Why is writing for the internet is different?
Once upon a time, there was only one way to write and that was direct copy. Through mail or print. This was always used to promote or record an event. Times changed when the internet came along. Over time people realised that they couldn’t ‘talk at’ at audience any more. Customers could suddenly talk back!
The ‘web’ became a multi-way medium where it was a conversation, hence the title of this article. Suddenly anyone was able to create their own copy and get their opinion out into the world. This was first through a blog and then through the use of social media. It was unprecedented before this time. And now with the likes of You Tube and IGTV it has gone one step further. People can effectively create their own show/TV station on their own terms and all for FREE! That truly is mind blowing! To me anyway. I don’t think everyone appreciates the truly unique nature of the times we are living in. These kind of capabilities were not even available 10 years ago, yet here we are taking it for granted today 🙂
The language we use today has to be one of engagement. We want to empathise with our audience, to understand their problems and offer a solution of how we may fix them. The emotional buy in of solving their problem and not them buying our product is key.
Can you give an example of Conversational Copy Writing?
You will notice examples of this everyday. We have all been in meetings where there is a lot of jargon or ‘in speak’ for a given industry, acronyms etc.. You might hear something such as “our ability to deliver a positive experience to our customer base” or my favourite word “stakeholders”. I hate this word completely. It makes me feel nothing but cringe. It means very little and is just a business buzz word. Yet you will find it on 80% of job descriptions. A simpler and more customer friendly approach would be to say “we can make our customers happy”. Much easier, understandable and to the point.
You want to think about how you make your customers feel. Do you want to confuse them? Is that the aim? Or do you want to make them understand what yo do and how you can help them? It should be the latter.
Children are the best sales people.
We all used to talk in this way until we were conditioned by our education to ‘speak properly’. Honesty went out of the window and we were taught a different way to present ourselves. As we go through our schooling especially in later years, our natural ability of conversation changes. When we are children we are very persuasive and the very best sales people:
“Please Dad, I’ll love you forever” “Can I stay up late, pleeeaassse” “I’m not tired …”
They use emotive language which pulls at your heart strings, great eye contact and put you in a position where you can’t say no! There are many fine attributes within this.
How do you start to write in a conversational style?
One way would be to write some text and get someone else to read it back to you. If they stumble over the words, don’t understand the text or seem embarrassed saying these words. Then it still needs some work.
You could make a video of you speaking to camera, ideas will often flow more easily when
You can make a video of yourself speaking to camera, ideas will often flow more easily because it mimics the idea of having a conversation.
As well as this you can read the text out loud yourself or seek advice from others. This allows you to to create natural everyday language with great grammar context and syntax for your reader.
Are you listening?
Listening to your customer is vital. You need to figure out where they give their opinion about your product or service and go there to listen to them. Countless reviews flights where customers give their opinion even on sites such as Facebook within Facebook groups they may be discussing your product. This kind of information is easy to find and with a simple search.
If I am looking for product information in this way I will look within a review site of which there are many. If I’m selling a product that will probably search with the likes of Amazon or eBay to start off with. Equally if you have a customer service department or at least you are in touch with your customers regularly I would start with understanding the keywords are most often asked questions which come from your customers directly. This is always my number one tip when people ask about keyword research. The best research always comes from your customers.
Corporate speak for your products or jargon is completely irrelevant. You need to understand the language of your customers. This can include what delights them and disappoints them in equal measure. This is the best kind of feedback you will ever receive. It can drive sales and predict a future growth for your business.
Show this conversational tone be used for all platforms?
I think it is always best for you to find your voice. Whether you are an individual or a corporate brand the reasoning is the same. Your voice will be the same but you’re just adjust it for different scenarios. So for example the way you speak to fellow employees in a business meeting will have a different context to the way you put out information for your customer base.
How does conversational copywriting affect SEO?
Again this is a topic that I’ve spoken and written about frequently because it is so important. Nearly every search query is a question. If you think about everything you put into Google or YouTube yourself, it is always a question. You will more than likely summarise it into a couple of keywords, but you will always be looking for the answer to something. Often a skill or a way of doing something you are inexperienced with.
Pretty much everything we have a look for on YouTube for example is asking how to do something. “How do I?” This is also why conversational copywriting is so important. With the rise of voice technology in voice search using apps, such as Alexa or Siri there will be an even greater need for this kind of copy. People will be summarising their questions to just a couple of words so whatever copy you put out there those words have to match up. I have created this blog post using voice technology because it’s much quicker let me type it out all the words myself. It is only something I’ve recently started to do do but I use this technology because it speeds up my workflow. Creating a blog post still takes a lot of time from research writing out the ideas and then coming up with the context of what I’m going to say but by using software such as this I can usually complete the finished article in about 10% of the time.
This idea of conversational copy is used within everything I do. Oh my blog post YouTube videos podcasts etc. Used to start with a question or subheadings are subcategories are always a question. This is deliberate because I want to be found within a search for people asking those questions. This is how SEO works.
Businesses these days need to think about how they are representing themselves, in their words and their actions. The brand message, market research and keyword research are all part of that. The easier and the clearer you make it for your customer to understand what it is you are offering, the more sales you will ultimately create.