My Favorite Writing Strategy EVER (A how-to!)

Writing Conversationally

I’ve had a few clients come to me specifically because they wanted me to create content with a nice, light, readable tone.
 
It feels conversational, and therefore, it fosters a connection with readers right of the bat. It’s not robotic or overly formal — which is a problem many businesses struggle to overcome with their audiences. They sound more like a faceless organization than real human beings running a company.
 
So how can you write conversationally, too? Here are my best tips for keepin’ it real.
 
Focus on the Open
 
Your opening is where you hook a reader — and it’s where a person decides if he or she wants to read more. I like to start out by setting up a relatable situation or touching on a pain point most of the time. This helps put you and the reader on the same page, and shows that you’re relating to them over a common issue.
 
For example: Isn’t it frustrating when you work so hard to write an amazing email, but then your open rate is dismal — and few people even see your message?
 
Sprinkle in Conversational Interjections
 
In order to achieve a conversational tone, you need to write like you speak, ya know? Add in some of the phrases people use when speaking throughout your writing to make it feel like your reader is listening to you face to face, such as:

Right?
Ya know?
Aha! Or Viola!
Oops
Duh
Pshhhh
Uh huh
Hmmmmm
Hey

These words make your writing more accessible, and add that nice human element that’s often missing. Now, please note that these should be used sparingly and only when appropriate. They’re nice for blogs and emails, but no so great for brochures and formal whitepapers. DUH.
 
Include Questions
 
Posing questions (rhetorical or otherwise) to your audience helps break down the walls between the two of you. Why? Because it puts you both on the same page and gets the reader’s thought process rolling in exactly the way you want it to.

For example: Frustrated by low open rates on your emails? I was, too…
 
Questions are a subtle way to tease out pain points in a very conversational (non-salesy) way.
 
Ditch What You Learned in English Class
 
A conversational tone has stylistic freedom to forgo the formal requirements of writing you learned in school. It’s completely fine to start sentences with ‘and’ or to end with a preposition in the name of style. You can even throw in some slang words if you want — just don’t get crazy.
 
Metaphors Are Your Friend
 
I don’t mean poetic metaphors like, “Our face cream will make you glow like a moon in the evening sky.” That can easily read as corny and fake. And it’s gross. I mean metaphors such as, “Our face cream is like butter for your skin — but it smells a whole lot better.”
 
You should be striving to write in metaphors that play on irony or humor (so keep it light-hearted.)

I think information sharing is a beautiful thing, don’t you think? If you have more questions, tweet me over at @kaleighf.

This article originally appeared in my newsletter, A Cup of Copy. Sign up and get these free tips sent right to your inbox every other Wednesday.