Finally part 4 of my Back to Basics series is here. And it’s a big one.
At first I didn’t think it was necessary to cover this topic, but? Turns out I was wrong!
Yesterday I was talking to my lovely client Michelle (Hi, Michelle!) on our Copy Intervention call + realized I have to write about this today:
Being personal + conversational in your writing.
Now if you’re all like yawn, Hannah that’s kindergarten + I totally know this already? Hold up a minute + ask yourself what you can learn from this. And where you can implement this strategy even more.
Ok, so what am I even talking about?
I’m talking about 3rd-person bios on your about pages.
I’m talking about saying “we“ + pretending to be a big ass company, when it’s really just YOU.
I’m talking about websites, where the website is talking instead of YOU.
Are you guilty of one of these?
What I really mean is: Are you a person or a website?
Imagine my about page said something like this:
“Hannah Mang is a copywriter + communication strategist. She helps business owners communicate in a way that…” snore.
Or try this one:
“Here at Hannah Mang enterprise we value communication and…” zzzZzZZzz
Aren’t you wondering WHO the hell is even talking to you? It can’t be me (unless I’ve been hiding my true identity so far because I’m actually Elmo + always speak like that in which case I’m sorry to disappoint you: I’m not!). So who’s talking?
Since there’s nobody else around, it seems like your website is doing the talking for you.
Imagine we were having coffee together + I’d get up saying “Excuse Hannah for a second, Hannah’s gotta pee.“ and then I’d come back to order a tea + be all like “Hannah wants milk with her tea, please“ – wouldn’t you be like wtf is wrong with that chick?
And while I agree that it’s less socially awkward to speak about yourself in the 3rd person on a website compared to real life? It’s still freakin’ awkward.
Even Ellen agrees with me on that one (she also mentions Elmo + blames Facebook): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQWIlQupXw4
See, when your clients + prospects read the copy on your site? They MUST feel like they’re talking to YOU. Like you’re having a friendly conversation with them. And like you guys have known each other for the longest time.
Every person who visits your website is (wait for it…) A PERSON! And they wanna feel like there’s another real PERSON “at the end of the other line“.
Nobody likes to talk to a website.
It feels cold, impersonal and boring. Which makes it a compete no-go.
Being personal + conversational on the other hand?
Makes people feel warm + welcome.
Taken care of.
Like you care about them.
Like you know them.
And like you’re giving personal attention to each + every one of them.
Why is that so important?
Well, you’re running a business, so ultimately? You wanna SELL stuff. Duh, right?
And in order to sell? You need people to TRUST you!
Think about it for a second: would you buy something in a dark alley from a weird stranger you don’t even know (and who’s possibly talking about himself in the 3rd person – just to make things more awkward)? Would you like to give this person $2000 to do your website? Or $100 to do your hair? Or even just $5 for a sandwich? (Please don’t eat sandwiches from strangers, kids!)
No way, right?
The point is you wanna make people feel comfortable, safe + taken care of. ESPECIALLY ONLINE!
Because if you can’t manage to do that?
You’re gonna remain a stranger to your customers!
People need to know what they’re getting into. And who they’re talking to. From the start!
So let’s break it down to figure out HOW you can actually make your writing conversational:
- Don’t speak about yourself in the 3rd person!
- Use “you“ and “I“ but make sure that “you“ appears more often than “I“. (Because hey, it’s all about your customer, right?)
- Don’t say “we” when it’s really just you! That’s freakin’ irritating.
- Ask questions like you would in a real conversation to engage people.
- Use short sentences and contractions to mimic the way you speak.
HINT: You totally CAN + should use a 3rd person bio if it’s actually for somebody else’s website. Like when you’re doing a guest post for example. Because then it’s like your host-blogger is speaking about you. Or if you are featured in media etc. But whenever it’s really YOU who’s speaking (like on your about page)? Then please don’t hide behind somebody else or your website.
Ok, now what about being personal? How exactly does that work? And how much is too much?
Nobody likes TMI. I get it.
But at the same time you want people to trust you + feel like they know you. So you gotta share something! There’s no rule of how much is enough or what exactly you’re supposed to let people in on.
You gotta do whatever feels right to you.
- What do I want people to know about me?
- How do I wanna be perceived?
- What’s important to know about me?
- What relates directly to my products or services (for example your “why“, your story and so on.)
Personal doesn’t mean intimate.
You don’t have to open your underwear drawer for your clients so that they can take a look around your thongs. But which specific information about you would make them feel safe + taken care of?
There’s a thin line between personal + intimate sometimes but just allow yourself to be honest + open. And everyone’s gonna appreciate that.
Did you ever have a 3rd person bio on your about page?
What’s your biggest struggle when it comes to being personal?
Bonus points if your comment is in the 3rd person to prove how awkward that would be. (But really Hannah just wants to have some fun with you in the comments + Hannah can’t wait to hear!)
PS: I’m part of an awesome telesummit called “Fun Is Back In Business“. My first talk is with the wonderful Courtney Johnston + we’re talking about why fun copy sells. So you’ve guessed it: IT’S FUN! But also packed with great tips + tricks, so be sure to watch it when it launches on April 7th! (Also: you’re gonna see my own VIDEO, OMG!) For all details, click here!
PPS: (if that’s even a thing): See the funny little buttons below this? Use them to SHARE this post with all of your friends if it was helpful!