15 ways to write in a conversational tone of voice (with examples)

Everybody says to write in a conversational tone of voice these days. But while writing in a chatty tone of voice might sound easy, it isn’t – especially when you’ve been drilled from an early age to respect grammar rules.

What is a conversational tone of voice?

conversational tone of voice

A chatty style means sounding like you’re talking to a single reader, one-to-one, even if 17,000 people read your blogs. But to do that, you need to break a lot of grammar rules. And let’s be honest, a lot of grammar rules are a load of shite anyway.

Nonsense rules that say you can’t:

  • Start sentences with ‘And’
  • End sentences with a preposition
  • Use slang

You can and you should.

 

The benefits of writing in a conversational style.

There are lots of reasons you should write in a conversational tone of voice, including:

 

A. It’s more fun

Writing in a very formal style is limiting, and although it comes across as super-professional, it’s not needed for most industries. If you’re writing a booklet on how to fix a washing machine, those things can read like an overbearing wall of text – and it’ll be dead boring to write too.

Write in a conversational tone, and you’ll engage the reader, who’ll be less likely to skip over the boring bits, and you’ll have a blast writing it too.

For more about tone, check out my article, Why your brand tone of voice is important.

 

B. It’s read for longer

A split test study by Quicksprout found:

  • 247% more readers read the conversational article compared to the formal article
  • 4:45 minutes was spent on reading the conversational tone article
  • 1:22 minutes was spent reading the formal tone article

 

C. It’s easier to edit

Formal writing means you have to stick to grammar rules – not so when you write in a conversational tone. You don’t have to worry about getting every grammar rule right.

Sure, it still has to read well, but your content doesn’t feel like a drag to edit with a looser tone.

 

D. It sounds more human

By using words you’d use in conversation, you’ll sound like you do in your articles when you speak to a potential client. They’ll feel a connection to you before they’ve even picked up the phone, walked into your shop or jumped on a video call.

 

How to write in a conversational tone of voice.

Now you know what it is and the benefits it can bring, here are fifteen ways to turn your formal copy into a conversational masterpiece:

 

One. Make your message easy to understand

If you’re writing a complex dissertation for your peers, use as many complex terms as you like. But the internet isn’t a dissertation. People read differently on a screen. Your readers won’t read every single line, and if it’s full of jargon, they’ll skip the shit out of it.

Hard: “I am an industry-leading word construction engineer amplifying your business communique to procure you an increasing number of clientele.

Easy: “Copywriting that wins you customers by making your business sound irresistible.

People want to know what you do and its benefit on their lives.

 

Two. Use contractions 

Contractions sound informal and give you a conversational tone of voice instantly.

If the following brings you out in a cold sweat:

  • You’ll
  • You’re
  • They’re
  • We’ll

Then sweat away because there’s nothing wrong with using contractions. Honestly, nobody will think you’re drastically unprofessional for not writing ‘You will‘, ‘You are‘, etc.

 

Three. Use ‘you’ and ‘I’

Using ‘you’ and ‘I’ (first and second-person pronouns) makes your copy sound like it’s addressed to one person – the reader. Yes, you’ll have loads of people reading it, but each one will feel like you’re only talking to them.

Do that and you’ll have a better chance of engaging with them and capturing their attention.

Steer clear of third-person words, like ‘She’, ‘He’ or ‘They’.

Boring: “Any person or persons trespassing on the line should be aware that they do so at his or her own risk. ”

Engaging: “Oi! You! Get off the line, or you’ll be electrocuted!”

 

Four. Include informal linking words

To really slap the formal out of your text, you need to include informal linking words.

Words like:

  • Because
  • Anyway
  • Plus
  • Well
  • Get
  • But

Why?

Well, it’ll give you a conversational tone of voice, for starters. Plus, it works, as you’ll notice in this sentence and the previous one.

 

Five. Start sentences with ‘And’

While we’re on the subject of how to start a sentence, make sure you start one with ‘And‘. This will piss off the Grammar Nazis, but balls to ’em.

Starting a sentence with ‘And‘ isn’t a grammar rule. It’s made up.

And anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong.

 

Six. End sentences with a preposition

Some of the most contentious preposition words include:

  • Of
  • To
  • With

Yes, these are all perfectly acceptable to end a sentence with. The only time you shouldn’t is if it makes the following sentence confusing.

Otherwise, chuck this grammar rule in the bin – because it’s not worth listening to.

 

Seven. Keep sentences short

Nobody likes a website with long sentences and giant paragraphs. Being aware of sentence and paragraph length can hone your editing skills and stop you from using more words than you need.

Long: “Our latest offer: We have a limited number of t-shirts left on sale. To avoid disappointment, make sure you buy yours today.

Short: “Quick! These tees are selling fast. Get yours now!

Short sentences add urgency, perfect for when you’re looking to make a sale.

 

Eight. Stop rambling on

Get to the point.

Here is something similar to what I found on a website for a Painter & Decorator:

Rambling Nonsense: “Give me a call or send me an email and, after agreeing a time and date, I will visit your property and do a full-scale inspection of the desired work, taking into account the full scale of what you want and need. Following my visit, I will be in touch within 7-working days with a full, itemised breakdown and price for the desired work.

All that was needed: “Give me a call to organise a time and date for your quote.

Simple.

 

Nine. Use common words with fewer syllables

It’s easy to get caught up when you’re writing, and you start using words that are a bit flowery.

In the below example, that word is ‘commences‘. It’s three syllables and you don’t need to use it. There are better words you can use:

Three-syllables: Sunday’s game commences at 11 am.

Two-syllables: Sunday’s game begins at 11 am.

One-syllable: Sunday’s game starts at 11 am.

The two and one-syllable options are clearer. You’ll always find words you can swap out in your copy. So, look out for any with multiple syllables and see if there’s a more direct, short word you can use that trips off the tongue.

 

Ten. Tell a story.

Okay, this is about your website. But really, you should use storytelling everywhere, whether it’s on your website, articles or social media.

One of the best ways to show how this increases engagement is LinkedIn:

write with emotion

By telling a story, the views for this post reached 6,646, with loads of reactions and comments. And two subsequent posts where I talk about mental health as a freelancer topped 7,000 and 8,000 views, respectively. Yet, when I prattle on about copywriting with no real story, these posts get between 450-1000 views, and they get very few comments or reactions.

This shows that people love a story and are more likely to engage.

Telling stories on your website has the same effect, and do it in a conversational tone of voice for an extra pinch of humanity.

 

Eleven. Ask questions

It’s called conversation copy because, at times, it should sound like you’re having a conversation. And what happens in conversations?

Yep, people ask questions!

So, include questions, like:

1. Have you ever slept on a silk pillow?

2. Would you like to give us feedback?

3. Does your copy sound like that knob head robot from Star Wars?

conversational tone of voice copywriter

Or for something more famous, what about:

Got milk?

It’s a two-word question and is one of the most famous pieces of copy ever.

 

Twelve. Use similes and metaphors

A simile is a comparison between two things that are linked by ‘like’ or ‘as’. And a metaphor is a comparison between two things that doesn’t use ‘like’ or ‘as’.

Similes and metaphors are a great way to sell a product, don’t believe me:

Without: It’s so soft.

Not bad on its own, but what about now:

With: It’s so soft, like a baby’s bum wrapped in cotton wool sitting on a cloud.

You’re trying to make something sound irresistible. Similes and metaphors help you do that.

 

Thirteen. Show your personality.

You’ve got one. It’s why people love you. So, take off your business head and show your personality. It’s the real secret to writing in a conversational tone of voice.

Tell your audience:

  • What’s so exciting about your product or service
  • Some behind-the-scenes details about you and your business
  • About when something went wrong

Reading how passionate you are comes through in your content when you’re writing passionately. And sharing your imperfections also makes people take a shine to you.

Really, it’s similar to point ten, ‘Tell a story‘. The only difference is you don’t have to do that in story form.

 

Fourteen. Write for one person.

Knowing who your target audience is helps you write directly to them. So, when you write, pretend they’re right in front of you, explaining solely to them.

It makes it much easy to write chatty when you’re not thinking of pleasing everyone.

If you don’t know who your target audience is, you need to create a customer person — and you can find out more about that in my article, How to create your brand story.

 

Fifteen. Read it out loud.

Don’t laugh.

conversational tone of voice

Reading your copy aloud allows you to hear how you sound, so you can double down on making it chatty. Plus, it helps you pick up any errors you might not have come across in all your editing and proofing.

 

Need help writing in a conversational tone of voice?

Hopefully, these fifteen tips will get you exciting about writing in a chatty tone. But, if you don’t have time, or writing really isn’t for you, maybe I can help?

As a conversational tone of voice copywriter, I can make your website and branding sound a lot more human.

Let’s chat because loads of customers are waiting to hear what you’re all about.

Until next time,

Matt

PS. For more writing tips, check out my article, 11 tips to write better blog post titles (with examples).

 

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freelance copywriter in liverpool, Indeliblethink Copywriting, copywriter matthew drzymala

Written by Matthew Drzymala

Hey, I’m Matt, a freelance tone of voice copywriter in Liverpool (though I’m originally from Manchester).

I specialise in writing laid-back, chatty copy for businesses who want to sound like somebody with a pulse runs their business – not a robot.

I’m also a comedy author, when I get the bloody time.

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