By Wendy Marx
What is conversational writing? It is a way of writing that imitates everyday speech. Instead of reading like a textbook, it reads more like a conversation between two friends.
Writing conversationally is not just about relaying facts. While your content is meant to teach your audience, conversational content uses a more relaxed, approachable style than, say, an industry white paper would. Let’s look at some conversational writing tips that will help you to succeed.
But first, let’s answer the question…
Why Conversational Tone is Important, Even in B2B
One of the biggest mistakes I see in B2B inbound marketing strategies is jargon-heavy content that reads more like a scholarly tome than engaging content.
Some writers mistakenly believe that they won’t be taken seriously in the B2B space if they write simply. But the majority of time, your audience isn’t fellow experts. They’re normal, everyday people who simply easy-to-understand answers and explanations to industry issues.And don’t want to fall asleep reading it.
A conversational tone helps your audience to view you as an actual person, which makes your content more genuine and readable. People get a glimpse of who you are and your personality, which builds a rapport with your audience. This, in turn, promotes an atmosphere of trust.
In addition, this style of writing is easier to understand. The clearer it is, the more beneficial it will be to your audience. As your audience finds real value in your content, they’re more likely to turn to you for guidance in the future.
Let’s now look at a few conversational writing tips that will help you connect with your audience.
8 Conversational Writing Tips to Improve Your Writing
1. Work on Your Own Voice
Each of us speaks in our own, distinctive way. The last thing you want is to mask your voice in favor of something more generic. You want your audience to recognize and connect with your writing based on the voice you use.
This requires that you notice certain aspects of your speech, including your natural rhythm and vocabulary. Keep these factors in mind as you write and compare your writing to what you would naturally say.
Having trouble developing your voice in written form? You might try to keep a regular personal blog or journal. Refer to that style as you create content for your brand.
2. Read It Aloud
Reading your content aloud allows you to compare your writing style with your normal speech. If you notice that certain words feel foreign to your ears or that your ideas run on endlessly, you can tweak it.
While this may seem like a simple step, it can go a long way to creating a flawless conversational tone.
3. Avoid Passive Voice
First, let’s discuss what passive voice is. Grammatically speaking, this is when the subject of your sentence acts as the object. Let’s look at an example:
Passive voice: The article was written by the journalist.
Active voice: The journalist wrote the article.
Notice how awkward and clumsy the first one is? It uses extra words and takes the emphasis off of the one doing the action (the journalist). By comparison, the second one focuses on the person doing the action and gets right to the point.
Why make the effort to use active voice instead? Active voice will better engage your audience and get rid of additional wording that often weighs down content unnecessarily.
4. Listen to How People Speak
“Conversational” means just that: your content should read as a natural conversation. To better do this, pay attention to how people speak in everyday conversation.
For example, no one in daily conversation speaks in generalities. Instead, we use personal pronouns, such as I or we. For example, instead of writing “Companies often face…”, you might write, “I’ve seen how companies…”
In your strategy, look for ways to adapt your writing to seem more natural.
5. Know Your Audience
Who make up your target audience? Are they fairly young or older? Are they from a specific place where they use certain colloquialisms? Will a certain way of speaking draw them closer to your brand?
Knowing the answers to these questions will help you decide what level of conversational writing to adopt. It will help you to know what degree of informality to use as you write on different topics.
6. Know When to Loosen Up
When you talk to someone face to face, you most likely speak simply. Adopt that way of speaking in your writing. Choose straightforward language that you would use when speaking to a friend.
Also, use contractions. Contractions like “can’t” or “isn’t” are a whole lot more conversational than “cannot” or “is not.”
Look for these and similar ways to relax your writing. Granted, depending on the situation, this won’t always be appropriate — but most of the time, it’s the way to go.
7. Know When to Be Formal
While conversational style is preferable in most cases when writing blogs and other content, you might come across cases where a formal tone would be appropriate.
This may depend on the topic of your writing. For instance, if you’re giving advice on financial or legal matters, your audience likely expects a more serious tone.
Using a formal tone in such cases creates an atmosphere of trust in your content, whereas a “guy/girl next door” tone could detract from your professionalism. Decide for yourself what situations warrant a more formal approach and plan on how you’re going to approach those occasions.
8. Keep It Short
A conversation is not a long-winded lecture. Otherwise it would no longer be a conversation.When we have conversations, we naturally speak in short sentences. And your content writing should mimic this pattern.
Avoid monologue-style paragraphs that run on and on. Instead, get to the point. If you look at your writing and see large blocks of text, make it your goal to shorten them. A good rule of thumb is to keep it to no more than four lines of text per paragraph.
We hope these conversational writing tips will help you to create content that deepens your connection with your audience.
What do you do to create a conversational tone in your writing? Let us know in the comments below.