Conversational copywriting: What, Why, Where and How

Two women talking on a swing with the words conversational copy the what, why, where & how.

I love a good chat. On the phone, on Twitter, over a beer. Once I’m interested, I’ll talk your ear off.

That’s the kind of response you want your customers to have with your business, isn’t it? First you need to get them interested, then you need to get them talking.

That’s where conversational copywriting comes in.

The What and Why

Conversational copywriting is what it sounds like it is. It’s copywriting that feels like a conversation. A conversation between real people. It might not be exactly like a transcript of a real conversation (because most of us tend to waffle and stammer a bit) but it has the same rhythm and the same sense of intimacy.

Making your marketing engaging online is hard enough and when your words make me feel like I’m at the other end of a spiel; well, I’m clicking away, baby.

The truth is that when you write as if you’re talking to someone, it’s reads just like you’re talking to someone. Me. And when you’re talking to me (not at me), a lot of subconscious barriers I have to your message are broken down. I’m more receptive to what you have to say and I’m much more likely to act on it.

The Where

Conversational copywriting used to be a niche style of copywriting but now it’s everywhere. It’s especially useful in the online world. Your website, blog or email is competing with a lot of other distractions so you’ve got to pull out the big guns.

Your value proposition – that is, the real value you offer your customers – has to be authentic and, well, valuable. Then you have to communicate it in a way that will resonate with your audience.

The key to writing conversational copy is making sure:

1) The tone of the conversation fits with the business’s brand
2) It’s not a long-winded boring conversation that no one wants to listen to. And they don’t have to.

Your marketing copy needs to be compelling, relevant and client-focused. That’s a given. Conversational copywriting can help you communicate all the good stuff in a way that keeps your audience interested.

Some businesses really struggle with the idea of their marketing having a conversational tone. Some people feel it’s not professional. If you’re one of those people, I ask you this …. If friendly and conversational isn’t the tone you’re looking for, what is? Boring and long-winded?

The How

And now we come to how. It’s really very easy. You write like you speak – only a little better.

  • Use contractions like they’re, hasn’t, wasn’t and you’re
  • Use words like I, me, we and you over third-person references
  • Use simple, straightforward language *
  • Don’t be afraid of being familiar or injecting personality – as long as it fits with your brand voice.

* Remember that simple and informal doesn’t mean unsophisticated or unprofessional. Nor do big, long words make you sound clever.

If you find your copywriting going from conversation to spiel, try role-playing a conversation and record it. Pay attention to the language you use and the rhythm of your words and move that into your copywriting. You’ll find it’s much more authentic. And you get the benefit of editing. BONUS!

Next time you’re sitting down to write some copy, remember to have a conversation. That kind of sincerity in your copywriting will get you a lot further than all the features you can list.

Now that you have the tools, I’d love to know – does a conversational tone work in business marketing? The answer is ‘yes’, by the way, but if you disagree, let me know.


14 Responses

  1. I agree completely! And I think a conversational tone sometimes works much more effectively when you’re talking about things that are, let’s face it, a little yawn inducing! I do have to take care I don’t babble though, I do love to talk….

    1. Absolutely Shauna. I find the more boring industries sometimes comes with clients who think the conversational tone is all wrong. But it really can help to humanise the driest of topics!

      Thanks for commenting.

  2. This comment alone is worth the price of reading this post: Nor do big, long words make you sound clever. Great topic!

  3. Indeed! Conversational writing is very important because you’ll have a better response and engagement with your customers or clients. So if you write like you would speak, and maybe a little better that would be great. Nice article, keep posting.

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