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13 Persuasive Writing Strategies: Copywriting Techniques for Persuasive Writers

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Updated February 28, 2020
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Person sitting at desk and copywriting on a laptop
Cole Anderson
Cole Anderson

Have this post read to you in a natural voice, so you can do other things:

We’re all trying to become more persuasive and engaging writers.

There are lots of ways to learn, and sometimes it’s hard to know where to start.

For instance, you can read this article, click on to the next one, watch a YouTube video, read a book. It’s endless, really, but sometimes it still feels like we’re hitting a wall as writers.

It can feel like the article you’re writing has hit it’s potential and there’s nowhere else to take it.

I’m here to give you that extra boost and push to get better. To take that post, that seems like it’s just okay and to make it one of your best!

Persuasive writing isn’t just a skill, it’s an art, and it takes an artist’s mindset to perfect it. Before you discredit yourself and say that you aren’t an artistic writer, read on. The techniques that I’ve put together in this post are sure to jumpstart your journey towards artistic, engaging, and persuasive writing.

Quote, about persuasive writing

The Value of Persuasive Copywriting

If you don’t already know, then you might be surprised to learn that copywriting is still one of the most used sales tools throughout marketing. Written words are all around us, and every one of them is begging for your attention.

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As a writer, there is immense value in becoming a more persuasive writer. You’ll be able to engage your audience better, create more brand awareness, and gain the trust of your consumers. The results follow your ability. The better the writer you are, the better results you’ll see. That goes for SEO results, social shares, or products that you’re trying to sell.

The Difference Between Being Persuasive and Engaging

There’s a big difference between being a persuasive writer and an engaging writer. While we always want to work towards both of them, it’s good to understand the difference and when to use which strategy over the other.

The definition of persuasive is “to persuade someone to do or believe something through reasoning.”

The definition of engage(ment) is “to occupy, attract, interest, or to get someone’s attention.”

You might now see that these two things work hand in hand. To persuade someone, you must first engage them.

How Does Engagement Work?

There are many different ways that you can engage your audience. Using humor is one of my personal favorites and something that I’m dedicating a lot of time to learning. You can also engage readers by using great headlines.

Headlines genuinely are the difference between good and great article outlines. You can write an incredible piece that is engaging, persuasive, and is sure to make the sale. But, if you don’t outline it with great headlines, your bounce rate will go through the roof, and few will read your content in its entirety.

Take the time to learn about writing great headlines. Everyone will benefit as you get better and better, including your content performance. Don’t forget to read our 7 strategies to great headlines!

Tools such as headlines, pictures, and graphs will give you an edge and keep your readers engaged long enough to be persuaded.

But engaging is just the first half of the battle. Without engagement, there is no opportunity to persuade.

Navigating The Land of Influence

After you have your audience’s attention, you have an opportunity. You’ve stepped into the Land of Influence. When someone begins to pay attention to you, you can use that attention for a few different things.

The first thing to understand is that influence is getting you one step closer to persuasion. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as engaging, then influencing, then persuading. There are specific steps you should follow within each phase to optimize your writing.

Throughout the process of engagement, our goal is to engage. We do that through the use of the practices mentioned above. Throughout the influence phase, our goal is to gain trust. So how do we gain our reader’s trust?

How to Gain Trust

If you’re trying to influence your reader to, for example, think that you know how to persuade readers. Then you have to prove to them that you know what you’re talking about.

In the same way, you’re not going to believe anything I’m trying to say if I don’t give you a reason to. I’m going to lay out a few examples and position them as reasons why you should trust me.

Citing sources is by far the most common way to gain trust. But, not only does this build trust, it helps with SEO. (Google actually likes to see outbound links)

Being personal and relatable, according to Inc.com, is a great way to establish influence. Not only is this a great practice in writing, but it also applies to the workplace. Being personal and relatable builds a lot of credibility between peers or management and employees.

Creativity in your approach is a critical key. By taking the time to brainstorm, I was able to find a good angle to take in this article. You can do the same by taking a step back, researching, and striving for creativity throughout your writing process.

Be assertive, not aggressive. No one likes an aggressive writer. Instead, be assertive and confident. Assert that you know what you’re talking about and that you’ve done the research to be knowledgeable about the topic. I’ve spent several hours writing this article; it’s gone through an editing process, and combined, the writers that have worked on this have years and years of experience.

Using Influence to Your Advantage

After you’ve captured your reader’s attention and gained some of their trust, you can leverage that trust to your advantage. This is where persuasion starts to come in.

You might have your reader’s trust, but that doesn’t mean that they fully agree with you or that you are offering the best solution to their problems.

Here’s where we dive into the techniques of persuasion. Grab your cup of coffee and settle in for some super helpful tips!

Macbook on clean desk

Techniques for Becoming More Persuasive

There are plenty of techniques and strategies out there. You can definitely use more than one at a time, but most often, you’re going to need to find the strategy that best suits your application.

Don’t be afraid to A/B test some of these examples in different places. You might find that one works better than the other and that it’s a good general practice to optimize most of your CTA’s for that strategy or technique.

Focus Your Writing on a Particular Audience

It can be all too easy to assume that everyone is going to want to read your blog post or article. Unfortunately, that’s not the case unless, of course, you’re writing for a news station or something of that sort.

Instead of assuming you’ll have a broad audience, take the time to identify who you’re writing to. That way you can focus your appeal to your audience’s needs. If it’s someone looking to build a home, their interests will be very different from a middle-class business owner working on new marketing techniques.

Use grammar, sentence structure, and simplicity to your advantage and seek to understand what different styles your readers enjoy.

Grammarly is a really great tool, and it integrates really well when you’re writing in WordPress. If you can’t afford their premium service or you just don’t want to spend the money yet, the free version works great for spell checking and some obvious grammar changes. I would highly recommend upgrading to premium as soon as you can. The advanced grammar suggestions and edits are definitely worth it.

Microsoft Word is another great option that a lot of people have access to. It can be expensive to buy on its own, but a lot of employers include it, and windows computers will come with it pre-installed.

Tell an Interactive Story

After you’ve established who your audience is and the best style of writing to use for them, you get to become a storyteller.

The best thing about turning copywriting into storytelling is that it’s fun. Writing easily becomes so much more creative when you use storytelling. It’s also much much more effective! Next time you’re digging into a post that needs to be persuasive, chose a story instead of a statistic. Or, better yet, use a statistic inside of a story to double up, challenge yourself, and boost your engagement.

By implementing storytelling throughout your writing, you’ll be able to watch your results grow exponentially as your storytelling abilities get better.

Organize Your Writing Well

The best part about outlining and organizing your post well is that it provides many benefits.

We mentioned organizing earlier as part of a strategy to better engage your audience with great headlines, but what elements does it add in terms of persuasion?

Man standing by whiteboard organizing data

Organization is a simple skill, but some don’t take the time to do it. By taking the time, you give yourself an advantage; your copy and information looks credible and professional. This keeps your readers engaged and helps you persuade them to read more of your content, which in turn gives you a better opportunity to persuade them.

Support Your Position with Facts

If you’re going to make statements about the product or service you’re promoting, then you have to support it with facts.

For example, did you know that, on average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest of the copy on any given web-page? This, according to CopyBlogger, is just another reason to focus on headlines.

Don’t you feel persuaded to work harder on your next batch of headlines? I hope so!

Don’t Be Afraid to Restate something

As we saw, in the fact stated above, only about 20% of readers are actually going to read your content in entirety. That’s just one reason to consider restating your facts, opinions, or why a reader needs to action.

Think about it; I bet you’ve heard McDonald’s say, “I’m lovin’ it” a few times more than once. Here’s a list of the most quoted add slogans. They never get old, and soon, they become a part of the brand identity.

Stay Consistent Throughout

It’s essential to your persuasive argument that you are consistent throughout your copy. If you take one stance at the beginning of your article and then later change your stance, your readers are going to be completely confused.

Instead, be sure to outline your article, landing page, or web-page fully and know where you’re trying to land. No matter what angle you take, you need to be sure of where you’re going to end up.

Comparisons Can Never Hurt

Many sales-copywriters get nervous about comparing their product to others. But it’s actually a positive thing to do. Many consumers rely heavily on comparisons when making decisions about products. This makes comparison a great persuasion strategy.

Consider the possibility; you can write a comparison of your product to your competitors and explain what makes yours better. Or, you can wait and allow your competitor to do the same to you. This is only going to pull sales from your pocket. Try writing some comparisons. I think you’ll like the results.

Project Future Outcomes

This model uses storytelling to play through different possible scenarios. Place your customer in the center of the story and show them the outcome of their decision.

If they chose to use your software, what would it mean for their lead generation or for their efficiency and productivity? Use a story or create a scenario that makes them the hero for choosing your product to make their business better.

A simple outline to follow is like this; make them aware of the problem. Present a solution and the possible outcomes, and then give the reader a choice. They become better by choosing your product, or they continue to struggle with their problem.

Confidently Address Objections

If there’s an objection to your product that you know about, then don’t be afraid to address it confidently. This can help remove skepticism from your reader’s perspective and can ensure that you’re not writing something completely covered in bias.

We all take the side of what we’re trying to sell. Take the stance of a skeptic and see how your persuasive styles can improve. You’ll notice a more open approach to story and more freedom in your writing.

Use Simple Language

Neil Patel is a huge advocate for simple language and put together a great piece of content for HubSpot. The reality is that only 50 percent of people are actually at a reading level higher than grade 4.

That fact is definitely not a happy one, but it does give copywriters a duty to simplify their writing techniques to serve the general public better. Use things like shorter sentences and make sure you remember that if you can’t explain it in short, then you’re not ready to explain it at all.

I should say that at times it makes sense to flesh out an idea. But you should still be able to explain it in a simple format first.

Touch On Emotions

Emotions are a great place to go if you’re really trying to persuade consumers to choose one product over the other. A phrase like, “this product will save you time and allow you to invest more in the things that matter.”

Insurance companies are often touching on emotions in their slogans and branding. Consider this example from State Farm, “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.” You remember that, right? It’s not only because of the catchy jingle. It’s also because of the emotion tied to it.

Touching emotions like that enhances and humanizes your copywriting. Nobody wants to sound like a fact and statistic driven machine. Add some emotion and passion to your writing!

Use Pictures and Graphs

Pictures serve the dual purpose of engaging and informing your reader. Pictures can set the vibe of your content or can inform readers of what you’re writing about. You really can’t use too many pictures. They’re the perfect tool to make your copy more engaging and persuasive.

Graphs are a type of image but serve a somewhat different purpose. Yes, they do add engagement. But they also give you an element of credibility and professionalism. Compare the importance of using graphs to the importance of using statistics. A graph is like an upgraded and more robust version of a statistic.

Healthy Mix of Lead Generation Systems

These graphs are slightly more complex, but you can see how so much more information is communicated in much less space. And, it’s far more engaging than just writing a bunch of copy on lead generation.

Develop a Good CTA

Your call to action or CTA is what ties everything together. No matter what you’ve written about, there’s always something you should be asking your reader to do. Sometimes it’s subscribing to a mailing list. Other times it’s filling out a contact form or commenting on your post.

Here are three things to keep in mind if you want to have the most successful CTA’s.

  • Hold out as long as you can. You might notice if you do a lot of reading that a lot of CTA’s are at the end of posts. At Hook Agency, we do this so that we provide value to the reader before pitching something to them. Because this is common practice, it’s never wrong to add one in earlier for the customers that are ready to purchase fast.
  • Make the customer the hero. Let them make the choice for your product and make them a hero in their own story for doing it.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask. While sneaky CTA’s are great, it’s not wrong to ask your reader to perform an action. Don’t be afraid of their reaction. Instead, see what results asking might bring.

Using Copywriting to Grow Your Business

If you’re a business owner or an employee looking to help grow a business, then copywriting is an excellent place to start. There are definitely different places that you’ll be able to find more success with copywriting. For example, one of the most overlooked places on the web is homepages. By creating a homepage with copy that compels consumers to read on or by crafting blog posts that promote engagement, you can surely help your business grow quickly.

As a small business owner, you might struggle to keep up with writing while having to learn everything about marketing and also running your business. In that case, you might consider hiring a marketing assistant or an agency to help.

Whether you choose to higher an assistant or to use an agency like Hook to help with your content creation and SEO, we genuinely hope that these tips will help you become a better writer.

Good luck writing and creating engaging and persuasive content!


 

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Cole Anderson
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