In business, the purpose of content marketing is to increase brand awareness, sales, engagement and loyalty. Essentially, you’re trying to convince your target audience of something, whether it be about the high quality of your product or service or that your brand as a whole is worthy of your trust. How is this done? Quite often it’s through the lens of persuasive writing.
In this blog article we discuss what persuasive writing is, why it’s important, how to craft persuasive writing for content marketing and examples of persuasive writing in social media content.
What Is Persuasive Writing?
Grammarly tells us that persuasive writing is “any written work that tries to convince the reader of the writer’s opinion. Aside from standard writing skills, a persuasive essay author can also draw on personal experience, logical arguments, an appeal to emotion, and compelling speech to influence readers.”
There are three modes of persuasion that should be utilized in any piece of persuasive writing: ethos, logos and pathos. Grammarly shares the following about each mode:
“Ethos: The ancient Greek word for “character” or “spirit,” ethos in persuasive writing refers to how the author presents themself. Authorities on an issue are most likely to convince the reader, so authors of persuasive writing should establish their credibility as soon as possible.
Logos: The ancient Greek word for “logic” or “rationale,” logos refers to using logical arguments and evidential data. A good writer doesn’t rely only on persuasive speech — they also back up their perspective with statistics and facts.
Logos isn’t just about backing up arguments with plenty of research (although that is essential). In persuasive writing, logos also refers to structuring your argument in the best way possible. That includes knowing how to start an essay, progressing your points in the right order, and ending with a powerful conclusion.
Pathos: The ancient Greek word for “suffering” or “experience,” pathos involves an author’s appeal to emotion. As much as we’d like to think of ourselves as logical creatures, study after study has shown that humans tend to make decisions more from emotions than from reason — and a good persuasive writer is well aware of this.
Persuasive speech often “tugs at the heartstrings.” The author might share a personal experience, such as describing a painful event to either win the reader’s sympathy or urge them to consider someone else’s feelings.”
For the purposes of persuasive writing in marketing specifically, MasterClass discusses the idea that: “Persuasive pieces appear in various forms of marketing. Advertisements often tug on heartstrings to influence people to buy a product or service. Health magazines publish columns about new must-try diets. Travel brochures convince you where the next trendiest vacation spot is.”
No matter the industry that persuasive writing is found in, it is clear that its main focus is to convince the reader that they must take some sort of action or believe in something.
Why Is Persuasive Writing Important In Content Marketing?
If the purpose of content marketing is to convince your audience to take a chance on your business as was stated earlier, persuasive writing becomes an essential tool to get this done efficiently. Persuasive writing in content marketing can be found in a variety of places including traditional advertising, social media content, website copywriting, e-newsletters, blog posts, scripts for podcasts and general branding overall. No matter which content marketing medium you look at, persuasive writing is inherently found. It is a useful writing tool that allows the writer to communicate their ideas in a way that is structured and easily understood by their target audience.
Tips For Using Persuasive Writing In Your Content Marketing
There should be no argument that persuasive writing is an important piece of your content marketing strategy, but how exactly is it best utilized? When most people think of persuasive writing they think in terms of writing speeches or essays rather than content marketing. Thankfully, the tips for writing any sort of persuasive content are essentially the same no matter the subject matter, industry or the medium used to get your point across.
Grammarly shares with us several persuasive writing tips and strategies that you can apply to your content marketing:
- Choose your wording carefully. Words matter, especially when you’re using writing as a way to build a relationship and trust with your reader. In persuasive writing in particular, use strong language that shows you believe that your opinion is right. This in no way means to use rigid, unfeeling language. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Use words that evoke some sort of feeling — this will encourage the reader to develop a strong attachment to your brand.
- Ask questions. Asking questions in persuasive writing serves several purposes. It engages the reader in critical thinking, prompting them to think about the topic and search for their own unique position on it. If posed correctly, questions can also be used to allow the reader to come to the author’s conclusion on their own. Persuasive writing, when done best, isn’t about badgering your audience with your opinion. It’s inviting them to think critically so they come up with an opinion of their own … and hopefully it’s one that’s the same as yours.
- Use a clear opening sentence. Your audience’s attention span is short and rapidly declining as the years go by. You need to hook your reader right away so they’ll remain interested and stay to read what you have to say. The best way to do this is to make sure your opening statement is clear and to the point. This is an important piece of the persuasive writing puzzle as it helps to avoid any sort of confusion right away. It’s difficult to convince your reader of something if they’re not sure what you’re talking about.
- Speak directly to the reader. Your relationship with your customer is extremely important. It helps to build brand trust and loyalty. Let your target audience know you care about them by speaking directly to them and using words like “you.” This helps to make your audience feel like they’re part of the whole conversation. This feeling of belonging can help to lower their defenses and keep an open mind about the topic.
- Repeat your main arguments. The biggest reason for this repetition is that it can serve as a memory aid for your audience. State your opinion and state it often to help your readers remember you and what you are asking of them. This repetition can also influence your reader’s thinking and reasoning.
MasterClass offers more persuasive writing tips that are applicable to the area of content marketing. Their advice for crafting effective writing is as follows:
- Pick a topic you’re passionate about. You’re most likely to be able to persuade your audience about something if it’s a topic that you truly believe in. If you’re merely faking it in order to promote quick sales, your audience will pick up on that. As with any type of writing, choosing topics that you genuinely care about when using persuasive writing in your content marketing will make the process a lot easier.
- Know your audience. If you want to be successful with persuading your audience to do or believe something, it’s essential that you know them, what they believe in and what drives their behavior. Creating buyer personas can be helpful to really understand who you are working with and how to effectively target them.
- Research both sides. If you’re trying to convince your reader to agree with you, you must also understand what you’re trying to get them to disagree with. Knowing both sides of an argument will help you counter any opposition and aid in any follow-up questions your audience may have.
- Be empathetic. Your audience is more likely to be persuaded by your writing if they feel like you understand their position and the problems they face in their lives. This, along with providing logical reasons for your point of view, is extremely important in any type of persuasive writing.
While the ideas from both Grammarly and MasterClass are filled with essential knowledge about persuasive writing and how to do it, it’s also useful to look at how to specifically utilize persuasive writing for social media. Cooler Insights shares effective ways to craft persuasive social media content:
- Set it in the right place. When possible, talk about things that are happening around your community. Focus on issues facing your community or fun events your target audience can participate in.
- Example: Calling all Pacific Northwest residents! Take advantage of the warm sunny days and come visit the Seattle Makers Market this Saturday. Enjoy food trucks, local artisans and live music all in one convenient location. Download the full list of participants here!
- Focus on current times. Make sure you content is current and up to date. Not only does this show your target audience that you’re an expert in your field and always willing to learn more, but it helps to engage your audience more. Humans in general have a difficult time focusing on things beyond their present circumstances. Thus, it’s helpful to discuss things happening now or about to happen.
- Example: Here at our market we recognize that recent gas prices have put a squeeze on everyone’s budgets. That’s why we’re offering a 10% off gas coupon for everyone who makes purchases during the month of June EACH time you come in. Stop by our store for more information.
- Seek their input. As we discussed earlier, asking questions to encourage critical thinking is a key piece of persuasive writing in content marketing. It’s important, however, to not always just ask general questions. Ask your audience for their input or opinions related to your brand. This immediately engages them in the conversation and shows them that you value them as people, not just customers.
- Example: What motivates you to follow a business on social media? Is it funny memes? Intriguing stories? Helpful blog articles? Tell us what you like in the comments below and we’ll make sure to incorporate more in our social media content!
- Make reference to changes. Similar to the idea of focusing on current times, keeping your audiences updated on changes in the world and how they affect them or their business shows that you pay attention and care about more than just making a sale.
- Example: Recent changes to Google’s algorithm have begun to favor long-form blog content over short-form content. To discover what this means and how to incorporate this into your business’s blogging strategy, click on the link below.
- Use certainty to reinforce beliefs. Whenever possible, use facts and statistics to back up your claims in your persuasive writing. Including these in your posts gives your audience a sense of confidence in you and your brand and makes it much easier to persuade them to take some sort of action.
- Example: Eighty percent of women 40 to 50 years of age feel stressed by multiple commitments at work and in their homes. If this statistic resonates with you, please download our article on easy and manageable ways to relieve stress in your everyday lives.
- Use uncertainty to trigger curiosity. On the flip side, if you want to get people to think about an issue, trigger their curiosity by teasing the topic and inviting them to take action (whether clicking on a link or contacting your business). You can’t give away all your information upfront; sometimes it’s good to invite your reader to take the next step themselves to learn more.
- Example: Bet you didn’t know that sleeping on the job can actually make you more productive! Find out how in this insightful article.
- Use inclusive language. The language you use matters. How you speak to people and how you refer to them goes a long way in showing what is important to you and your business. Take the time to research appropriate ways to speak about or to people in all circumstances of life. For more on information on this, refer to this helpful guide to using inclusive language. In addition to being careful about using inclusive language, using words like “we,” “us” and “together” indicates to your reader that you are a team. This tip for persuasive writing in your content marketing can help to open up your audience a bit more.
- Example: To better help those who are experiencing homelessness, our marketing and PR specialist Sarah has put together a powerful guide on the best ways you can help as an individual. Download their article here to get started.
- Use pro-attitudinal messages. These types of messages are where you identify whether your audience has a positive or negative view on a topic and use language that shows that you’re on the same side they are. This can help to lower their defenses and feel less threatened about whatever your message may be.
- Example: Cooking at home allows you to prepare healthy meals for your family. You may even feel delighted when you feed your loved ones. However, given our busy lives, the time it takes to prepare a nutritional meal can often be put to better use. This is why we’ve created meal kits for families like yours.
Successfully using persuasive writing in your content marketing is an excellent way to convince your target audience that your business is one they should take a chance on. It is one of the best tools you have at your disposal. Taking the time to incorporate these tips for persuasive writing in content marketing will benefit your business in many profitable ways.
Do You Need Help Incorporating Persuasive Writing In Your Content Marketing?
If you’re struggling to successfully utilize persuasive writing in your content marketing, contact us at Three Girls Media to schedule a complimentary 30-minute, no-obligation consultation with our CEO, Erika Taylor Montgomery. We have a team of talented and experienced writers ready to assist you and your business.
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