The one thing missing if you want to write conversational copy
Ahh, writing conversational copy. It’s like the last bastion of writing success.
There’s writing in complete sentences. There’s writing in a professional manner. There’s writing cohesive thoughts. Then…then, there’s writing conversational copy.
Most of us have complete sentences locked down. (Although I’m all for incomplete sentences.) Most of us have mastered the managerial tone. (Learned that one in English Comp 101.) Some of us struggle with cohesive thoughts. (So many ideas, so little space.) But quite a few of us struggle with conversational copy.
I’m pretty sure it’s because proper English and the haughty, holier-than-thou style were force fed to us all throughout school. Unless, of course, you were lucky enough (like me) to take creative writing where you got to forsake any and all rules and do whatever the fuck you wanted because…well, you’re creative, dammit.
(Unfortunately for lots of us, myself included, any inkling of creativity was sucked out of us if we stepped foot in an office at some point…)
For those not fortunate enough to be free as bird with their writing, it can be hard (like hard as the flightless birds of the world trying to get some air) to write conversationally or, you know, like you’d actually talk.
Whenever you sit down to write something, it’s like you’re haunted by the dodo bird (everyone’s favorite flightless – and extinct – bird). It’s all squawking in your ear about how unprofessional that sentence sounds. How unpolished that paragraph is. How utterly incoherent your idea really is.
That’s because undoing years of indoctrination is hard. You can’t just sit down one day and completely transform the way you’ve been writing for decades. I mean, you CAN. But the thing is it’s easier to chip away at all those rules you’ve learned bit by bit.
Kinda like you wouldn’t completely overhaul your entire life in one fell swoop, right? Like, you wouldn’t just wake up one morning and declare you are only eating organic, whole foods; you train for two hours a day; you meditate for at least 30 minutes, following by a 30-minute journaling session in which you unpack any thoughts that came up; you will never watch TV again; and you only read non-fiction books that further your self-development.
(That’s a recipe for a chicken noodle soup disaster.)
When it comes to writing conversationally, you’ve probably tried all the tricks and hacks and guaranteed copywriting formulas. And…you’re still struggling.
Those templates you downloaded? They don’t quite cut the mustard if you don’t already know your style. If you do, sure, sure, you can tweak ‘em to make ‘em your own.
Buuut if you’re using them as a stand-in for you…no bueno. You’re just gonna end up sounding like someone else and then people are be all confused when the rest of your copy sounds different.
Same goes for those courses, those books, and those podcasts you’ve been bingeing. Good tricks of the trade and all, but…here’s the thing:
You’re looking outside of yourself. You’re afraid to be you. You’re not confident in your personality (and letting it shine in all its weird, gangly glory).
When you’re looking to other people to learn how to write with personality, you’re basically saying, “Tell me what’s funny. Tell me what my personality is. Tell me what makes people laugh.”
What happens when what they think is funny you think is the stupidest joke you’ve ever heard? What happens when their personality is so totally different than yours that every time you sit down to write you’re channeling their down-home, Pioneer Woman vibe when you’re really more like, I dunno, spiky-haired Elizabeth Falkner? What happens when what makes their people laugh falls flat (like a failed soufflé) and you hate yourself every time you make a lame ass joke or comment that’s so far outside the realm of funny to you that you die on the inside just a little bit? What happens when their flow is so different from your style that it makes everything you write feel off and keep you from ever sending any emails to your list?
It might all sound dramatic (I can totally make it even more dramatic, if you’d like), but it’s going to happen.
You can learn the mechanics of writing from someone else, no problem-o. You can learn how to write a blog post faster (I mean, maybe). You can learn how to source ideas and write better headlines and subject lines and captions – you can learn the structure behind all of these pieces of copy.
But no one can really teach you YOUR personality.
Unless that teacher is your best friend and knows you really well, unless you’re being honest with who you are, nothing is going to sound as conversational as you’d like.
You have to be comfortable with you and what’s funny to you. You have to be okay with your personality and what makes you unique. And you have to be willing to write things that people don’t get.
That means, when it comes to writing conversationally, you have to trust yourself. To love yourself. To be 100% confident in your fondness for the recreation of classic works of art as pancake sculptures. (I can barely make a pancake round so you go on with your bad stack self.)
If you’re not sure where to start but you have this feeling that you need to dive deeper, sign up for 10 Days to Better Than Okay Copy. Inside this 10-day email series, I’ll help you find little ways to write more conversationally and more like you so that when you sit down to write you channel you and your personality instead of bits and pieces of other people’s personalities, like some weird copy stalker. You can sign up right this way and have the first lesson flapping its wing through the interwebs to you within mere seconds.