What content testing is and when you need it.

Content testing (also called ‘message testing’) is a research method similar to user testing but it focusses exclusively on content – usually written content.

Content testing tells you whether your message ‘lands’ with your users

Use it to learn:

  • How well users engage with your content
  • Whether you are talking in their language, not yours
  • Whether your content is useful and relevant
  • Whether your users understand your message and will take the action you want them to take

Test your content when misunderstandings will be costly for the business

Test your content with users when you need to be confident that users have seen what you want them to do, understood how to do it, and been able to achieve it.

Test pieces of content when:

  • The risk of you miscommunicating is high – if this is the only chance you will get you need to get it right the first time.
  • When misunderstanding by your customers costs you money – through repeated calls to the call centre for example.
  • The message you need to convey is both complex and time-critical.
  • When you are reviewing and rewriting all of your content.

Test complex messages, or any key action-oriented content for an audience you do not know well

Examples of content that we have tested include:

  • Renewal notices and statements
  • Claim and complaint letters
  • ‘How to’ brochures
  • Product disclosure statements
  • Fact Sheets
  • and more!

Content/message testing shows you how to think like your reader

Some agencies will tell you that they can analyse your content using behavioural science principles. It is true, they can. We use those principles too – like the impact of biases and heuristics such as anchoring, and how to use ‘nudges’ in your design.

What testing with users does on top of this kind of analysis is that helps you understand your users. It will give you insight into your users as people and the world in which they live and the goals they want to achieve. This will then help you engage with them through the written word.

User testing also shows you whether your users will

  • Find the information they need
  • Read your content – and why or why not
  • Understand your content – and why or why not
  • Will act on your content – and why or why not

Would you like a copy of our ebook: ‘How user testing helps you write so your users Understand’ ?

If so, just email me and I will send you the most recent version.

We would love to help you communicate more clearly with your users, customers and members.

We use qualitative research-based user testing informed by plain language, behavioural science, and AI. Find out more – contact Sue.

Susan Bell Founder & Lead Consultant
Sue Bell, Founder & Lead Consultant

We would love to hear from you, and are always happy to talk through research methods and options with you, if you are not sure what you need. Why not get in touch for a free, obligation-free, and confidential conversation.

Find out more about Susan Bell Research.

Keep up to date with new thinking about user testing, research with ‘older’ people, different research methods, and much more.

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