Some people like rules, and that’s not a bad thing. Rules help us know what to expect, which direction to go in, and help everyone stay on the same page. Some people don’t, and that’s okay too. We need rule breakers to challenge the status quo.
Take our team for example. Amanda? Like a true Enneagram One, she loves the rules. Me? Depends. Latasha? Never.
Rules can be great…or they can be stifling. Which is why I sometimes don’t like the rules.
But there’s one rule we can all agree on needs to GTFO…
“Don’t write like you talk.”
Yes, this is actual advice that came from someone who feels that people should be more “professional” when we write for our businesses and how our days of being casual and carefree are gone.
Our take? That advice is kind of bullshit.
While some of the points they make are valid (for example, you should talk directly to your audience), we have to disagree with the notion that writing like you talk is a no-no.
And you know us: We’re not ones to shy away from speaking our minds. So, let’s get into it!
Why it’s important to write like you talk
Something we’ve noticed in the years of Uncanny Content’s existence? Clients have a really hard time sounding natural. One of the biggest hurdles small business owners have when it comes to writing their own copy is that they’re worried about sounding too casual.
When did (collective) we decide that writing automatically equals a strict, formal, or authoritative tone? I mean…have you seen our shit? Like, c’mon. I just used the word shit.
Forget what you know about writing. Rules don’t matter!
Now, before you think I’m just writing this just to be rebellious, stick around because I have a legit reason for saying this.
Writing like you talk helps you sound more relatable
It’s really hard to get to know someone through a screen. You can’t exactly convey tone through the written word either. As a result, it’s easy to misinterpret what you read based on how it’s written.
That’s where writing like you talk can come in handy. When you do, you instantly make yourself sound more approachable. People will begin to see you as more down-to-earth and relatable just by sounding natural, almost like you’re having a conversation with your audience. Crazy how that works, right?
By having those ‘conversations,’ your audience will start to see you and your brand as more approachable, which is always the best first step they can take. Why? If you’re approachable, you’re trustworthy. If you’re trustworthy, they’re more likely to buy from you. And we absolutely love it when that happens.
SIDE NOTE: If your brand voice is more clean-cut and professional, then by all means, write like that! We aren’t here to bash anyone’s voice and tone. And if that’s your thing, stick to it! Because you’re more likely to attract an audience who prefers a more buttoned-up vibe. As long as your brand is true to you and your goals, there’s nothing wrong with sounding more polished.
Make them feel like a friend
When you sit down to write, stop thinking about it like you’re a million miles away from your audience. You’re not some hard-to-reach business that can’t build connections with your audience. You’re a real person. No one is expecting you to be perfect.
We like to tell our clients: Write like you’re talking to a friend. You can always go back and edit where you need to sound more technical or elaborate on details. But putting yourself in this mindset first shifts helps you get the words onto paper.
Not to mention, this will make your audience feel like your friend too, and, like I said above, will help them feel more comfortable buying from you.
Keep it on brand
Don’t be afraid to use words and phrases you’d use in real life. They’re part of what makes your brand voice unique! In fact, whenever we hear clients say their unique -isms, we add them to a keywords/phrases list for them. It’s a fun way to help their writing feel more like their brand (or in most cases, the business owner who is running the brand).
It kind of like the concept of excluding words and phrases you wouldn’t want to use, like ‘girl boss’ or ‘awesome.’ Except with this concept, you can ask yourself what words and phrases you should be using more to make it sound more like you!
But whatever you add to your word bank, make sure it stays on brand. If you’re someone who isn’t really into what the kids are saying these days (WTF does MID mean anyway?), don’t force them into your writing. If you’re more laid back than bubbly, maybe don’t use things like “OMG!” and “totes!” either.
Fuck the rules
Grammar rules are a bunch of bullshit, really. And believe us when we say you don’t have to follow the rules.
Sure, rules help provide structure and clarity to the English language, so we’re all on the same page. But dumb rules like “Never end a sentence with a preposition” or “Don’t start your sentence with but or and” can be forgotten.
See, I just did it. And it didn’t change the meaning of what I said (oh look, I did it again).
Writing, especially when we’re talking about copywriting, is so much more complex than a few grammar rules you were quizzed on in high school. LANGUAGE is so much more complex than those rules.
It evolves and changes. What is deemed “proper” does too because the humans that speak it also change. So, don’t stress about a proposition too much, okay?
But hey, if you need help with sounding more natural, we got you. Get at us — we’d love to help!