How to write conversational web content

A conversational tone is not about only about being informal. You can have serious content, but the focus should be on being simple and clear

Updated: Oct 21, 2019 07:10:54 PM UTC
Image: Shutterstock

Picture the following scenario:

Your boss asks teams to gather for the meeting. You are full of ideas but your heart is pounding with anxious thoughts. You are about to speak but clench your fist in fear and prefer to stay quiet.

What’s the reason?

Your boss dictates the discussion with judgmental remarks. Instead of appreciating the inputs, she chokes them publicly—forcing others to let their important contributions die a slow death. There is no room for communication.

If the boss is mindful of her behaviour, employees’ suppressed emotions can translate into an open-ended dialogue. Positive conversation produces oxytocin, a feel-good hormone boosting our ability to communicate, collaborate and trust others. True leadership requires a conversational environment favourable for fruitful outcomes.

Every conversation is an opportunity—an opportunity to show empathy; to empower your users; to show you care for their time and effort; to be useful; and an opportunity to strengthen the relationship.

How does it feel when you speak to someone who understands your pain needs, or shares your feelings? A conversational tone can help replicate that feeling, making you feel at home by working out the best solution for you.

Conversational tone opens up possibilities
With writing, you lead the conversation. People gather at your website, but you can’t have a face-to-face conversation. The tone decides whether the visitors become an interested audience with an intent to open up or they become a mute audience with an intent to exit. A conversational tone provides a subtle opening to understand users’ expectations and behaviours, and builds a bond with users.

The way your brand communicates shapes the character of your product. Words have the power to evoke emotions, and create an experience for your customers that goes beyond transactions. A conversational tone connects consumers on an emotional level, makes them familiar with the brand with clear and useful content, gets them excited and motivates them to use your offering.

How to have a conversational tone?
If your communication sounds like writing, rewrite it. How? Imagine your user is sitting in front of you. Read the content aloud. You’ll notice the unnecessary words. Write the way you talk. It doesn’t mean you’ll write as if you are sending an informal text message. Be organised but don’t sound awkward.

» Use short sentences. » Stay away from complicated words.
» Use contractions (like you’ll, we’re) as people use it in a daily conversation.
» Use the active voice.
» Use the word ‘you’ to involve the readers.
» Avoid double negatives. Instead of saying “Your request was not unaccepted”, say “We have accepted your request”.
» Use exclamation marks, if necessary.

A conversational tone is not about being informal only. You can have a serious talk but the focus should be on being simple and clear.

“We are extremely regretful for the fiasco that transpired due to erroneous transaction for the order which you have not placed.”

“We take the responsibility and understand how upsetting it must be to be charged for the wrong product.”

Both sentences convey the fault from the company’s end. The first sentence sounds mechanical and further irritates the customer with a complex language. The second sentence calms the frustrating situation with comforting words. The goal is to make the conversation easy-going, be it a light or tight situation.

Watch your company’s tone of voice before striking a conversation. A conversational tone is not about being casual at the expense of sounding inhumane. It communicates according to users’ circumstances.

Engage to disengage
In the era of distractions, personalised and connected experience is the need of the hour. No matter how much we talk about technological development, people enjoy human communication. Engage with them to disengage the digital barrier. You can’t see their pain but can make them feel they’re being taken care of. Talk to your audience. Be human.

The author is founder of Mushroom Content, aims for making businesses more human with approachable content.

The thoughts and opinions shared here are of the author.

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  • tarak

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    on Oct 22, 2019
  • tarak

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    on Oct 22, 2019