What’s the purpose of your marketing copy?
That’s right. To convert readers into customers.
How about your editorial content?
Yep…to build a relationship with your reader. To essentially warm them up to your sales message. That way, by the time you make them an offer, they’re eager to consider it.
To be clear, your sales copy must be a continuation of that relationship-building effort.
Thus, you must do anything you can do to ensure both editorial content and marketing copy put your reader in a welcoming mood for receiving your communication. When you do, you’ll increase the odds they’ll begin to like and trust you…enough to become your next customer.
One way to boost this relationship-building effort is to learn…
How to master conversational writing
You see, people pay closer attention to written messages that are more conversational in tone. In fact, this study by Cambridge University Press researchers showed that reading conversational content tends to trick a person’s brain into thinking they’re directly involved in the discussion.
That means, conversational writing is more effective at getting a message across to the reader.
What is conversational copy and content?
Conversational writing simply ‘sounds’ like friends talking to each other.
But first, you must know who your friends are.
For example, whether you’re describing your new car to your pastor or a best friend at work, both would be considered conversational. While the content might be similar, the conversations themselves could sound very different.
That’s because your audience is different.
But writing conversationally doesn’t mean you write as you talk. This would read more like an interview. Ugh, right?
Instead—once you’re clear on who your audience is—pretend you’re hanging out with one of them, and they happen to be your best friend. Maybe you’re sitting on a barstool, cracking jokes while enjoying a drink together. How would you talk to your friend? What should they feel like?
You’d expect them to feel at ease, right? Relaxed…comfortable…safe in your presence. The words you choose wouldn’t require them to grab the nearest dictionary just to understand your points or context. Your words should flow smooth and easy. Plus, maybe you’d throw a bit of slang into the mix.
Yet, you wouldn’t try to be cute or clever…sound academic…or beat around the bush. Instead, you’d speak in simple terms, talk in short sentences, and get right to the point.
Here’s how to write more conversationally
Therefore, you want to translate that “conversation” you had with your friend into writing that produces the same feeling in your readers.
So, here are our top five ways to help ensure your copy or content has a conversational tone that stimulates your reader to pay better attention to—and respond to—your communications.
1. Use the active voice. Strong action verbs stir imagination and produce engagement. But you must use them in their active voice, rather than passive. Plus, we talk in an active voice. It makes it easier to organize our thoughts. And, it leaves a stronger imprint in our minds.
Instead of saying, “Cells are restored by this secret herb while you sleep”, say “This secret herb rejuvenates cells while you sleep.”
2. Hang out with your ideal prospect. Go spend some time wherever your target customer hangs out. Check out Amazon reviews of self-help books…visit online forums to eavesdrop on conversations…or attend industry conventions. You can do a Google search for keyphrases that describe your products…check out what followers of your competitors are saying on social media…or send out a short survey to your own list, so you can see how they “talk”.
Get creative, and soon you’ll “get” to know the conversational tone of your target audience.
3. Forget everything you learned in English class. Well, almost everything. Of course, spelling and punctuation are still important. But don’t be afraid to slip in ‘but’, ‘and’, ‘plus’, ‘so’, ‘because’, and more at the beginning of sentences. These help continue the flow of your message from sentence to sentence, making it sound more like we talk. And, they help shorten up sentences—even break up long paragraphs or blocks of text—making them easier to consume.
Em dashes (—), commas (,), and ellipses (…) produce a similar effect. Use them appropriately to break up longer sentences or separate complementary thoughts in the same sentence to make it easier to read and understand. Doing so will make your writing seem smooth and effortless, rather than stiff and impersonal.
4. Read your writing out loud. Talking sounds more conversational. So, it makes sense to vocalize what you want to say in your emails or on your home page…or in your sales letters, blog posts, and more. Poor copy or content will feel hard to read out loud. It may sound awkward, confusing, long-winded, impersonal—even boring. Just make sure you record your ‘conversation’ so you can play it back and transcribe your words.
Also, by reading your writing out loud, you’ll notice the places where you stumble over words, or have to stop and take a breath. Then, you can work to simplify words, or shorten up sentences or paragraphs. Plus, you’ll develop a knack for your own tone. And over time, begin to naturally train yourself to write this way from the start.
5. Ask your reader questions. Have you noticed on I’ve included an occasional question in this blog post? Good conversations include questions. Why? Because for most people, reading text tends to shift into autopilot mode after the first few lines. Which means, your reader isn’t really paying attention to what you’re saying.
While I covered several other strategies for grabbing your reader’s attention in my previous article, a question serves two distinct purposes. It works to slow your reader down by making them think about how they’d answer the question. Said another way, it re-captures their attention. Plus, the reader will feel a higher level of engagement and value when you solicit their input.
There you go, our top 5 ways to master conversational writing so your audience increasingly welcomes and responds to your marketing messages.
Please share with us in the comment section below any other ideas you have to make your writing appear more conversational in tone. Or, put some of these tips to work in your next blog post or sales copy. Then come back and tell us about your results.
About the author: Jerry Bures
Jerry Bures is a direct-response web copywriter and marketing consultant. Since 2010, he has helped natural health, self-help and business opportunity clients—as well as local small businesses—become more visible, credible and profitable online. Read more.
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