How to Make Your Posts More Conversational
One great way to make your blog more engaging is to write your posts in a conversational way – as though you’re chatting to the reader over coffee.
When you do this well, your posts will put the reader at the centre, hold their attention, and encourage them to comment.
The problem is, a lot of bloggers write in a rather stilted, formal way.
Perhaps it’s how they were taught to write in school, or they’ve got used to writing quite formal documents in their job.
However experienced (or inexperienced) you are with writing, these tips will help you create more conversational posts.
#1: Write Directly to the Reader
When you write, imagine you’re writing to just one reader. Address this person as “you” and don’t be afraid to use the word “I”. (Yes, this is usually a bad idea in an essay for school – it’s fine in blog posts.)
Depending on how old you are, you may have been taught to use the word “one” in this context, such as:
When one begins blogging, one often has questions…
This sounds old-fashioned to most readers today. Instead, you can simply write something more personal, like:
When I began blogging, I had a lot of questions…
If you’re just starting blogging, you probably have questions…
For more on this, see Why You Should Use “You” and “I” In Your Posts.”
#2: Use Everyday Language
Avoid using long or complicated words unless you really need them. Here are a few you can probably rewrite:
ascertain = find out
enquire = ask
occupation = job
obtain = get
If your topic requires a lot of jargon, then try to spell out acronyms the first time you use them in a post (unless they’re extremely common ones). Explain any terms that might confuse your readers.
#3: Avoid the Passive Voice
The passive voice weakens your sentences by hiding the subject (the person or group taking an action).
Some mistakes were made last week.
I made some mistakes last week.
It’s not necessarily wrong to use the passive voice, but you’ll normally find that rewriting passive sentences brings your writing alive. For more examples, see 7 Examples of Passive Voice (And How To Fix Them)
#4: Use Contractions
Like me, you might have been taught in school to avoid contractions in your essays – writing “do not” instead of “don’t”, for instance.
In the blogging world, it’s fine to use contractions. In fact, it’s expected, and your writing will seem stilted and stand-offish if you don’t.
(Just take a look through this post and you’ll find plenty of examples!)
Do you find it easy to write in a conversational way, or is this something you’re working on? Share your thoughts and tips in the comments…
10 Responses to “How to Make Your Posts More Conversational”
While I try to write neat and somewhat ‘perfect’, I don’t want it to look like your reading a college essay (I write them too for my MBA). I try to be as personal as I can. Asking a lot of questions also seems to help. Telling them your experience in the topic is a good thing but you also want to make sure your experience can easily relate to your readers otherwise it will all be about you and not them, which is not good. Great post Ali, once again. 🙂
I always struggle with all 4 points above. Is there a good online English course for writers / bloggers who have English as a second language?
It’s important to use interactive language that can attract and compel readers to become a part of your article. You should avoid passive voice at all costs. Simple and short sentences work best. Sharing your blogging experience also work like a charm. Your readers love to read stories about your blogging journey. You should also avoid grammatical as well as spelling mistakes. That leaves a really bad impression on your visitors.
Bloggers should take a look at some good proofreader plugins. These plugins check your post and point out problems and improvements.
Thanks for sharing this awesome article, Ali Luke. 🙂
Thanks for the article.
I have been responding to your emails, asking about Daniel’s adesense course. I wanted to know if he still runs it? If so, when will it open again?
Daniel promised to respond to every email he receives from his email subs, but I guess his too busy for that these days.
Great post, Ali!
I remember two tips I had once read in a resume making book once – 1. Write in active voice 2. Use short sentences.
In addition to the above two tips, the book also said to use simpler words than using complex or difficult to understand words. When I knew these three tips, I felt quite confident to write a very good resume myself. I kept on tweaking it with these tips in m ind and it became a very nice resume.
I do the same with my blog posts now. I sometimes write a really long sentence while writing an initial draft, but later when I proof-read it, I cut it into to two or three short sentences. I’ve read if the sentence is more than two lines, most people don’t clearly understand it.
@ Don Rosensky: Ali would advice better on this bu I think dailywritingtips.com will still help. Like you, English isn’t my first language.
Thanks and keep sharing such tips.
Thanks for sharing some useful stuff. i am new blogger and understand how to become a blogger. i have write some article on new gadgets but response is not good. this is really good to know how people work and get traffic on their blog
Serena @ Thrift Diving
Conversational writing is something I do very well on my blog. So well, in fact, that in my “9-to-5” job dinged me for writing too informally via emails. It’s just the style of writing I prefer, and it shows, across multiple platforms. Oh well– if it works for a blog, to help people feel more engaged, it can work in an office setting too 🙂
Serena @ Thrift Diving
Okay Ali, here’s something controversial.
First, I appreciate your advice. I have always been challenged to minimize my use of the passive voice, so I thank you for your tips.
But I have a bone to pick with you. And let me apologize in advance if you think I’m being too picayune, but this is a real bugaboo with me.
Twice in this post you put either a period or a comma outside of the end quotation marks. You wrote, “…don’t be afraid to use the word ‘I’.” and you also wrote, “…writing ‘do not’ instead of ‘don’t’, for instance.”
In American English, periods and commas ALWAYS go inside the end quotation marks. No exceptions, I was taught. So your sentences, in order to reflect correct American English, should have read:
…don’t be afraid to use the word “I.”
…writing “do not” instead of “don’t,” for instance.
In the U.K. countries, including Canada, they follow what some refer to as “logical punctuation,” in which periods and commas are generally placed outside of the end quotation marks. But I assume, although I may be wrong, that you are not British or Canadian and are writing primarily for American readers. If that is the case, shouldn’t you be following American rules of punctuation when it comes to periods and commas within quotation marks?
Sorry if I’m being too persnickety (or, per your suggestion, “particular” or “fussy”), but this is something that really bothers me.
Hello; This is a very timely post. I agree with you that writing in a personal conversational style is best when writing for your blog. A blog is all about creating a relationship with your readers. You want them to get to know you, to lie you, and to trust you. Its very difficult to do that when writing according to the rules for business or english composition class. I don’t use contractions in my emails but that is because a lot of my readers our outside the u s and contractions don’t relate as well in a different version of english or in another language all together. thanks again and take care, max
I definitely agree with the tips in this article. Writing for your readers and keeping your article simple definitely works. As a realtor in Charleston SC real estate, I normally write about about updates, news, and trends about the real estate industry as well as things happening in Charleston SC. I put myself in the shoes of my readers.
I use simple terms so that readers can understand the ideas I am sharing and make my articles personal so that they can easily relate to the things that I am saying. I also agree that writing in the passive voice weakens the statement and therefore the active voice should be used whenever possible.
I also encourage my followers to share their own experiences about a particular subject discussed in my blog. This will fuel fruitful conversation and foster engagement.
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