What is a conversational tone, and why should you use one in your writing? Learn more about what is a conversational tone below.
To connect with your audience as much as possible, you must make your content relatable. That is where a conversational tone can be helpful. When you strike a conversational tone, use sentence structure, word choice, and stylistic decisions to give the impression that you are talking to the reader like a friend. For example, there might be some situations where you want to sound formal, but there are other situations where you want to sound conversational.
A conversational tone is an informal type of writing tone. You want to sound like you are chatting with the reader instead of talking to a large audience in an auditorium somewhere (or giving a conference over Zoom). Even though conversational writing is more relaxed, you don’t want to sound unprofessional or careless. You still need to make sure the reader knows that you have a grasp of the topic. Even professionals, such as doctors and lawyers, use a conversational tone in their copywriting. So, how can you write for your target audience using a conversational tone?
Why Write With a Conversational Tone?
You might feel like a conversational tone will break many of the basic grammar rules you learned in English class. Still, there are many reasons to choose a conversational tone over formal writing in certain situations. Some of the top reasons why you should consider using a conversational tone include:
1. Make Stronger Connections
One of the first reasons you should consider using a conversational tone is that you can connect with your audience. You will write in the second person, use pronouns, and create content that focuses on readability. This makes it easier for your audience to relate to you, which can be necessary for marketing purposes. In addition, you don’t want to come across as intimidating, which can happen if you are more formal.
2. Be More Memorable
Furthermore, you can be more memorable and essential for content marketing on web pages, LinkedIn, and emails. Using complicated words and long sentences, some of which include passive voice, can make it harder for the reader to follow along. If you strike a conversational tone, it is easier for the reader to comprehend the topic. That way, they remember the information down the road.
3. Earn the Trust of the Reader
You can earn the trust of the reader. People tend to trust people more if they seem to like them. Therefore, if you write using a conversational tone, the reader will trust you more because you sound like them. This makes it easier to communicate your message to the reader because they will believe you.
4. Be More Inclusive
You want as many people as possible to benefit from your writing content, regardless of the situation. Therefore, you must use a conversational tone if your content is as accessible to as many people as possible.
5. For SEO Purposes
Finally, if you use a conversational tone, it can help you improve your search results rankings. If you use conversational writing, you increase your chances of including more keywords as many people search on Google using conversational terms.
Simple words, short sentences, and a conversational tone can encourage people to stay on your web page longer. This increases your dwell time, which can help you improve your search results rankings. Bloggers need to follow these writing tips if they want their SEO campaign to improve. A casual tone can be essential to your brand voice, so consider using a conversational tone if you want to maximize your marketing results.
Craft a Conversational Tone
If you want to strike a conversational tone with your writing, there are several key points to remember. They include:
Write In Your Voice
Remember that you must write the way you speak, thus the conversational writing style. When you first put the words down on the page (or on the screen), you might even want to use dictation software to help you. The goal of creating conversational content or conversational copy is to make it sound like another human being. You don’t want to come across academic writing or business writing. Using dictation software can help you strike the right tone, but you need to avoid using filler words, such as “uh.”
It would be best if you also tried to use contractions. Remember that people use contractions when they talk. Therefore, this is an essential part of hitting your conversational voice. Some of the most common contractions you might use include you’re, they’re, and it’s. While it might be reflexive for you to stay away from contractions due to AP style, remember that you need to use them if you are trying to hit a more conversational tone.
Keep Sentences Short
You must keep your words and sentences short in conversational writing. Complex words and sentences can make it harder for your reader to relate to your content. It is unusual for a person to speak a long monologue at once, and a conversation has to go both ways. If you use shorter sentences, you don’t lose the reader, and you give the reader a chance to respond in their head before you continue with the next point. Think about writing for a high school reader, and consider keeping your sentences short to hold their attention. If you look at templates for this type of content, you will find that you should keep your sentences short.
Use Active Voice
If you have ever written for professional journals, you have probably been told to use passive voice. This sounds like a teacher or a professor talking, which is great for some situations but not for a conversational tone. It would help if you made sure the subject of the sentence is the thing doing the action. For example, if you say, “the ball was caught by the kid,” it sounds too clunky, formal, and awkward. Instead, you should say, “the kid caught the ball.” This is an active voice, and you need to use it if you want to strike a conversational tone.
Think About Your Target Market
You need to think about your target market. Remember that a conversational tone comes in many shapes and forms. Your conversations might sound different from others. Who are you trying to reach with your content? A conversational tone for a bunch of children will sound different from a conversational tone when you talk to a bunch of people shopping for specific products. Think about your target market, and figure out how to create content that relates to them as much as possible.
Use Personal Pronouns
A great way to create more relatable content is to use personal pronouns. For example, if you are talking about ways to increase your search results rankings, something like, “Think about the keywords in an SEO campaign that can help marketing professionals increase their rankings,” is a bit too formal. If you want to create writing that is easier for the audience to relate to, consider something like, “If you want to increase your search results rankings, think about your keyword research.” You will strike a more conversational tone if you get personal with your writing.
Read Your Writing Out Loud
How do you know if you have hit a conversational tone? The best way to do so is to read your writing out loud before you finish it. If you have a hard time reading your writing because it doesn’t quite sound like you are having a conversation, this is a sign that you need to adjust it a bit. Take note of where you pause and that you need to go back and fix it. If you want to free up your ears as much as possible, consider using text-to-speech software to speak the content to you. This will make it easier for you to figure out if you have hit the right tone or not.
Think About Your Personal Voice
Lastly, do not forget to think about your voice as well. How do you want to sound to your readers? Everyone has a slightly different voice, and you need your writing to reflect your voice accurately. People who know you will know if your tone of voice sounds like you, and you want to be as genuine as possible. Consider this aspect as you review your content.
Use a Conversational Style
So, when should you use a more conversational tone? Of course, if you are writing a paper for a class or submitting an academic journal, you need to stick to formal writing. But on the other hand, there are some situations where you might want to hit a more conversational tone. A few examples include:
- Content marketing: If you want your marketing materials to make an impact, you need to strike a more conversational tone. The goal is to convince someone to learn more about your product and buy something from you. Therefore, it would be best if you sounded human, not robotic. A conversational tone can help you here.
- A blog post: If you are a blogger looking to connect with your audience, you must strike a conversational tone. You want your readers to think that you are just like them, and having a more relaxed tone can help you do that.
- When you are giving advice: If you advise someone about anything, you need them to trust you. A conversational tone can help you here as well. This tone can also make it easier to get your readers to remember your content and apply your advice down the road.
Remember that this is a stylistic choice. It would be best to consider whether a conversational tone is suitable for your piece. If so, stick with it. Follow the style guide below, and put conversational writing to work for you.
Understanding Conversational Vs. Formal Tone
It is helpful to have a style guide handy that can help you strike the tone you’re looking for. For example, if you are writing with a conversational tone, some of the key points to keep in mind include:
- With your greetings, use “Hey!” and “Hi!”
- Write in the second person.
- It is OK to say “a lot” or “lots” instead of “several” or “numerous.”
- If you need to apologize, say “sorry” instead of “my apologies.”
- Write with active voice instead of passive voice.
- Use contractions instead of spelling everything out
- Write as you speak instead of as you read
These points will keep you on the right track if you want to hit a conversational tone. On the other hand, if you need to strike a more form tone, some of the points to note include:
- Be formal with your greetings and see “hello” or start with the name of the person, such as “John,”
- Use words such as “numerous” or “many.”
- Write in the third person
- Don’t hesitate to use long sentences, as long as they are grammatically correct.
- Follow AP style, and avoid contractions
- Write with passive voice instead of active voice
There is nothing wrong with staying formal. It might be easier to sound professional, but it can also make your writing sound stiff. Ultimately, it is a stylistic choice. It is up to you to decide when you want to strike a conversational tone and when you want to be more formal. The tone you choose will directly impact the reader, so think about the situations where you would use one over the other. Then, with some practice, you can perfect the tone you use in writing projects.
Are you interested in learning more? Then, check out our guide on passive voice!
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