You’re reading the guidelines for a new project and they specify using a conversational tone. What the heck is that? By writing, I’m already having a conversation with my audience, right?
But, I’ve found that over the last year, more and more writing clients are asking for the tone of their blog posts to be more conversational, or like you’re chatting with a good friend.
Conversational tone is generally very relatable and relaxed, but also authoritative and trustworthy. Readers should be able to identify with the topic or the situation and see themselves immersed in the conversation while gaining helpful knowledge or insight.
The structure of the writing generally sounds as if the person is speaking, rather than creating polished prose. This is supposed to make the reader feel more like they are having a conversation with the writer, rather being spoken to, as they read the words.
So, how can we as writers implement this more casual writing style into our work? Easy! Here’s what I’ve been doing (and editors love).
1. Ask the reader questions.
Remember, this is a conversation, not you shouting at the reader to do something. Even if they are rhetorical, ask the reader what they would do or how they would tackle the situation, before lending your own insight. This creates a natural reading pause and time to think for a moment about the subject matter of the article.
2. Add your thoughts.
Even if the piece is not written in first person, you can add an element of “I’m just like you” simply by adding a few personal touches to the writing. I often add what’s in my head in parentheses or create a story that starts out with , “You know when you’re trying to…” to present something that has happened to me to make the context of the article more relatable to the reader.
3. Use everyday language.
Blogging and content marketing isn’t essay writing. Drop the superfluous collegiate tone and simply be you. I especially love reading blog posts that have a regional flare thanks to the language used. I’m in the Midwest and we drink pop, not soda. I know my fellow heartland readers are nodding their heads right now. Yes, yes we do drink pop, not soda.
4. Tell a story.
It’s not uncommon for me to lead in to a topic by telling about a situation or moment where the article topic became very prominent. For example, even this post starts with a relatable moment. We’ve all read through guidelines or information from a new writing client and found ourselves trying to figure out exactly what they want.
However, writing in a conversational tone isn’t unstructured.
All the components of a solid piece of writing still apply. You need some sort of introduction or explanation for why the post is being written. You need to present clear, concise information, tips or ideas to your readers. And finally, you need to make sure they realize why the topic is important to them. If you can bundle all that up into a piece that speaks to your client’s audience, you’re winning as a writer.
So, how do you keep your blog writing from sounding too pretentious and worthy of hiding in a dusty scholarly magazine at the library? Tell me in the comments below. Let’s have a conversation!
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