4 ways to create web content that’s more conversational.

Group of people in conversation

The focus of most of my posts is on writing sales copy that is less pushy and adversarial… and more open and conversational.

In this post I’m going to focus not on sales copy, but on web content.

Because content can go either way as well.

Content can be flat editorial that is broadcast AT an audience of passive readers.

Or content can be more engaging and conversational in its approach and tone.

If you want your own content to be more inclusive, engaging and conversational, here are 4 things you might want to think about.

#1 – Be inclusive from the outset by asking open-ended questions

This is a simple device, well-known to copywriters and content writers alike.

I use it myself. Check out the headline on this post:

Can conversational copywriting drive as many sales as direct response copywriting?

And here’s an example from my “side-hustle” website about gourmet coffee:

The plastic taste in new coffee makers – Just a bad taste, or toxic too?

Writers and publishers often overlook the power of using open-ended questions to engage their readers.

That’s a pity. Because when you use a question in your headline or within your opening paragraph, you’re pretty much forcing the reader to pause and think about the question.

It’s easy to read a statement and just skim over it, without giving it much thought. But a question really does make us pause and engage.

#2 – Use natural and conversational language throughout

The “content factory” mindset is still alive and kicking. Publishers and businesses want to get as much content out of the door as they can.

As a result, a lot of content feels like it was created with a template.

Like writing by numbers.

Or maybe the writer was just underpaid and bored.

Whatever the reason, too much content feels devoid of passion or emotion. It lacks the human touch.

There are a few different issues to address here. But one of them is to make sure you allow you “inner human” to shine through.

Write as if you were talking to your reader. Use everyday, conversational language.

Be natural.

#3 – Use more images and video

Writers are tempted to think it’s all about the words, all of the time.

I’m a huge advocate for the written word myself.

But I’m also a visual communicator, and love the fact that the web is a multimedia environment.

So while I focus most of my attention on the written word, I also recognize that images and short videos have an important role to play.

A good photo can be a powerful way to grab hold of people’s attention.

A video can engage your audience at a deeper level and keep them on the page for longer.

And with video, of course, you can address the viewer directly, in conversational language. It’s a way to engage with many people, but make it feel like you’re connecting with them one-on-one.

#4 – Invite comments and questions wherever you can

Many publishers and business people still hold fast to the old idea of being the “boss” of the communication.

They just communicate AT their readers and they’re done.

That’s a pity, because it ignores the interactive nature of the web.

Remember… when you’re writing a blog post, you can invite comments from your readers. Same thing when you upload a video or post to social media.

And don’t just leave the comment box sitting there, unannounced.

You should actively ask your readers to share their thoughts.

Invite them to contribute, and to participate.

Then listen to what they say, and maybe use that feedback to inspire your next blog post or video.

In other words, get into conversation with your audience.

Which reminds me…

I’ve listed 4 ways to get more conversational with your readers.

What have I missed?

If you know of other ways to make web content more engaging and conversational, please share your ideas as a comment below.

Who knows… your thoughts might inspire my next blog post.

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11 thoughts on “4 ways to create web content that’s more conversational.

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  1. Maybe you can add a number 5 to the list…?

    #5 – “Be Authentic”

    Similar to #2 on your list, but it may deserve its own subhead.

    Conversational copy is beautiful, but I wouldn’t want any of your readers to think they can simply manipulate your lessons and get away with it. (maybe they can get away with it in the short term, but not for long)

    There’s far too much hype, rhetoric, and B.S. in the world today. And I see more and more people yearning for someone they can trust. People want to believe what we say, but with all the bluster and mirrored soundbites in our world, it seems that people’s firewall of skepticism is getting taller and wider every day.

    I’m convinced that trust and authenticity will be a valuable currency for the foreseeable future. So “being authentic” may deserve its own subheading?

    Just a thought…

    • Love this feedback. And you’re totally right. I hate it when people turn being conversational into some kind of process or technique. So yes… be genuine. But again, don’t learn “how to be genuine” as some kind of party trick. I hope readers will be able to figure out the difference!

  2. With writing content for innovative products and techniques, I agree that asking questions is the way to go. It gets those awkward customers that fight anything new a platform and allows us to keep the conversation going. I also like to use stories of past examples tease responses out of the naysayers. That brings others into the conversation. Do you think that is good or might it backfire?

  3. Hi Nick
    I have been following your blog for a while, and I strongly believe that conversational copywriting is the future of B2B and B2C communications. I really hope for a communication eco-system where people talk like real humans and not some sugar-coated diplomats.

  4. Hi Nick,
    This comment might fit under your second point, but I often find it engaging when the writer of a piece doesn’t present himself or herself as a perfect and complete expert. When the writer acknowledges that, even as an expert, he or she is still learning about whatever topic is at hand, I find that it stimulates my own thinking and makes me feel freer to comment. It’s the sense that it’s a complex world or topic and none of us knows it all. In addition, when well done, a little humour can go a long way – maybe especially if it’s a bit self-deprecating and not directed at the reader, as it’s so easy to misunderstand the written word.

  5. You are very right on, Nick. Thank you.

    I am working on a new website where I want to present several different subjects of content. Almost like a news site. I want it to be very conversational, as in engaging the readers in on-going discussions.

    But I also want it to remain well organized in threads based on the topic where the reader/contributor doesn’t go too astray from the main content stream.

    That suggests forums. Forums are very nerdy-looking and aren’t that conducive to nicely flowing dialogue – in my opinion.

    I’m searching – so far in vain – for a nice way to present this and keep it as a discussion.

    Quora has an interesting approach but is not organized in a way that keeps a conversation going. Facebook’s style is the exact opposite.

    Any ideas on where I should be looking for ideas?


  6. The points you mentioned Nick, are all very important for good web content. A point to keep in mind when writing web copy / conversational style….the age of technology gives us quick answers, instant data, research, news and just about everything at a rapid pace….as a result, people seem to have less patience and if they are not engaged with your website at once, they click away. Clever, unique conversational copy must deliver the goods to your target audience at once to keep them engaged….this becomes a real challenge. Warm, human conversation is the answer for sure…

  7. And now with much insight and explanation from you, I finally understand that conversational copywriting and Web content writing is actually a higher and more professional aspect of direct response copywriting for both the Web and offline. Thank you. 🙂

    As a suggestion, Web conversational content can also draw in the reader through storytelling engagement in blog posts, social media content and case studies.

      • You’re welcome. I didn’t want you to think that your answers to my question about the difference between conversational copywriting and direct response copywriting weren’t meaningful or helpful to me as you told your friend Guillermo Rubio in the Zoom meeting. They were.

        However, I don’t always understand your answer to my questions the first time. That’s why it may seem I ask the same question over and over again. You do answer them very well. It’s just that I don’t always understand your answer or the way you explain it to me the first time.