Benefits of Writing in a Conversational Tone

Conversational Tone

And Understanding What a Conversational Tone Even Means

If you dig through enough tips and tricks to improve your blog, website and social media content you’ll likely stumble across suggestions to write in a conversational tone. This is a great tip if you understand what that means and how to do it. If you’re wondering what a conversational tone is and how to make it work for your content marketing, here’s what you need to know.

Know Your Tone

Many people have a hard time making the switch to writing in a less formal, more conversational tone. Basically, all of your English teachers are to blame. Students typically learn to write in a formal style. Writing conversationally breaks some of the grammar rules you learned in school.

Formal writing is much less utilized now; although, everything has a time and place. Use formal writing for cover letters and pieces written for industry journals and publication, particularly in the fields of medicine and law. A conversational tone can impact credibility if readers expect a formal tone.

Conversational Tone

Benefits of a Conversational Tone

Improved Flow

Writing in a conversational tone means you write similar to how you normally speak, so the content normally flows more like a conversation. This can make for quicker writing and fewer odds of experiencing writer’s block. The conversational tone can also simplify and speed up proofreading.

Don’t mistake improved flow as meaning a lack of structure. Writing conversationally still requires some of the skills you picked up in school. You still need an introductory paragraph, a thesis statement, and topic sentences. Information should flow in a logical way that helps your readers understand what you are explaining, so by the time your readers arrive at the concluding paragraph, they get it.

Make a Connection

Utilizing a conversational tone in your content fosters a sense of familiarity. Often, conversational writing has a more genuine and human feel to it. This can draw readers in and hold their attention because they feel as if you are speaking directly to them.

A conversational tone engages readers, which can translate into more likes and shares via social media. The lighthearted causal tone also makes you appear more approachable, which can further encourage readers to reach out with questions.

Conversational Tone

How to Write in a Conversational Tone

Talk to Your Audience

To write in a conversational tone, simply write as if you were having a direct conversation with your audience. Drop the formality and speak just to your reader. For example, if you are reading this post, you are my audience, so I’m talking directly to you. I refer to myself in the first person (I, me) and I use personal pronouns, like ‘you’ to address you, my reader. This makes it more personal.

Keep It Simple

Use easy words your audience will be likely to know and understand. This is not the time to flaunt your impressive vocabulary or use that new word you learned from your word of the day calendar or a Merriam Webster Twitter post. Readers will understand what you are trying to communicate when you use words they know.

Big words can have a negative impact if your readers are not familiar with the meaning and you run the risk of making your readers feel dumb. After you make your readers feel like an idiot, they may look up the word, figure out what you mean and keep reading, or they may close their browser and move on.

Language is extensive and varied. Either due to the subject matter or the situation, sometimes a big, complicated word may be the best fit. It’s ok to go big when appropriate, but this should be the exception, not a habit.

Mind the Length

In addition to short words, you also want to stick to short sentences. You want to get to the point. Dragging things out unnecessarily may cause readers to skip out before reaching the end. Most people will likely read your content on their phones when they have a spare moment. Short sentences make it easy for readers to quickly get through your post, and maybe even skim the content. You want readers to make it to the end of the post, so they spend more time on your site and read your call to action statement.

Writing long sentences in a long post decreases the odds of a reader seeing a piece through to the end. Figuring out the ideal blog post length is another piece of the content marketing puzzle.

Use the Right Words

Utilize contractions to give your writing a conversational edge. Contractions are two words merged into one, using an apostrophe. Words like, it’s, they’re and here’s are all examples of contractions.

Contradictions are not generally accepted in formal writing. However, it’s completely fine to use contractions when writing in a conversational tone. You probably use contractions all the time when you speak, and if you’re writing in a conversational tone, you should use them in your text, too.

Be Active

Active and passive are ways to structure sentences. Passive writing can be very formal. Active writing places the verb, or action word, at the front of the sentence and typically uses fewer words. Short, active sentences are quicker to read and often more engaging. For example, ‘Alison wrote the blog post,’ is an example of an active sentence structure. ‘The blog post was written by Alison,’ conveys the same meaning using a passive structure and a couple more words.

Forget the Rules

Conversational writing is more forgiving about ending sentences with a preposition (i.e. words like after, in, to, on, and with) and starting sentences with conjunctions (words like and or but). Feel free to break these grammar rules, but don’t let things get out of hand. Continually starting sentences with conjunctions or ending with a preposition can sound sloppy and may confuse your reader.

Conversational Tone

Open It Up to Questions

A great technique to keep things conversational is to ask questions. This makes sense, given that you’re trying to make your post sound like a conversation. Real conversations feature questions. Including questions makes posts engaging and encourages readers to comment and reach out.

Let’s Have a Conversation

Using a conversational tone can be part of an effective content marketing strategy. Breaking established habits can be hard, but once you get the hang of it, writing in a conversational tone can actually be easy. Do you struggle to write in a conversational tone? Do you need help creating quality content that connects with your readers? Let’s talk and see what I can do to help you out!

How to Write Catchy and Compelling Social Media Posts

social media posts

Four Tips for Social Media Success

Social media is a great tool to promote your business. The ability to directly communicate with your customers can prove invaluable; however, in order to start a dialog, you need to craft posts that catch your follower’s attention. The ultimate goal of your social media posts is to direct followers to your site, where they can learn more or make a purchase. Find out some tips and tricks to write strong social media posts that will engage your followers and help convert sales.

1. Explain What’s In It for the Customer

Let your followers know what they stand to gain from working with you. Providing a clear benefit will get consumers to click a link, share a post or reach out. If your products or services save your customers time or money, or if it’s easy or whatever the case may be, tell your followers this in no uncertain terms.

social media posts

2. Be Active and Confident

Active and passive voices are writing terms used to describe style. In grammar-speak, the subject of the sentence performs an action when using an active voice. By comparison, when using a passive voice the subject receives the action. For example, I wrote a great social media post (active); versus, the social media post is written (passive).

Active and passive voices both have their purposes and benefits. However, an active voice is the way to go when writing social media posts. The takeaway here is to structure sentences, like ‘Our product will save you time/money,’ ‘Our customer service team is available to answer questions,’ and so on.

Choose Your Words Carefully

While I’m at it and discussing the nuances of language, avoid using words like ‘try’ in favor of words like ‘guarantee.’ This may seem subtle, but if you present your brand as confident, readers will see you as a knowledgeable authority. Passive words, such as ‘ hopefully’ and ‘maybe’ do not instill confidence and are quite frankly wishy-washy.

3. Be Mysterious, But Still Promise Answers

Now that I’ve established you should be upfront and confident: here’s a curveball. Be mysterious and ask questions. A great post will intrigue readers and pique their interest. Pose a question and make it clear that the answer lies in following the included link. An example would be, ‘Want to learn how to write compelling social media posts?’

It’s okay to ask questions in your social media posts, but keep it to a minimum. You don’t want your posts to constantly read like the script to an infomercial. A better tactic is to make statements that encourage the reader to learn more. Something like, ‘Find out how our product saves you time,’ or ‘Learn more about…’

pique

4. Get to the Point

Avoid using unnecessary words whenever possible. When composing a social media post get to the point. Many users will simply scroll past a wordy post. Avoid falling victim to tl;dr (too long; didn’t read). The fact that there is an abbreviation for this term should indicate you need to keep things brief.

All social media platforms have character count limits, so depending on your platform of choice this may already be taken care of for you. Keep in mind that different platforms appeal to different demographics and are ultimately used differently. What is considered a long post on one platform may not be considered long on another platform. For instance, people get very wordy on Facebook. While on Twitter, people tend to keep things brief, even after the character limit was increased to 280.

Save your lengthy explanations for newsletters, blog posts, and printed collateral. When it comes to social media just get to the point.

Start Drafting Strong Social Media Posts

There are lots of ins and outs to writing great social media posts. Possibly one of the best things you can do is practice. The more you write and re-write and fine-tune the better you will become at writing. Mastering any skill certainly takes practice, but if you find yourself pressed for time, I can lend a hand. Reach out and we can talk about how I can help craft strong social media posts to promote your brand.

How to Land on the Ideal Blog Post Frequency

blog post frequency

Posting to your blog is a necessary part of your content marketing strategy, but figuring out how often to post can be tricky. Determining the ideal blog post frequency is a question that is closely tied to understanding the ideal blog post length. The answer to both of these questions is actually the same: it depends. This answer is underwhelming and vague, but when you understand what you wish to accomplish with your blog, you can create an effective posting schedule. Find out what your blog post frequency depends on, and more about creating a quality content marketing strategy.

No Magic Number for Ideal Blog Post Frequency

Deciphering an effective blog posting schedule is frustrating because there isn’t a set answer. No one can tell you a number that will just work right out of the gate. The ideal number of blog posts per month or per week is unique to the needs of your business, and this number will be different for everyone.

Figure Out Your Needs

Ultimately, the process for determining how often to post to your blog requires a whole lot of trial and error. Before you get into the nitty-gritty of that though, you need to figure out what you hope to achieve. Define your version of success in order to understand what it looks like, and to ensure you can identify it when you find it.

blog post frequency

Define Your Goals and Create a Schedule

Figure out what you want to achieve with your blog. What are your goals and who are you targeting? You may need to ask yourself this question several times over. If you write blog posts targeted to different groups (i.e. onboarding new customers, advancing others through the sales process, encouraging repeat business from existing clients and so on), you’ll need to track all of these objectives and create a schedule that accounts for everything. An overview schedule that shows your weekly, monthly and quarterly goals can help you get a handle on what needs to happen.

Find What Works

The trial and error strategy essentially means posting a lot of stuff and going back to check your analytics data. If you are not seeing results or experiencing engagement, change things up. When you receive likes and comments and users share your posts, you know you have hit upon a winning technique. At this point, keep up the good work, but be mindful that if and when you start to lose transaction, you will need to revamp your plan.

Consistency

Once you have an established following, it’s important to continue posting. Repetition is a big part of an effective content marketing strategy. Your followers expect to see content from you at regular intervals, and if you stop posting they may forget about you.

blog post frequency

Quality Content

Posting on a regular schedule helps, but you also need to post quality content. Let’s say you set a goal of posting to your blog three times a week. If you fall behind it can be tempting to pull together a quick post and publish it, just for the sake of hitting your goal of three posts per week. This may backfire. A poorly structured post that does not deliver value may cost you readers. Falling short of your goal may be worth avoiding a lackluster and potentially damaging post. Be careful when making any decisions that will impact quality.

Practice Makes Perfect

If you are starting out, it can be helpful to publish a lot of content quickly. The sooner you establish a presence, the sooner search engines can start crawling your content and ranking your site. Once you have built up some recognition, you can scale back how often you post and find a frequency that benefits your audience while fitting your schedule.

Calling in Help

Time management is a big component of determining blog post frequency. As you grow your business, finding the time to write and edit blog posts and source images can be a challenge. Outsourcing your blog content writing is a viable way to rank your site and grow your business organically while affording you the time and capacity to work on other areas of your company. If you want to learn more about how I can help you grow your business by writing your blog, or taking on any of your other website writing needs, get in touch.

How to Zero in on the Ideal Blog Post Length

Ideal Blog Post Length

When people think of using blog content to help rank websites, they usually tend to focus on keywords and long-tail phrases, alt tags and the like. This is great and these are significant techniques that will help your page rank. However, there are a lot of factors to consider, and one that is misunderstood and often overlooked is the length of the blog post. You’ve probably wondered what makes for the ideal blog post length, so here’s the answer.

Both Sides of the Argument

Website and blog content matters, because it helps your site rank with search engines and it enables customers and potential customers to learn more about your business. In order for your site to rank, you need to implement SEO techniques and strategies; however, SEO rules are changing all the time as search engines evolve, and it’s hard to keep up.

Not that long ago, the common practice was to keep blog posts in the range of 250 – 500 words. The prevailing thought was to keep the word count short and to the point, so readers could quickly get through the posts. More recently, blog posts tend to be longer and run over 2,000 words or even up to 4,000 words or more. The notion is the longer the post, the more opportunity to use keywords and long-tail phrases and the greater the odds of ranking a page.

Understanding Your Needs

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to determining the ideal blog post length. Each business or brand has different needs and different competition. You need a customized approach that takes all of these factors, plus a bunch of other things, into consideration. Furthermore, your needs will change over time, so your strategy needs to evolve, too.

Ideal Blog Post Length

Evaluate Your Competition

Do some searches using your keywords to get the lay of the land. You want to figure out what content is ranking for your keywords, and how you can compete with this existing content. The trend lately is moving towards longer blog posts. You want to make sure you are providing value in the form of sizable posts, but you don’t want to rely exclusively on long blog posts.

You Do You

It’s important to understand what your competition is doing, but that doesn’t mean you should mimic their strategy. It is possible to overdo it when creating content, and more does not automatically mean better. If you notice your competitors have lots of long-winded posts, but you think you can cover the same topic and keywords in a much shorter and brief fashion, then go for it. Short content is prime material for Google’s featured snippet, so in some instances, it is possible to rank while keeping it brief.

Ideal Blog Post Length

The Value of Quality Content

Search engines pay attention to how many people visit your site, but they also track how long each person stays. People will stick around for good content. Quality content that is interesting and provides value encourages people to keep reading and spend more time on your site. Quality content of any length provides value, but long-form quality content provides several perks, including:

  • Most of the blog posts out there are short, so featuring long posts will help you stand out from your competition.
  • Long-form blog posts establish your brand as an authority in your field. If you are able to crank out 2,000 words or more on a single topic, than that is a clear indication you know what you are talking about.
  • Long blog posts are prime to receive backlinks, which will help expand your incoming traffic and can help boost your ranking.

Get to the Point

Really long articles that contain 2,000 or more words can provide lots of great information, but they may turn off some readers and cause them to leave before they reach the end of the post. Losing readers means they spend less time on your site and miss out on your call to action, which means you are losing valuable engagement. Continually posting long blog articles may earn you a reputation and can cause some readers to think twice before reading future posts.

When to Go Long

If your readers respond well to lengthy posts, then it is in your best interest to continue writing long-form posts. Positive responses include comments, likes, shares and readers taking you up on your call to action. If your long-form posts rank with search engines, that is another very compelling reason to keep at it.

Strategies to Create Quality Content at Any Length

It’s important to find a balance between engagement and length. You don’t want to sacrifice compelling content for length, but you can rein in the length using some simple techniques:

  • Streamline long articles using clear and succinct language.
  • Use bullet points to quickly and easily list information.
  • Use graphs, charts, infographics, video and other forms of media to relay information.
  • Break large topics into a series of several smaller articles. The benefit here is twofold: readers will be more likely to get through content in manageable serving sizes, and you can add a bunch of links to connect each post in the series.

Ideal Blog Post Length

Effective Strategy to Determine Ideal Blog Post Length

The total word count of a blog post matters to a degree, but ultimately, posts need to answer questions and provide useful information to both readers and search engine algorithms. The most recent trend is to write longer posts anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 words. If you are just starting out and you need to establish content on your site, long-form posts will stay on trend and help you establish a presence. Although, long posts are not always necessary, so mixing things up with shorter posts will also be beneficial.

Long blog posts take more time to write and edit. When committing to featuring long-form blog posts, give yourself plenty of time to do it right. Do you have questions about how to figure out the ideal blog post length? Do you need help creating your content? Reach out and I’ll help you navigate your way! Later this week, I’m going to explain how often you should post to your blog. Stay tuned to learn more!

Blog Tips to Grow Your Business

Blog Tips

Strong blog content can pull readers in, provide value and help convert sales. Including high-quality blog content into your online marketing strategy can pay off by helping your site rank well, educating consumers and establishing your brand as a trusted authority. These simple blog tips can elevate your blog content to help engage readers and increase the reach of your brand.

Set the Right Tone

Formal writing is necessary for some circumstances, but not always. When it comes to writing most business blogs, skip the formality and use a conversational tone. Write in a way similar to how you speak to relay a more comfortable and informal feeling. The laid-back approach will make your brand feel more approachable and less corporate. Of course, grammar still applies and structure matters, but the relaxed tone will help readers quickly read your post and relate to your message.

Tone

Write to Your Audience

This sounds incredibly obvious, but write content that appeals to your demographic. Tell your customers the benefits they will experience by using your services and products, and the value your brand delivers. Get specific and provide detail. If your demographic is working moms, explain how safe and easy your products are to use and how much time they will save. Useful information will help convert sales. Being forthcoming with useful info will also frame your brand as aware and tuned into your customers, and this will enable customers to create a positive association with your brand.

Drop the Sales Pitch

Constantly bombarding readers with a sales pitch will get old fast and may cause readers to abandon your post before they make it to the end. Find a balance between writing a sales pitch and informative, engaging copy. Readers understand you are trying to sell them a product or service, but find creative ways to explain the benefits of those products or services to keep things interesting.

Get to the Point

People have short attention spans and most readers are unlikely to finish long blog posts. Sometimes several-thousand-word posts may be necessary, but most of the time it isn’t, so keep things short. If you are capable of making a point in one 20-word sentence, then do so, instead of dragging things out. The notion of an ideal word count for blog posts is subjective. Ideally, you need enough content for search engine crawlers to examine, but not so much that readers bail on you. Informative, but brief text will help readers quickly get through the post and understand the subject matter.

Enticing Headline

A well-structured headline will pique a reader’s curiosity and get them to find out what your post is all about. You can have stellar content, but if your headline is subpar, neither readers nor search engines will know. Make promises, ask questions and appeal to your readers’ emotions to pull them in and get them to check out your post.

Strong Introductory Paragraph

The first paragraph, which may also be used for the meta description, needs to pick up where the headline left off. Explain the problem or dilemma at hand and assure readers that by reading your post they will discover the answer or solution. The rest of the post needs to continue to provide valuable information, but a strong start will hook the reader and increase the odds of them sticking around to read the entire post. You want visitors to read your posts partly so they gain valuable insights and make a purchase, but also because the longer they linger the more your ranking benefits.

linger

Structure

Big blocks of text may discourage readers, but with some creativity, you can still relay the same amount of information in a more succinct manner. Also keep in mind, that many users may visit your blog on their phones. Small screens are not always the best platform for big blocks of text.

The solution is to break things up into more manageable segments. Headings and subheadings make it easy for readers to get the gist of a blog post without reading every word. Bullet-pointed lists are another trick to relay a wealth of info in a quick and concise manner.

Call to Action

Neatly tie everything up in the final paragraph by quickly recapping the issue identified at the start and the solution provided in the body of text. Motivate your readers to put their newfound knowledge to use or follow up if they have questions. You may want to provide contact information and encourage your reader to share your post or join your email list, so they can stay connected and remain in the know when your product lineup expands or something else exciting happens.

Blog Tips to Take Your Content to the Next Level

A business blog is a powerful marketing tool that can educate and inspire readers. Well conceived and structured blog content can convert sales today, and help establish your brand with search engines, leading to future traffic and sales. Do you have tried and true blog tips to help grow a business? Let me know and please reach out if you have questions or want to learn more! Feel free to share this post if you think it will help your contacts!