August 21, 2007 by Dawud Miracle 23 Comments Share this:Tweet Related posts: How Is Marketing About Relationships? The Key To Promoting Your Business Is… How You Can Help A Friend With Their Business How Are Your Online Relationships Different From Your Offline Relationships? In Business, Make It About The Relationship First Reader InteractionsComments Joanna Young says August 21, 2007 at 1:42 pm Hi Dawud, I agree with your points on conversational style – but wonder if one of the reasons people shy away from this is a fear of appearing not to be an expert? I think perhaps this another of those deep-rooted challenges (or changes) to business and marketing psychology – do we need to persuade business leaders and marketing experts that it’s okay not to know everything? Joanna Reply Quint says August 21, 2007 at 3:09 pm As a new blogger, this article is a great reminder that I need to focus on writing content to my readers, not to market to my readers. Sure, blogging can be a business, but as you said, people want to do business with people. My goal is to be a resource and encouragement to people, and have it be profitable for everyone. Thanks for the insight. Reply Lydia says August 21, 2007 at 9:32 pm I must be reading different blogs than you are. 😉 Sometimes I think people are a little *too* conversational, especially on the confessional end, and I wish they would recognize that strangers who want to be entertained are reading the blog, and that high angst for the writer doesn’t always translate into high interest for the reader. The biggest mistake I see, or maybe it’s just a peeve of mine, is people who apologize for “not blogging in a while.” Bleh. 🙂 Reply Howard says August 22, 2007 at 7:03 am I see her point though it is a bit dogmatic. Conversations are great but when you visit a site you still want to get useful information quickly. Have a conversation on your blog. The more important issue is to make sure your web copy is well written. Here is a tough question. Should your web developer write your copy? Do they have the high level writing skills that are required to do the job? Your local HTML dude might not be up to the task. Crappy writing drives me nuts. Reply Joanna Young says August 22, 2007 at 10:34 am Dawud, thanks for the follow up points plus link to what it means to be an expert. I agree with you – but as you say there’s a lot of learning to be undone out there about branding, marketing and ‘secrets of success…’ By the way thanks for the priceless quote abuot conversational writing – being human, professional rather than “poor or loosey-goosey”, I’m going to store that away and save it for another day 🙂 Joanna Reply Karin H. says August 22, 2007 at 7:52 am Hi Dawud As ‘manager’ of both static websites and a few blogs the best rule (and also most simple rule) I’ve been told (and implemented) is to focus your attention to the reader. Always talk about them, not you. Meaning (example given): you will benefit from our great services. Versus: we give great service Karin H. (Keep It Simple Sweetheart, specially in business) Reply Dawud Miracle says August 22, 2007 at 8:48 am Joanna, Great point. Absolutely. That’s the most interesting thing…people somehow believe that they need to know everything to be an expert. But I can tell you they don’t. I’ve written about what it means to be an expert. I feel that being an expert is only valid in the eyes of your clients and prospects. As Seth Godin says in The Dip – be the best in the world. Not ‘the’ world, but in your client’s world. Quint, Sure, you’re definitely welcome. For me, focusing on good content, conversation and building relationships has brought me plenty of business – and wonderful readers. I figure, do what you love, openly and honestly, communicate it well, and let the marketing take care of itself. Lydia, I’m sorry I didn’t blog… 🙂 I wasn’t just referring to blogs – but to static, business sites as well. Many bloggers – especially the good ones – get conversational blogging. But lots don’t – nor do most new bloggers, it seems. But even fewer static site owners understand that it’s about the conversation. Karin, Yeah. Exactly. And I think tone is important. You do it well on your static site, imho. I just don’t see a lot of sites that I feel use a relaxed, conversational tone. Reply Dawud Miracle says August 22, 2007 at 9:25 am Howard, Should your web developer write your copy? In almost all cases…no! Most web developers aren’t writers – they’re designers and coders. It takes a special breed to understand marketing and copy writing. Your best bet is to have a copy writer help you with your copy – at least editing. And I do agree with you about static copy being well-written. And, if you’re selling a product or service it’s necessary to go just beyond describing what you do and how well you do it. The best and most successful sales copy I’ve seen meets the reader where they are – from their perspective. Above, Karin said it best – focus your attention on the reader. And with the conversation, I’m suggesting that you look at your sales copy – your static web copy – as though you’re having a discussion with a prospect in person. Write in the same tone you’d speak in. Make the reader feel like you’re listening to them – even though you’re not physically with them. Anticipate how the conversation would go. That’s what I mean by conversational writing. Not poor, or loosey-goosey writing – just human. Reply George says August 22, 2007 at 10:08 am I have a lot of pet peeves that I could list as mistakes (blogs without comments, blogs that require you to register to comment, blogs that exclude the dates of posts, frames, etc.). This is a really hard question to answer. I like your answer. I don’t think I would have come up with that on my own. I would have said something along of the lines of: 1. Sites using Frames. 2. Sites using Flash intros. 3. Non SEO-Friendly pages. But probably the biggest mistake I see, is sites that don’t have a clear focus. Sites that don’t communicate what they want me to do. This is a great question. Look forward to seeing where this conversation leads. Reply Dawud Miracle says August 22, 2007 at 11:16 am George, I definitely think that lack of a clear focus is a major issue – and one that I was hoping someone would mention it. And I don’t like frames either. Joanna, Sure. Use it at will. What amazes me is how many marketing ‘gurus’ I know who are sort of stuck in what they’ve been doing as being ‘the way.’ Personally, I’ve always tried to hold the line that change, growth and evolution are good – and expected – things. I can’t imagine not changing as I learn more. Reply LaurenMarie - CreativeCurio says August 22, 2007 at 1:35 pm I think along the lines discussed here (which I totally agree with!) is the small business owners trying to make their businesses bigger than they really are. They must think it will help them get business. I like what you’ve said previously, Dawud: when writing an About page if you’re a single person company, use “I” not “we.” There’s nothing wrong with being only one person! It’s kind of deceiving to make it seem otherwise. This will also help with making it seem like a conversation and perhaps it will get the owner in the frame of mind to write “What I can offer you” or “How I can help you.” Reply Mason Hipp says August 22, 2007 at 4:57 pm Dawud, Your answer was damn near perfect (in my opinion). In my business work on both marketing and web design; and the number one thing we try to tell our clients is that their website should be specifically targeted to their niche. The number two thing is that it should be engaging their customer. Again, great answer. – Mason Reply Dawud Miracle says August 23, 2007 at 10:16 am LaurenMarie, As someone who often builds those ‘we’ pages for solo businesses, I’ve struggled with that as well. What’s funny is that most of the time, those clients have not been targeting large corporations where appearing to have a team of people working with you might be advantageous. Do you think there’s a time to stretch the “I/we” issue a bit on a site? Mason, Thanks. I couldn’t agree more. I’ve always instructed my clients that they need to know who they are, what they do and who they do it for. Reply Chino Yray says September 11, 2007 at 11:03 am Hey! I am a web designer as well until only recently that I changed my site and turn it into a blog. Nobody visits a static website anymore. Another thing is, blogs give a more personal approach to people who reads them especially on the same topic you blog about. I like it when people of the same topic meet and win friends. Reply Dawud Miracle says September 11, 2007 at 11:23 am Chino, Yeah, my experience too. Reply communicatrix says September 12, 2007 at 7:34 pm I’m 100% in agreement with you, Dawud–there’s a shock, huh? 😉 Most of the time, people are thinking about what they want to say, rather than the people they’re going to say it to. You can’t possibly have a conversation with your customers (or anyone else, for that matter) over the sound of the projector running, if you catch my drift. RE: writing style, I think most people put on their Sunday-go-to-meetin’ hat when they sit down to write “serious” copy. I’ve been guilty of it myself in the past. The two best secrets I’ve ever learned about becoming a great writer are these: 1. Give yourself permission for a vomit-on-the-page first draft (what Liz mentions in her list–first, I think) 2. Read everything you can get your hands on and write more than you ever thought possible. Of course, #2 is more of a long-term strategy, I’ll grant you. But it is *so* the truth. Reply Dawud Miracle says September 13, 2007 at 7:27 am Communicatrix, You’re so on. I was told in school years ago that I couldn’t write well – that I should stick to math and science (as though you don’t have to write when you’re a scientist). Yet I discovered I could write when I made it made my writing about relationships rather than essays. Now I just write as I speak – mostly. And it’s amazing to me that more people don’t get that what consumers want is the interaction with a person. As I keep saying – people don’t do business with businesses, they do business with people. And when we meet, greet and treat our prospects as the people they are, selling often takes care of itself. Reply Matt Keegan says March 11, 2008 at 8:27 pm Conversation which involves two or more people is certainly the way to go, although I do find that some blogs discourage dialogue, primarily through shutting off comments or not asking questions of their readership in a bid to elicit responses. Reply Technology Transfer Opportunities says April 7, 2008 at 10:12 am Everyone is insisting on conversation, but when a client enters my site, my first concern is to have an organized site from where he/she can chose exactly the product they are searching for. Reply Robert W says May 30, 2010 at 10:58 pm Nowadays, people spend a lot of time online and typically alone at the computer. I think the conversational style appeals to them more for this reason as well. I think it makes the reader feel as though they are interacting with someone rather than just reading alone at the computer. This may not be the case for a webstore however but I must say some bloggers do make you feel as though you know them. Reply Trackbacks […] you read, Dawud’s latest one-2-one post? He answers the question, Are You Having A Conversation With Your Niche Audience? and he invites you to help him come to his best answer. The conversation in the comments brings up […] Reply […] cornerstone. This one’s from Dawud Miracle. Remember you’re talking to, writing for, real people. People want to do business with people – […] Reply […] 1. Be conversational yes, but don’t use that as an excuse for sloppy or vacuous writing, or writing that is ‘loosey-goosey’ (what a great word – thank you Dawud!) […] Reply Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Name * Email * Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.