There’s nothing as cozy as nuzzling up to a yummy beverage and chatting with a good friend. As you spill the latest happenings and laugh endlessly, the conversation flows, and minutes pour into hours. What if you could take this same concept and start a chat with your audience? Turns out, you can! What is conversational copywriting and how can you use it to build trust with your readers?
In this article, I’m breaking down the nuts and bolts of conversational copywriting to help you:
Conversational copywriting isn’t a potion for magical success, but it plays a large role in your ability to connect with your audience.
Bottom line: you need solid offerings to succeed, but with this style of writing in your repertoire, you can compound that success.
Keep reading to learn how!
Copywriting basics rely on your ability to move people. I don’t care if you’re writing about tantric sex positions or the different types of drywall; the goal is the same. If your writing isn’t evoking some sort of emotion, why are people going to keep reading it?
Now, to really bring home the concept of conversational copywriting I’m going to ask you to do something unorthodox. Ready? Here we go.
That’s right. I want you to forget everything you learned about writing in school (aside from grammar and spelling, of course.) Why? Because the second you try to sound “intelligent” you’re going to lose people.
When you lose people, you have a high bounce rate, and in turn, Google thinks you’re full of it.
The first principle of conversational copywriting is to write naturally.
When you chat with your friends, you don’t use pretentious large words, nor should you flex unnecessary knowledge that isn’t relatable. Of course, we all have that one friend, so don’t be them!
Because, here’s the kicker: you can be smart and concise. And that’s how you grab people’s attention and keep it.
Conversational copywriting is a fresh, natural, casual style of writing that’s accessible to all readers.
Ask yourself, if a fifth grader lands on my page, will they be able to read it easily? If the answer is no, you’ll need to get acquainted with Hemingway App to help you hone the skill.
Conversational Copywriting 101:
While it may seem obvious, the first step to writing conversational copy is sounding like an actual human.
Don’t sound like an AI bot. Don’t sound like a corporate suit. Sound like, well, YOU.
Some tips in this guide might seem difficult because they go against the academic rules drilled into us. When it comes to writing engaging website copy and blog content, you don’t want to sound like an academic, you want to sound like a real person.
Humans connect with other humans, but we don’t connect with robots, as proven in Hollywood cinema.
So, you know conversational copywriting is important, but how do you do it?
For the same reason we stalk someone’s social media before meeting up — who hasn’t — you need to know your audience before meeting them.
In copywriting, this starts with knowing your customer personas:
Tread carefully here because you want to avoid broad generalizations. If you generalize your audience, they’ll feel like a stereotype, and your messaging feels impersonal.
To avoid this, dive deeper into their personality.
Find out what your audience wants; what they’re scared of, passionate about, or strongly dislike. Do they like coffee or tea? Do they vacation in Cancun or Tuscany? Are they millennials, Boomers, Gen Xers?
Once you know these traits, visualize them. Imagine having a chat with them at a friendly place (AKA: not an office.) A business negotiation meeting is scary, but a coffee date is fun! See the difference?
Once you know who you’re chatting with, the “conversation” starts to flow better.
One of the easiest ways to learn how to write conversationally is to speak in the first person. Instead of using “them” “theirs” or “it”, speak directly to your audience.
For example, I am writing this post to help you learn how to write conversationally.
What this post isn’t doing is broadly speaking to readers about a topic important to them because it sounds vague, impersonal, and awkward.
You want to welcome readers into a comfortable environment. If you take yourself too seriously, they’ll either get bored or feel intimidated, both of which result in a quick bounce away from your content.
Show that you know what you’re talking about without making it a dissertation. Don’t mistake academic or formal writing for intelligence.
Your writing can be simple and smart. It can also be convoluted and unintelligent. Big words don’t equate to smarts — your ability to connect with your audience emotionally signifies immense emotional intelligence, and it’ll show in your analytics.
Any good copywriter knows this sacred rule because what you write isn’t about you, it’s about your audience.
Focus on the reader.
It may seem simple enough, but even professionals slip up on this sometimes.
Think about it: We spent years in school either talking about ourselves or regurgitating information about someone else. You have to train yourself out of this, and it takes practice.
How can you break this habit? By asking questions, like I just did.
Questions are interactive; they stimulate your reader because you shift focus away from you and onto them.
Make them open-ended, for example:
“Why should you write conversationally?”
This question puts the reader in the driver seat of their own thoughts. The goal is to get your reader thinking about what you said. When done right, questions provoke thought and strengthen the connection between you and your readers.
This might be what we worry about most; whether it’s with our partner or our audience. We worry people will tire of us, or that what we create isn’t interesting enough to hold people’s concentration.
Been there many times. Let’s overcome this limiting thought process by understanding what makes something interesting in the first place.
According to psychologist Paul Silvia, something is interesting when it’s “novel, complex, and comprehensible.”
In other words, we like learning new information that we can understand but also challenges us just enough to make us think.
Give your readers the answers they’re looking for and you build trust. Make them see the value of that information and you build interest. Which brings me to my last tip for writing conversationally:
I said it before, but it’s worth mentioning again:
Conversational copywriting isn’t proving your value as a writer, it’s providing value to your reader in a digestible way.
Writing in a conversational tone is a casual way of informing your audience of new, often complex concepts. I’ve had the task of undertaking academic grants and editing them into readable blog posts.
Ultimately, if your writing isn’t readable, no one will read it. How can you provide value if your writing is too hard to read?
If you catch yourself writing long-winded, cumbersome sentences, use the free Grammarly Chrome extension to edit your writing and ensure it’s easy to read, informal, and conversational.
Lastly, remember that conversational writing is valuable when supported by facts.
When you nail conversational copywriting, you position yourself (and your biz) as a relatable source of information.
If your content is relatable, people trust you. When they trust you, they’ll look to you for guidance and be more likely to invest in your offerings.
I love conversational copywriting because it’s the most human way of communicating digitally.
Think of this writing tool as an olive branch. The second readers land on your site, you greet them with personalized content that they want to engage with.
Hit them with walls of convoluted, wordy text? They’ll be gone in 60 milliseconds.
Ready to start a conversation? Pour the vino and let the discussion flow! Need a little nudge to get the juices flowing?
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