5 Tips for Writing Conversational Content
Decades ago, it was predicted that, in the 21st century, everything would be run by robots.
And today, that prediction is partly true.
Many of us currently use technologies like Siri, GPS navigation systems, automated phone systems, self-serve checkout lines, and systems like Alexa or Google Home.
And while all these technologies can be wonderful, they come with their own set of challenges.
For instance, how often have you caught yourself yelling at the lady in your GPS system because she didn’t tell you to turn in time and you missed your exit?
Or my personal favorite… screaming at your phone because the voice automated system for your pharmacy is having trouble recognizing what you’re asking for due to your thick northern Wisconsin accent, you knoooow aaaye.
The common issue behind the many problems we face with modern technology is the lack of human touch.
And why is this important to recognize as a business owner? Because living in a world of robotic, automated systems gives you a beautiful opportunity to set yourself apart and bring a personal, human touch to your content that people are craving.
Especially when there are so many companies out there who write dull, robotic copy.
Simply follow our 5 tips for writing conversational content, and you’ll instantly be able add a more human touch into the copy you write!
Keep reading to check out our tips…
Conversational Content Tip #1 – Use Colloquialisms
Take a second and read the sentence below…
“As the price of ten dollars was reasonable, I decided to make the purchase without further thought.”
What did you think?
Here’s what our sassy, yet brutally honest, robot friend, Sophia, from Hanson Robotics thought…
…And we couldn’t agree more.
In the year 2018, it’s much more appropriate to use a phase such as…
“It’s was only $10 bucks so I went ahead and bought it.”
Ahh, the power of using colloquialisms–words or phrases that are not formal or literary and are typically used in ordinary or familiar conversation.
While writing your content, please know that it’s ok to use less formal phases in order to write more conversational and human-like content.
In fact, using common conversational language can actually improve your content readability score and often enables your audience to make a stronger, more positive connection to your brand.
The final thing about colloquialisms is that it’s important to keep in mind the audience you’re writing for.
You certainly wouldn’t use the same colloquialisms writing for an 18-year-old-audience…
“This product is on fleek!”
…as you would an 80-year-old-audience…
“This product takes the egg and is bound to give you a gigglemug.”
I think you get the point!
So, without further ado, give it your best effort…ehem…I mean… “Just go for it!”
Conversational Content Tip #2 – Use Abbreviations
If you had to write out “Répondez s’il vous plait” every time you needed to ask someone to respond to an invite, it would eventually drive you nuts.
Even Sophia who is programmed to do whatever we humans ask her to do says…
And that’s exactly why, as language has developed, we’ve created abbreviations such as…
RSVP instead of Répondez s’il vous plait
TV instead of television
DIY instead of Do It Yourself
…in order to simplify language and make it more conversational.
The majority of the human population has now become so accustomed to using abbreviations that using the full version of a word or chain of words can come across as alarmingly formal.
This phenomenon is only going to expand as we continue to search for quicker, more convenient ways to communicate with each other via digital platforms like texts, emails, online messengers, and more.
We’re not saying you have to use every abbreviation that exists in the content you write.
However, if your goal is to write in a more human, conversational tone, we suggest you throw a few in your content every now and then.
Conversational Content Tip #3 – Use an Active Voice
According to the Purdue Online Writing Lab…
“Active voice is the grammar structure in which the subject comes before the object in a sentence and shows a direct action on the object in the sentence.”
As an example, if I asked Sophia to provide us with a sentence using active voice, she would respond with…
Well…that’s not exactly the sentence I was expecting, but it certainly was a sentence using active voice.
Oh, and don’t worry, Sophia’s just using a robot joke to mess with us! (We hope!)
As humans, it is most natural for us to speak in an active voice, which is why it’s crazy that many of us fall victim to writing in passive voice–a grammar structure that places an object in front of the subject in the sentence structure.
Here’s what I’m talking about…
While writing, it’s easy to create a sentence using passive voice such as the example below…
A bad review was written by the critic.
But we would probably wouldn’t talk like. Instead, we’d simply say…
The critic wrote a bad review.
See the difference?
Clearly writing in active voice is a style that is much more conversational. And with a little practice, it’s easy to train yourself to write in active voice all the time.
Conversational Content Tip #4 – Use Contractions
Much like abbreviations, writing with contractions helps your content mimic the way humans talk.
For instance, you’re more likely to say to a friend, “I can’t hang out tonight,” opposed to “I cannot hang out tonight.”
See how the latter seems unusually formal for a casual, conversational exchange?
Aside from contractions making copy more conversational, they can also make content seem less harsh.
Why? Because our brains have been conditioned to associate the non-use of contractions with content that is more alarming or stern.
For example, things like warning signs (Do Not Enter) or alerts (Missing Child Has Not Been Found) don’t use contractions and are purposely written this way to grab our attention.
Conversational Content Tip #5 – Just Relax
Writing conversational copy is fun and easy when you just relax and write from your heart.
So please, just for a minute…
Forget the sound of your high school AP English teacher yelling at you for using a slang word in your paper.
Shield yourself from all the grammar Nazis in your office.
Stop worrying about whether Shakespeare will come back and haunt you from the dead if you neglect to use words like erstwhile or forsooth in your content.
…and focus on writing conversational copy that is appropriate for the audience you’re speaking to.
After you’re done drafting, you can take the time to have your copy properly reviewed and edited to ensure it’s clean and has the right balance of professional and conversational writing styles.
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