10 Timeless Persuasive Writing Techniques

10 Timeless Persuasive Writing Techniques

Reader Comments (246)

  1. Brian,

    This is flat-out one of the best posts you’ve ever written.

    One of the best posts I’ve ever read, for that matter.

    This incredibly useful information is immediately being printed out and taped to my wall.


    – Mason

  2. Yeah, I’m spreading this around to my friends in sales and marketing. Thanks for all the links back to older content, too. I haven’t been reading the site faithfully for very long, so that’s helping me catch up with the gems that have been posted earlier.

  3. Wonderful post! I think the storytelling approach is one of the best. Readers of any background or age group can get into a good story and if it’s about how the writer (the normal guy/gal) sticks it to “the man” or “the system”, all the better. If “the man” or “the system” has horribly wronged the writer to some unbelievable degree, that works just as well. Thanks for the great info once again.

  4. you’ve done it again.

    you repeated yourself, and at the same time sent us off to get some of your previously written top content.

    thanks for repeating yourself 🙂 and nice list.

  5. Regarding consistency, when I read this post I couldn’t help remembering with a smile the characters in the movie Next Stop Wonderland. They reminded us that what Emerson actually said was that only “foolish” consistencies are the hobgoblins of little minds. The kinds of consistencies you describe are the good and useful kind.

    Thanks for a great list. Very practical and, like the others, I’ll be taping it to the wall

  6. They reminded us that what Emerson actually said was that only “foolish” consistencies are the hobgoblins of little minds.

    Ahhh… it’s moments like this when I regain my faith in humanity. Very smart recollection, David.

  7. I’m gonna have to agree with the tribe, this is one of the finer posts of all time.

    The comparison portion was worth the cost of admission all by itself.

    Great info, great intra-links, great all around.

  8. Brian;

    Well done!

    Many of these persuasive strategies are used in the development of white papers (although perhaps with different names like trends rather that social proof).

    As usual you show your grasp of persuasion with elegance.


  9. This post is like the cliff-notes of marketing! You just cost the gurus a lot of book sales, cd sales, membership and conference fees 🙂 All you need to know is right here.

  10. I’m a big believer in the rule of threes. Typically, people believe something if they hear if from three different sources. Keep that in mind when attempting to write persuasively and it will give you an advantage.

  11. I forget to really tie the reader back in during the ending. Thank you for the most crucial and important reminder.

    You are like a waterfall of constant inspiration. thanks

  12. Great post. Like you said, these are things we already know, but it’s always good to be reminded.

    Your point on consistency is supported by the fact we elected an idiot to be President, twice, because the masses assumed his consistent message meant that the man had integrity and was rational.

  13. i totally disagree with you, so this techniques didn’t really work…

    just kidding… 🙂 it’s a great post!

  14. Very comprehensive plan to persuade – I would say you have succeeded in persuading me to use these techniques to persuade others 🙂

  15. “Don’t compare the price of your home study course to the price of a similar course—compare it to the price of a live seminar or your hourly consulting rate.”

    In some cases, you can also compare it to the cost of NOT buying the home study course (or whatever your product is).

  16. Brian, this is one of the best articles I have come across on the topic of Copywriting. I like your site and am definitely going to read the previous stuff.. Peace

  17. Excellent post! We have learned to use these techniques over the years, but to have them all tied together is a precious gift. Thanks!

  18. It’s a great list, but why do you seem to never have numbers beside your Top X lists? I don’t know about others, but its nice to know which number I’m on so that I know how many I have left to read.

  19. Hello Brian,
    what you are telling here is really intresting, do you know where this is coming from? 😉 It is NLP (the other side of that self-healing stuff). Things like the use of negation (your unconsciousness does not recognise it) and storytelling (hypnosis, works also on single&flirt-websites^^), the use of “but” (it changes the meaning of the sentence before) a.s.o. All that is really interesting and it can be dangerous, but if you really have to persuade people, this stuff works – it is the dark side of the force. I’ve tried about a year in my main job and everyday conversations and I’ve been frighten about myself.
    Please excuse my english, I just can read it good 😉

  20. this would really boost my english essays… you’ve done a good deed to the nation or perhaps … the world ! 😛

  21. Having re-read it since it was first published, I noticed I still have learned something new. An awesome article. Thanks.

  22. Then you agitate the reader’s pain before offering your solution as the answer that will make it all better.
    This sounds very much like Churchill. “Social proof”, anyone?

    Anyway, thanks for the tips!

  23. This is a good site but i suggest that this website needs a catergory of some samples of persuasive writing so it gives students the potential for them to understand persuasive writing and give them the oppotunity to express what persuasive writing they have in mind.

    so yeah this is my suggestion of this website thank-you to allthe people who are reading my comment.


  24. What writer, would be so kind, as to assist those who compete with him? Apparently, you have such grace of character, that you are able to resist the vanity inherent in writing. Thank you, for your surprisingly objective insights, and unexpected compassions.

  25. I’m a student, and this article here has been a big help in my persuasive letter writing. Thank you so much. ; )

  26. This is really a great posts and I really learn a lot from the techniques shared here about persuasive writing. I would use these techniques to attract readers to my site.

  27. Nice post. There are even more you left out.
    Can you reference the psychological study you found which shows that telling people the reason why increases compliance? That doesn’t ring true for me. Personally, if someone tells me the “reason why” and it “makes no sense,” then I’m even less likely to comply, and it strengthens my resolve to keep not complying. Even with kids, I some point you have to give up giving reasons and say, “Because I said so.”

  28. Martin, there’s a link for you to follow at “makes no sense” that provides the source of the study and the actual results.

  29. I am applauding you on this end in the most worshipful manner I can muster.

  30. I found this post and I thought to my self, wow, this is the best resume that a journalist could ever had on how doing his job. My profession? Guess what?

  31. These tips seriously have to be the Ten Commandments of Persuasive Writing.
    I can definatly score a 6 on my Eng 12 speach w/ these techniques.
    Thks ;D

  32. Getting all the objections can be hard especially if you are attached to the product yourself. I find it’s good if you ask people directly “Why wouldn’t you buy this?” and to ask myself that question too.

  33. I find too much repetition annoying. Some of these sales messages go on for pages until your eyes glaze over.
    Better than sleeping pills for insomniacs!

  34. We all want more success, don’t we?

    We all want to be respected and stay ethical, right?

    Well that’s what real persuasive copywriting is all about.

    Reaching out to the clients needs and showing them how our product will meet or benefit those needs, without disrespecting them or powerselling them.

    Good copywriting is the essence of success when you are selling something and I found these tips definately helpful.

  35. Hi! thanks for such a nice post, its very informative but the best thing i found in it and story telling and i believe in word of mouth marketing as it results best in the long run….any way keep it up….cheers!!!

  36. I liked the Tribal thing. The people living in the western United states only 250 years ago were all totally tribal.

    I didn’t understand that “because” is such a powerful word but I will try using it more just because.

  37. This is a great article. It would have been extremely beneficial if I knew all this information before I got started myself.

    Great Job!

  38. Hey Brian,

    A story tied in with other persuasive techniques results in the ultimate writing.

    A personal story can show your experience and results – social proof. Your experience also acts as a prognosis for the reader’s future: if I could do it, so can you, and here’s how.

    If your story is an amplified version of yourself, you go tribal and become super-relatable to those similar to you.

    Add to the mix agitating and solving their problem while addressing any objections they have, and your writing becomes insanely persuasive.

    Great tips Brian, they’re indeed timeless and will be used in whatever form writing evolves to next after blogging,

  39. I got to agree this is one the best posts I have seen since I found copyblogger. It really strikes at the heart of what we all are trying to do “influence the reader to a point of action” very well done.

  40. I forget to really tie the reader back in during the ending. Thank you for the most crucial and important reminder.

    You are like a waterfall of constant inspiration. thanks

  41. wow thanks so much for this!! really helped me with my english assignment!! they’re seriously good tips! thanks a million, maybe now I will pass college!

  42. Bingo! Your insight is spot on & inspires to write with a purpose, which sometimes gets lost in the assignment or deadline to produce a well written, persuasive piece. Thank you copyblogger again (and again) for providing valuable and motivational copy for all writers!

  43. Oh! this is really like a God`s gift for novice students like me. really thank you Brian!

  44. Nice post, thanks. The idea of storytelling (your last point) is a really important one.

    Lots of people make sense of the world through political or religious narratives. And in their personal lives, people love casting themselves as the hero, villain or love interest depending on their circumstances. Just listen to people talking on their cell phones next time you’re out in town!

    So stories are potentially very powerful tools for copywriters. If you can deliver you copy messages through a well-written story, you can make strong emotional connections with your readers. And that’s got to be a good thing. . .

  45. Thank you so much for your help! This should really improve my GCSE English grade.

  46. Found the article on Ten Timeless Persuasive writing techniques to be very good. Even though I’m a professional copywriter, I think the tips will help me write with even more persuasive impact.

  47. I appreciate your ideas so much. I’m a content writer and writing content for 5 years. I used to take 1 hrs for write a article but now your technique would be more useful for me.

  48. I also know one of the best Japanese proverb: ” No One Ca Do this, so I am Sure I will DO this” well with this attitude thay made country very good in very recent time. nice article

  49. This was great! You’re right, there are sooooo many ways to be persuasive. One thing that I do (when it fits) is to take a subject or idea that I’m attempting to share and dramatize it. Exaggerate it. It helps to get a point across. For example, a friend of mine just wrote a great radio ad for a business that wanted to let everyone know of ALL their many services. Which is no easy feat if you’re trying to stay away from being boring. So, he wrote an ad for the business as if you were ordering their services at a drive-thru fast food joint. This particular concept also would fit into your “Comparison” tip.

  50. wow, that really helped!! I’m in the eighth grade, and the writing test in a month or two is really important to pass. My ELA teacher has only taught us a few persuasive writing techniques, and I’m so glad to find more ways to persuade than just the few (maybe like, four) ways she has told us about. Wow, I feel a bit more confident about (probably) getting a persuasive topic for the writing test!

  51. Brian, i’m a freelance writer who would love to pull a quote from this blog and post it on my website in a tips section. what’s the protocol for doing so? thanks, Karen

  52. Another persuasive technique to use is Scarcity – letting the reader think there is a limited availability of something.

    It is used by Amazon a lot where they display things like – ‘only 5 copies of your DVD left’. Scarcity acts as a call to action prompting the reader to put more value in the product/ebook/service you provide.

    This concept also works by showing a scarcity of time (‘only available today’) on sales sites.

    It can work on information sites too when showing access to information may be hard to get at (e.g. membership only data, mailing list only special webcasts/information/etc).

    Super post BTW

    • Combining the scarcity with exclusivity can be a killer plan. People want to know that they have the chance to be part of something that no one else is, and they love the idea that it is only for a limited time – stroking the ego!


  53. I agree with Mason Hipp that this is one of the best posts I’ve read here (interesting considering it was on the topic of persuasion). You convinced us you know your stuff! And the advice to study past advertising copy that works is EXCELLENT. Amazing how easy it is to overlook the simple things that can make the most difference.

  54. Brian,
    I knew what’s persuasive writing, only until I read your post. Having finished, I concluded I hadn’t known earlier. It’s a gem of a post. You’ve cited the techniques so clearly, one can keep the list in front for reference while doing a persuasive piece. Thanks. Looking forward to reading more articles from you.

  55. Thanks for the great tips! I especially love that you reference storyselling because it is such a critical part, not only of selling, but engaging readers in the first place so you can get them to a place where they’re ready to be sold to.

  56. Great tips! For someone like me who just started blogging, techniques like this will definenlty help me write better articles. Thanks a lot.

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