Ever wish that you could write content that could instantly grab and keep your audience's attention? It is easier than you think. A great article by Kathy Sierra on the blog Creating Passionate Users talks about differences in writing styles and which types are more effective at engaging readers minds. Studies have shown that your audience will pay more attention to your message and remember it better if you write in a conversational tone instead of the formal style that is prevalent in business and academic writing. In these studies, participants were given pieces of text to read and then asked to solve problems relating to the text. Students that were given conversational text were able to answer 20-46% more questions correctly than the students who were asked to read more formal text. Imagine if you could get 20% of undecided customers to choose your brand at the time of purchase simply because they recalled your message more than your competitors. And all you have to do is write your content in a different tone! Now that you're convinced the conversational style is better, you probably have one big question. How do I write in a conversational tone? Hereâ€™s what you DO:
Hereâ€™s what you DON'T do:
- Use first- and second-person pronouns like I, we, you, and your.
When your reader sees that you are talking directly to them instead of a customer, something in their brain will perk up and make them pay attention because the brain thinks it is having a conversation with a real person, not just reading text on a page.
- Write how you wish you talked.
Use simple sentences that quickly get your point across just as you would if you were talking to someone. Using these other rules, edit your speech to make your sentences a little more concise. And leave out all the useless remarks like euh, eum, err, and like
- Follow George Orwell's 5 Rules for Effective Writing.
- Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
- Never use a long word where a short one will do.
- If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
- Never use the passive where you can use the active.
- Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
Hereâ€™s what you DON'T do:
- Don't use bad grammar or sentences that ramble.
Conversational writing doesn't give you permission to ramble on using long sentences that don't get around to making a point. Conversational writing is not the same as how you write when you are texting, instant messaging, or even writing an email to a good friend. Use clear sentence structures and paragraphs that flow together.
- Don't use meaningless buzzwords to make yourself sound important.
Your reader will get turned off if they see too many marketing words thrown at them at once. Keep it simple and keep the focus on your customer. Use simple terms to describe what you can do for your customer instead of trying to make your company or product sound impressive.