You’re a sad, strange literal man
Many writers insist that if we wrote the way we talked, our copy would be riddled with space-filler words such as “um” and “like.” And while it’s certainly easy to understand their reasoning – conversational speech is unrefined, and therefore unfit for mimicking – it’s not so easy to accept. As marketers, we’ve seen conversational language connect with our audiences on countless occasions, and we’ve come to regard it as a vital cog in the machine. But if you’re still on the fence about the matter, consider these 3 literary insights:
Let’s hear what you’ve gotta say
Having a conversation with your audience is the most important thing you can do as a writer, so write for the ear – not the eye. Studies have shown that silent reading produces high-frequency electrical activity in the auditory areas of the brain – specifically those responsible for speaking and language. In other words, our brains interpret the written word in much the same way they do the spoken. So when it comes to writing to your audience, a familiar delivery – one that you’d naturally use during verbal communication – will resonate best.
I like big words, and I cannot lie
I think every writer has – to a certain degree – this sadistic tendency to employ archaic platitudes, or otherwise sesquipedalian words, for the sole purpose of reveling in the anticipated literary struggle of their readers. This not only smacks of pride, but it also severely hinders the comprehension of said audience, whose linguistic prowess often fails to extend beyond rudimentary vernacular. Writing like you speak, however, solves all that noise, and makes your message easily understood by both prince and plebeian alike. So avoid the scholarly vocab vibe, and write something more relatable.
Because social media
In 2004, Facebook became the open mic to the Internet’s world stage, and it empowered a lot of great minds. Unfortunately, it also empowered a lot of great idiots, but that’s neither here nor there. The real point of all this is that social media has changed the way people write, and the way people expect to be written to. From status updates, to tweets and everything in between, the written word has become much more intimate and succinct, and people readily respond to it. This literary shift has been acknowledged by industries across the board, and even previously stale entities – such as healthcare providers – now feature shorter, more conversational copy on their websites and brochures.
You don’t have to sacrifice professionalism for a little “personalism.” After all, it’s about writing more like you speak, not literally the way you speak. A conversational tone is a powerful tool, and a skill worth having –one that will help you in your quest to effectively connect with your audience.
Tell us what you think about writing the way you speak below: