An In-depth Guide To Writing Persuasive Content
I didn’t get to complete my exam for the digital persuasion and psychology mini-degree from CXL Institute. But that’s okay, aside from posting the links on my LinkedIn profile and enjoying the Institute’s many benefits. I am glad I can share my study notes with you.
The first time I had to write content for a client’s website, I had to study websites of various organizations like my client. It was a struggle to understand their unique value proposition or how to develop persuasive content.
Well, all that changed after my ‘eureka moment’ sorry, I like the sound of the word. My colleague and I were tasked with ‘Project Cinderella’, somehow the task of creating a website became a fairytale. (wait, that was the theme, the task had us sleeping at the office). After studying at CXL Institute, I finally realized what we were forced to do without knowing then.
Human beings don’t like to overthink things, and if your content is not persuasive causing them to think through their actions, they would leave your site.
‘The less intuitive the action is, the less you consider it’.
You may be the most logical person on the planet, but most of your actions are justified after you do it. That’s why you also need to pay extra attention.
Writing persuasive content/copy is strategically delivering words to get people to take action. Like boxing, you have to be able to read your opponent’s mind, while being mindful of every word, phrase, paragraph you use and would enter their brain.
The three elements you need to know when writing a persuasive copy:
What you say
How you say it
How you structure it
What you say:
Before you start writing you need to know who you are saying it to;
1.Ask yourself these questions:
Who is my reader?
What drives them?
What are their hopes?
What are they trying to do?
What are they struggling with?
What is their biggest fear?
What do they worry about?
What do they want?
Why do they want it?
Or in the mathematical equation:
C=4M+3V+2(I+F) — 2A
Wherein conversion © is dependent on your visitor’s Motivation (m), with the force of the value proposition (v), presence of friction (f) and Anxiety (a) in the process and Incentive (i) eliminating the presence of friction.
A value proposition is the promise of value to be delivered.
In simple words,
what is in it for your customer
And why you and not others
The value proposition is usually what you get to see on the homepage of your website and should include:
- Relevancy. Explain how your product solves customers’ problems or improves their situation.
- Quantified value. Deliver specific benefits.
- Differentiation. Tell the ideal customer why they should buy from you and not from the competition.
On your website, you want to communicate your value proposition:
Who is your site for?
What benefits are mentioned for your visitor?
Why should they care?
The Probability of Conversion
Take, for example, you want your friend to join you on your “No Soda challenge”. You want to start by discovering who your friend is. Dolapo loves to take a bottle of Pepsi after every meal and I am having a hard time convincing her not to do so because Type 2 diabetes is real.
My major challenge is to work on my tactics, understanding her interest and then consider what my ultimate success would be.
The motivation of the user:
You need an understanding of your potential customers’ motivations and tapping into that would help improve your conversion. (You can read more on motivation)
Where is your customer in the thought sequence?
What conclusions does your prospect need to make before buying
What are their pain points?
What do they value
Note: Over motivating people with fear rather than desire may backfire.
Anxiety: Objection or perceived risk of your customer.
You can study the rest of the elements in the Conversion Sequence Heuristic
Speak in the language your visitor’s use.
Your website’s visitors want the site to solve their problems, use everyday language. Clarity triumphs persuasion every time.
If you notice that your words are not something you use in everyday conversation, rewrite them.
How you say it is important
Write like a human, write in the same way you would speak to someone in real life. Record yourself saying what you would say if you were face to face with someone. Get it transcribed, tidy it up, but make sure all the things you would say in real life are the things you would be saying in writing.
Karl Blanks: Conversion Rate Experts.
(I wouldn’t advise that like us, you drown your narrative with a bottle of fruit wine. At some point, we began to speak in a strange language).
I would say, you should listen to how your customers speak, online or through telephone conversations and discover engaging, relatable narratives that highlight their pain points’ deal breaker needs and motivation.
I figure it is like dating, except you are dating Victor from the English Department, Unilag who walks around with an Oxford Advanced Dictionary and sounds like an imitation of Wole Soyinka’s vocabulary.
Ensure you double-check your grammar, the misspelling of words is no one’s friend and I am sure you do not want your website, social media copy to trend for the wrong reasons.
Your writing should show more vulnerability, depth and personality.
How you structure it:
Every website starts with a homepage. CXL advises that every homepage must start with a value proposition
Here is an outline for your value proposition:
Sub-headlines or two or three sentence paragraph
Product Page Outline:
This is where you sell the value of your product and where the user takes action (adds to cart, sign up, make a purchase, etc.)
1.Name of the product
3. What is the pain it solves?
4. List of everything in the product
5. Technical information: Parameters, what do you get and how does it work?
6. Objection Handling: Make a list of all possible fears, uncertainties and doubts and address them
8. Money-back guarantee + return policy
10. Call to action
Your body copy should be:
At least 16px
At least 15 line-height
No more than 900px wide
No more than 3–4 per paragraph
Avoid ‘light’ font styles
Maximize legibility with maximum contrast
Your images should support your copies.
I hope you were able to learn something. In case, you are wondering what happened to the ‘Project Cinderalla website’, don’t worry, she lived after rescued by our team lead.
Also, ensure as you check your phones about 150 times a day, you are free to read my other articles. Now, that CXL Institute’s mini-degree has ended, it is time to catch up on other academic projects.
Don’t get carried away, always remember that I am Adepeju, another girl figuring life out, one article at a time!
You can always reach out to me via LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/adepeju-adenuga/