Blog posts are meant to accomplish two things:
1. Form a connection between your readers and your brand.
2. Get your readers to take the actions you recommend at the end of posts. (These are called calls-to-action, or CTAs.)
Neither of those is an easy thing to do in today’s über-busy world. Countless other companies are bidding for the attention of your target audience. Each person has only so much time and energy to put into following certain brands – whether shopping at those stores, following them on Facebook, or visiting their site regularly.
Each day, people see billboards, store displays, grocery coupons in the mail, flyers on cars, recommendations from friends, and offers in their email.
Your blog has to stand out and grab your readers away from everything else vying for their dollars. Your writing must persuade your readers to pay less attention to other brands in order to fit you into their lives. You’re not writing just for the sake of slapping up some content; you’re literally trying to beat out the competition and say “Hey, we’re worth your time!!”
Here are some of the best ways to write persuasively and claw your way into your potential clients’ lives:
1. Be Relatable
Many readers don’t feel like they can connect and relate to a big-time blog owner who has been an expert in their field for the past 10 years. They’ll name drop, figuratively flash their bling, and explain topics that only people who are “in the know” could begin to understand. Your brand will feel “unreachable” to many average people if you don’t work to be relatable.
Some of the best ways to make sure you’re being relatable is to use stories and analogies. People relate better to some rich dude if he explains how he worked at McDonald’s, couldn’t pay his mortgage, and once sold his furniture to pay for food before he made his bucks. People identify with that story more than flying in private jets and wearing monocles.
It’s just like reading a good book – if you can relate to the characters, you’ll probably enjoy the book on at a different level than someone who doesn’t relate.
2. Use Emotional Triggers
Made famous in Joe Sugarman’s legendary copywriting book, triggers are a writing technique that attracts and binds your readers to whatever you’re saying. Triggers set up your readers to feel what you want them to feel at just the right times.
That might sound a bit manipulative, but it’s no different than McDonald’s using red and yellow because it’s proven to make people hungry.
As an example, let’s say you’re trying to build anticipation for an email series you’ve created.
You could explain how waiting for the next email in the series will make your readers feel like they’re a little kid on Christmas morning, waiting to run out and see what Santa brought.
Invoking Christmas memories as a child brings almost universally positive feelings. This imagery will automatically bring up feelings of excited anticipation, and it will be associated with your email series, in this case.
By the time you finish this post, you’ll feel as if you’ve just finished off a succulent steak – juicy all the way through and satisfying once you’re finished (see what I did there?).
3. Poke at Their Problems
This technique does not mean insulting people – like calling people lazy slobs on your exercise blog. What I’m referring to is pointing out a common problem and describing it in enough detail that your readers will feel a little pain. Then, they’ll be in a more receptive mindset to accept the info in your post.
Going with the exercise blog example, you could say something like this:
Maybe you’ve realized that the next step in building a healthier lifestyle is that you need to create a regular exercise routine. But, you’re discovering that’s easier said than done. After a long day of work, the last thing you want to do is strap on the tennis shoes and crank out an hour on the treadmill. You’re already tired, you know your knees will hurt tomorrow, and you’re a little embarrassed about how you look in those Spandex tights.
Wouldn’t it be more fun to just grab a #7 at the Wendy’s right by your house? And haven’t you earned the right to pour Hershey’s syrup straight into that carton of Cookies ‘n Cream while watching a movie because you worked so hard at the office today?
Going to the gym is hard because you have to overcome physical, emotional, and financial barriers. However, here are my top 10 ways to pump yourself up to hit the gym every day!
It would have been easier (and way shorter) to leave that to one or two sentences and get on with the post.
But, a good blog writer realizes that by prodding the problem a bit, the readers will identify more with the problem, and pay extra attention to the rest of the post.
This strategy conjures up images of poking a sleeping bear. If you don’t poke hard enough, you don’t get a reaction. Poke hard enough to get a reaction. Just remember not to poke too hard, because no one wants to wake a sleeping bear!
Are there any other persuasive writing strategies that you use?