Given a choice, would you rather have somebody talk at you or with you?
Hmm. Tough choice.
Just kidding: It’s a no-brainer, right?
Of course, you’d want somebody to talk with you.
Being talked at makes me feel like I’m back in school, or worse, being lectured by a parent for putting empty cereal boxes back in the pantry (just me?)
It’s a one-sided experience that puts one person in a position of power and forces the other person (or people) to become passive.
Not a pleasant experience, huh?
And yet I see so much web copy designed to talk AT you.
You know the type of copy I’m talking about, right?
“We are XYZ company. We were founded in 2013. Our headquarters are in Rome, Italy. We make silicon pizza utensils.”
I totally get why it’s tempting to create copy like this: They want to sound professional. They want to be respected.
Which means stuffy, corporate and emotionless copy.
… Except it really doesn’t mean stuffy, corporate and emotionless copy.
I believe that your web copy can be personality-driven AND professional. In fact, I believe your web copy SHOULD be personality-driven and professional.
Meet conversational copy
Conversational copy is the type of writing that makes you feel like you’re out at brunch with one of your besties.
It sounds like you. It feels like you. And if it were spoken aloud, could easily be mistaken for something you’d actually said.
Conversational copy is also:
The grammar and punctuation might be, er, a little less ‘proper’ and a little more creative.
But there’s a reason for that: It’s designed to sound like a real person and a real conversation.
By employing grammar and punctuation to mimic the natural inflections we use when we speak, the copy sounds more natural.
Not sure what I’m talkin’ about?
My little “might be, er, a little …” is a perfect example of conversational copy. Er isn’t a proper word. It’s a human sound. And adding in those commas means that when you’re reading, you pause. You take a mental breath. Like the one you’d hear me take if I was talking.
And not only is conversational copy super fun to write because it feels less forced and more natural, but conversational copy converts.
Three reasons conversational copy converts
Conversational copy feels more human.
We don’t buy with logic: We buy with our emotions. Which means your audience doesn’t want to interact with an emotionless robot or a faceless corporate entity that spews information at them. They want to interact with a fellow human who makes them feel seen, heard, understood and adored.
Conversational copy feels warmer and more personal.
If professional copy is the clinical scientist with facts and figures, conversational copy is your favourite loved one bearing cookies and a warm hug.
It. Just. Feels. Better. And instead of making you feel like an outsider (like ‘professional’ copy does), conversational copy makes you feel like a beloved insider and a member of a special inner circle.
Conversational is easier to understand.
A hallmark of ‘professional’ copy is that it’s loaded with industry buzzwords and technical jargon. Which, cool, makes them sound obnoxious like they know what they’re talking about. But it leaves you feeling more than a little clueless.
Complexity kills conversions. Simplicity sells.
And good copy makes it easy as apple pie for your audience to understand what you do and why they should care.
Want to make your copy feel more conversational?
Drop a comment and let me know. If I get more than five comments, I’ll create a separate blog post and/or visual guide to help you create conversational copy.
Official creator and word nerd at Wild Spirit Co. I’m a former journalist and communications manager turned word-wrangler for hire. These days, I fist bump with clever entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses searching for words that woo and copy that converts. I have nine years of experience tucked into the waistband of my yoga tights (which I do everything but yoga in) and am the go-to girl for personality-packed communications that blend strategy with storytelling.