The art of persuasion is critical in business writing to make others see your point of view. Luckily, writers can tap into many persuasive writing techniques to get their ideas across to readers.
In the business world, you may need to convince leaders or staff via email. You may need to write copy for proposals, formal requests and other types of business communication.
If you’re growing your business online, you’ll also need to be persuasive in your blog writing and in a social media post.
Whether it’s for writing documents, blog articles or proposals, try these business writing tips for persuasive communication and language.
1. Find your target audience
If you want to persuade a reader, you have to know who you’re writing to. Understanding your business’ audience will help you narrow down the best way to reach and persuade them.
If you haven’t already, creating an audience persona may be helpful. You can assign this persona things like a name, age and hobbies. Then you can envision exactly who your business is targeting.
Understanding your readers can also help your business leverage cognitive bias. Consumer cognitive bias influences buying decisions. Understanding both your readers and the cognitive bias behind them can help you make the sale with your words.
2. Be trustworthy
Building trust is the key to communications. One way to do this is to establish credibility. Share what makes you or your business qualified to talk about the subject. If it’s someone’s first time reading your content, they likely won’t know your background unless you present it to them.
Establishing trust is especially important when writing social media captions for a business. Being honest and transparent with your audience helps you build a community on social media.
3. Focus on growing your community
Once you’ve narrowed down who your audience is, you should focus on growing your community. Your community will, in turn, eventually become loyal fans and customers to your business.
When you grow your community, you can speak directly to them as you make your argument. This helps establish your credibility as a thought leader in your niche or industry.
Focusing on community growth can help when you’re growing your business on social media. It’s important to create content your community will value. Do this by persuading them you’re solving their problems with your business, idea or post. If they engage with you, that’s a great boost for the algorithms. It tells algorithms that people want more of your posts on their feeds.
4. Appeal to emotion
This is also known as “pathos,” one of the modes of persuasion. You can convince someone by tapping into what makes them emotional. A great example of appealing to emotion is an ASPCA commercial. They share clips of animals over sad music that can tug at people’s heartstrings.
If you focus on growing your community, appealing to emotion can be extremely effective. This is because the audience already feels like they have a connection to you.
A few ways you can appeal to emotion are:
- Adding personal touches
- Using hyperbole
- Flattery and similar language
There are two other forms of persuasive appeals you can try: ethos and logos.
5. Appeal to authority
You may know this as the “ethos” mode of persuasion. Appealing to authority in your persuasive writing is when you use research or expertise to convince a person. Some examples of ethos are:
- Highlighting your credibility via qualifications
- Citing credible resources like research documents
- Influencer partnerships
- Consumer reviews
- Interviews with experts
Source: Sensodyne Toothpaste
6. Appeal to logic
This mode of persuasion is also known as “logos.” This appeals to people’s reason or common sense.
One easy way to appeal to logic is with the word “because.” Instead of simply stating a fact, adding “because” after it allows you to share the reasoning or benefit behind it.
Some ways to appeal to logic include:
- Sharing statistics
- Factual statements
- Reasonable arguments
Why you should combine the appeals
It can be beneficial to combine logos with ethos. For example, you can back up exaggerated claims or hyperbole with statistics and facts. This can give a purpose to ethos. Think of it as validation. Your persuasive writing is making people feel emotional about the subject and then confirming why they should with reasoning and logic.
It’s not uncommon for people to appeal to authority without any further evidence or resources. They may state that something is true simply because an expert says so. However, it can be even more powerful when you use ethos combined with logos in communications to prove your claims further.
7. Tap into the audience’s imagination
Calling upon your audience’s imagination is a great way to play to their emotions. This is especially true for sales.
It all comes down to people’s desires. Using imagination can increase someone’s want for something. A study found that simply holding products increased peoples’ desire to own them!
Since a writer can’t physically hand something to a person in persuasive writing, you can tap into their imagination to do so. Telling them to imagine or picture something is a similar concept as holding it.
8. Stay consistent
Consistency is key when it comes to persuasive writing. After all, it can be hard to make your case if you appear inconsistent!
In Robert Cialdini’s book Influence Science and Practice, he shared his research on what he called “The Consistency Principle of Persuasion.” It states that a negotiator has a psychological need for consistency. This principle states that people are motivated by this. People will even change their attitudes and beliefs to strive for cognitive consistency.
9. Repeat important themes
Repetition, especially when spread throughout persuasive writing, can help remind the reader of your point. Repetition reinforces your point and helps it sink in for your reader.
When writing repetition for this purpose, be careful not to repeat the same exact words. It’s important to not come across as redundant. Think of ways you can rephrase your point. A writer can also repeat themes using other persuasive techniques, like rhetorical questions, metaphors, or anecdotes.
10. Ask rhetorical questions
A rhetorical question isn’t meant to be answered. Instead, it’s meant to draw in your audience’s attention. Rhetorical questions can add a touch of drama or emphasis, or they can help you make a point.
While rhetorical questions aren’t meant to be answered, your reader will likely be answering the question to themselves. This can help you drive the point home. The rhetorical question gets their attention and leads them to agree with you.
11. Take advantage of triplets
If you want to make a stronger argument, think of the power of three! Triplets or triples are three points you can make to support your argument.
Triples will emphasize, strengthen, and support writers’ arguments. A great example of this is from Apple’s website promoting the iPhone 12. They use triplets twice in this paragraph alone.
Source: Apple’s website
12. Get personal with anecdotes
Sharing personal stories is a great technique to appeal to ethos, especially in a blog. Storytelling hooks the reader and holds their attention, even in business communication. An anecdote can also help the reader visualize and sympathize with the problem.
13. Use the word “you” to address the audience
People want to hear what will benefit them. The word “you” puts the focus on your audiences. This way, they’ll be more likely to understand the value of your message. If you can speak to an issue they’re facing directly, they’ll feel more understood and engaged.
Source: Smokey Bear’s website
Putting this technique to practice
Writing with persuasive language will help you reach your readers and achieve your business goals. This technique can also be a key leadership skill for managers to help their teams. This combined with staying on top of industry trends gives writers the ability to create a powerful argument.
Writers can begin to get their point of view across now by focusing on engaging the audience and staying consistent. These elements make for a strong foundation for your persuasive writing.