I’m talking to you.
Using easy to read sentences.
And generally short paragraphs.
Plus I’m making sure the language is clear and easy to follow, rather than dense and hard to read.
I’m not going to write the entire post in this style, so let’s move on:
What Does Conversational Writing Sound Like?
Well, it sounds as if someone is having a conversation with you. Of course, it’s more of a monologue than a two way chat, but it sounds (in your mind) as if a friend, or perhaps co-worker, is speaking to you.
Celebrity news blogs are actually a great example as they’re often written very personally, in the first person, and in a flowing and generally quite breathless way.
Whereas Wikipedia is written in a stuffy way, to put it mildly. In fact, some of the articles are so dense with jargon they’re pretty much unreadable unless you’re already familiar with the topic.
What’s the Benefit of Conversational Writing?
Well for one, it’s easy to read. It helps draw in the reader, rather than making them struggle over every sentence. It’s inviting. It’s interesting. And it helps make even the densest of subjects approachable.
Effectively – whether you’re writing for your blog, articles to publish, an eBook… your readers will enjoy reading a lot more if you write as if you’re speaking to them.
And if they enjoy reading you, they’re much more likely to share your blog posts on social networks (so you get more visitors), even link to you from their site. And it also helps encourage repeat visitors, since if someone enjoyed reading what you wrote on Monday, it’s likely they’ll also enjoy what you wrote on Tuesday.
Now, of course there are different styles of conversational writing, and it’s not necessarily the best option in 100% of cases. It would rarely, if ever, be a good fit in academic writing, but that’s not the type of writing I’m talking about here.
I’m talking in particular about writing for your business, your website, your blog… something where you want to actively attract readers, rather than repel them.
And importantly there are different styles of conversational writing. Just as your style of speaking would be different when talking to a friend, when compared to speaking with a co-worker, you can write in a conversational way but in a different style, depending on your audience.
For example – writing a white paper potential clients can download off your site can be information rich, but still readable and the style can flow. Just because it’s aimed at a corporate market does not mean it has to be overflowing with acronyms and jargon that almost force the reader to re-read sentences again and again just to understand what’s being said.
Putting such unnecessary potential blocks in the way of turning a reader into a client is not beneficial to your business.
How to Easily Start Writing Conversationally
Well, first of all, you need to be able to recognize conversational text on screen (or on paper). If you’re not able to spot it yet, it may take you a while to develop an eye for it, but once you’re familiar with it you’ll be able to spot it every time.
Next, it’s time to learn how to write in that way, and this purely comes with practice.
Some people suggest finding some text you really like, and simply typing it out (or even better writing it out by hand). This helps you develop the muscle memory of how it feels to write conversationally. This may not be the most exciting process in the world, but can be very helpful if you’re looking to develop this skill.
Another tip is that when writing, imagine the person you’re writing to is sitting opposite you. So imagine you’re typing directly to them. You may find this helpful for softening your writing style into more conversational prose.
And think about it – when you write emails to friends or family, it’s likely those emails are going to be written in an easy to read and friendly tone. So transferring that tone to your blog, your articles, or whatever you are looking to write, doesn’t need to be a huge stretch.
Quick Tips to Writing Conversationally
Keep paragraphs short, or at least relatively short. Few things are more off-putting to potential readers than being presented by slabs of text.
Avoid unnecessarily complicated language. Now, depending on your subject matter it may be impossible to entirely avoid jargon and acronyms, but the easier your text is to read, the more likely it will be read.
Now that said, you don’t need to dumb it down so even a 5 year old could read it. That of course would be taking it too far, so do keep your potential audience in mind, but also remember they don’t have to read what you write, and have got plenty of other things they need to be doing, so lower as many barriers as you can to them reading, and enjoying, your writing.
And everyone has their own writing, and conversational style, but just as I’ve started this sentence with ‘and’, you may find that helpful too as it helps lead into the sentence and sounds a lot more conversational than not including it. Other options are “Now,”… “Well,”… “That said,”… and so on. But again, it comes down to your personal style, which only you can develop.
And I’ve been told that my sentences are often particularly long, which is not something I was aware of until it was mentioned to me. Well, this seems to unintentionally be my personal style, but again you’ll want to develop your own, which likely won’t happen overnight.
Developing Your Style
Anyway, that’s a crash course in conversational writing – what it is, how to recognize it, how to develop it, and its benefits to you.
However, I’ve heard from some people that in university, since you’re asked to write in a very staid way in essays, that habit can be hard to break.
And perhaps (actually, quite likely), conversational text stomps all over many grammatical rules that would make English majors wince.
That may be so, but personally I feel as long as it’s readable and informative, and doesn’t have glaring spelling or grammatical mistakes there’s no problem bending the rules of grammar a little. They may be grammatically correct, but I don’t think a semi-colon ever makes text more readable; does it?
We’re not writing for the Associated Press here, so the style you choose to write in is up to you.