People buy from people they know.
Whether it's big brand loyalty (I will buy almost anything Apple makes, no questions asked) to working on a smaller scale with people you like and trust, personality has never been more important in business. (And branding is just another word for personality.)
So what does that mean for the content you produce?
Content should be conversational. You're not lecturing your audience; communication is a two-way street that works to build trust between you and the people you serve. Your audience can't get to know you if you don't offer them a glimpse into your personality.
That doesn't mean you can't have a separation between business and personal. You don't have to show off all your flaws, beliefs, and bad Netflix habits. But you should be producing content that avoids being stiff, that shows off your best side, and makes your readers and potential customers want to get to know you that bit better.
And it's easier than you think! Let me show you three simple changes that make a big impact.
1. Use contractions
What sounds more relaxed?
- I can not explain how important it is that you do not write sentences that sound stiff. Readers will not enjoy having to struggle through a text, so do not make it hard work.
- I can't explain how important it is that you don't write sentences that sound stiff. Readers won't enjoy having to struggle through a text, so don't make it hard work.
The second one, right? Contractions make texts sound less formal, less uptight, and more friendly. So unless you're writing an academic text or something that calls for a very formal tone and register, use contractions where you can.
Top tip: Use find and replace to search for phrases like "can not", "will not", and "do not". And then contract them!
2. Avoid passive voice
Writing in active voice gives more energy to your text. It reduces ambiguity and makes your writing clear and direct.
Not sure what that means? Take a look at this:
- The blog post was written to engage and entertain readers
- I wrote the blog post to engage and entertain readers
The first sentence is written in passive voice. The focus of the sentence is the action, rather than the person performing it. This creates confusion and ambiguity, as it is not clear who wrote the blog post. It can feel like the writer is avoiding something, and it creates questions for the readers.
The second sentence is written in active voice. The focus has shifted to the person performing the action. This is direct, clear, and more concise. It packs more of a punch because it feels more energetic, and it creates an atmosphere of trust between you and your readers.
Top tip: Make sure that the actions (the verbs) are always the focus of your sentences, rather than the things or people receiving those actions.
3. Be concise
You wouldn't bore your friends by talking and talking and talking in long endless sentences all about your latest news without taking a breath or leaving room for pauses or interruptions and instead going on and on and... you get the point. I hope.
Every conversation needs pauses, even if you're the one doing the talking. You need to give the other person chance to digest what you're saying, to nod and smile, and engage with the topic at hand.
It's exactly the same with your writing. It's much easier for readers to take in what you're saying if you break your content into small chunks. You can do this in two ways:
- Break up long sentences into several smaller ones
- Break up long paragraphs using headings, bullet points, and summaries (like in this post)
A full stop or new paragraph is the pause the reader needs to nod and smile, take in what you're saying, and move on to the next point. So be as concise as you can and avoid having readers skim over your very important words!
Top tip: Make a visual check of your content. If you see dense areas of long text, get in there and break it up!
Have these tips helped you? Maybe you have some of your own ideas to make your content more conversational? Let me know in the comments! If you enjoyed this post, please click here to share it on Twitter :)