Successful internet marketers all have one thing in common – they are able to convince a visitor to actually buy something.
The more persuasive you are in you writing, the more sales you can make and the more your business will grow.
But, figuring out how to write persuasive articles can often seem challenging.
Despite this, learning how to be persuasive in your writing isn’t really out of your reach, and there are a number of approaches you can take to dramatically improve how persuasive you are and your money making potential at the same time.
1. Pay Attention to Writing Tone
Everyone writes differently.
For example, some people tend to get really formal when they are writing, while other people get really casual and use lots of slang and abbreviations.
There is no single correct approach, but some ways work better than others.
When you are trying to write persuasively, the first thing to keep in mind is whether you look like you know what you are talking about.
For example, would you buy a product off someone who can’t spell correctly or doesn’t seem to know grammar?
Another thing to take into account is just how formal you are. This depends a little bit on your audience (which I will get to in a minute), but there are also some general things to take into consideration.
Regardless of your niche, your audience isn’t visiting your website because they want to read an academic paper or a formal report.
If you are too formal in your approach, you will lose the interest of your audience fast.
In the internet marketing field, being persuasive means writing casually – kind of like you were having a conversation.
This means that you don’t want to throw in a lot of extra language or jargon just to make your sentence seem more authentic or authoritative. For example, you want to avoid the type of writing that is commonly seen in mission statements, like this one from Holden:
In this case, all the mission statement is saying that they will produce products that are what customers want (as long as they are profitable) and that Holden will focus on building relationships (although who these are being built with isn’t obvious).
All of the extra language simply makes the statement seem more formal and makes it more difficult to understand.
If your reader has to break down what you have written to work out what you are saying, then you are doing something majorly wrong.
The aim is to create a connection with your audience, preferably an emotional connection.
Think of your writing as a conversation between you and your audience.
This gives you all sorts of tools that you can use.
Humor, questions, tangents, examples and variation in paragraph length are all approaches that writers use to make their point.
Now, this still leaves a lot of room for variation.
When you are looking at how to write persuasive articles, one of the key things to consider is connecting with your audience. This means that you first have to figure out who your audience is and what writing style works for them.
If you were a visitor to a website on surfing, for example, you would probably expect very casual language and a lot of surfing jargon and slang thrown in there. If you didn’t see that, you’d probably wonder if the author knew what they were talking about.
However, if you were visiting a site on health and nutrition, you would expect the language and tone to be a bit more formal, and for there to be some evidence that the writer was saying the truth.
So, there needs to be this strong match between your tone and your audience.
If you don’t have this, the rest of your writing skills just won’t have the same impact.
2. Maintain Interest
If you want to persuade anyone of anything, you have to keep them interested.
If you can’t do this, then you won’t be able to convince your readers of anything.
Maintaining your audience’s interest is absolutely critical online because you are dealing with an audience that has a pretty short attention span.
If your content gets too boring or doesn’t seem to go anywhere, your audience will click off your site pretty quickly.
There are lots of ways to do this, but the first thing to consider is what makes you want to read a piece of writing?
Your audience probably has a similar set of priorities.
Tell a Story
Having a narrative structure to your content is important.
Whatever you are writing, it should flow from one section to the next, all the way down to your eventual call to action.
People follow a narrative structure very naturally, often without thinking about it.
Having this narrative structure helps people to know what to expect and where they are going. Sometimes people will read simply because they want to know how your narrative ends.
If you have a topic that doesn’t have much natural flow, you can find a way to create it.
For example, you might make a numbered list (like I have in this article), where each section ties back to the main topic. Then you can use the beginning and end of the article to define and explain the narrative.
Other times, you might be able to connect your topic to a personal story or set of examples, which can help you link everything together.
What you don’t want is to have content that jumps around from one topic to another, without any clear sense of progression.
Using visual elements can also be important for maintaining the interest of your audience.
Things like headings, images and emphasis in paragraphs can help to break up your article and make it both easier and more interesting to read.
Some people also choose to alternate the lengths of their paragraphs. This creates a nice visual look and making the article look good can really help people to read it. For example, they may have longer paragraphs sometimes.
And short ones other times.
Another advantage of this is that longer paragraphs can be hard to read, particularly in an online format.
Besides, if you have a particular point to make, it might get lost within a full paragraph.
Everyone has different ideal paragraph lengths.
Some people say that your paragraph should be around two or three lines long while other people suggest five or even higher. However, some others write paragraphs that are only a sentence of two.
Personally, I jump around between the lengths, trying to avoid very long paragraphs.
3. Appeal to Needs and Emotions First
Logic works great for convincing… some of the time.
The thing is, logic is normally the last tool that people use to make decisions, so it is pretty ineffective for persuasion.
For example, have you ever tried to convince someone that their religion was wrong? Most of the time, it doesn’t matter how much evidence you have on your site – you will never be able to convince them.
The same is true of politics and topics like gun control.
What people don’t always realize is that this applies to purchasing decisions also.
Why do you think there are so many candy bars and sweets by the checkouts at most grocery stores?
It’s because people tend to buy these foods on impulse.
Most of the time, you aren’t using any logic when you put that candy bar in your cart. For most of us, logic is screaming at us to put the bar back, yet it is the emotional desires and needs that normally win out.
Let’s look at weight loss for a minute.
Suppose I was promoting this new miracle weight loss pill.
The logic-based approach would be to talk to you about the scientific support for the pill, how it works, and why it works.
This can be an effective approach, but it isn’t where you want to start.
You have limited time and space to convince people to purchase.
This means you have to focus on the benefits to them above all else.
So, if you were selling a weight loss, your first approach might be to talk about how the pill can help people lose weight and emphasize the advantages of losing weight.
The benefits are the hook. They’re what get people interested in your product. If you don’t focus on the benefits, then you are probably going to lose your audience quickly. Realistically, people are only going to be interested in the features and/or scientific background behind your product if they have some interest in what you are selling.
The Psychology of Needs
People make purchase decisions based on their wants and needs.
If what you are promoting fills one of their needs, then there is a good chance that they will actually purchase what you are trying to sell.
However, not all needs are created equal.
In particular, there are some needs that are much more powerful than others, and these can be especially important for driving behavior.
There is a group of four needs that is very important and they are collectively called primal needs.
Primal needs are more primitive and basic than other needs, but they play a huge role in the decisions that people make. These needs are:
- Certainty: Stability in basic necessities. Religious beliefs can help augment certainty.
- Variety: People need change regularly
- Significance: The need to be significant in some way, such as making a difference, learning a new skill or even getting people to recognize the challenges that they are facing.
- Love and connection: This includes romantic connections with people (and consequently sex) as well as social connections or connections with an ideology.
If you can target these primal needs with your writing, you can really increase how persuasive you are being.
This is the reason that sex sells and the reason that people like to go on holiday or take up a hobby.
It also goes a long way towards explaining why dating websites and hobbies remain popular over time, regardless of changes in the economy.
4. Culture Your Image
When you write, you are the person trying to persuade others.
This is really important, because who you are will influence how persuasive your writing is.
The good thing is that this isn’t so much about who you are, but about how you present yourself.
There are two things to consider here:
- Your personality
- Your confidence
So, personality first…
Being online gives you the ability to be anonymous, but if you want to be persuasive, being anonymous isn’t a good thing.
In fact, your audience will respond much better when they feel like they are interacting with an actual (and interesting) person, as opposed to a faceless writer or corporation.
Most of the people reading your site won’t know you personally. So, you get the chance to cultivate exactly who you want them to see you as.
Your writing actually offers a fantastic opportunity to infuse your personality into your site.
Some people choose to emphasize their sense of humor, others will use personal stories and examples as a way of connecting with their audience. This can be a fantastic way of being persuasive.
More importantly, it sets your sales up.
People don’t just make purchases from anyone. They make purchases from people that they trust and they get to trust people by knowing them.
After all, you probably wouldn’t buy a car from a random person on the corner of the road.
The second thing to think about when it comes to your image is your level of confidence.
How much confidence you display can strongly influence how people respond to you. If you have a lot of confidence, then people are more likely to do what you want them to.
On the flipside, if you write with little confidence, people won’t believe you and they won’t trust you.
This is actually a really big effect and it can be very damaging.
Most people probably aren’t confident when they start out. The trick is to ‘fake it till you make it’.
I want to make something clear.
The majority of writers are insecure about their writing.
They aren’t sure whether their writing is as good as it is, or whether anyone will want to read what they are saying. I’ve even known freelance writers who feel this way, even though they write for a living.
In fact, many writers probably end up on sites about how to write persuasive articles simply because they aren’t aware that they are already good at being persuasive.
So, if you aren’t confident about your writing or about what you are teaching, don’t worry, you aren’t alone.
However, you don’t want your audience to know that.
One trick for displaying confidence in your writing is to watch what words you choose.
For example, you want to be very careful about how you use words like I think, maybe, you might and other similar words. In many contexts, these words make it sound like you don’t know what you are talking about or that you don’t have much confidence.
For example, the main time that you want to use I think is in a case where your personal opinion matters. So, it isn’t unusual to say I think in a review, because after all, a review is all about your personal opinion.
Personally, I think that anyone involved in internet marketing should sit down and work out exactly what they want their audience to know about them, and what you don’t. You can then use this information to work out how to present yourself within your writing.
If you don’t do this, you risk presenting entirely the wrong image.
Image and Authority
I want to point out that the image you create for yourself can affect your authority in a given subject area.
For example, if you are just getting started in surfing as a hobby, you can’t present advanced surfing tips or stories, without first explaining where they came from. However, if you are presenting yourself as an expert in the field, you don’t really have to explain where your knowledge came from.
You don’t have to be an expert though.
Some people make sites where they make it clear that they are a beginner. They then learn with their audience and tend to target other beginners as an audience.
For example, you could pick up surfing as a hobby, and write about your experiences and the lessons that you have learned.
However, if you are going to do this, make sure you provide value.
I have seen far too many sites where people do this and all of their content basically involves them saying things like “went surfing today. The weather was wonderful. Felt like I did better”.
Now, your friends might want to read this (probably not though), but no one you are selling to is going to.
Whatever you choose, expert, beginner or something else entirely, be consistent and make sure it matches with your audience and the intent of your site. Otherwise, you will consistently miss the mark with your audience and fail miserably at being persuasive.
Being persuasive is about selling an idea. You are trying to convince people to do something. One of the best ways to do this is to frame the concept.
Doing this involves setting up the reader with the idea that they have already done the action required of them.
So instead of saying:
If you get this product you can make millions overnight
You would say:
When you get this product you will make millions overnight
See the difference?
And no, I’m not suggesting that you actually mislead your audience like this, it is just an example.
When you do this, you are setting your audience up with the idea that they are going to purchase and they won’t even be aware of it. This type of framing can be very effective because your audience doesn’t spend as long considering whether or not they are going to purchase.
It’s also a really good idea to have the reason why people should read your post or do the action up front and center.
People need to know why they are reading your post pretty early on, or they are going to give up on it. You should do this even if it means spelling out something that you think is obvious. After all, your definition of obvious is probably quite different than someone else’s.
6. Persuasive Writing Goes Beyond the Words
Words are probably the most important part of persuasive writing, but they aren’t the only important part. You have to pay attention to the way that your writing looks on the page to get the most out of your writing.
People Don’t Read Online – They Scan
When you’re writing content, you have to be aware that people read things online differently.
When you are reading a physical book or newspaper, you read sequentially, going through the piece of writing in the way that it is written.
That’s not really the case online.
Online, people tend to scan content, picking out the relevant points from within your writing.
This means that your content has to be easy to scan.
Some tricks for doing this include using small paragraphs (no bigger than five lines of text or so) and using emphasis (such as bold and italics) to focus attention on different parts of the writing.
Different levels of headings are also important for this role.
When it comes to choosing what headings to make and what words to emphasize, you want to consider what would happen if the audience was just reading those. So, you want to emphasize your main points and the key messages you want to get across.
Make it Look Good
As I mentioned before, appearance matters when it comes to being persuasive.
People are looking for content that is interesting, relevant and has authority – and they will assume that anything that looks bad doesn’t meet these criteria.
It doesn’t matter how good your content is, if it looks bad, no-one will read it to find out otherwise.
This means that you have to take the time to look at spacing, to put images in there, to use emphasis – all of that good stuff. Making the content look good won’t get you sales, but it will get people reading your content, and that is critical.
Being persuasive is important for selling, but it’s a trick that takes time to learn particularly if you don’t actually know much about writing content. Although figuring out how to write persuasive articles within your niche can seem very challenging, it is still very worthwhile and frequently results in increased profits.
If you have to take a single message away from this post, remember that you have to grab and keep your audience’s attention. If you fail at that, you will fail at getting them to do anything.
It might seem difficult to get started, but getting better at persuasive writing is really a matter of practice. Don’t forget, you can always edit your content multiple times before you post it. This can let you iron out all the kinks and figure out what needs improving.
Additionally, you can look at the content of people you find persuasive and figure out what it is about them that makes their approach so effective.
Persuasive writing really is critical for making money from a website but at the same time, it is only one element of website success. If you want to learn more about other processes in making money online then a good place to start is Wealthy Affiliate.
This is a very powerful training site that teaches people many different aspects of how to make websites successfully. There are many things I like about Wealthy Affiliate but one of the key reasons that I recommend the site is that it is targeted at beginners. Additionally, it’s realistic and isn’t filled with the hype that you often see online.
These factors make Wealthy Affiliate a brilliant place to learn and the community at Wealthy Affiliate provides considerable support, which also makes the process of making money that much easier.