Pickup Lines: 4 Quick Tips for Persuasive Writing
It took quite a while for me to realize that good writing isn’t always a page-turner. For a piece of writing to be compelling, it almost always has to be good first but not every piece of good writing managed was able to cross that bridge into being compelling. I’ve read books that while definitely well-written, wasn’t the kind that could keep me up at night. On the other hand, I’ve had books that I managed to finish in a single week because I spent all of my free time devouring those books.
When it comes to content writing and content marketing, this ability of compelling writing is even more desirable. In creative writing, you can find success through the sheer quality of your writing even if they’re not actually compelling while in marketing, being compelling is a practical necessity as that’s the only way you can persuade the readers to buy something from you. It’s for this very reason why content writing can be even harder than creative writing as the power of persuasion is very much a commodity.
The psychology of persuasion
A solid grasp of the human nature is what differentiates the compelling with just the merely good. Good writing speaks of a person’s affinity with writing but compelling writing speaks of a person’s ability of knowing what makes people’s tick. It’s a bit like how horror films are judged. You could scare anyone by inserting jump scares into the scenes but horror is a lot more than just simply scaring people; it’s more about what disturbs and unsettles people.
Compelling writing has to be subtly manipulative, guiding the readers on a certain path intended by the writer without being overtly obvious. If that sounds especially hard, that’s because it is. It’s not at all hyperbolic for me to say that compelling and persuasive writing is an art form and that it’s not something that everyone could just simply do. If it was so easy, I’d be out of a job. However, to be persuasive is also not a totally unreachable goal and by taking advantage of the following 4 tips, you could inject your writing with the coveted power of persuasion.
Don’t just list product features, focus on what those features actually mean
Far too often, businesses make the amateurish mistake of simply listing the features and specifications of a product in their marketing copy and calling it a day. Spec sheets are indeed important but this information is only valuable to those who understand what they mean; for the average people, you might as well be writing Sumerian script. I always roll my eyes whenever I see a car commercial consisting of nothing but fancy automotive jargons rolled one after another without delving into what any of those mean and as a counterpoint, I’d like to present you something from Subaru.
I first saw this commercial airing on my hotel room on a trip to Asia and it immediately piqued my interest. It’s a commercial of the then-new Subaru Forrester focusing on one of Subaru’s calling card, their Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system. Instead of boring us with the technical details of the system, Subaru decided to demonstrate how the technology works in a simplified, comedic way that still remains true to the system it’s trying to portray. In the commercial, you can easily see how Subaru’s AWD system has the advantage of giving you more stability and grip even in muddy terrains, which is a far more persuasive tool than just simply giving you a checklist of features.
Believe what you’re trying to sell
Some of my best writing comes from topic that I deeply care about. Deep knowledge on a subject makes for good writing but it’s your personal investment on the subject that could turn that writing from merely good into persuasive. When you’re trying to convince other people to do or buy something you actually believe in, you don’t have to grasp at straws to find some actual talking points; you just have to look inside and find what draws you in the first place. Additionally, this also has the benefit of adding some credible honesty to your writing.
Include an emotional hook to your writing
This circles back to my on how compelling writing revolves around the human psyche and when trying to connect with your readers, the easiest way would be to involve emotions in your writing since it’s pretty much the one thing we all have in common. Here’s a weird story, I have a friend that’s a bit biased against violent films so it took a bit of a wrangling to get him to come see the first John Wick all those years ago. Surprisingly, he ended up loving the film because the bad guys killed the dog and he loved seeing John dishing out the capital punishment on them.
Dogs, and by extension animals, have long been used as a source of emotional manipulation. Think about the ‘What the Fluff’ challenge from last year or the plethora of sentimental dog films we’ve had over the years whose sole purpose is to make us feel something. This is just one crude example and you can also include other heartwarming anecdotes to help form an attachment with your readers. Everyone loves a feel-good story and you can take advantage of this fact to break down their defenses to better make your case.
Include customer testimonials
If you feel like you’re incapable of being persuasive on your own, try including some words and/or testimonials from your existing customer base for good measure. It’s part of that herd mentality that’s been hardwired into out brain. Think of the ugly shoe trend that’s been with us for a couple years now. These garish and in some cases, insanely expensive, shoes are downright ugly and yet people are willing to pay a premium just to get in on the action, highlighting just how much of a follower the general society is, even in the so-called hipster crowd. As a business, you can take advantage of this by including effusive praises from your customers to bolster your social standing.