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Back to Basics: 3 conversational copy tips

copywriting
drmichaela michaela bucchianeri health and wellness copywriting Back to Basics 3 conversational copy tips
 
 
We're hardwired for communication, all of us.

So, why do we write in ways that are so overtly hostile to the art of conversation?

And in the health + 
wellness world, we’re some of the worst culprits of all!

Left to our own devices, we’ll produce monologues so bone-dry + text-saturated, that not even the most dedicated reader could be expected to suffer through.

(BTW: There are lots of reasons we may do this, including considerable pressure (direct or indirect) to present a persona that fits the (very narrow) archetype of a "Professional".)

Communicating in this way may feel like the responsible thing to do, but it actually ends up creating distance between us and the very people we're trying to reach. (It also distances us from all the unique and multifaceted parts of ourselves as humans, but that's a(n important) conversation for another day... 😉)

The good news? Conversational copy isn’t rocket science.

Let's look at 3 (simple) steps you can take to turn any piece of writing into delightfully conversational copy:
 

1) Speak to 1 person.


When you type out an email or blog post or Instagram caption for your business… who are you speaking to?

Many of us make the mistake of trying to address an invisible mob:

“Hey, y’all!”
“Morning, friends!”
“To my incredible Community…”

Or worse:

We don’t stop to picture the person reading our words at all.

And while it’s true that you can’t know exactly who's on the other side of the screen, reading your stuff… you owe it to ’em to at least try.

Picture just 1 person, and your words will become more natural. Warmer. More personalized.

And much more effective.

BONUS: It’ll also force you to get crystal-clear on who your dream client is.

(Worried this’ll pigeonhole you? It won’t. Trust me: There’s a whole world of dream clients out there, just waiting to hear from you!)

You’ve just gotta speak in a way that helps each one feel like the center of your freaking universe. Right where they are.

FOR EXAMPLE:

When you’re trying to speak to everybody:

"Hey, Fitness Gang! I’ve been hearing from a lot of you that you’re trying to get your steps in each day, fit in HIIT workouts, increase your cardio, etc. So many of you are working so hard, but you don’t have to. You’re all incredible people– whether it’s your beauty or your resilience, or your confidence. You each bring so many unique qualities to the table. So, please don’t worry about following one specific path. The right path will be different for each of you… you just need to be bold enough to create it."

…vs. When you speak to just 1 person:

"Hey. I see you over there, trying to get a zillion steps in each day, because you’ve been told it’s what you “should” be doing. You’re working so hard at hitting each fitness goal perfectly, but here’s what I want you to know: You don’t have to. You’re a beautiful, resilient, confident person. And please trust me when I say, your value isn’t found in your ability to follow someone else’s path… but in the boldness you display by creating your own."
 

2) Embrace the contraction

 
Now, that you know who you’re speaking to, it’s time to move on to a little grammatical rule-breaking…

(Somewhere, your poor 7th grade English teacher is white-knuckling the podium, wondering how she failed to get through to you.)

Just kidding. (Kind of.)

Grammar, for the most part, is our friend.

Y’know. Proper capitalization, punctuation, and the like.

It’s often what separates our true meaning from something wholly unintended:

"You get me, friend?" <— a clear (conversational) question
"You get me friend?" <— a sad request from Cookie Monster

But, grammar’s also riddled with rules that are just asking (pleading!) to be broken.

{insert villainous laugh + steepled fingers}

One of the simplest tips for laughing in the face of grammatical tyranny?

Use contractions.

That’s right. (See what I did there?)

I’m serious. (…and there?)

Contractions might FEEL unprofessional, but they truly aren’t a big deal.

(On the highway of communication, they’re nothing more than little fender-benders. 2 words, mashed up in a sudden (but victimless!) minor collision.)

And you’ve got so many options to choose from!

There’s your basic apostrophe contractions:

I’ll, I’m, you’re, you’ll, there’s, that’s, it’s, and so on.

Then, if you’re feeling spicy, you’ve got your slick, under-the-radar variety of contraction. The ones that flirt ever so dangerously on the edge of SLANG:

Gonna. Wanna. Hafta. Dunno.

They’re all right there at your fingertips. Nothing’s off limits. Even for you… a PROFESSIONAL.

(Freeing, isn’t it?)

The beauty of the contraction lies in its ability to transform you from a frigid, emotionless robot to a friendly, approachable being of the human variety.

FOR EXAMPLE:

Contraction-less robot speech:

"In my practice, I am often asked by parents, “What is the safest type of toothpaste for my kids?” I will summarize my answer briefly in this post. Based on the available research, there is good reason to believe that it is not so much the type of toothpaste that matters, but rather…”

…vs. Human communication:

"In my practice, I’m often asked by parents, “What’s the safest type of toothpaste for my kids?” I’ll summarize my answer briefly in this post. Based on the available research, there’s good reason to believe that it’s not so much the type of toothpaste that matters, but rather…”
 

3) Chop it down

 
Now, if your English teacher didn’t care for that last bit of advice, then she’s really gonna hate this one…

Take what you’ve written. And start chopping.

Don’t be scared. It’s a whole new world of writing possibilities.

Those sentence fragments that earned you a red-pen circle back in the day?

Totally legit communication now!
 
Most of us are writing way too much. Let’s take advantage of this lovely little lifeline + chop our run-on lines of text into short. punchy. pieces.

Not only will this make your copy much easier on the scanning eyes of your online reader…

It’ll also force you to choose your words wisely. With precision. And intention.

And who doesn’t love a person who actually means what they say?

FOR EXAMPLE:

(Facebook-)status quo:

"As much as I love the work I do as an endocrinologist, the path to getting here has taken quite a few twists and turns, such as the time I almost became a veterinarian before I realized I’m scared of animals. Another twist in my career was the time I really struggled to find my niche…"

…vs. Captivating (+ conversational) caption city:

"I love the work I do as an endocrinologist. But, the path to getting here has taken quite a few twists and turns! Like the time I almost became a veterinarian. (Y’know. Before I realized I’m scared of animals.) Or the time I really struggled to find my niche…"


 

Let's take action!

 
Here’s your conversational copy action step for today:
 
  • Scan through a piece of copy you've written for your business (e.g., website page, email draft, professional bio, social media post) and run it through the conversational copy tips above. See any opportunities to make it more digestible?

 

 

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