Today we’ll explain how to be persuasive when you write articles on your blog. We’ll use principles from Robert Cialdini’s classic psychology book Influence.

Robert Cialdini wrote his book on how to be persuasive back in the 1980s, but the principles still hold sway today. In this article we’ll talk you through how to incorporate persuasion techniques when it comes to writing blogs and articles (and which ones to avoid).

Cialdini highlighted six techniques for influence:

  1. Reciprocity
  2. Consistency
  3. Social Proof
  4. Liking
  5. Authority
  6. Scarcity

In today’s article, we’ll cover liking, authority and scarcity. In our previous post, we covered reciprocity, consistency and social proof.

Liking

Salesmen have always known that it’s not just about the product. People tend to buy from people (salesmen) that they like. Even if the product is amazing, an unlikable salesman can lose the close.

The Wikipedia page on Influence highlights five factors around “liking”. People tend to like:

  1. Physically attractive men and women
  2. People who are like themselves
  3. Anyone who gives them a compliment
  4. People they cooperate with to achieve a common goal
  5. People who make them laugh

#1 doesn’t have much to do with copy writing. #3 you can potentially use (flattering your readers) but it can come across as try-hard and insincere.

For #2, we don’t recommend changing yourself to be more like your readers. But you can build rapport by using the language or lingo they’re familiar with. This is particularly true when using writing in a sales context. Try to mirror the language that your potential client is using.

For example – you are a plumber and you are responding to an advert asking for “fix my toilet”. You would be better off replying “I can help you fix your toilet” than “I can help you fix your lavatory”.

#4 can be useful when writing advice articles. Try to create the feeling of “working together” rather than “I will tell you what to do”.

#5 is tricky. Funny people are generally more likable and more persuasive. But mistimed or awkward attempts at humour are a huge turnoff. We suggest just writing in your natural style. Don’t try to be funny. In fact, if you have to try to be funny, you are probably not funny.

Authority

Now this is a principle we can completely get behind! Authority is hugely important in copy writing and content marketing. After all, if you expect people to buy from you or pay for your services, shouldn’t you be an expert?

In broad terms, there are two ways to demonstrate authority:

  • TELL – tell you readers that you are knowledgeable, experienced, authoritative etc
  • SHOW – demonstrate authority by adding value to your readers, sharing information and giving advice

Needless to say, in copy writing (as in screenwriting) “show don’t tell”. Talk is cheap. No one believes boastful marketing copy any more.

Instead, show authority indirectly. Write helpful articles. Share everything you know about a topic. Give advice and solve problems. Your expertise will shine through.

Scarcity

It’s human nature to fear missing out. Unscrupulous marketers have always known this. Hence the proliferation of slogans like:

  • “Limited time only”
  • “While stocks last”
  • “Only 1 left in stock”
  • “Sold out”
  • “Get it before it’s gone”

This is a perfectly fine marketing strategy. Just make sure you’re telling the truth! Customers will soon catch on if they think you are artificially generating scarcity

But also ask yourself if your products or services really need to play on the idea of scarcity. Is your business model based around exclusivity? Or is your mission to offer your expertise to the widest possible audience? Make sure your marketing message is congruent with you mission statement.

If you’d like some help to produce really persuasive content for your blog or website, please get in touch.

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