Want to use persuasive writing to convince your readers to do something or agree with your point of view?
OK, that was a silly question. Of course you do.
We all know how easy it is to get distracted these days, and you want your online business ideas to stand out and reach the audience you’re aiming to serve.
It’d be great if that happened by itself, but smart content entrepreneurs know it takes research, dedication, and skill to make a living online.
What is persuasive writing?
Persuasive writing is generally an exercise in creating a win-win situation. You present a case that others find beneficial to agree with …
You make them an offer they can’t refuse, but not in a manipulative way that violates marketing ethics.
It’s simply a good deal or a position that makes sense to that particular person. To make your job easier, though, there are techniques that you can learn to make your case more compelling.
Why learn persuasive writing?
If you’ve ever wondered why some blogs turn into businesses, and others stay hobbies, it’s likely because the blogger has studied persuasive writing.
Nothing’s more disappointing than having great blog post ideas that no one pays attention to … learning how to write a good blog post that persuades not only attracts people to your content, it also keeps them interested in your message.
More on that in a bit, but now let’s look at persuasive writing examples.
Persuasive writing examples
While this list is in no way a comprehensive persuasive writing tutorial, these 10 strategies are popular … because they work.
Anyone who’s familiar with psychology will tell you repetition is crucial.
It’s also critical in persuasive writing, since a person can’t agree with you if they don’t truly get what you’re saying.
Of course, there’s good repetition and bad. To stay on the good side, make your point in several different ways, such as:
- A direct statement
- An example
- A story
You could also use inspirational quotes for writers when they’re appropriate, and restate your point once more in your summary.
2. Reasons why
Always remember the power of the word because.
Psychological studies have shown that people are more likely to comply with a request if you simply give them a reason why … even if that reason makes no sense.
The strategy itself does make sense if you think about it. We don’t like to be told things or asked to take action without a reasonable explanation.
When you need people to be receptive to your way of thinking, always give reasons why.
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It’s been called the “hobgoblin of little minds,” but consistency in our thoughts and actions is a valued social trait.
We don’t want to appear inconsistent, since, whether fair or not, that characteristic is associated with instability and flightiness, while consistency is associated with integrity and rational behavior.
Use this in your persuasive writing by getting the reader to agree with something up front that most people would have a hard time disagreeing with …
Then rigorously make your case, with plenty of supporting evidence, all while relating your ultimate point back to the opening scenario that’s already been accepted.
4. Social proof
Looking for guidance from others as to what to do and what to accept is one of the most powerful psychological forces in our lives.
It can often determine whether or not we take action in many situations.
Obvious examples of social proof can be found in testimonials and outside referrals, and it’s the driving force behind social media.
But you can also casually integrate elements of social proof in your writing and marketing stories, ranging from skillful alignment with outside authorities to blatant name dropping.
Metaphors, similes, and analogies are the persuasive writer’s best friends.
When you can relate your scenario to something that the reader already accepts as true, you’re well on your way to convincing someone to see things your way.
But comparisons work in other ways too. Sometimes you can be more persuasive by comparing apples to oranges (to use a tired but effective metaphor).
For example, when you’re learning how to create digital products, you won’t want to compare the price of your online course to the price of a similar one — compare it to the price of a live seminar or your hourly consulting rate.
6. Agitate and solve problems with persuasive writing
This is a persuasion theme that works as an overall approach to making your case.
First, you identify the problem and qualify your audience. Then you agitate the reader’s pain before offering your solution as the answer that will make it all better.
The agitation phase is not about being sadistic. It’s about empathy and writing better content.
You want the reader to know unequivocally that you understand his problem because you’ve dealt with it and/or are experienced at eliminating it.
The credibility of your solution goes way up if you demonstrate that you truly feel the prospect’s pain.
Another persuasion theme involves providing your readers with a glimpse into the future.
If you can convincingly present an extrapolation of current events into likely future outcomes, you may as well have a license to print money.
This entire strategy is built on credibility. If you have no idea what you’re talking about, you’ll end up looking foolish.
But if you can back up your claims with your credentials or your obvious grasp of the subject matter, this is an extremely effective persuasive writing technique that also builds trust in relationships.
8. Unify … selectively
Despite our attempts to be sophisticated, evolved beings, we humans are exclusionary by nature.
Give someone a chance to be a part of a group that they want to be in — whether that be wealthy, or hip, or green, or even contrarian — and they’ll hop on board whatever train you’re driving.
The greatest sales letter ever written uses this technique. Find out what group people want to be in, and offer them an invitation to join while seemingly excluding others.
9. Address objections in persuasive writing
If you’ve ever presented your case and left someone thinking, “Yeah, but …”?
Well, you’ve lost.
This is why direct marketers use long copy — it’s not that they want you to read it all, it’s that they want you to read enough until you buy.
Addressing all of the potential objections of at least the majority of your readers can be tough, but if you really know your subject, the arguments against you should be fairly obvious.
If you think there are no reasonable objections to your position, see what happens if you enable comments on your content.
This is really a catch-all technique — you can and should use storyselling in combination with any and all of the previous nine strategies.
But the reason why storyselling works so well lies at the heart of what persuasion really is …
Stories allow people to persuade themselves, and that’s what it’s really all about. You might say that we never convince anyone of anything — we simply help others independently decide that we’re right.
Do everything you can to tell better stories, and you’ll find that you’re a terribly persuasive writer.
Persuasive writing, simplified
What if you could write in a way that automatically engaged your readers? What if your words had the power to persuade?
Many people don’t understand the true power of great copy. I remember when I was starting out with my business … I spent hours crafting blog posts that I thought would be useful and helpful for my desired audience.
But when I hit publish … crickets.
That’s because I didn’t yet understand the differences between content and copy.
Once I learned persuasive writing, a new world opened up to me.
- My headlines generated clicks
- People subscribed to my newsletter
- Visitors stayed on my website longer
Best of all, I was generating sales and making money
Here’s the secret
Copywriting is not about trickery, manipulation, or even trying to convince people. Great copy is about storytelling, empathy, relatability, and service.
Without great copy, it’s unlikely you will ever be able to grow your online business. It’s that important.
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