Conversational Content: Creating Customers with Your Copy

Posted by Hedley Swann on 17 February, 2014 in How-To's , Website Content , Small Business Strategy

Writing engaging and persuasive copy that gets your online audience to connect with your business is a task most small business people struggle with quite often. Perhaps you’ve found yourself looking at your screen, your head swirling as you try to figure out the best way to talk about your service and offerings. Have you ever had trouble posting a Facebook update or writing a blog article, even though you know what you want to write about? If this sounds like you, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Read on to learn some valuable tips for writing content people want to read.

Be a People Person: Write Like You Talk

Never forget your audience is made up of people; of flesh and blood human beings. People are social creatures by nature who want to connect on a human level. Think about the great conversations you’ve had with friends, co-workers and customers in the past. Were they filled with marketing buzz words like “synergy,” “catalyst” or “dynamic”? Did they feel one-sided like the other person was talking at you instead of with you?

Of course not - they probably flowed well. You may have sensed some personality or felt like they understood. Writing that feels conversational is much more likely to keep your audience present and engaged. You probably already do this online, but just haven’t realised it yet.

Take a look at the posts you write on your personal Facebook profile. This is where your audience is made up of people you have a relationship with in real life. Notice how they sound conversational, as if you’ve simply written what you wanted to say. They are probably simple, to the point, and unhindered by that little voice in the back of your head constantly asking if the post sounds professional or persuasive.

A key aspect of conversational writing is that your viewer feels like you’re speaking directly to them. They won’t feel like one individual in a crowd you’re trying to address all at once. Think about how you speak in a face to face conversation and consider the following two illustrated examples:

  • “Come down to Joe’s Pizzeria and taste the difference Darwin is raving about.”
  • “People tell us our pizza is the tastiest in town and we’d love for you to try it.”

Both sentences have the same goals: to tell you Joe’s serves great pizza and to get you to eat there. But, which one leaves you thinking, “Maybe I’ll go to Joe’s for dinner.” Which one sounds like Joe’s Pizzeria is talking directly to you?

The first example sounds like a billboard. It’s screaming a one-sided message rather than starting a conversation. It doesn’t make you feel like Joe’s is interested in having you, as an individual, come to their restaurant.

The second example feels much more like a one on one conversation, Joe’s is speaking directly to you and is specifically inviting you to visit them. It also invites you to engage and respond. It is a personal invitation to try their product, which opens the door for my feedback as a customer. It also suggests Joe’s places value on your individual opinion.

Simple Tips for Conversational Writing

Conversational writing shouldn’t be confused with the tone of your writing. Businesses who want to establish themselves as fun and quirky can use it just as easily as those who need consumers to see them as solid and reliable. Here are some effective ways to help you write conversationally:

  • Be authentic. Write like you write, pretend you are speaking to your audience as if they were standing in front of you.
  • Use the second person point of view. Address your viewers directly using “you” and “your.” For an example, have a look back through this blog post.
  • Be concise and to the point. Conversational writing isn’t an excuse to waffle. Treat your audience’s time as valuable and they’ll love you for it.
  • Show some personality. Don’t be afraid to give a glimpse behind the curtain into who you are. You’re not a robot, so don’t write like one, unless you are a robot, in which case don’t worry, even HAL had a certain kind of personality.
  • Don’t force it. Just like being told to relax is the most unrelaxing thing in the world. So don’t let that voice in your head become distracting, asking numerous questions like, “Am I being conversational enough?” or “Does this sound like me?” A good tactic is to simply write off the top of your head without giving yourself time to think. Then go back to condense and refine.

Conversational Content Isn't Lazy Content

The reason you need to be more conversational in your online content is to increase the engagement of your audience. Conversational writing will make your content more memorable and persuasive to encourage your viewers to complete your call to action. You still need to keep the goals of your online strategy at the forefront of your mind at all times.

Authenticity is the key. Conversational content isn’t a marketing tactic you’ve designed to coerce people into doing what you want. It’s simply a demonstration of how The Golden Rule - to treat others as you’d like to be treated - can help you connect better with your online audience. This is a natural byproduct of conversational writing that can make it more likely your website visitors will want to do business with you.