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 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.
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.
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 to help you magnetise your perfect client + make love, with words. Connect with her on Facebook.