Remember when you turned in that essay in high school or college? The teacher had specific rules about what words you could use, and which words you couldn’t. Break one of her rules and your grade fell instantly.
English class is far behind you, and in the online world, those rules won’t get you very far. Have you ever read a stuffy old blog post that sounds like a paper from 12th grade? As soon as you see a paragraph or two of that, you’re out of there, right?
Dig Deeper: Content Writing For Top Performance
The key to conversational writing isn’t a skill you can learn in high school, but you can learn it by blogging. There are a few keys that will help you along, and actually give your readers a reason to want to read what you have to say.
#1 Write for your reader
Before you write a blog post, imagine the one person you will be talking to with the information. If you have a client you’ve recently spoke with about this subject, use them. If not, choose a name at random – Mary, for instance – and see her in your mind. How would you speak to her over a cup of coffee?
Don’t be afraid to use I and You – words your English teacher would have marked with a red pen.
I couldn’t believe what I learned by attending this class…
You should give this a try; I did and its made all the difference…
#2 Use short sentences
Complex sentences? No way. They make things hard to read. Instead, think short and concise. Say what you have to say quickly and move on to the next sentence.
When people take breaks again and again, it gives them time to breathe and think. That’s what you want happening. You want them thinking about what you have to say.
Also make short paragraphs with one or two sentences each. It gives the eye some white space, and makes things easier to start. You don’t want to start reading a medical journal, right? You want to grasp a concept and move on. That’s what white space tells you subconsciously.
#3 Use small words
Have you ever heard of the concept of writing at grade level? A doctor may write a journal article at the 12th grade level, or even at a college level. That’s a doctor – not you. If you are writing for the average person, to attract attention from prospective clients, think low.
Sixth grade level; eighth grade level. Short words and simple sentences make the reading flow. And if you write at this level, you’ll have to find simpler words for all you have to say.
Occupation – Job
Acquire – Get
If you use jargon, acronyms, or anything that is industry specific and not commonly known, avoid it unless its well known throughout your community. The example I like to give is a plastic surgeon may know its rhinoplasty, but most people think of it as a nose job. If your audience is consumer based, write at the “nose job” level.
#4 Write in the active voice
Passive voice just sounds wrong.
Some issues were dealt with last week.
No, just say it like it is.
I dealt with some issues last week.
Again, if you write like you are speaking to someone sitting across from you, you’ll feel the difference in what you have to say. If you have trouble with this at first, read it out loud. Sometimes hearing it makes all the difference, and helps you see the personality you want to show.