Marketing is an important part of business, but all too often promotional materials such as leaflets and brochures end up in the bin while company emails get sent straight to the trash folder. The questions is, why? On the whole, marketing messages are characterless, bland and generic. They make us cringe, lack any kind of personality or charm and could, quite frankly, have been written by robots trained to string words together in the most soul destroying way possible.

This is a great shame, however, as readers enjoy copy that’s engaging, uplifting, and connects with them on a one-to-one level. They want to feel valued, appreciated, and respected while simultaneously holding onto the belief that you’re talking with no other customer than them – and that’s where conversational writing skills come into play.

Now, writing in a conversational manner doesn’t simply involve recording yourself and typing what you said – after all, people rarely speak proper English when they talk. In fact, most conversations are littered with grammatical mistakes, nonsensical or vague words, and unfinished sentences. The key to conversational text is editing it so it no longer sounds like writing.

Confused? Check out the following unmissable tips:

1. Don’t make it sound like you’re writing to everyone

As a company, you probably don’t have time to write a personal email to every single client. Mass email sends are common, but it’s important to not to sound like you’re addressing a crowd as this is what makes most marketing messages sound monotonous and unoriginal.

So how can you nail that conversational tone?

Firstly, imagine you’re speaking to your favourite subscriber rather than 100,000 faceless individuals on your email list. Speak to them casually, yet professionally and in an upbeat manner. For instance, rather than saying: “thank you to those of you who’ve donated to our charity,” you might prefer to say something like “donated to our charity already? Thank you so much.”

2. Make sure your marketing materials are easy to read

Highly sophisticated sentences packed with industry-related jargon is far from conversational. Complicated, unfamiliar words can make people feel intimidated, so make sure your marketing materials are straightforward and easy to read. Leave out anything that can only be found in a degree-level book and instead write to engage and help.

3. Forget self-importance: make it a two-way conversation

If a person talks on and on about themselves without letting you speak, how does it make you feel? Bored? Frustrated? Angry? Well, remember this when writing marketing copy. Readers will quickly switch off if you literature is self-important gobbledygook, so try to have a two-way conversation – talking a little about “me” or “us” and a little about “you”. You can look out for self-centered sentenced by searching for words such as “I” and “we”, but don’t feel like you’ve to edit all these out as you still want to make your mark on the reader – it’s a fine balance.

4. Don’t hide your personality

Before you begin writing any kind of marketing material, think carefully about your friends. This may sound a little odd, but ask yourself why you like them. What makes you want to hang out together time and time again? And what sort of conversations do you have? Chances are, you discuss a wide range of topics and don’t just stick to one subject matter. This makes life more interesting and allows for some pretty fun and unique conversations, so why not learn from this and make your content equally as engaging?

You can do this by:

  • Using personal anecdotes to illustrate a point
  • Sharing stories and past mistakes with readers
  • Creating your own style of metaphors
  • Talking about wider business-related issues (perhaps in an email, or on your blog), not just about company-specific matters
  • Sharing interesting content such as infographics that will get people interested and talking

5. Ask your reader a host of questions

One of your main goals when writing content is to keep your reader interested. While there are many stylistic things you can do to engage with your audience such as spacing out copy, bolding text, using italics and making the most of bullet points, you should also ask your reader a host of questions. Not only will this get them thinking about the subject at hand and what they really want or need, but it’ll actively involve them with the content helping them to stay focussed.

6. Avoid using long, complicated sentences

Long sentences can be tiring for someone to read. So, try to write shorter sentences. This will make your content more manageable to digest. Breaking copy down in such a way can be more difficult than you might think, however, as all through school and university we are rewarded for expressing ourselves in an in-depth way using big, clever words. To write simply and for the reader is often a foreign concept, but it’s one that works.

7. Be a rebel when it comes to grammar

We all know that good grammar is important helping us to communicate in an accurate and respectable way. That said, certain grammar rules can sometimes hamper readability, so don’t be afraid to break them now and again for content clarity.

For example, you could perhaps:

  • Use broken sentences to make your content more readable
  • Start a sentence with “and,” “but,” or “or” to prevent your work from becoming monotonous
  • Create a one-sentence paragraph to stress a particular point
  • Use colloquial language here and there (don’t overdo it) to help make your writing more relaxed and conversational. Note, this is best done in a humorous manner

Conversational writing is not always easy. It’s somewhere between professionalism and casual chatter, but the above tips will help you find the perfect tone. Contact Minerva Copywriting today to learn more or to take advantage of professional copywriting services to support your business.

This article originally appeared on Minerva Copywriting and has been republished with permission.