Persuasion, persuasion, persuasion

March 29, 2012

Or something that rhymes with that? Either way, you want to create compelling content that encourages your readers to do what you want them to, so of course you are in the business of persuasion.  Typically, persuasion is a case of creating a win-win situation, presenting someone with a case that it is in their best interests to agree with, a deal or position that makes sense for them.

That sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? But it can be a bit of a minefield and often it seems we are just making crazy ‘stabs in the dark’. There are some tried and true strategies that up your persuasive power, however…

Repetition – To really drill your point home, make it in several different ways: directly, in a story, using an example, via a quote… get creative!

Reasons why – Think of your client as a toddler (not really) who always asks “but why?” The word ‘because’ has power as we all like a reasonable explanation.

Consistency – Use supporting evidence to make your case and keep your message consistent. It becomes then a rational and easy to accept assertion.

Social proof – Testimonials and outside references make a compelling case as humans intrinsically look for guidance from others on what to do or think.

Address objections – Leave no ‘yeah, but…’s by addressing all the obvious arguments against the point that you are making.

Comparisons – Metaphors, similes and analogies help with persuasion. Relate your scenario to something the reader already accepts as true for easy convincing.

Problem solve – Identify a problem for your audience and then you can swoop in and offer a solution that will make it all better for them. Remember empathy here.

Go tribal – Find out what group people want to be in, and then offer them an invitation to that ‘status’. Exclusivity is one way this is commonly achieved.

Crystal-ball gaze – Provide your readers with a (credible) glimpse into the future, convincingly presenting likely future outcomes and the benefits of these.

And above all else, use the narrative tool of story-telling. This allows people to persuade themselves, so you won’t have to convince anyone of anything, you’ll just help them independently decide that you’re right. Easy…