I have a confession to make.
I talk to myself. I do. Drives my husband crazy. I cannot tell you how often he has walked into a room and found me expounding on something of apparent great importance, only to find that the only person in the room is me.
Yeah, it’s embarrassing. Even after 30 plus years of marriage, I still feel silly when I’m caught.
And when the next-door neighbor asked my mother if one of her two daughters did babysitting, back when I was a teenager, you know you’re just a tad weird.
Yeah, like I said, it’s embarrassing. But somehow it helps me process my thoughts better when I hear them out loud. Go figure. I like to think it’s part of my charm.
The Art of Conversation in Your Blog
So why am I telling you this? It’s simple. I want to talk about the art of conversation. Specifically, when used in your blog and other content writing.
When you sit down to write a blog post, do you find yourself trying to use words that sound impressive? Or trying so hard to frame the perfect sentence that the end result comes off sounding like it reads from a textbook?
It’s an all-too common theme and I see it a lot. Too much. I’ve been guilty of it myself in the past, but I’ve learned to move away from it.
Why Do We Write Like Mr. Howell?
Why do we do it? Well, I have a few theories, but mostly I think we do it because we want to sound professional. We want others to see us as experts, as someone with vast knowledge.
But what ends up happening is we sound like a stilted professor in a bad sitcom.
The fact is, when you write the way you talk, you’re more relatable. It’s more fun to read what you write. People enjoy it more because you aren’t trying to sound like Mr. Howell from the old sitcom, Gilligan’s Island. If you’re too young to know who that is, look for a video on YouTube. You’ll quickly get the point.
What is Conversational Writing?
So how do you go from stuffy professor to being likable, but knowledgeable? And what exactly is conversational writing?
I’ll tell you what it isn’t. It’s not making a recording of yourself talking and then typing out what you said. Not unless you also want your post to be filled with hems, haws, unfinished sentences, and other useless noise that we all make in conversation. All that is fine when you’re talking. Expected, even. But it translates poorly to the written page.
Some Tips to Being Conversational
Here are some simple tips to help you understand what conversational writing is:
- Don’t send your reader to the dictionary. Big, fancy words may make you feel smart, but if your reader has to either stop and look the word up, or worse, try to surmise its meaning based on the content, then you’ll likely lose your reader before he reaches the end of your post.
- Use contractions, like you’ll, he’s and you’ve. They sound less formal. Who says he is, you will or you have in normal conversation? Not unless you’re striving to make a strong point, but that’s harder to discern on the written page so stick with the less formal contraction.
- Address your reader directly with the word you. This one simple change alone can do much to pull your reader in and make him feel as though you’re speaking directly to him.
- Talk less about yourself and more about your reader. He is, after all, the person you’re speaking to. He should feel it, right from the get-go.
- Ask questions in your post. Anything that causes your reader to stop and think will keep him from simply plowing through your post on autopilot, remembering little of what he has read.
Hopefully these tips will help give you an idea of how to write blog posts and content that draws your reader in and hopefully helps keep him in. No one likes a stuffed shirt so don’t be one when you write.
Be you. Be fun. Be engaging. Write like you’re sitting down and talking with your reader face to face, minus the hems and haws.
I guarantee that your readers will enjoy your posts more. And be more likely to hang until the end. And isn’t that, after all, the whole point?
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