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 Predict objections

 address objections
 appeal to emotions
 sense of urgency – take action now

capture the reader’s attention

motivate action
take a stand on an issue—either “for” or “against
build the strongest possible argument to win over the reader.
convince the reader to accept a particular point of view or take a specific action

Persuasive essays require good research, awareness of the reader’s biases, and a solid
understanding of both sides of the issue.

demonstrate not only why the writer’s opinion is correct, but also why the opposing view is

 Choose a position. Students should think about the issue and pick the side they wish to
 Understand the audience. In order to write an effective persuasive essay, the writer
must understand the reader’s perspective. Is the reader undecided or inclined to favor one
side or the other?
 Do the research. A persuasive essay depends upon solid, convincing evidence. Don’t
rely on a single source. Go to the library and enlist the help of the librarian. Speak with
community experts and teachers. Read and take notes. There is no substitute for
knowledge of both sides of the issue.
 Identify the most convincing evidence, as well as the key points for the opposing view.

Organizing the Persuasive Essay: Outline and Structure

Next, create an outline. Organize the evidence to build the strongest possible argument. If the
teacher has specified an essay structure, incorporate it into the outline. Typically, the persuasive
essay comprises five or six paragraphs:

Persuasive Essay Outline

Introductory Paragraph

 Grab the reader’s attention by using a “hook.”

 Give an overview of the argument.
 Close with a thesis statement that reveals the position to be argued.

Body Paragraphs
 Each body paragraph should focus on one piece of evidence.
 Within each paragraph, provide sufficient supporting detail.

Opposing View Paragraph

 Describe and then refute the key points of the opposing view.

Concluding Paragraph

 Restate and reinforce the thesis and supporting evidence.

2. Drafting the Persuasive Essay

When writing the initial draft of a persuasive essay, consider the following suggestions:

 The introductory paragraph should have a strong “hook” that grabs the reader’s attention.
 unusual fact or statistic
 a question or quotation
 an emphatic statement

 The thesis statement should leave no doubts about the writer’s position.
 Each body paragraph should cover a separate point, and the sentences of each paragraph
should offer strong evidence in the form of
 facts
 statistics
 quotes from experts
 real-life examples.

 Consider various ways to make the argument, including using an

 analogy
 drawing comparisons
 illustrating with hypothetical situation (e.g., what if, suppose that…).

 Don’t assume the audience has in-depth knowledge of the issue.

 Define terms
 give background information.

 The concluding paragraph should summarize the most important evidence and encourage the
reader to adopt the position or take action. The closing sentence can be
 a dramatic plea
 a prediction that implies urgent action is needed
 a question that provokes readers to think seriously about the issue
 or a recommendation that gives readers specific ideas on what they can do.

3. Revising the Persuasive Essay

In the revision phase, students review, modify, and reorganize their work with the goal of
making it the best it can be. Keep these considerations in mind:

 Does the essay present a firm position on the issue, supported by relevant facts, statistics,
quotes, and examples?
 Does the essay open with an effective “hook” that intrigues readers and keeps them
 Does each paragraph offer compelling evidence focused on a single supporting point?
 Is the opposing point of view presented and convincingly refuted?
 Is the sentence structure varied? Is the word choice precise? Do the transitions between
sentences and paragraphs help the reader’s understanding?
 Does the concluding paragraph convey the value of the writer’s position and urge the
reader to think and act?

If the essay is still missing the mark, take another look the thesis. Does it present the strongest
argument? Test it by writing a thesis statement for the opposing viewpoint. In comparison, does
the original thesis need strengthening? Once the thesis presents a well-built argument with a
clear adversarial viewpoint, the rest of the essay should fall into place more easily.

4. Editing the Persuasive Essay

Next, proofread and correct errors in grammar and mechanics, and edit to improve style and
clarity. Having a friend read the essay helps writers edit with a fresh perspective.

5. Publishing the Persuasive Essay

Sharing a persuasive essay with the rest of the class can be both exciting and intimidating. Learn
from the experience and use the feedback to make the next essay even better.

1. Have a narrow audience

2. How this benefits you, the reason why, up front

Attention. Interest. Desire. Action.

It’s an easy, step-by-step formula for writing almost any marketing project. Over the years, it’s
saved me from going astray many times.

Let’s say you just landed your first sales letter gig. Where do you start?

Demand Their Attention

Gaining attention in today’s media-soaked environment is never easy. The key is knowledge;
knowing what makes your audience tick – their pain points, desires and values. It’s a place for
drama, mystery, tough questions or bold promises.

You only get one chance, so get it right.

Get Their Interest

OK, you’ve got their attention. How do you keep it?

Simple – you deliver on whatever you used to gain their attention. Tell them how your product or
service offers them what they want. And do it quickly.

Create Desire

Your job now is to build a strong desire for your product or service. You already told them how
your product can help.

Now you need to make it irresistible. Paint a picture of success. Tell a story. Use real-life

But be realistic. Lie or exaggerate, and you’ll blow the deal.

Make it good. But make it real.

Ask for Action

Is the call to action the most-overlooked element of marketing? I’d say yes.

After you’ve gone to all the trouble of getting your reader’s attention, building interest and
creating desire, you absolutely must tell your reader what to do.

If you already made a strong offer, then amplify it here. Or direct your reader to the next step.

Whatever you do, do it well. This is the point where all your hard work pays off, and simply
penning a throwaway like “call or visit today” isn’t good enough.

It Works

Dissect almost any direct response appeal (and that includes most online marketing), and you’ll
see AIDA in action. The order might be altered, and some tack on new elements (like
Satisfaction), but the basics are the same.

Give Me an “E”
Given how hard it is to acquire a customer in today’s message-rich world – and the growth of
interactive online communities – I’d suggest it’s time to tack an “E” onto AIDA. What’s the E?

You work hard to sell a widget. Why not leverage that work to sell a lifetime of widgets? The
mechanism would vary. Perhaps your call to action (or the fulfillment) includes a visit to your
client’s blog.

AIDAE? Perhaps the next evolution of AIDA. And the subject of another post.

In the meantime, use AIDA. It’s a proven performer. It offers you a foundation for your
marketing efforts. And it functions as a useful checklist, so you don’t write that sales letter and in
a rush of enthusiasm, send it off without a proper call to action.

1. PAS

The classic PAS copywriting formula captures the essence of every salespersons pitch
throughout all of time. The formula goes like this:

 Problem. This is where you put the issue on the table. Talk about how it affects your
reader, and establish an emotional connection with your audience that hooks them and
makes them want to read more.
 Agitate the problem. Step 2 is the fun part where you get to go into specifics about the
problem at hand.. Empathize and make it personal by discussing how it has adversely
affected you or the industry in general. Use examples and link to sources that will back
up your ideas.
 Trot out the solution. At this point, your audience should be shaking their heads in
disbelief at how bad the problem is, or at least nodding in agreement. Now you get to be
the hero, since you have the solution. You had it all along; your readers were banking on
it. Everything else was a trail of breadcrumbs leading up to the big reveal.

2. FAB

This copywriting formula stands for Features, Advantages, and Benefits. While at first glance it
appears to be a prime candidate for writing product descriptions, it is in fact an excellent strategy
for introducing a new idea, or to present an old idea in a new light.

For example, let’s say you are writing a blog post entitle 7 Reasons Red Couches are the Hot
New Trend. You aren’t necessarily solving a problem, so PAS doesn’t come into play, although
some couples might want to disagree. What you are mostly doing is making a case for red
couches, so using the FAB formula let’s you start talking it up right out of the gate. Example:

 Features. Red couches come in all styles, from traditional to modern, and in every shade
from lipstick to burgundy.
 Advantages. No matter which style you prefer, choosing such an inherently bold color
will make a decor statement.
 Benefits. Such a bold statement piece gives you the freedom to really jazz up the space
with equally bold accents, or make your couch the focal point by sprinkling more
subdued pieces to complement.


This is another sales-based copywriting formula that translates well when applied to content

 Picture. Paint a picture that gets attention and creates desire for your product, service or
 Promise. Describe how your product/service/idea will deliver.
 Prove. Provide support for your promise by way of trusted sources or demonstrations.
 Push. Ask your reader to commit, otherwise known as a call to action (CTA).

4. Star. Story. Solution.

This formula is about as simple as it gets, and is especially effective when applied to content you
intend to share on social media. In fact, it is probably my favorite copywriting strategy and my
go-to solution for generating ideas.

 Star. In this copywriting formula, you get to write the scene, and the main character or
your story is the star. The star can be anything from a product or service to an idea or
even the reader.
 Story. This is where you want to create tension, explain a problem (like Agitate in the
PAS formula), and set the scene for your Star to make a grand entrance.
 Solution. The story has been told, the problem has been outlined, and now you are free to
demonstrate how your star is the solution.

5. Star-Chain-Hook

Originally created as an advertising formula for copywriting, this one also lends itself well to
other content. It goes like this:

 Star. This is your opening—make it a positive and upbeat one that gets attention.Pick a
star, or hero, or whatever product/service/idea you are presenting, and hitch your wagon
to it.
 Chain. Create a chain of facts, sources, benefits and reasons the reader should turn their
interest into attention.
 Hook. Now that you’ve garnered first their interest then their attention, hook your readers
will a strong call to action.

6. The String of Pearls

While this is classified as a copywriting formula, it is more of a method than anything you need
to memorize. Essentially, the idea is write a series of small stories, details, or “pearls” that could
each stand alone, then string them together to create a larger, more persuasive story that will
elicit an emotional response in your reader.

The listicle is one good example of using The String of Pearls to good effect. Each item in the
list is one good reason or story in and of itself, but is even stronger when combined with other
similar stories.


 Awareness. Present the situation or problem. Create an awareness of it.

 Comprehension. Help your reader understand the details and how it does or will affect
them, and explain that you have the solution.
 Conviction. Create a desire and conviction in your reader to use your solution.
 Action. Again, as always, create a strong call to action that harnesses the power of your
readers conviction to utilize your solution and share it with others.

8. The Fan Dancer

I’m specifically addressing headlines with this copywriting formula. Just like the dance it is
named for, The Fan Dancer technique is used to entice readers without actually revealing
anything. Use The Fan Dancer copywriting formula to write an enticing headline and back it up
with engaging content.

9. A Forest

Finally, I bring you what is really a formula for remembering time-tested copywriting
components that will transfer over to any kind of content. Not sure your content is enticing or
memorable? Remember A Forest:

 Alliteration
 Facts
 Opinions
 Repetition
 Examples
 Statistics
 Threes (Repeat something three times to make it memorable.)

The three main means of persuasion are:

 Reason – appealing to your audience’s rationality and logic. Giving your point of view
in an informed and fair manner.
 Emotion – creating feelings in your audience that lead them to your point of view.
 Beliefs – using the values and beliefs of your audience to build your argument.

PEEL: Point, Evidence, Evaluation, Link

You can apply the PEEL technique – originally designed to make academic writing more
compelling persuasive, and easy to read – to your blog writing, journalistic writing and
nonfiction books.
This technique makes your argument easy to follow and helps the reader see you are giving a fair
and balanced point of view.

The ultimate authority must always rest with the individual’s own reason and critical analysis.
~ Dalai Lama


In the opening sentence, make your point. This is also known as the topic sentence, as it
introduces the topic you’re about to discuss.


In the next one or two sentences, give evidence to expand upon and support the point you made.
Evidence can include statistics, research findings, and quoting an authority or a primary text,
such as the Bible or classic literature. Depending on the type of writing and the audience you’re
writing for, you can also use anecdotes and stories from history and your own experience.


In the following sentences, you evaluate the merits of your point and any evidence against it.
This shows you’re willing to engage with other points of view, and rather than undermining your
argument, it serves to strengthen it.

Your evaluation can include research findings that contradict the evidence you provided, quoting
authorities who disagree with you. Again, it can include anecdotes and stories.


Finally, link your point to the point you’ll make in the next paragraph.

As well as giving a good flow to your writing, this helps you create a good overall structure as
paragraphs on similar themes naturally end up together.

(N.B. As paragraphs in blog posts are shorter, the PEEL technique can cover several paragraphs
or even a whole blog post. Bloggers can Link to the overall theme of the blog, or give a taster of
what they’ll be writing about next).
Tips for Writing Persuasively
1. Define your objective. "The first step is to think about the purpose of your content," she said.
"From there, work backwards. Think about what objections you need to overcome, what
questions need answered, and what you need to do to make the reader believe you."

2. Mirror their feelings. Next, you have write in a way that speaks to your target audience's
needs, desires, and pain points. How do you do that? "When it comes to writing your marketing
messages, you'll be surprised how much you can "steal" from your customers. Listen to the
phrases they use; and repeat those back to them in your writing," Duistermaat said.

3. Translate features into benefits. Persuasive writing means leveraging features into benefits
to add substance and credibility. "The benefits tap into your readers' emotions---that's how you
connect with them. The features provide the rational facts that justify a purchase, but the
benefits, the emotions do the actual selling," she said. Putting features to work as benefits means
creating a "buy now" mindset for the reader.