Helpful tips for writing a successful persuasive essay
Last updated: May 19, 2016
A persuasive essay uses reason to demonstrate that certain ideas are more valid than others in academic writing. The purpose of such an essay is to encourage readers to accept a particular viewpoint or act in a particular way. A persuasive essay must be based on sound logic and must contain factual evidence to support the argument.
How to write a persuasive essay
Take a stance. What do you think about the issue? What side will you take? Be aware of any prejudices you might have that could color your argument. What resolution will you suggest?
Know your audience. Determine if your audience will agree with your position and why they may not. You must be able to understand both sides of the issue in order to successfully argue your point of view.
Thoroughly research your topic. The point of a persuasive essay is to provide detailed and compelling evidence—you should be able to disprove the opposing argument. It will likely be necessary to undertake library-based research in order to accomplish this.
Think about the structure of your essay. Determine what evidence you will include and the order in which you will present it. Remember, it must be logical.
Support your argument. Use hard facts. You can gather these from your research, observations, or personal experiences. But be careful! In order to avoid plagiarism, you must cite your sources. You should always use verifiable statistics. It is important to be able to back up your argument with data. In order to further strengthen the argument in your persuasive essay, try using one or two direct quotes from experts on the topic. Finally, provide meaningful examples to enhance and clearly illustrate your argument.
How to organize your persuasive essay
The introduction.The introduction in your persuasive essay should grab the readers' attention and provide background information about your subject. It should end with a clear statement of your thesis.
The body. The body should consist of all the arguments that support your thesis. Each paragraph should focus on one particular point. Next, include one or two paragraphs to succinctly explain and refute the most compelling opposing argument.
The conclusion. The conclusion should restate the main argument and supporting points. After all, the point of a persuasive essay is to convert your readers to your point of view.
Take a breather
Take a day or two off. Let your essay sit and your mind rest. Then, read your persuasive essay with fresh eyes. Ask yourself if your essay is logical and convincing. Will your readersbe persuaded by your argument? Did you provide enough evidence in the way of facts, statistics, quotes, and examples?
Want to learn more? Scribendi.com's ebook How to Write an Essay in Five Easy Steps will provide you with the knowledge and tools you need to confidently write essays.
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Writing persuasive copy is the goal of every professional copywriter. Persuading readers to agree with you can help convert them into paying customers. While it can prove challenging at times, persuasive copywriting can be learned and perfected by following some basic techniques.
Here are 17 persuasive writing techniques that are a combination of psychological methods and proven strategies to gain your readers’ trust and get them to agree with you.
1. Focus On Your Best Audience
Writers tend to cast a wide net, hoping to influence everyone. However, focusing on the people who are most likely to benefit from the content and writing for them will bring better results.
2. Tell Them Why
Readers are constantly bombarded with messages on a daily basis. If you want their attention, justify it with a good reason up front, preferably something that will benefit them.
3. Rely on a Proven Copywriting Formula
Copywriting formulas exist solely to help copywriters persuade readers. There are several excellent copywriting formulas that are both effective and easy to remember, and it’s well worth your time to learn a handful of them.
4. Use the Right Tone of Voice
What you say is important, but how you say it is vital. Tone influences how your reader perceives your message, so decide which one will be most effective then use it consistently.
5. Be Authoritative
Establish yourself as an authority up front and be consistent in backing up that authority with proof, statistics and examples. Be honest and transparent, don’t waver, and pretty soon your audience will believe you.
6. Take The Reader’s Point of View
If you were the reader, what would grab your attention? When you are writing persuasive copy, you have to become the reader to understand what appeals to them.
7. Show That You Understand
Before you can persuade your reader, you must establish that you are just like them in some way. Perhaps you share the same problem or have similar desires. Find a mutual connection and state it early on.
8. Tell a Story
From the time we are old enough to understand language, humans are suckers for a good story that makes us feel. Anecdotes, especially when backed by facts, are a great way to connect with your readers on an emotional level.
9. Tell Both Sides of the Story
There is always another side of the story. Unlike addressing objections, telling the other side of the story allows you to paint a compelling picture of what life would be like without your product or service. It would be awful. Tell them.
10. Use Influential Words
To write persuasive copy, use persuasive “action” words like miracle, discovery, discount, and bargain. Use uplifting words like vitality, grace, wisdom, and confidence. Finally, make sure your copy has ‘Free’, ’How’, ’New’ and ‘You’ in abundance.
11. Simplify & Amplify
Simplify your core ideas into hard-hitting individual thoughts, then amplify them with the help of things that are important to the reader. Use words that help empower your readers. Get! Learn! Results! Now!
12. Be Specific
Place a laser focus on specific facts and benefits. For example:
- 90% of customers see results in 2 weeks or less!
- Results can be seen in 2 weeks.
The first line is more specific, making it more persuasive.
13. Be Repetitive
If you’ve said it once, you can say it again. Repetition is a time-honored tactic for remembering anything. Use it to your advantage.
14. Address Objections
Even the most agreeable readers will likely have objections, and you are much better off addressing them up front than waiting for your potential customer to voice them. This is another means of establishing authority, and also tells your reader that you have thought the matter through.
15. Show Proof
As previously mentioned, showing proof helps establish you as an authority on the subject, and shows your reader that you respect them.
16. Focus on Headline Psychology
Headlines matter. If the headline is not catchy enough for a click, the rest of the content will fall flat. Make sure that the headline is psychologically stimulating and interesting to your readers. However, don’t sacrifice clarity for the sake of flash. Your headlines should be catchy but concise.
17. Be Consistent
State your position up front, then proceed to be unfailingly consistent in backing it up with facts, stats and proof. Essentially, you want your readers to trust you. A reader who trusts you will tend to agree with you, and nothing builds trust more effectively than being consistent.
18. Use These Tips to Get Results Immediately
So you’ve delivered a punchy hook to start off your article. Your reader is intrigued.
But you want them to keep reading, right? Follow these tips to help your reader see it through to the end.
First, though, don’t go too far. If you promise your reader a spaceship when you can’t even afford a bike, they’ll be irritated – and you’ll lose trust points.
19. Use Simple Language
Don’t overload your content.
Write as simply as possible.
Make your message accessible to every reader.
Don’t use complex terminology unless you need to. If you do need to, explain it in simple words.
Copyblogger’s 21 juicy prompts that inspire fascinating content says that content which is simple, short and easy to understand leads to thousands of shares, which makes your work affordable and pretty simple.
You should be able to explain even the most complex processes in simple phrases. We all have a lot going on in our lives –- your text should be a place where the reader can relax and enjoy interesting, straightforward information.
20. Be Precise
People love details. Using detail in your writing shows that you’re a person who really knows what you’re writing about – a person to be trusted. Be as specific as you can.
Visibility and accessibility should be your main principles.
Here is a simple example. Why is GSM Arena at the top of Google’s results for searches containing the words “phone review”? Because GSM Arena shows all the details the readers are looking for. Xiaomi Mi Max’s review contains NINE pages of information about mobiles. It has details about anything that you could possibly ask for.
21. “Sir! Yes, Sir!”
Use all of your imagination to create a situation in which the reader will agree with you.
It’s very easy to do. Make some general statements or ask questions that are difficult to challenge. Ask questions where the only possible answer is YES.
Here are some examples:
- “Do you want to be healthy?”
- “Do you want to earn good money?”
- “Do you want to live in peace?”
- “You want to be great dad, right?”
A reader who agrees with the author is much easier to convince.
22. Predict Your Reader
Anticipate the reader's questions, and answer them before they’re even asked – before they’ve even thought about.
Neutralize possible questions before they even appear. Comprehensive information is exactly what your reader is looking for.
23. Prove it!
It’s easy to write persuasive text if you can back up your claims with facts and studies. Numbers and percentages have the best effect. They’re your strongest tools for convincing readers.
24. Be Specific
Use real-life examples. We believe in examples we can relate to.
It’s easy to say: “Do this, do that.” But how can you apply it in real life?
Examples from the real world make material understandable. They make readers think, “If someone else achieved this, why can't I?”
25. Touch the Emotions
Evoke emotion in the reader.
As we know, emotions are the main motivation behind making a purchases or sealing a business deal.
Emotions awaken desire. As Napoleon Hill said: “The starting point of all achievement is desire.”
26. Use Greatness
Cite great wisdom. Well-chosen quotes from successful people will elevate your text to the next level. A couple of good quotes from well-known experts in the field will help you to make your material more compelling.
27. Use Structure
Divide your articles into paragraphs, headings, subheadings and lists. These increase the visual appeal of the text. Paragraphs should contain between 2 and 5 sentences, and no more. That will make it much easier for your reader to digest your material. Numbered lists can:
- add interest
- give the reader a break
- help the reader to remember what you’re saying.
None of these techniques alone will win over your readers, but combined strategically and used wisely, they can help you write persuasive copy that will turn readers into customers.
28. Call to Action
Have conversations. Involve your readers. Make readers feel that you’re really interested in their comments, and that you won’t abandon them.
Create a community by asking questions, seeking opinions, inviting comments, initiating polls, setting up contests, and sparking controversy. Use your creativity.
Be sure it’s easy for readers to get involved, and always keep things polite and cheery.
29. Make it Right
The web is littered with low-quality content. No matter how interesting and useful your text is, grammatical errors will spoil the impression of your content – and give a bad impression of the author.
Text with grammatical errors is like a road with potholes.
In order to write well, read a lot. Use your dictionary, spell check and grammar check. Brush up on your school rules. Have someone proofread your article. And keep writing.
30. Draw Your Text
If you can express your idea in a few pictures, rather than 10 paragraphs of text, use the pictures! What would you rather share on social networks – a picture or a link to text?
Infographics are a great way to get your ideas across.
Modern readers are reluctant to spend a lot of time reading, but they’re quick to register and interpret visual information.
Images are an incredibly efficient way to organize information and make things a little less formal. They’ll also save your readers some precious time – and they’ll thank you for that.
31. Use Your Imagination
Writing that tells a story makes is so much more special than that which is only informative.
Story-telling awakens our imagination and makes your message relatable to the reader. It’s also far more interesting to read. Use words such as “imagine”, “see” and “remember”.
Want to learn more? Check out the Writtent Academy for information and tips on how to write effective and persuasive copy.
Mar 2nd, 2017Last update