As a blogger, writing grammatically sound articles is easy.
Crafting pieces that persuade readers to agree with you, however, takes a lot of practice.
Without knowing how to write persuasively, your blog’s growth may stagnate in terms of conversions, recurring traffic, and brand authority.
Although readers get your message loud and clear, they may not be compelled enough to turn your insights into action.
That changes today.
By the end of this post, you’ll learn writing techniques that will make your readers take the next step.
12 Powerful Tips to Write Persuasive Blog Posts
- 1. Bring Up a Relatable Problem
- 2. Show Actionable Steps
- 3. Back Up Your Claims with Statistics from Reliable Sources
- 4. Only Rely on Custom Visual Content
- 5. Use Your Own Examples or Stories
- 6. Talk About the Reasons Why
- 7. Ask (and Answer) Questions
- 8. Address Common Objections
- 9. Leverage Social Proof
- 10. Visualize and Describe Possible Outcomes
- 11. Be Consistent
- 12. Build Up to a Call-To-Action
Being Persuasive: Meaning and Reasons to Do It
For those who are unfamiliar with the term, persuasive writing is all about getting your readers to agree with you.
It involves the strategic presentation of facts, use of logic, and proper selection of words to be effective.
For bloggers, you need to master the art of persuasive writing for the following reasons:
- Ignite action — Persuasive writing can help turn readers into email subscribers, paying customers, social media followers, and so on.
- Introduce your brand — If you need to present reasons why your audience should choose you over competitors, you must do so persuasively.
- Attract potential customers — You need to be persuasive when conveying facts that may spur the demand for your product or service.
- Build trust — Educating readers and establishing your authority as an information source also requires persuasive writing.
- Copywriting — If ever you plan to launch paid promotion campaigns, persuasive writing is the key to creating winning copy.
In other words, persuasive writing is essential to pretty much every objective on a blogger’s to-do list.
Fortunately, it’s something that any blogger can learn with the right methods.
Without further ado, let’s get to work.
1. Bring Up a Relatable Problem
Throughout my blogging years, I’ve lost count of the times I started off an article by mentioning a problem. As a matter of fact, I did it again just now.
Go ahead and check my intro above — notice how I brought up how bloggers may experience slow growth.
Here’s a better example from an article about the problem of a high bounce rate.
There’s no better way to show readers that you understand the challenges that they face.
Doing so will surely pique your target audience’s interest. That’s why I often include the problem my content is trying to solve in the intro.
For example, rather than plainly stating that a post is about traffic generation, I could open with something like:
A word of advice…
Planning to mention a problem in your next post?
Be careful — it will set the tone for the rest of your article and put readers in a “learning” mood.
They are now expecting solutions, and that’s what your content should deliver.
Your job is to make sure they know how to fix their problem by the end of your post. If not, then you’ve lost the opportunity to earn their trust.
Worse, you may disappoint them enough to stop them from returning to your blog.
This takes us to the next persuasive writing tip.
2. Show Actionable Steps
By bringing up a problem in your blog post, you’ve raised your audience’s bar of expectations.
How do you guarantee that they’ll exit your post smiling and satisfied with what they learned?
Simple: provide them with tons of well-defined, actionable steps.
This is the part where you refrain from writing long sentences and slice down the task into individual steps.
As for me, I tend to provide truckloads of screenshots in my posts so readers can visualize the instructions.
Here’s an example where I tell readers how to use a time tracker.
How to present winning instructions in your content
If you’re discussing a tool or anything related to software, then using a screenshot tool is imperative.
However, if you’re trying to share information that involves hardware or physical tasks, you may need to take high-resolution photographs.
Video clips are also on the table since they can relay instructions more effectively than static images.
Whatever approach works for you, try to include an image as proof that your instructions will work. This can be a screenshot or image of the result they should expect after following your guide.
3. Back Up Your Claims with Statistics from Reliable Sources
Speaking of showing proof, try to share relevant statistics from reliable data sources in your content.
Remember, showing readers how to achieve their objectives isn’t always enough to get them moving.
First, you need to answer a fundamental question:
Why on earth should readers listen to you?
You can choose the long route of building up your brand authority so readers will take you seriously. Otherwise, you have no choice but to leverage the credibility of others to lend some credence to your article.
I, myself, see to it that all my claims are always backed by a link to a credible source.
Below are a few examples from the same post I’ve mentioned before.
A few things to remember when citing data sources
Including links to your data sources is an unmissable step if you want to persuade readers.
But before you go nuts with your outbound links, there are a few things you should remember:
- Don’t point to outdated sources — Citing outdated data can be seen as misleading by your readers. To find updated sources, set a more recent date range when using search engines.
- Mind the credibility of your source — Whatever you do, don’t link to websites full of spam, false information, or anything that looks shady. Not only is it bad for SEO, it can also affect your trustworthiness in the eyes of your audience.
- Avoid linking to competitors — There’s absolutely no need for you to send free traffic to competitors. If possible, look for other websites that feature similar data and link to those instead.
- Don’t use misleading anchor texts — Just be straightforward and descriptive when using anchor texts for outbound links. Your readers must have a clear idea of where any link goes to in order to improve their experience.
- Ask for permission — Before you use an infographic or any visual asset from a data source, be sure to ask for their approval. In most cases, they should be willing to let you feature their content in exchange for a link.
4. Only Rely on Custom Visual Content
Since we’re talking about data sources, another way to present them is through custom visuals.
There are plenty of drag-and-drop tools out there you can use to concoct professional-looking graphics within minutes.
Canva, for example, let’s you design anything from blog featured images, Instagram posts, and infographics. I know I’ve mentioned it several times before, but you can’t blame me — it’s just that good.
Let’s say you want to share a statistic about the average conversion rate of a Facebook ad.
Which presentation do you think is more eye-catching?
…or this one?
Obviously, the answer is simple, data visualization.
What about free stock photos?
If you need featured images for your blog posts, it’s still reasonable to depend on stock photo sites like Pixabay.
Your audience will probably have no complaints since it’ll only be for getting their attention.
But when it comes to images in your content’s body, then using free stock photos is a bad idea.
This is due to two reasons:
For a blogger, you won’t always find stock images that perfectly match the ideas you want to convey.
For internet-savvy readers, free stock photos can be off-putting, especially if they’re sprinkled all over an article. It gives the impression that the website has neither the budget nor the initiative to develop custom visuals.
It’s also probable that the stock image you want is already overused — whether or not it’s for a featured image.
At the very least, consider using graphic design apps to modify stock images by adding headlines or other elements.
5. Use Your Own Examples or Stories
You know me — I always share tips that I’ve tested firsthand.
That’s why when I’m writing blogging tips, you see me sharing actual examples from my previous posts.
There should be a couple of examples in this post alone that you can refer to. You, too, can do it if you want your content to be believable.
With authentic, experience-based information, readers should have no reason to doubt your advice.
What if I can’t provide screenshots or other proof?
If there’s no tangible evidence that the information in your content is proven and tested, you can try one thing:
Good old storytelling.
Of course, it definitely helps if the story you’re sharing is actually true.
It’s easier to paint a believable narrative if you’ve seen or experienced the source material yourself.
But if the story is made-up, readers should be able to sense something off.
For your reference, check out the paragraph below from my post on the best books for bloggers:
6. Talk About the Reasons Why
Going back to my intros, another one of my persuasive techniques is discussing the motivation behind an objective.
Notice that, in some of my technical guides, I write a section that outlines “why” something is beneficial for bloggers.
A great example would be this section from my post on reducing page load time:
Going over the benefits of your content should build up the audience’s anticipation of what’s to come. This will make them more likely to read the entire post instead of skipping from subheading to subheading.
From an SEO standpoint, it also gives you a convenient excuse to insert a question-based keyword.
Reinforcing the reader’s motivation
Don’t get me wrong — your readers should already have a clue as to why they need to read your content.
All they need is some form of validation that they came to the right page.
If the benefits you cover in your introduction resonate with them, they should go through your content more open-mindedly. As a result, their chances of converting from mere readers into profitable leads and customers should increase.
7. Ask (and Answer) Questions
To be seen as a trustworthy information source, you should address any trace of uncertainty in the minds of readers.
This takes more than just answering the “why” questions in your content.
Let me give you an example scenario.
If you are about to discuss an advanced marketing guide, it’s important to be on the same wavelength as readers. To ensure this, write a section that explains the uncommon terms they’ll encounter in the form of “what” questions.
I try to include this right after the intro to prepare readers for the actual steps.
Asking questions to recapture the reader’s attention
In addition to introducing new terms to readers, you can also ask questions to make your articles more conversational.
This is a gentle reminder to readers that they’re still part of the conversation — encouraging them to leave comments afterward.
Asking random questions is also a nice way to reduce the boredom of readers. But as much as possible, try to stay on topic and ask thought-provoking questions related to the current subject.
You don’t need to look too hard to find posts where I use this technique.
8. Address Common Objections
To write persuasively, perhaps the most important type of question you should answer are those that start with “what if.”
These pertain to the objections that your readers may have when reading your content.
What if I do something differently? What if I make a mistake?
What if your advice doesn’t work for me?
Such questions or objections don’t necessarily mean readers don’t trust your content. They’re just concerned about all the variables that can affect the outcome in case they choose to act.
Identifying potential objections
In the world of online marketing, there are a few typical objections bloggers must be wary of:
- How a product or service compares stacks up against competitors — If you’re trying to sell a product or service, highlight the selling points that make your brand unique. Creating side-by-side comparisons with competitors is an effective way to separate your brand from the rest of the pack.
- The things that could go wrong — Do your blog insights guarantee results? How can your audience deal with potential obstacles along the way?
- What if they won’t like it — Before visitors buy or follow your call-to-action, they must be convinced that they’ll like everything that comes along their decision. You can offer free trials or case studies to increase their confidence.
- Everything else — From a user’s perspective, you’d like to know as much as possible about a subject before committing. A FAQ or Frequently Asked Questions page is an invaluable tool that will give them the assurance they need.
9. Leverage Social Proof
Do you now understand how questions can be used to make content a hundred times better?
Great, because I have another question for you.
Is social media marketing part of your blogging strategy?
If it is, then you should be able to find a decent helping of user-generated content. This can be anything from positive user reviews and photos that involve your brand.
With permission, you should be able to feature user-generated content in your website to win the trust of more visitors.
This way, you leverage them as a form of social proof.
To look for user-generated content, I’d start with a social media network’s built-in search tool. For instance, on Twitter, I can handily search for tweets about my brand using the keyword “MasterBlogging.”
Rather than digging for mentions manually, you can automate notifications with a tool like Google Alerts. Simply enter a keyword, configure the alert as you see fit, and click ‘Create Alert.’
Just don’t forget to select your email on the “Deliver to” drop-down menu.
Other types of social proof you can use
Aside from user-generated content, you can also utilize the number of followers you have as social proof. The same can be said for the number of shares, comments, and reactions your posts get.
There are dozens of sharing plugins out there that can display these metrics right on the widget.
For example, Social Snap shows the total number of shares a post received in large, bold text.
For my top 10 social sharing plugins for WordPress, read this post. To help you select the right plugin for your blog, I’ve explored the features of each plugin in detail.
10. Visualize and Describe Possible Outcomes
At this point, you’ve made great strides toward more persuasive content.
You’ve shared relatable stories, enumerated the benefits, asked questions, addressed objections, and more.
This time, you’ll simply drive home the point by describing positive outcomes.
No — it’s not like storytelling where you claim a scenario really happened.
By visualizing and describing a possible outcome, you’re simply giving your audience something to look forward to.
You acknowledge that it hasn’t happened yet, but it must still be grounded on realistic expectations.
How to boost your audience’s confidence through the roof
To write predictions that will motivate your readers, the number one rule is to make it about them.
Galvanize them by making them the heroes of the story. Tell them to picture what it’s like to accomplish a specific objective and be specific.
Once their expectations are set, quickly follow it up with a clear CTA.
I don’t utilize this strategy often, but I can tell from experience that it works in psyching up readers.
Under certain circumstances, it’s just as important to acknowledge and describe negative outcomes.
The good news is, that would still make your content more persuasive.
After all, it should be an opportunity for you to showcase your ability to deal with adversity. Talk about plans B, C, and so forth to show that they don’t need to be afraid of possible failure.
11. Be Consistent
Long story short, you can’t be persuasive if you are inconsistent.
There’s nothing worse than disappointing readers who’ve stuck with you for a long time.
Ironically, they’d be the first ones to notice if you suddenly changed opinions or core beliefs for no particular reason.
Having contradicting statements between two or more posts only shows that you, yourself, probably don’t even believe what you write.
Moving forward, some readers will take everything you say with a grain of salt. They won’t be completely sure whether or not to trust you — you might end up changing your mind anyway.
No need to do anything special
As straightforward and tacky as it sounds, all you need to do is be consistent — that’s it.
There’s no special formula for this, nor are there specific steps to follow.
You just need a reminder to research, learn, and breathe in everything you write about. Avoid writing bold statements that are based on assumptions, “guesstimates,” or half-baked ideas.
If you make your facts ingrained in your memory, being consistent about them should be second nature to you.
There is, however, one thing you can do to make sure you don’t forget the things you’ve learned throughout the years. You could create some kind of “swipe file” or knowledge base of facts that you can quickly refer to.
Various note-taking apps and spreadsheet tools like Google Sheets can help with this. Whenever you learn something new or form opinions about certain things, log them into your file and you won’t forget.
Me, I like to keep my knowledge organized in Evernote — a free-to-use note-taking application.
Here’s an insider look at an entry on my Master Blogging notebook about SEO, which I’ve written years ago.
Naturally, your notes don’t need to be as elaborate as the one above. One-liners that sum up terms and concepts should be easier to remember.
If you genuinely want to change your views, don’t skimp on details. Tell your readers why you made your decision and explain it fully.
12. Build Up to a Call-To-Action
Sometimes, you can do everything right and it still won’t be enough to push a reader to make a move.
That’s why you should always include a conclusion at the end of your articles that recaps and empowers your message.
A key component for this is a well-written CTA that precisely describes the next step.
Using CTAs in persuasive writing
Want your readers to share your post? Tell them upfront and say how grateful you’ll be.
Want them to leave a comment? Ask for their thoughts and tell them to use the comments section.
What’s important is that you also mention a CTA that’s relevant to what they just learned from your content.
In the screenshot below, I encouraged readers to use the instructions from the post to build their own automation workflow.
Take note that this is slightly different from traditional, clickable CTAs. For those, position them where they’re visible without impeding the reading experience.
Well, I hope the post above is persuasive enough for you to take action.
You should now be capable of creating compelling pieces regardless of the topic you choose to write about.
The next step? Keep looking for opportunities to up your blogging game.
Also, let me know what topic I should cover next in the comments below.