If you blog for a living, it isn’t enough to be a good writer; you need to be a convincing one. In today’s blog post, I talk about 5 persuasive writing techniques to remember when you’re creating content meant to convince your readers to do an action or to convert them to your way of thinking.
Ever tried to coax a toddler into eating their vegetables? Or giving your friends advice you know is difficult for them to do but good for them?
That’s trying to convince someone to do some action that’s good for them.
This is what you do as a blogger and a marketer with every single content you put out there.
You need to be able to persuade readers that you know their struggles, know how to help, and then give them the solution that will help them.
This is why you need to learn persuasive writing.
Today, I’m going to briefly describe persuasive writing and then talk about 5 persuasive writing techniques to remember when you’re creating content.
Persuasive writing intends to convince readers to 1) believe in an idea, 2) agree with your opinion, 3) take a particular action, or all of the above.
With carefully selected words and examples, persuasive writing presents a point of view, backs it up with facts and logic, and gets the reader emotionally worked up and ready to take action right away.
We see this kind of writing every single day. They’re most obvious in advertisements, but you can read persuasive writing in almost every article you read, online or offline. From editorials, to reviews, to how-to articles, everyone is trying to convince someone of something.
As a blogger, you mostly apply persuasive writing in blog posts you create, but you also apply them to the following:
and many more.
However, being persuasive is not only a writing skill; it’s a life skill.
According to Tony Robbins, the power of persuasion is the most valuable skill you can possess.
Because persuasion is key to getting the results that you want.
The power of persuasion is the trademark of leaders, of CEOs, of great salespeople. It’s the power to communicate ideas that affect change.
In your case, persuasive writing allows you to influence your readers to do what’s good for them, to learn about topics that will enrich their lives, to buy solutions that will benefit them.
Now that you know why it’s practical to learn persuasive writing, here are 5 persuasive writing techniques to remember when you write your next article or your next outreach email.
The first thing you need to do to be able to persuade people is to know exactly which of them you’re talking to.
You can’t be talking to everybody; as the saying goes, market to everybody and you end up talking to nobody.
Your writing needs to be tailor-made especially for a specific group of people that’s your target audience. Understand what motivates them, what drives them emotionally, and what struggles they have that led them to your blog post or content.
If you’ve been blogging for a while, you may think you know your target audience, but life happens, you focus too much on other aspects of running your website, and sometimes you forget who your target audience is. It happens.
Here are some questions you can ask to remind yourself:
You might not be able to answer all these questions by researching or through your blog analytics. If that’s the case, then you can always ask your readers. It’s better to ask than to assume you know everything about them.
Knowing your target audience also allows you to anticipate any questions or objections they may have. Make sure you address these so there’s no need for them to bring them up down the road.
When you know who you’re talking to, you’ll know how to talk to them.
Knowing your target audience allows you to look at your content from their point of view.
When you’ve gotten yourself into the mindset of your target reader, it’s likely that a dominant emotion will emerge. All problems have an emotional component, even if they’re not very intense.
Now that you’re aware of this emotional component, you should be able to use words that evoke that emotion in your readers that would make them sit up, pay attention to you, and take the action you’re suggesting.
Empathize with them by showing that you truly understand their interests, what they want to accomplish and what difficulties they’re facing to achieve their goals. Describe how they’re probably feeling to strike a chord with them.
A personal story can help you establish an emotional connection with your readers. When telling a story, paint a vivid picture and make them use their imagination. Make them see (or hear, or touch, or taste, or smell) it in their mind’s eye.
You can include images where appropriate so they can more easily visualize what you’re describing. Being able to picture a situation helps elicit emotion.
Use your knowledge of your readers to evoke the right emotions in them so that they’re compelled to pay attention to you and take action.
Knowing your target audience and appealing to their emotions to take action are important, but incomplete.
Aside from these, you also need to come off as believable.
Your writing, your views, and opinions should always be based on facts. While emotions do a better job in inspiring someone to act, you still need evidence and facts to back you up.
The problem is that delving into facts can be boring. Yes, they’re the truth, but it can be tedious.
Present your facts in an interesting, memorable way. If you need to present numbers, which are hard to understand, translate it into something that everyone can relate to. For example, in 2017, 23% of adults in the US streamed Netflix daily. You can say instead that “1 in 4 adults watch Netflix daily,” which is easier to picture.
Another factor that makes your reader trust you is your content’s grammar and spelling. I mean, that seems so insignificant, and even nit-picky. But ask yourself, would you really believe someone who can’t get little things like “your” and “you’re” correctly?
Minor typographical errors can be excused, yes, but glaring grammar mistakes raise a red flag. Even if your blog post is the most informative article on the subject, if your writing has plenty of mistakes, your reader will think, “Okay, this dude doesn’t even know the difference between ‘there,’ ‘their,’ and ‘they’re.’ How am I supposed to believe him?”
When you’re reaching out to people online through your blog and your social media, words are all your readers have to make up an image of you in their heads. And you don’t want that image to be sloppy or careless.
One more factor in your credibility is your authority in your niche. This is why establishing your authority in your niche and networking with other bloggers and influencers early in your blogging career is important.
In short, gaining your readers’ trust makes them more willing to do the action you want them to take.
You can’t convince people who don’t believe you.
It’s tempting to follow one of the many content writing or copywriting formulas out there to the letter. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but it robs your readers the chance of getting to know you.
Your writing style should project your own personality and allow your reader to connect with your unique traits, quirks, and values. People prefer to consume content that seems to be written by a real person who actually cares about their struggles and not just someone who’s being paid to type words.
Plus, the last thing your readers need to see is the same old content they’ve already read elsewhere. You want to offer up something valuable that they’ve never seen before.
This sounds tough, because no topic is truly original anymore, especially on the internet, but this is where your personality and your writer’s voice will come in. Because we’re all unique, we’re all able to have a distinctive perspective, even of common topics and subjects.
We each have different stories to tell, and telling your own story for your readers encourages readers to relate to your stories and inspires them to pay attention to you and what you have to say.
Spread your message in your own unique way.
Using language that’s familiar to your readers relaxes their guard enough to pay attention to your message.
I did say “always have correct grammar” 2 sections ago, but we’re not writing for Mrs. Graham in English class to get an A. We’re writing to get our ideas across and for them to be understood. Sometimes, we need to bend the rules a bit, and that’s okay.
Another tip to keep things as clear as possible is to stick to simple words, concise sentences, and short paragraphs. Make sure you aren’t relying on fluff and filler; details that don’t add to your message distract from it.
Breaking up your text into short paragraphs also increases the visual appeal of your text. Your readers don’t want to read walls of text. They tend to skim over your text, and scanning short paragraphs is a lot easier than scanning large blocks of text.
Keep it conversational. A good technique to make sure you’re using plain, everyday language is to read it out loud.
If you’re writing every day, then you should be on your way to perfecting your writing skills, but writing exercises can help even more. This article in Smart Blogger has 26 writing exercises to cover specific writing skills you should have.
Never write something you wouldn’t say to someone out loud.
Learning how to write persuasively is a skill that benefits you, your blog, and more importantly, your readers. Keep these techniques in mind whenever you create content so you can convince your readers to do actions that are good for them.
Again, here are the 5 persuasive writing techniques to remember.
What techniques do you use to create persuasive content? Share some of them in the comments!
JoAnne is your average, everyday, sane stay-at-home mom who believes in the power of the internet to make dreams come true. She has an insatiable appetite for chocolate, as well as all things internet marketing. She keeps up with the latest trends in blogging, affiliate marketing, e-commerce, and more.