Why do you like hangin’ and talking to your friends? That is what your copy should sound like. Like you are talking to your BFF.
How many times have you read an email and were left thinking WTF.
All these marketing messages are so formatted they could have been written by a ROBOT.
They don’t engage and they lack personality and pizazz.
Not terribly surprising since proper English, grammar and even spelling while perfect can lack connection. And that is what we really want.
We want to be inspired, delighted and persuaded
We are craving that oh so imperfect human touch.
When we read conversational writing we feel we are getting to know you we are being let into your world and even some of your unspoken secrets.
There is an intimacy. We can relate and begin to feel a meaningful connection.
That is why, more and more the Power of Story is what makes good marketing. Because when you can do that…well, it just doesn’t seem like marketing.
It’s a bizillion times more engaging.
You might think writing conversationally is typing every word that comes out of your mouth but it’s much tighter that dumping the content of your brain onto the page.
Instead, try writing your copy so it doesn’t sound like writing!
“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it”—Elmore Leonard, screenwriter & novelist
All righty then… So here’s how.
1. Quit writing to everyone. And start writing like you are writing to your BFF (even if you are writing to 10,000 faceless people).
Example: Thank You to those of you who have donated to our charity this year.
Instead write: Have you already donated to our charity this year? Thank you so much. If you haven’t you can still donate here.
Conversational tone makes the reader feel like you are addressing them personally. Like you are talking over a latte (half caf with whole milk) as Starbucks.
2. Don’t write to impress. I learned this one early on from my Dad, the High School Principal, who would look over my writing and always say, “Speak in plain language and keep it simple”.
Do you write with MBA or PHD jargon? Do you use complicated words that the rest of us idiots have to look up?
Skip all the gobbledygook, make your content direct and specific so a 6th grader can understand it.
Show empathy by understanding the problems your reader is struggling with and addressing them in the words they use to describe their problems.
3. Make it a Two-Way Conversation. Because when we are writing we can’t see the other person it’s easy to forget to engage the reader and just write from your own perspective (sometimes I think I can fall into this trap).
Here’s an example of how self-importance sneaks into our copy:
Sign up to get on my email list and I will send you some awesome marketing tips.
Notice how “my” and “I” are both self-references. Not that you need to hid yourself but it can get to be a little much is every sentence begins with I or My (yes it’s all about you).
So you could say: “Grow your business with these awesome marketing tips. Sign up now and get them weekly in your email box”.
(Notice: it’s all about them)
4. Share your Personality. Think about your friends and favorite colleges. Why do you enjoy chatting with them?
It’s the small stories that you share with each other, the laughter, humor and intense emotions. It’s your point of view and how you see the world.
If you are only talking about your subject and expertise without sharing any personal stories you start to become seriously one- dimensional…”Boring”.
Think about how you can inject your blogs, emails or sales copy with your personality, your rebel voice.
Here’s an example of the beginning of a sales letter packed with personality from one of my fav-raves Jody Jelas.
“It breaks my heart to watch people bust their ass every day in their lives and not get to TRULY have everything they want.”
Here are some of the ways you can juice up your writing with your personality:
- Share mistakes you have made so your readers can learn from them.
- Use personal stories to illustrate a point.
- Create your own style of metaphors.
- Tell readers why you’re on a mission to change the world.
- Put a P.S. in your emails even if it’s an unrelated comment.
When you add your secret sauce of your personality is when marketing becomes magical and you will be having a lot more fun with it too!
5. Don’t Drink Coffee with Your High School English Teacher. WTF? Ok I know that sounds cray-cray but when you do that you get worried about making mistakes. And now living up to the rules and expectations.
And dat can totally mess with your head.
And worse … That’s how your writing becomes stilted.
Give yourself permission to BREAK THE RULES.
Here’s how to make your writing actually easier to read:
- Use broken sentences—they offend add clarity by stressing words
- Start a sentence with and, but or cause it makes your content easier to read, less monotonous, More dynamic and enthusiastic.
- Create one-sentence paragraphs to stress statements and give readers a chance to breathe. Like pausing while speaking so people can absorb what you are saying instead of being a firehose.
- And best of all feel free to use saying like “OMG” uhm… Duh or Phew they all add a touch of emotion and make it feel more like a casual conversation.
I am guessing by now you got this, right?
Writing is not about sticking to perfect grammar. It’s about communicating ideas with clarity, personality and passion.
So now it’s time to shut up and write!