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August 16, 2020

Conversational Copywriting

How to write conversatoinal copy that converts.

As a copywriter, I’m known to have a more conversational tone. Even on Brief-er.’s homepage I boldly teach that great copy sounds human. Like you and I are at a coffee shop, chatting, nonchalantly.

This article is no different.

Conversational copywriting is slowly becoming the new norm. There’s only one problem to it — slowly.

Most businesses are still hesitant to write words that sound human.

So, they focus on keywords and buzzwords and flashy headlines only to slap it on a landing page that no one reads.

But things are changing. Companies of all sizes, even though slowly, start to realize the importance of writing like you’re writing to your aunt Betty. Conversational copywriting is taking prevalence. But…

What is “conversational copywriting”?

Writing conversationally, or writing conversational copy is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the words you put on a landing page or blog post. Conversational copy sounds like we’re just two friends, talking to each other.

To explain it as simply as possible, it’s like this article feels. It read like we’re talking over coffee. You use the words your clients are using. You’re talking to them just like you’d talk to a friend.

Writing conversational copy — How, what, when?

There are a few articles floating around the web that teach you how to write conversational copy. While some are good, most of them tend to steer too far away from the topic at hand.

Now, I like to think I’m good at writing conversationally. I’m nowhere near the level of David Ogilvy, and I’m certainly no David Abbot, but I’m damn near “really good”. So, what are my tricks you’re asking?

Write at the reader.

One of the things that make conversational copywriting so powerful is that you include the reader. Don’t you feel like you’re a part of our conversation here?

A couple of weeks ago, two colleagues of mine and I wrapped up a copywriting project for one of the UK’s biggest franchise companies.

Now, I may be biased, but there is a line in there that I love. Before we started working on the website, it had a basic title saying something along the lines of (and I’m paraphrasing):

“We have 10 years of experience.”

As Iggy Pop once said, chairman of the bored. So we came up with something that would get the reader in. A challenge if you will.

“How far can you go with the advantages we didn’t have 10 years ago?”

Now the business sounds more human. In a way, even prouder of the accomplishment.

Write like you’re talking.

What’s the difference between you writing and you talking? I bet that if you went to university, you can’t write like a human if your life depends on it.

If I had to recommend two tips that can make you a damn good copywriter, it’s:

  1. Use contractions;
  2. Start sentences with conjunctions.

One, you never say “you are”, unless you’re working in a highly formal setting, in which case I’m surprised you’re even here.

Two, in this article alone, there are at least ten sentences that start with conjunctions. It made it more human, didn’t it?

Understand your customer.

Cliché, I know.

It’s true, though.

Conversational copywriting by nature requires you to be an expert on the topic you’re writing about. While I’m good at copywriting, I’m shit in astronomy. I can’t square to Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s understanding of the universe and his explanation of how it works.

Understanding your customer allows you to empathize with them. And that’s powerful.

To take it a step further, knowing how your customers think, talk and what troubles them allows you to write copy that speaks directly to them. What’s mightier than a brand that understands its clients?

Finally, keep it natural.

While conversational copy can be fun, sometimes it can come off as trying too hard. Keep it simple. If you aren’t sure if it’s good, read it aloud.

Did it make you cringe? Yes?
Most certainly, the reader did too.

Conversational copywriting in action.

At the beginning of the article, I mentioned that more and more companies are starting to understand and take full advantage of conversational copywriting.

I have some favorites, but I also think some of them can do better. Let’s go over a few.

Hey!

I’m in-fucking-love. “Hey!” is the new email. During their first couple of days, their homepage was a simple letter from their founder, Jason Fried. It was powerful enough to generate the much-needed buzz.

Revolut

I’m a bit split on this one. Maybe it’s their rapid growth and the focus is elsewhere, or perhaps because they are still staying away from desktop. Still, Revolut seems to do email well enough; however, their homepage is “meh”.

It feels like they’re just shrugging at me.

AhRefs

Tim Soulo has been a pretty outspoken marketing director for the past couple of years. And rightfully so, the guy’s pretty damn good at his job. Recently the AhRefs team spent more than $30,000 on their homepage copy.

It reminds me of a ninth-grade school desk. The type that’s littered with all kinds of sketches but still makes sense. I love it.

To put an end to this rambling, you’re reading; I’ll recap everything above. Write naturally. If you’re in doubt — write like you’re explaining to your dad how to restart the WiFi router.

And if that doesn’t seem to work, that’s quite alright. Not everyone is born to be a copywriter. If you’re in a dire need for damn good copy, drop me a line over here.

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Posted in Copywriting