your app content be an afterthought


App happy 

As a tech PR agency, some of our most exciting clients have been new apps, ready to launch. However, in our time working with apps, we’ve noticed a pattern – app content often seems to end up as an afterthought.

Dev and UX always seem to be top priority, eating up the majority of time and resources. The actual app content – the words you see on your screen – usually ends up playing second fiddle.

We get it – when a developer has their head in an app 24/7, the app’s story and narrative become second nature to them. However, they need to take a step back and remember their users will be seeing it for the first time. And, if it’s not immediately clear how an app works, or what the point of it is, it’ll be the last time a user tries it, too.

In our experience, there are a variety of things app developers can consider to keep their app content engaging and on-brand. Here are our suggestions.


Who is this app for? 

Whatever your app is, it will have a target demographic. Keeping this in mind will help you ensure that your app content is engaging and appropriate.

Once you’ve established who will be using your app, use this to tailor the copy or content. Consider things like tone of voice and reading ease.

In some cases, your target audience might be quite broad. For example, the target audience for an organisation app is ‘people who want to be more organised’. However, try to break down a broad target group as much as possible – if you can. The vast majority who use an organisation app will be those who do so for business purposes, so keeping the tone professional will suit users.


What does this app do? 

When you’ve spent months looking at an app from all angles, it’s just obvious to you what it does. However, when a user downloads your app for the first time, they will have no idea what the purpose of your app is.

You might have created the best app in the world, but your users won’t know that unless you tell them. Describe the specific features of your app, in plain English. Even if your app is very nerdy or technical, avoid using jargon as it will just put people off.

Don’t leave anything out. But, it’s worth considering that if you can’t describe a feature simply and accurately, perhaps it’s not one your app needs so much.


Why does it do it?

The story behind your app may seem like old news to you, but chances are your potential users will find it really interesting. It will also add extra insight into your app: how to use it, and why.

What inspired  you to create your app? What problem are you hoping to solve? How do you compare to other offerings in the app store?

Your story is unique to you – it’s what sets you apart from your competition. Embrace it – your users might not even know they need your app until they hear about the problem it’s solving.


How do you use it?

Not to be confused with your app’s features and benefits. Never underestimate the importance of clear instructions explaining how to use your app.

While many users are accustomed to jumping into an app and learning through experience, not everyone is as tech-savvy. Some users will really value a thorough set of instructions explaining how to use your app. It can be notoriously difficult to get users to stick with an app – some research suggests the attrition rate is as high as 80%. Making your app as simple as possible to understand will help keep your user retention high.

Remember, instructions don’t have to be presented in writing. You could create a short video or animation to explain how your app should be used.


Finally…. have you checked your spelling?! 

This may be the last on our list of suggestions, but it is by no means the least important.

You may think the copy and content of your app is secondary to its dazzling features, but poor grammar and typos make your efforts look unprofessional. Your users needn’t be big word-lovers to be put off by a sloppy job.

Go through your copy very thoroughly, checking for any errors and inconsistencies. If you know your writing skills leave a lot to be desired, consider investing in a professional copywriter to offer a helping hand. Not only does poor copy look lazy, if it makes your app more difficult to understand, you could find that users are less inclined to use your app consistently.


Clever apps 

Many brilliant apps have been let down by weak and inconsistent in-app content. Don’t let it happen to yours!

Remember, the most important thing is to clearly and concisely communicate what your app is about. You believe that your app is the best thing since Crazy Birds, but you need to let your users know that too.

What are your suggestions for creating engaging and consistent app content?

app content