Have you ever stopped reading something because it was boring?
If you want to make sure your blog posts, emails, and other online content are highly engaging from start to finish, there is a unique writing style you need to know.
This style can help you connect with your readers on a friendlier, more personal, and informal level. You’ll be able to quickly grab their attention, and keep them reading until they get to the end no matter the length of your content.
So what is this style of writing?
It’s called conversational writing, and involves writing as if you are talking or having a nice chat with a friend.
According to irreverent marketer and copywriter Henneke Duistermaat, even though conversational writing feels as if you’re having a cozy chat in a café it doesn’t mean writing exactly like you talk. Instead, it’s a stronger, more concise, and better-structured style of writing.
The good news is that conversational writing can:
- Make your readers feel recognized, valued and appreciated.
- Help you develop a stronger relationship with your readers.
- Make your writing easier to read and understand.
- Get more people reading and sharing your content.
- Help you build and maintain readers’ trust.
- Boost your chances of converting readers to customers.
But it doesn’t end there.
A while back, Neil Patel, cofounder of both Crazy Egg and Neil Patel Digital, carried out an experiment where he created two versions of the same blog post. One was written in a conversational style and the other in a more formal tone. After publishing both of them, he discovered that:
- A whopping 247% more people read the conversational style post from the beginning to the end.
- Readers’ time on page for the formal style post was only one minute and 22 seconds, but this rose to four minutes and 45 seconds for the conversational style post.
Eager to engage more readers with your writing, but unsure how to go about it?
Keep reading and you will learn seven solid ways you can make your writing more conversational and engaging.
1. Write to One Person and Use “You” More Often
It’s easier to write in a conversational style when you have only one person in mind while writing, as you use “you” to address that person throughout your content.
But wait – aren’t you supposed to be writing for a group of people: your “target audience”?
Well, yes. Here is my solution. Picture one person, known or unknown, who represents your target audience or your ideal reader, and write to that person. This will go a long way to make your writing seem as if you’re having a conversation with a friend.
At the same time, use the word “you” to address that person as often as necessary all through your writing. By doing so, no matter the number of people reading your content, even if it’s millions, you’ll sound as if you are talking to each reader individually, one on one.
In short, when you write to one person and use the word “you” more often, your writing will read as if you’re having a personal and friendly conversation.
2. Use Simple Words and Grammar
You can also make your writing more conversational when you avoid using complex words and grammar.
This means you have to identify those words and phrases your target audience are familiar and comfortable with so you can use them more. Such words will be those they use in conversation on an everyday basis.
Avoid using complex, difficult, and unfamiliar words just to sound fancy or to impress because this can make your content tough to read and understand. It can also prevent people from reading, or make them lose interest in your content.
Here are some simple words and phrases you can use to replace complex words:
|Complex Words||Simple Words|
By using simple words and grammar your readers are familiar with, your writing will not only appear more conversational, but will also engage them better.
3. Write Short Sentences and Paragraphs
Let’s face it. Long sentences are difficult and tiring to read, and so are long paragraphs. Even worse, they’re hard for your readers to understand.
When you write long sentences, readers may struggle to get your point and it might sound as if you’re rambling or confused. Sadly, this can make your readers lose interest in what you’re trying to say.
However, with short sentences, you can make your point quickly and also make your writing more conversational.
A comfortable short sentence length for you may range between 15 and 20 words, or you may prefer 15 words or fewer. However, sentences that are only one, two, or three words are common (and popular) these days.
Similar to long sentences, long paragraphs are unattractive and also hard to read, so keep your paragraphs between one to three sentences. But at the same time, anything more than four to six lines in a blog post is too long, even if it’s still made up of one-to-three sentences.
In addition, feel free to have a mixture of one, two, or three-sentence paragraphs in your writing to make your sentences interesting, easy to read and understand, and more conversational.
The bottom line: avoid writing long sentences and paragraphs, so you can turn your writing into an engaging conversation between friends.
4. Replace Passive With Active Voice
You can also make your writing more conversational when you write in an active instead of a passive voice.
According to Grammarly, a sentence is written in an active voice when the subject of the sentence performs the verb’s action. An active voice communicates clearly in a strong and direct tone such that the subject is always taking action or doing something.
However, when a sentence is written in a passive voice, the subject is usually acted upon by the verb. This results in a more subtle and weaker tone when compared to the tone of a sentence written in an active voice.
Check out the following examples:
- The article was written by Jacob. (Passive voice)
- Jacob wrote the article. (Active voice)
- The meal was prepared by the cook. (Passive voice)
- The cook prepared the meal. (Active voice)
While a passive voice may be relevant in rare cases, your writing will become more conversational when you use an active voice more often.
5. Start Sentences With Conjunctions
Ever noticed that most of us start sentences with conjunctions while talking?
Before you ask, conjunctions are words that are used to join other words, phrases or short sentences together. There are three different types of conjunctions:
- Coordinating conjunctions such as: but, yet, and, or, for.
- Correlative conjunctions such as: both/and, either/or, neither/nor.
- Subordinating conjunctions such as: because, if, after, before, although, etc.
Most likely, you were taught in school never to start a sentence with a conjunction while writing, but this grammar rule is no longer relevant so feel free to break it with confidence.
Because we’re allowed to start sentences with conjunctions while speaking, your content will appear more conversational when you do the same in your writing, as long as you don’t overdo it.
6. Ask Relevant Questions
Want to grab your readers’ attention again if they’re starting to lose focus?
Asking relevant questions throughout your content can cause your readers to stop and think of an answer, making it possible for you to grab their attention and engage them fully at that moment.
By having such questions sprinkled throughout your writing, don’t be surprised if more people read your content in full without losing interest, all because of the engaging conversational tone that your writing has developed.
7. Add Contractions and Interjections
Contractions are words that have missing letters in their spellings replaced with an apostrophe, such as they’re, we’re, could’ve, we’ll, he’s and so on. Everyone uses contractions while speaking, and that’s why your writing can become less formal and more conversational when you use contractions in your content.
Interjections, on the other hand, are phrases or words that are used in an informal manner to express different types of emotions like shock, joy, pain, disgust, surprise, doubt, and so on while speaking or writing. Examples of interjections include:
By using more contractions in your writing and adding relevant interjections where necessary, your writing will not only become less formal but also more conversational in nature.
Attract More Readers With Conversational Writing
You can get more people to read your online content when you write as if you’re conversing with a friend.
Simply write to one person, use “you” to address that person, sprinkle your writing with relevant questions, and make use of simple words and grammar.
In addition, start sentences with conjunctions, replace passive with active voice, add contractions and interjections where necessary, and also write short sentences and paragraphs.
When you take steps to make your writing more conversational, not only will you increase readers’ time on the page, but you can also get more and more people to engage with your blog posts, emails, case studies, and other online content.