Words have power. Whether you are selling a product, a service or just building a brand, persuasive writing can add value to your content, engage visitors and get them to eventually convert, thus adding to the business’ bottom line.
Persuasive writing holds the readers spellbound and their attention fixated on what you have to say. With content going digital, and constant shortening of visitor’s attention spans, persuasive writing is the key to making your content stand out in the ever crowded digital world.
What does persuasive writing entail? How do you engage your audience and compel them to be glued to your words and consume what you have to offer?
Read on to find out.
Elements of Persuasive writing
The concept of modes of persuasion have been around since the time of Aristotle who postulated about the same in his rhetoric. He classified the speaker’s appeal to the audience into the following categories:
Logos refers to the elements of logic and reasoning. Only when your writing follows a logical flow, can it manage to persuade the intended audience.
Ethos refers to ethics- your believability and credibility when writing for any audience. If you happen to be the authority figure and subject matter expert on any given topic, you will be able to persuade the audience better and put forth a credible argument.
Pathos refers to the emotional connect that the audience has with your writing. If your writing is able to forge an emotional bond with the audience and move them, it has far greater chances of persuading them.
Persuasive writing components for engaging the digital audience
Aristotle made it clear that you need to write coherent content that flows logically, has credibility and connects at an emotional level in order to be persuasive in what you write and speak.
How do you translate these principles into modern day content and make your writing appealing for a digital audience with rapidly shortening attention spans?
1. Focus on the audience needs
You may be writing for raising brand awareness or promoting your product and/or service, but unless you focus on what the audience needs, nobody is going to read what you have to say.
Web content is cluttered with people talking about how great their product or service is. The truth is nobody wants to read about that. Every visitor that clicks on your blog or service page has the same thing on his/her mind. “Will this fulfil what I need”
This need is not necessarily a direct sell. Sometimes all the audience needs is to gain knowledge. Know what purpose your content should ideally fulfil. Map it to the stages of the content funnel and build content to gradually guide your readers through the different stages of the content marketing funnel.
Rather than talking about the features of your offering, talk about the benefits that the readers would potentially have first. For example, when selling a weight loss regimen, talking about the benefits i.e. lose 20 pounds in 2 months is going to resonate better with your audience than talking about the specific exercises that will help them achieve that goal.
2. Engage in storytelling
Storytelling is the oldest marketing tactic in the world. People have been engaging in the same since time immemorial. The reason behind this is pretty straightforward. Your readers may forget the facts and figures you quote but they would always remember the stories you tell.
The most important aspect of impactful storytelling is finding your unique voice. Compelling storytelling happens when experts talk about what they know best. First-person accounts make content much more relatable and add a face to your brand. Let your story have a beginning, a middle and an end, and clearly outline the takeaways for your audience.
Talk about the challenges your business faces, struggles and success stories, “aha” moments that stemmed from your experiences that can help your readers grow, how you evolved in the industry and what the audience can take away from reading what you have to say.
Content that you publish needs to be original and relatable to strike a chord with your readers and successfully engage with your brand. Start out with a question that your readers may be struggling with, add an anecdote, supplement your claims with statistics and include quotes. These small inclusions go a long way to make your content more compelling.
3. Build a voice of authority
Authority bestows persuasion. Only when you have a voice of authority and complete control over your story can you expect it to be engaging. Rather than having freelancers talking about specific niches such as technology, sales or healthcare, have someone with an in-depth knowledge of the same talk about it. Abandon the fluff and get deep into the specifics.
As an entrepreneur, you are likely juggling too many hats at once and content creation likely takes a backseat. With time and resources scarce, finding that voice of authority and building compelling, thought leadership content can be tough. That is when strategic partnerships to create persuasive content come into picture to lessen the workload while staying aligned with the ultimate goal of content creation: conversions.
At Curvebreak, we believe in relying on subject matter experts with a flair for creating compelling stories to work on the content for our clients. When writing for a client that provides healthcare software development, we have writers from the healthcare industry collaborating with tech writers with a background in software development to deliver the most authentic content.
4. Write content for the web
Understanding the fine nuances of writing for the web and the knowledge of how digital content differs from conventional content makes the content easily consumable and persuasive. Ditch the long intros and get straight to the point.
The purpose of the first paragraph is to get the reader hooked and compelled to read the second paragraph. The second paragraph is aimed at getting the reader to read the third and so on. Make sure that your content is succinct and to the point to keep the readers hooked on what you have to say.
An inverted pyramid method of writing which involves listing out the most important and relevant points first works very well when writing for the web. Digital content consumers are primarily scanners rather than readers. They will scan your content in search for value and if that is not apparent at the first instance, they will bounce from your website, negatively impacting your SEO as well.
Irrespective of how well written and informative your content is, unless it manages to capture the attention of your audience and compel them to read further, it won’t have any impact in the long run. Break down the content into bullets and format it using H2, H3 for differentiating the headings from the rest of the content. This makes your content more scannable for your readers while giving it an SEO boost at the same time.
Break up the text with infographics, images and even videos to make your content more persuasive. These add-ons not only provide visual relief and help support the claims you make, but they also make your content much easier to share. Which brings us to our next and final element of persuasive writing.
5. Make your content shareable
What’s the point of reading a piece of interesting content that you cannot share across your network? Whether it is facilitating sharing the article across Facebook or LinkedIn, or tweeting specific snippets of content within the article, making the content shareable ensures a wider reach that takes place organically.
Make it easy for the readers to instantly share the content across their network with the minimum efforts. Identify the snippets of text that readers likely would like to share and highlight them to encourage tweets. Include custom branding in imagery and infographics that you use to create brand awareness when your content is shared across social media.
Display the number of social shares that you have received in the panel on your blog. Seeing content being shared by others build up the authority, makes your content more persuasive and sets up a chain reaction by nudging the readers to share it as well, expanding your reach further.
Creating persuasive content is an art. It takes a lot of practice and dedication to excel at creating compelling pieces of content that resonate well with the audience while fulfilling your marketing objectives at the same time.
Writing and publishing persuasive content that brings in direct business benefits doesn’t have to be hard. It always helps to work with an experienced and specialized team to help you scale up your efforts and get results faster. We at Curvebreak specialize in creating content that propels your audience to take the next step and ensure that your business grows organically.
We understand that each business is unique and the challenges and requirements vary as well. With extensive customization, our focus is on creating content that that will help you grow and overcome these challenges. Contact us now for a one-on-one discussion for your specific content needs.