The Most Powerful Way to Persuade

The Most Powerful Way to Persuade

Reader Comments (63)

  1. Hi Jerod,

    You’ve made an excellent point with the following:

    No, you just need to “find ways to connect with your audience on an emotional level.”

    I think half the battle is finding your target audience. Once you figure out who they are, you can write blog posts, articles, white papers, etc. that connect with them on an emotional level. It also helps to get “out of your head.” Some writers, including me, have a tendency to over think posts. Some days I tell myself, “Just write.”

    • Thank you Amandah! As they say: “write drunk, edit sober.” Meaning, on first drafts just get it out there. Bang away on the keyboard. Let the thoughts out. Then pare, adjust, and rework later once all your brilliant thoughts are there like wet word clay. 🙂

  2. You are 100% right that stories matter. I used to give a LOT of speeches, and a good anecdote was literally worth thousands of dollars to me, because it would be so memorable that it would sell more speeches.

    But I am not convinced that effective stories require five elements. If I tell you that Kodak’s orange film boxes were once so ever-present that it seemed unimaginable the company would ever be threatened, I do not need a hero to raise the question in your mind whether your firm might also one day declare bankruptcy.

    • Bruce, here we may be running up against the subtle differences between anecdotes/examples and stories. A story will indeed have a hero who is transformed as the story progresses. An anecdote/example may not necessarily need a stated hero to be effective. It’s more of an implied hero. Ostensibly you are sharing the Kodak anecdote with other business owners who might feel bulletproof to remind them that if Kodak can go into bankruptcy that ANYONE can go into bankruptcy.

  3. Confidence and authority help to sell the idea to your audience – authority is everything, it doesn’t ‘just’ help in this case…

    …thought leadership sells. Ultimately, it is going to be difficult for anybody to get an impact from their story if nobody knows who they are or why they should even care.


  4. Hi Jerod,

    A non regular reader of your post will think you are a poet. This is damn good, away from the technical languages of CSS, HTML, DNS e.t.c.

    This model can be inculcated into content marketing, it will sure help fire up a positive conversion and broader reach.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you Dare! It’s funny you mention that. The first writing I ever did — and to this day, the most enjoyable — was poetry. So I’ll take your comment as a massive compliment.

        • It really does. You just have to be careful though, because poetry isn’t always about coming right out and saying what you mean. Good copywriting is, though.

  5. Another story from CopyBlogger that inspires! Thanks you guys for always putting out simple yet thought provoking ideas that just ring true. I have a meeting coming up with a CEO of a great non-profit here in Montana and I was wondering what I should do to prepare for it.
    I think I have found an answer here.

    • That’s so great to hear JJ! Our goal with every post is to give our audience information and/or inspiration that they can take with them away from the computer screen and into their days. So happy to hear that this post did that for you.

  6. Great article, Jerod. As a long time Toastmaster, I can tell you that stories are the key to building rapport with an audience. Facts, figures and bullet point ridden Powerpoints do just the opposite. In fact, the best button in Powerpoint is the “B” key, which turns the screen black and returns the audience’s attention to you.

  7. Hi, maybe you can help me solve this little mystery …
    I understand how you can weave a story into a live presentation; I see the point in sharing stories with the readers of my blog, but.. when it comes to writing a sales page, or web copy, where do the stories come in?
    How do they fit into the structure of addressing a problem & showing a solution?
    If I use a story “format”, don’t I face the risk of loosing lots of my mission oriented audience?

    • The first thing I would ask you is how is an article or sales page different than a live presentation? They are more alike than different. They are all the presentation of information designed to elicit a response.

      • Thank you for replying 🙂
        Thing is, the purpose is indeed the same, but the platform is totally different..
        Being a copywriter (& an occasional poet :), there’s nothing I would have loved more than coming up with a story, either real or invented. Structure wise, where does it come in (say, in a sales page)? As an appetizer, as main text conveying my whole marketing message? Can I trust the impatient reader to go through it, understanding upfront that it’s leading to a bottom-line relevant to him?
        Seems to me there’s something I’m missing here..

        • Sigal, all of those are important questions. That is why it’s not just telling a story that is important, but being good at telling good stories. There are no universal answers for where a story should go, how long it should be, etc. It depends on the medium and the audience. The value you bring as a copywriter and content marketer is knowing where a story fits best and HOW to tell it (in terms of tone and length) to achieve the desired result.

  8. Nicely said Jerod!
    As a former elementary teacher turned content marketer I am never surprised that the same ‘tactics’ great teachers use in capturing the attention and curiosity of young learners are basically the same tactics great content marketers employ. We humans grow older, but don’t change all that much. We still love stories- and stories that have depth and purpose. I love it!

    • Thank you Vicky. 🙂 Indeed, when you are trying to connect with or persuade human beings, it’s imperative that you understand human nature. And humans respond to stories. Always have, always will.

  9. “Stories have been retold over and over throughout the ages — some are just better told than others.”
    What you have quoted here is an Undeniable fact. When stories are retold to suit the current trend and presented in a spectacular fashion it is often remembered, cherished and sometimes may become irreplaceable. When you hear the word titanic I bet Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio will cross your mind for sure, ever heard of Robert Wagner and Audrey Dalton? They are from the good old Titanic (1953) movie. I bet Cameron and many others have already applied what you have said now and it’s time for us to start thinking in this direction. Hoping to become a hero soon 🙂 , Great Post Jerod, thanks for sharing.

  10. Hi Jerod – great article. I would add that a good story always involves the main character undergoing some kind of change – they’re never quite the same at the end of the story.

  11. I’m always surprised at how traditional storytelling strategies can be applied to blogging and Social Media posts. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Great post and great points! I really like the last sentence about maybe being a hero one day. I think all bloggers should focus on being a hero to their readers because people need a hero these days!

  13. I think part of a good story is leaving your audience with a big ‘Ah, ha.’ As a Park Ranger, and blogger, I use story to help visitors connect intellectually and emotionally. They are the heroes.

  14. OK, let’s see:

    1. A hero
    2. A goal
    3. An obstacle
    4. A mentor
    5. A moral

    (yes, I got them right without looking back at the text!)

    This is a great blueprint to follow in copy writing and story telling. It’s also why I think the “write one post every day” train of thinking goes against this method of story telling, simply because it takes time to write a story worth telling.

    Thanks for this blueprint, Jerod!

  15. Wonderful article by Jerod. He has given a complete guideline to make up a emotional story. I heard from others that the best way to sell is to tell a story during your meeting. I am so glad, I read Jerod’s story.

  16. Great article!

    I know we live in a digital, paperless age, but would it be possible to add a print style sheet to the Copyblogger site? I often print your articles. Paper is much easier on the eyes and I enjoy highlighting and making notes on the paper. Unfortunately, the layout is a disaster when printed. A print version would be a great addition to the recent design changes at Copyblogger.

    • Ty, there is a button below the author box and to the right of the social sharing icons. It says “Print.” That will give you the format you’re looking for. (And don’t feel bad, I didn’t realize it was there either.”

  17. This reminds me a lot of Jordan Belford’s book on persuasion. Interesting article, and i agree with a lot of the tactics mentioned here.

  18. I really enjoy reading this article. I am a regular reader of every post of copyblogger. I just bookmarked it for future reference. Thank you for sharing with us Jerod.

  19. This is an excellent post that efficiently captures many key persuasion elements in a straightforward, easy-to-digest text. Well done! I’ve been fascinated with the art and science of persuasion since taking a class in grad school. I learned that many of the principles date back centuries, and Aristotle laid the groundwork in his treatise on “Rhetoric”. Despite the passage of time, it turns out that humans are still wired in much the same way , making us responsive to the same persuasive techniques in the digital age as we were in ancient times.

  20. That’s a great reminder of the elements of a story that works, connects and engages. Thank you so much! It seems like including stories in our content marketing writing is the rule now, but when I start writing I rarely have this structure in mind. Now, I’m going to repeat it until it becomes ingrained in my brain…. 😀


  21. I’m a digital marketer who sells my personal product online. Honestly, I have used story telling to sell huge numbers of items. A precise story telling will do nothing than to connect you and your audience emotionally. Thanks for this post.

  22. Excellent thoughtful article Mr. Morris. Thank you! Story telling is the most powerful way to convey a thought or message rather than traditional modes of convincing people.

  23. A very good one here Jerod. I had to read this, close it and still come back to it. Personally i feel people get more engaged with articles wrapped with personal stories. It kinda builds rapport with the audience while giving some more details about the author. Folks love to know more about who they admire. I can list the benefits of what you just put up here on and on but, the good thing is; this article is really helpful. Thanks a lot.

  24. I usually have the habit of reading only the articles and skipping comments, but here in copyblogger each and very comment is worth reading. Sometimes comments give out the things missed on a article which is worth your time. Thank you Jerod for a wonderful article and thank you fellow commenters!

  25. Lovely article Morris you are jewel my friend. I am a regular reader of Copyblogger and I always keep my friends in loop to follow these kind of engaging posts. Playing with people emotions always work well for business.
    Connect with your audience and make them feel special.

  26. Great Article! A moral story telling is a great way to engage audience to your blog. A good story will always work as a powerful tool to deliver your thoughts. Sometimes an incident or self-experience motivates you to publish a story.

  27. Hi Jerod,
    Your article made me realize that I don’t actually tell many stories. I think that I need to tell more and I will definitely be using your 5 elements (I have printed them out) as a framework for what needs to be included. I have also taken on board the comments about confidence and authority. Thanks for the article.

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