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The Practical Guide to Writing Conversational Copy

This is a guest contribution from Monika Mundell, communication strategist and copywriter.

Image by Flickr user Rohit Rath

Image by Flickr user Rohit Rath

Conversational copy is one of the best ways of creating engagement with a reader. It sets a welcoming, familiar tone that invites readers in. Famous copywriter John Caples delcares conversational copy to be about “You + Me.”

Many people believe they have to be a skilled copywriter to write conversationally. You don’t! If you can hold an engaging conversation with a mate at the pub, or a girlfriend over a lazy coffee date, then you have the ability to write conversational copy.

However…

Before you sit down to write your heart out, consider the tips in this guide. You should know: this guide has been written for bloggers, business owners and entrepreneurs who are looking to build more engagement with their readership, and to help them build trust with their community.

Having said this, there is nothing stopping you from using this guide to write amazing letters to a dear family member, or pitch your partner on a hot mystery date – because the principles of conversational copywriting stay the same.

Getting the Basics Right

The basics of conversational copy are simple: write like you speak. Think of it as having a conversation with your dream client. It helps if you tune into and visualise your reader before crafting words into digital pixels. You want to make your reader feel welcome and appreciated.

You want her to think that she’s the ONLY person that receives your message. And you want to show her that she can trust you because you totally understand the problems and frustrations she might be having. You and your blog or business are here to fill a need. Here’s a simple example:

“I know how you feel right now, because I’ve felt the same way. But when I discovered [the solution], things changed.”

So the most predominant word in your message should be “YOU.”


Message to Market Match

Effective conversational copy is congruent. Avoid slang and abbreviations if you don’t talk like this in person. It will come across as fake and you’ll end up turning people away from you instead.

Dan Kennedy calls this process “message to market match,” meaning your message must be written with your target market in mind, also known as targeting.

Which brings me to an important point – you must have an idea of who your readership is.

It is hard to write compelling conversational copy when you don’t know anything about who is reading your site. In order to write persuasively, you must have a clear picture of to whom you are marketing in the first place.

  • Who is this person you’re trying to attract into your tribe?
  • What are her likes?
  • What is she frustrated about, angry about?
  • What issue of hers do you have to solve to keep her engaged?
  • What interests and hobbies does she have?

You can ask hundreds of questions to build an accurate reader profile (like Darren does here), and the best way to profile your audience is to ask them lots of questions… on your blog, in your newsletters, on social media. Over time you’ll build a fantastic and powerful swipe file of your market’s needs, wants, desires and frustrations. Don’t be afraid to ask for permission to dig around in their heart and listen for the golden nuggets!

Why You Must Feed the Desire

Have you ever been told to feed the desire of your readers when writing copy to market your blog or business?

You can do this in a number of ways:

  • You can demonstrate indisputable proof that your product works, by showcasing tons of case studies and/or testimonials.
  • You can demonstrate how they’ll get an unfair advantage by buying your product (needs to be congruent and NOT hypey!)
  • You can write about their hot buttons, and drill deep into them.

You should keep in mind when writing your copy: it is a lot harder to sell prevention than it is to sell a solution.

Why? Because people do just about anything to relieve pain. They’re less motivated to buy prevention. Pain motivates!

Personally I’m not too fond of negative-ridden copy that continues to ride on the reader’s pain (hype). I believe today’s savvy consumer wants more authentic engagement and less rah-rah.

Tell Stories

Stories are an everyday part of our lives. You probably tell many stories throughout the day, and chances are you use one of the seven story archetypes in every story you tell. Watch this kooky guy as he introduces these archetypes in a short stop-motion video.

Stories rock! When you tell stories, you lower the B.S. guard of your audience. Stories build trust. And they have the power to engage your readership like nothing else. They’re also far more interesting to read than bland sales copy.

Think about how you can weave stories into your online presence. The people in your community will always want to hear your stories  to get to know you better.

How to Write Concise Copy with Heart (Brevity Rocks)

Concise copy is good copy. When you ramble, people tune out. The definition of brevity is this: concise and exact use of words in writing or speech. (E.g. fluff-free copy.)

Brevity is sexy. It helps the reader to digest your message in small junks of information.

Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Use more powerful verbs (doing words) and less adjectives (describing words). Let your sentences be active,  not descriptive.
  • Keep your sentences short (aim for less than 13 words per sentence).
  • Eliminate jargon and clichés where possible (I admit I’m guilty as charged).
  • Check your readability stats (Google how) and aim for a low Passive Sentences score, a Flesch Reading Ease score of above 60, and a Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level of below 9. This article here explains how to activate this on Word 2010.

Creative Ways to Give Your Copy Cult-Like Resonance

Apply the tips within this practical guide to let your copy sing.

With just a few simple and conscious applications, you can write compelling conversational copy that rocks your community and builds your tribe. As long as you remember to identify with your reader’s problem you can’t really go wrong.

Use words to paint the outcome. Take readers on a journey of discovery: from problem to solution, in a few (simple) steps.

The best way to build cult-like resonance is to be generous with your knowledge!

With that said, I want to hear from you!

Tell me in the comment below how you intend to apply some of the information within this practical guide. I’d love to know.

Monika Mundell is the go-to communication strategist + creative copywriter for sassy women in business. Monika explodes her client’s profit potential with her fresh, funky, and fun writing style. She created her FREE Sales Letter Love Script to help you magnetise your perfect client + make love, with words. Connect with her on Facebook.

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This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above. If you'd like to guest post for ProBlogger check out our Write for ProBlogger page for details about how YOU can share your tips with our community.

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Comments

  1. Mark Ball says:

    Yes! This article helped me put my own writing into perspective! My blog focuses on my journey. I am the main character and what I have to say is the story. I can’t wait to start writing with the 7 archetypes as my frame to work within. Thank you Monika.

  2. Aassif says:

    Thanks Monika great informative practical guide. You change thinking now i need to apply thous tips

  3. John Engle says:

    Hi Monika,

    You do have an elegant way of writing… I am very impressed.

    I have a new site, so I am in the process of building readership and engagement and your article has helped.

    I have actually copied some of your sentences into a Word document to have handy as a guideline while I write my articles.

    Thank You for a great Conversational Style Post…

    John Engle

    • Ooh thank you John. No one ever told me my writing was elegant. I love that. :)

      And well done on swiping the copy that spoke to you – it’s a great way to keep your swipe file growing.

      All the best with your new blog.

  4. Kim McFayden says:

    Excellent article Monika – the proofs in the pudding with your compelling bio :)

    • Mwah Kim, thank you so much. I can get quite obsessed trying to nail my own copy (the curse of a copywriter). Glad to hear it engaged you. xx

  5. Maria says:

    Loved it! I like writing as I speak, passionately, from the heart, simple, fair dinkum with my Latin blood on the line.
    I found you via Feedly and wanting to find material for my blog… Oh my… If only I have the time to write a bit more!
    Great to meet you.
    Regards
    Maria

    • Hey Maria,

      Thank you so much, for connecting with me over the phone yesterday. I really appreciate our connection and look forward to getting to know you better. So excited for you. Yay! xx

  6. Katie says:

    Even as a copywriter myself, I always need to be reminded of the things in this post – they are easy to forget when you are hip-deep in writing!

    Thanks Monika.

    • You’re spot on Katie! And you made a great point. When you’re in FLOW you should never try and edit your work. Keep writing and get it out of your system. Once you’re piece is ready for a massage, give it some lurve. (Nice to meet you). :)

  7. Good point Monika! I covered this topic yesterday on my blog. I write conversational copy by imagining my readers sitting in my living room as I write posts. Quite easy when you get down to it.

    Take a deep breath. Before you rush to create a post calmly see yourself speaking to each reader, like a fireside chat, to use a conversational, relaxed tone. Doing so is one quick way to write how you speak.

    Posting frequently also helps you write how you speak. You natural tone and flow emerges when you write again and again and again. Keep on publishing to converse more and publish posts less ;)

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Great additions Ryan, thanks so much for sharing your tips. I love what you said about “taking a deep breath.” When we’re excited we tend to forget to breathe. Good writing actually needs reflection. I’m glad you pointed that out in your own words.

  8. Thank You Monika,

    Thank you Monica. I am new to blogging and have some views that are a bit outside of the main strain.
    I am sure your advice will come in handy and I will refer back to this article in the future.

  9. Steve says:

    That was a superb article! when you said “Think of it as having a conversation with your dream client.” something clicked and I am now motivated to write some stuff using the mindset in that quote. Thanks very much for this excellent information.

  10. Thad James says:

    These are great points. I appreciate being reminded about “brevity” and “targeting”. I will re-read my current posts and look for the conversation style. i agree that stories are very important. More than a theory of a solution, a story actually shows how something worked. Thanks for the article!

    • Thank you Thad, for your feedback. You can achieve much with stories… they help others connect with you. Especially if you show your vulnerable side and talk about your learnt lessons. Have fun writing.

  11. Thanks for a great article. We have a question regarding the slang… what are your thoughts about writing in slang if you in fact do talk in slang!? Thanks again!

    • Hello Emma and Carla,

      If you use slang in your everyday speech then by all means incorporate it into your copy – IF – your target market (re dream client) is speaking the same “language.”

      However, I would be careful and avoid overdoing the slang bit. If you sprinkle some of your slang stock words into your copy, it will become more congruent and punchy, because it’s a direct reflection of you.

      Does this help?

  12. Bros Hijab says:

    Posting frequently also helps you write how you speak. You natural tone and flow emerges when you write again and again and again. Keep on publishing to converse more and publish posts less

  13. johngates says:

    Apply the tips within this practical guide to let your copy sing.

    With just a few simple and conscious applications, you can write compelling conversational copy that rocks your community and builds your tribe. As long as you remember to identify with your reader’s problem you can’t really go wrong.

    Use words to paint the outcome. Take readers on a journey of discovery: from problem to solution, in a few (simple) steps.

    The best way to build cult-like resonance is to be generous with your knowledge!

    With that said, I want to hear from you!

    Tell me in the comment below how you intend to apply some of the information within this practical guide. I’d love to know.

  14. johngates says:

    This is a guest contribution from Monika Mundell, communication strategist and copywriter. Conversational copy is one of the best ways of creating engagement with a reader. It sets a welcoming, familiar tone that invites readers in. Famous copywriter John Caples delcares conversational copy to be about “You + Me.” Many people believe they have to [...]Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger The Practical Guide to Writing Conversational Copy

  15. Vikas Yadav says:

    This is a complete guide for those people who find it hard to write the conversational copy. After reading this article I myself learn some new useful informations. Thanks a lot for sharing these with us.

  16. Johnny Ringo says:

    I realize this article is geared more to a blog post, or perhaps a newsletter, but with one on one conversations, I tend to use the person’s name I’m talking to as much as I can without overdoing it.

    As Dale Carnegie once stated, nothing is sweeter to a human being than the sound of their own name. :) :)

  17. Belinda says:

    Fantastic article Nika. Very concisely written and punching a lot of action and knowledge. See? I’m learning. ☺️ Making notes big time as I’m working on my home page copy right now. Thank you!

    • I LOVE how you always take action towards your goals Belinda, I’m looking forward to read your home page when it’s done. Keep me posted please. xxx

  18. This is a really awesome article and I think that I can apply some tips here. Nice job and thanks for the article.

  19. metz says:

    I think I am conversational personally since I can hold an engaging conversation over a lazy coffee date, but on writing, not really. I have a problem with putting my thoughts into words, unlike before.

    You are right with “Message to Market Match”, knowing your target, the likes, the emotion or sentiments and interest for you to know your voice or tone.

    To wrap it up, great post!

    This comment was left in kingged.com where this post was already “kingged” and shared for Internet marketers.

  20. I’m glad this post resonated with you Metz. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  21. David says:

    Thanks Monika, you made it so concise – “write like you speak”!

  22. Jayashree says:

    Thanks Monika for this great article. I am going to take the tips you have provided to write conversational posts. Thanks again for the great post.