In this series I’ll share with you persuasive writing techniques they didn’t tell you at school. Or college. Or much of anywhere else, apart from this copySnips.com blog of course.
Being persuasive is almost like having superpowers, because most people just aren’t that persuasive. But for you, it will mean you can get what you want much more often. (Sadly, you still won’t be able to fly.) And I’ll be adding regularly to the Persuasive Writing series right here on this blog.
Before I tell you these secrets, understand that persuasion techniques have been around for a very long time. Over 2,300 years ago the Greek philosopher Aristotle taught persuasive techniques, so that people could win elections – some things never change.
Anyway, he came up with the three main persuasive writing techniques, which are:
ETHOS. Who is doing the persuading.
Just imagine yourself living back in the days of Aristotle, when one city might go to war with another. It was important to stir the people up to want to go and fight in the first place. Otherwise they’d just be sitting around, enjoying themselves and being all peaceful.
To do this, Aristotle knew it needed not only a persuasive speaker, but also someone to whom the people would listen. If Warren the Warrior had just come back from the battlefield and scored a victory, he might do a better job of convincing the people to fight than Cuthbert the Coward. Warren the Warrior had credibility and a good reputation and knew what he was talking about when it came to war.
The same is still true today. We’ll be more persuaded if our dentist tells us to use Brand X toothpaste, than if our Aunt Ethel does. It depends on who is doing the persuading.
LOGOS. Logic and reasoning.
This means saying things that make sense and that sound logical to the reader, that are backed up by facts and figures, and making one statement follow another in a logical way.
Imagine mighty Warren the Warrior, rallying the people of Athens and shouting, over the wild and crazy cheers of his audience, “We won the first battle against our enemy, so we can do it AGAIN!”
The first part of his statement is a FACT, and so the listeners are more likely to accept the second part as true, just because it’s linked by the word “so”. It’s also harder to argue against this kind of logic when we’re in the grip of…
This is about using emotional appeals. If you’re reading this, you’re probably human – so you have emotions, like me, and the rest of the human race.
Have you, like me, ever found yourself crying at a movie? What’s funny is, you KNEW the story was made up… but it still made you cry, didn’t it?
That’s because we got caught up with the characters, and we shared their emotions. A good movie can do that to us, and the same is true of persuasive writing. People are more likely to take action when you can stir their emotions.
It’s hard to imagine Warren the Warrior moving the city to go to war with a boring speech. No, he would probably remind them of the need to FIGHT BACK, the need for JUSTICE, and the need to DEFEND THEIR FAMILIES… and there would probably be lots of shouting and chanting… all things that would appeal to the emotions of his audience.
An Example Using These 3 Persuasive Writing Techniques
Combining these three techniques – ethos (who I am), logos (logic and reasoning), and pathos (emotion) – let me give you an example of their use, which will hopefully make a strong case for signing up to my blog:
Being really persuasive takes skills and knowledge, the kind of skills and knowledge I’ve been sharing with you right here, and will continue sharing with you. There’s much more to know, so you’ll want to sign up to read this blog (which won’t cost you anything) on a regular basis, and get really good at persuasion.
Just imagine what you’ll be able to do with the persuasion skills you’re about to discover! And it’s not just about getting your own way, it’s about helping others as well… people who are less persuasive than you. Doors of opportunity will open to you as you become good at this by signing up to read this blog regularly. I hope you’re as excited as me to read more about persuasion!
I’ll share more persuasive writing techniques with you another time, so sign up to this blog. It won’t cost you anything, except a better life. And if you don’t, I’ll send Warren the Warrior to come and take your city.