While the primary purpose of copywriting is to convince the audience to take some form of action, it’s not always clear to business owners how to actually accomplish this. Regardless of how effective your products and services are, oftentimes it’s about the connection you make with your audience.
There’s a quote in the original Star Wars I’ve always loved. “Who’s the more foolish? The fool or the fool who follows him?” Now, I’m not saying anyone’s a fool but think about this from a marketing perspective. If the follower knows the leader is a fool, why would he follow him?
The simple answer is the fool created a personal connection with the follower by talking to him. Once they shared some common ground, it was easier for the fool to convince the follower to follow him.
Conversations are the easiest way we create connections with other people. And while you can’t exactly have a two-way conversation in website copywriting, you can make your copy more personal by writing in a conversational style.
What is Conversational Copywriting?
Conversational copy is content that makes the audience feel like you’re speaking directly to them. Because of its informal nature, conversational copy is more meaningful, relevant and personal. And it’s much more effective than formal writing.
Think about the last time you were supposed to read a user agreement before signing up for something. My guess is you probably didn’t. Why not? Because it’s long and boring, written in a formal tone that doesn’t engage your interest or curiosity.
Conversational copywriting is intended to correct that. It engages your audience and piques their interest. To help you understand how you can do this on your own website, here are 10 tips to help you write better conversational copy.
Write to One Customer.
Think about a single customer that most closely represents your target audience. Now, write your website copy directly to them. This will help you cut out generalization phrases like “for those of you…” and make it more personal.
Also, focus on their pains points and how you can help them overcome them. Even though their specific challenges don’t always align with all of your customers, it’ll be true for the majority of them. And that means most of your audience will believe you’re talking directly to them.
Write in Second Person.
One of the most important parts of conversational copywriting is to make it personal. You do this by using second-person pronouns like you, your, yours and yourself. This lets them know you’re addressing them directly so they know what you’re saying applies to them.
Ask Engaging Questions.
What do you do when someone asks you a question? Chances are high you just paused to consider an answer. When you ask engaging questions in your copy, your audience does the same thing. They pause for a moment to consider what you’re saying. That changes their role from being a passive participant in your conversation to an active one.
More importantly, when you ask a relatable or interesting question, it piques their curiosity. And now they’re committed to learning the answer.
Personality doesn’t just apply to you personally. It applies to your copy, too. It’s the way you address your audience, insert stage instructions like you’re writing a script, use personal anecdotes to explain an idea or casually mention Star Wars whenever you get the opportunity. This makes your website copy unique and engaging while bringing life to your words.
Break Copy into Small Chunks.
Remember when you were in school and they taught you that persuasive essays had to include five paragraphs – an introduction, three supporting paragraphs and a conclusion. Well, that isn’t how conversational copywriting works.
All information is easier understood and retained when provided in smaller blocks. Long, complex sentences and lengthy paragraphs require a lot of energy and concentration to stay engaged. Use short paragraphs and short sentences to get to the point so your audience doesn’t wander off.
If it makes sense to use a contraction, just do it. Conversational copy should sound like you’re casually talking to your audience. It helps your content flow and gives it a natural-sounding cadence. So don’t be afraid to use them frequently.
Use Simple Words.
When you write your copy, use everyday language that everyone understands. Avoid industry jargon, as well as long or complex words. And under no circumstances should you ever force your audience to look up the definition of a word from your copy. Just save your mad word knowledge for your next game of Scrabble.
Use Active Voice.
It’s far too easy to fall into the trap of using passive voice because many people are still confused by what active and passive voice actually mean. In essence, the thing doing the action should be the subject of your sentence. Here’s an example:
- Passive – Your audience will be engaged by conversational copy.
- Active – Conversational copy engages your audience.
In other words, the thing you’re actually talking about (conversational copy) should be the focus, not the afterthought. And if you want to get really active, turn statements like the one above into a call-to-action (CTA):
- Engage your audience with conversational copy.
Ignore Some Grammar Rules.
This doesn’t give you an excuse to fill your copy with terrible grammar. But it does give you permission to do things like using the occasional sentence fragment, ending sentences with a preposition or beginning them with the word ‘But.’
And Finally, Read It Out Loud.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written something I thought was absolutely brilliant only to be completely tongue-tied when I read it out loud. So as a final step to writing your copy, read it out loud and see how it hangs in the air. Does it contain natural breaks that allow you to catch your breath? Does it have a natural cadence that reminds you of drumbeat? Or do the words even make sense when they have sound?
To learn more about conversational copywriting, click here to send me an email. Or if you’d rather trust a professional to write it for you, I’m always happy to help.
Until next time,
3 thoughts on “10 Tips for Conversational Copywriting”
this was a good reminder and a quick refresher oh conversational writing, thanks
Thanks for the refresher! It’s amazing how many companies, especially in technology, product websites, customer communications, instruction manuals, etc. with tongue-twisting copy.