When they read my writing on conversational copywriting, some marketers think I’m talking about a soft, nice-to-have skill.
They see the conversational approach is being attractive, but optional.
I think they’re totally wrong.
From what I’m seeing, conversational copywriting is fast becoming an essential marketing skill. Not an option, but a necessity.
And the need for conversational copywriting isn’t being driven by me or any other individual. It’s being driven by some massive technology trends that show no signs of slowing down any time soon.
Let’s take a look at these trends one by one.
Trend #1: The growth of social media on mobile
Social media isn’t new, but it’s a growing driver of conversational marketing.
Put simply, if you want to leverage the true power of social media, you can’t use it as a promotional, broadcast medium.
Look around and you’ll see that a lot of companies are still in “broadcast mode” on their social media channels. They’re still selling at their audiences as if Facebook or Twitter were one-way media like TV and radio.
But smarter marketers know better.
They know that to use social media channels effectively, their writing style has to change. They have to start writing in a more natural, engaging and conversational tone.
In fact, on social media, you should do more than just sound conversational. You should BE conversational, responding to comments, getting into conversations.
This transition from broadcast mode to conversational mode on social media is being accelerated by growth in the use of smartphones.
More and more people are following all their social media feeds ONLY through their phones, and not on computers or laptops.
Well… a heads-up here… phones are by definition conversational devices. They always have been.
In other words, if you want to sound natural on social media, you’d better start communicating in a more conversational tone.
Trend #2: The rise of voice search
It used to be that every time we wanted to search for something online, we would type a short text query into the search box of our favorite search engine.
That kind of search behavior is now changing.
According to Google, 55 percent of teens and 40 percent of adults use voice search every day. And voice search is growing at a faster rate than typed search.
More and more we’re not typing at all. People are now searching online simply by talking to Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant or Microsoft’s Cortana with their phones.
Or across the room to one of Amazon’s Alexa-enabled devices.
And it turns out there’s a big difference in the language we use, depending on whether we are typing or speaking.
When we’re typing a query into a search box we typically abbreviate our question.
For example, if I want to know how to get rid of the dandelions on my lawn without using toxic herbicides, I might type a query like:
non-toxic dandelion spray
It’s short, but contains enough information for the search engine to figure out what I want.
But if I’m using voice search, taking into a phone, my query will probably sound a lot more natural.
Some more like this:
Hey, Google, can you tell me how to kill the dandelions on my lawn without using toxic herbicides?
Voice search uses language that is way more conversational.
And Google is just as good at understanding natural language when it finds it in the form of text on your web pages.
In other words, you no longer need to structure or write your content and copy in some special way in order for it to be SEO-friendly.
You’ll actually do better by writing in an everyday, conversational style.
Trend #3: The evolution of chatbots
Chatbots are conversational? I know, that feels a little counterintuitive.
But think about it.
An AI-driven chatbot is taking the place of a human.
Just a year or two ago, when you clicked on the chat invitation on a website, you could be reasonably sure you were interacting with a real person. And you expected your back and forth with that person to sound natural and conversational.
Chatbots are programmed to do the same… to interact with you in a conversational way.
Of course, a chatbot doesn’t make up stuff on the fly. They’re not that smart yet.
As the creator of the chatbot you have to anticipate and set up a whole bunch of possible interactions and “if/then” decision trees.
But you’re writing that text in a conversational tone, so people feel like they’re interacting with a real person.
And in time, as AI and Machine Learning become more sophisticated, chatbots wil probably be able to function with less and less of our input.
The point being, nobody is creating chatbots to sound like machines. They’re being created to sound like humans.
Combine those three trends, and…
Whether you’re looking at social media, voice search or the rise of chatbots, there is a common and powerful theme.
They function at their best when the language used is natural and conversational.
- We’re not seeing a surge in the use of promotional, sales language.
- Nor are we seeing an increase in formal, business language.
- And we’re definitely not seeing the rise of a new “robotic” style of writing and speaking.
Instead, we’re seeing a return to everyday, conversational language.
So here’s a scary thing…
A lot of writers are in danger of being left behind.
As tech takes us down this more human path, way too many human writers are still attached to the old-school ways of writing traditional sales copy and formal business communications.
Copywriters, growth hackers and small business owners all need to wake up to the fact that their future is going to be built on the back of conversational copywriting.
Conversational Copywriting is the future of selling online. You can build your expertise now, or try catching up later. Find out about the course here…