"What's the next thing I need to tell them?"
That's the question I used to have in my mind when writing copy. I was excited to get it all out there, careful not to miss anything important.
The problem with that approach was: My writing sounded like I was talking at the reader. And nobody likes to be talked at.
What I had to learn: Copywriting means having a conversation with your reader on the page.
Now, I imagine sitting in a cafe (remember going to those?) and having a chat with my reader.
It's a friendly back and forth. I'm answering their questions as they come up, focusing on "What's the next thing they need to hear from me? "
But there are more tricks for sounding conversational in your writing:
✅ Avoid words that you wouldn't say in a normal conversation
Aka the corporate buzzwords, your boss uses because he thinks they make him sound smart.
✅ Write in the active voice
That means the subject of your sentence is taking the action.
✅ Use contractions (we'll, you're, I've, etc.)
An apostrophe fusing two words…that’s all it takes to sound more casual.
✅ Pay attention to your transitions
The newsletters of copywriting legend Gary Halbert are a masterclass in conversational writing. What stands out are the transitions that carry you smoothly from one point to the next. For example:
- Truth is
- Now listen
- By the way
- Want an example?
- Bear with me here
- Here's what I mean
- Let's get down to it
Even though these don't reveal any new information to the reader and will surely increase your word count, transitions add to the overall feel of your piece. And help keep your reader engaged.