Throw away the style guide, and listen to the communities where your prospects hang out.

Group of young adults hanging out

My wife and I have a puppy.

A lovely little fellow, but he can be a bit of a challenge sometimes.

So my wife joined a few support groups, most of them on Facebook.

She goes there to share her experiences, to ask for help, and also to give help to other puppy owners facing similar training challenges. These are vibrant, active communities.

Separately… she also paints. Really well. She likes to connect with other watercolor painters, and instructors. Some of those communities are on Facebook, others are in private forums.

For myself, I have a bit of a thing for coffee. And for fungi and mushrooms.

Guess what… I take part in groups and communities too. It’s both fun and instructive to connect with other people who share your passions.

Too many companies remain separate from where these vibrant communities have their conversations.

For way too long, companies have created walled gardens within their websites.

A company creates a website and keeps total control of it. They create all the content on the site, and the content is approved in line with the company style guide.

The closest they might come to creating any sense of community would be to open up their blog to comments. But when did you last see a really vibrant comment stream on a company’s blog?

The conversations are going elsewhere… to Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and more topic-specific communities.

It’s time to fix this…

What should you, your business or your client do?

First, find out where those conversations are taking place.

Seek out the communities your best prospects are joining.

Then join the conversation.

Listen and learn.

And be transparent. Let people know who you are.

Most important of all, be generous, without being a “shouty marketer”.

Share your company’s knowledge. Maybe sponsor something, like a Meetup. Offer community discounts.

In other words, become a valued and generous member of the community. No shouting. Just giving.

Pretty soon, all that goodwill will start translating into greater support from the community, and improved sales.

Listen carefully, and then start to rewrite your marketing materials.

Communities revolve around conversations. It’s what they do. People talk to each other.

And they don’t talk to each other in business-speak or marketing-speak.

They use everyday, conversational language.

Smart companies should take note, and learn the language of their prospects and customers.

You can do that by participation in those groups.

Once fluent, start rewriting all your marketing materials, website included, to mirror the language of these communities.

In a nutshell discover the language of your best prospects, and then mirror that language when you write your own marketing materials.


NOTE: For more on learning the craft of conversational copywriting, check out my course.

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