content marketing strategy

Your Tone is a Hot Mess: When Conversational Copy Goes Wrong

I’ve been writing  my whole life. First grade ambition? To be an author. By seventh grade I was considering being a psychiatrist until I found out how long you needed to go to school. Right back to being a writer.

I’ve spent my life playing with words in creative writing workshops, copywriting classes, PR/journalism writing intensives and applying it daily for the last 15 years for my employers and clients.  I take the ability to write easily and clearly for granted.

The natural inclination for many of us is to try to write our own copy for our web site, but many times we are doing ourselves a disservice. No matter how good of a writer you are there’s always room for improvement.

If you are going to DIY your copy, this is the number one thing (in my opinion) you must avoid.

Conversational Copy Can Quickly Become a Hot Mess

The trend in the online marketing world is towards conversational copy.  Which has some strong points, as when you are building a personal brand, you should not sound like an uptight robot.  On the flip side, conversational copy often goes too far.

Often there’s this idea that you should default to the uber casual “hey girl, hey” type of writing. Or start injecting foul language as it works for other personality-driven brands.  Casual, informal, edgy, copy there’s a place for all of it. But maybe not in your copy.

Tweet: Conversational copy is not all that - learn how it can easily go wrong with @magspatterson

Welcome to where conversational copy becomes a hot mess.  Where there’s a major disconnect between the words and the customer’s actual needs.  The tone is wrong. The words are too casual or simply wrong.

Sure, your copy is fun to read, but if your target audience walks away confused or feeling like you aren’t professional, no one wins.

It’s Not All About You

You need to carefully consider your audience because it’s not all about you.

Yes, you can build a personal brand, but if your voice is mismatched with your ideal customers, you are going to end up screwed.

If you are in business to make money, you need to serve the needs of your audience. Sure, go your own way and march to your own drum, but you need to be damn sure that there’s people who are willing to follow you.  If you are not making sales, it could be that you, your brand and your audience are seriously disconnected.

A health coach working with 40-something women struggling with serious issues probably shouldn’t have copy that’s busting out a lot of “hey girl, hey” language.

Tweet: Why hey girl, hey copy may not be doing your brand any favours. New blog post from @magspatterson

If your ideal clients are hard core professionals and you would never drop an f-bomb in a meeting, you probably shouldn’t try to spice up your copy with them either.

This is not a gag order on your personality but more for you to consider what elements to bring to your brand. Forging a strong connection between the best of you and what your customers really can identify with or need, is where the sweet spot is.

The goal should be for your words to sound like you. Not like your competition. Not like the hip copywriter you hired. Not like your friend with a totally different business. And definitely not like some big Internet famous personal brand.

Tweet: Finding the best of you + customer’s needs = the web site copy sweet spot. New blog post from @magspatterson