Use an Informal Writing Style to Engage Visitors
It’s easy, when you’re face-to-face with people, to connect with them. You shake their hands. You look into their eyes. You use inflection to share your mood. Studies have revealed that 93 percent of personal communication is non-verbal. When communicating, more than the actual words you use, it matters:
- How you look
- How you hold your body
- How you use facial expressions
Connecting with people online, therefore, is inherently more difficult. No one can see you, unless you post a video — which is always a good idea when feasible. Usually, as in this particular case right now, you can’t see an expression or interpret body language. All you get are these words. Even with an informal writing style, how is it possible to connect online? We’ll tell you.
Write Like You Speak
Do you see what we did at the end of the last paragraph? That little aside — those three words — created an intimacy between the writer and the reader. An informal writing style helped create the connection, but it also helped that it flowed naturally out of the conversation. And yes: even a one-sided conversation can create a connection.
When you’re creating content for your website, either right on the page or in a blog, write like you naturally speak. With an informal writing style, in addition to being clearer, you get two distinct advantages:
- Your personality shines through the words. People who know you can tell you wrote it, and those who don’t know you gain a sense of who you really are.
- Your words tend to relate to your readers better. When you talk, you’re speaking to someone else, not at them. You often invite a response. Write like that, and you’ll engage your readers.
Connect with Your Online Audience
Below are five ways to keep your website visitors reading. All of these suggestions have been proven through the experience of professional website writers and bloggers. You can use them yourself to craft more engaging online copy:
- Informal writing styles charm your readers. Most people are surprised to find answers to their questions written in a comfortable, everyday tone. They expect an academic exercise in comprehension. Everyone has had the experience of coming upon a website or online report that seems like it was written for a professor. And that can insult your readers who may not grasp your intentions or your meaning.
- Use contractions, just like you do in everyday speech. Very few individuals talk without using contractions. If they do, they appear stilted, awkwardly formal and not someone you want to spend more time with. Be the opposite, and readers willingly spend more time with your words.
- Informal doesn’t mean humor or profanity. You can be professional without resorting to humor or profanity. The purpose of online content is to build trust with your readers. You can’t do that by swearing. Be professional. Provide answers. Say what you mean. But keep it informal.
- Keep your sentences relatively short. Good writing mixes long-winded sentences together with short, stout declarations. Like this. But don’t overdo the long sentences. They’re difficult to read on a screen, and they don’t lend themselves to comprehension. Don’t lose your audience to verbosity.
- Use whitespace effectively. Yes, it matters even where there are no words. It can be daunting for a reader looking for a specific answer to stare at a long block of text. An informal writing style includes short paragraphs, numbered or bulleted lists and subheads. Make your page look attractive and easy to navigate.