Avoid common copywriting mistakes for smooth, conversational voiceover scripts.
If you listen to ANYTHING commercially, all reads are "conversational". Typical voice over script specs call for "non-announcer", "like you're talking to a friend", "no radio voices", "real", "honest", "natural", etc... Although this sound is in-vogue, there is an inherent challenge when trying to write conversational voice over copy.
Ever try to make something highly technical sound like you're talking to a friend? "Hey Bill did you know, the injection depth should be the subdermal plane in order to denervate the superficial frontalis muscle tissue?" Ok that's extreme, but you get the idea.
Applying a conversational style to voiceovers takes skill and copy that delivers. If you're creating voiceover copy to capture the audience and keep them engaged, there are a number of things you can do. Here are 6 great tips:
1 - Understanding conversational structure
Doing proper topic research and allowing time to fully process new information is key. Once you understand the topic, you will be able to structure your document to address the audience's need. When crafting conversational copy, using the scenario, problem, solution formula may work well. Use question marks to identify the potential problem, and address the solution directly to the audience. Audiences quickly gravitate to a question about a need, and should feel that you are speaking to them personally through engaging copy that's right on the mark.
2 - Write for your audience
When writing for a particular audience, your copy should reflect the language of your target audience. Infusing elements that carry a regional tone helps connect with the listeners. Keep your sentences short and to the point. Use commas and periods to introduce new ideas. Even adding sentence fragments can be helpful to mirror a natural conversation. Avoid the formalities and keep your tone light. Using contractions such as "it's" instead of "it is", "we're" instead of "we are" and "there's" instead of "there is" is more informal keeping your copy light and relatable.
3 - Avoid industry heavy jargon
Always keep the audience in mind while writing. The commercial copy should be informative without being too stuffy. In other words, "KISS" it. That means, keep it short and simple. Your words should reflect the way that character would speak. Avoid heavy technical language and industry jargon and replace it with common words. Find one person to provide feedback, who knows almost nothing about the topic, and see how they receive it. If they’re interested in what you have to say, you’ve accomplished your goal.
Solid conversational copy let's the content shine!
4 - Write actively
Write in the now! Conversational copy brings the subject into the present and performs the action. It’s more in tune with how people speak. When writing conversationally, think about how you would write to a friend and apply those same principles. What would you say to get them to try a new service, or look at a certain product? Audiences relate to conversations where they have something in common. Using examples and metaphors can give your message strength while increasing the level of comfort in listening to what you have to say. Using a first or second person approach helps your message become more personable.
5 - Read out loud
Once you’ve written your copy, now is the time to read it out loud. Think about the delivery and pay attention to where you must take a breath. If it sounds awkward or is difficult to read, you need to revamp those areas. Your copy shouldn't sound academic in nature, but as if you are in a room full of friends. Using shorter sentences and words always helps your writing sound more authentic. Make sure your copy mirrors a conversation, but stays within the realm of the topic and audience. Tailor your copy to the brand, topic or audience, which will determine whether or not you need to infuse humor, a formal voice or even slang.
6 - Maintain a consistent rhythm
Maintaining a consistent rhythm while connecting ideas from one line or paragraph to another will help your content flow. Good conversational copy has a voice - keep the content simple, engaging, and full of personality for the most effective results. One of the best ways to determine whether or not your copy has a conversational tone is to record it. Get a professional voice actor (like this guy), to send you a free audition. That way you can gage the script, and also cast the voice! By using a recorded conversation, you’ll be able to hear nuances you use and hear the reaction of others. This will give you a clearer understanding on how you come across to your audience and their possible reactions to the copy you write.
If you need some help, let's connect and get that script in order!
A Voice Over blog
Tips, Tricks and Insights for casting, producers, agents, managers, creatives, and talent in the voice over industry.
Must Read Articles!