Whether the story is fictional or not, there are less well-known persuasive writing techniques you can use to make it more appealing. Sometimes all it takes is a little reminding and boom, just like that new ideas come on like cerebral wildfire. In this article we’ll look at eight reliable methods you can use to compel your readers into deeper personal involvement.
#1: Almighty Propaganda
Not to get dark or anything, but look at how well certain governments and corporate bodies throughout modern history have used propaganda to persuade the masses do any number of oddball things.
- Are you adequately repeating the theme of the story in different ways?
- Are you creating characters that deepen the story by reinforcing your point, or pull it apart?
- If you need the reader to feel or imaginatively see something, then it bears repeating.
Listen, the facts are in ladies and gentlemen: if you repeat a theme, a moral or even a marketing slogan to someone through a story about ten times over a short period you’ll imprint it within their minds. Say the same thing, show the same scene, or make the same impression in a series of different ways like creative and subtle propaganda.
#2: Provide Reasons – Anything Will Do
Give the readers good reason they should continue on with the next paragraph, buy the product, get involved with the character or even take you seriously as a writer. One of the most powerful words in your reason-arsenal is “because.”
Why because? Who because? When because? What because? Everything needs to have because after it in one way or another for readers to buy into whatever story you’re selling. And here’s the key, your reasons don’t technically need to make sense.
Of course in non-fiction this is situational, but for sales copy and fiction writing in general the reasons just need to be good enough to persuade, right? Since most human beings are persuaded emotionally, there’s a big grey area in the reasoning department.
#3: Consistent Upward Climbs
Rollercoasters are awesome, but they’re also mentally exhausting. If you want to drive readers nuts and have them begging for a CTA (call to action), then build your story with steady unchanging upwards momentum. Think about it from a psychological perspective.
How much of human society is based on consistency? The power grid, entertainment, the work force etc. We’re mentally programmed not to come across as inconsistent. So, consistency needs to be woven into the fabric of your persuasive writing.
#4: Lavish Readers with Social Proof
Social proof is about tapping into another engrained trait – need for acceptance. Whether we want to admit it or not, we like to do what everyone else is doing. A simple example is, pretend you have a choice between two items of equal price and quality. One has customer testimonials extolling its virtues while the other does not.
Which one do you think roughly 8 out of 10 people go with? Now, those testimonials could be completely false. It doesn’t occur to us to check their validity. Once you learn to recognize social proofing you begin to see it in all of the most powerful writing, regardless of genre.
#5: Parables, Allegories, Metaphors & Similes
You could throw Myths in that list as well. This is the stuff that drives the human mind into frenzy. The trick, and the challenging part, is to make them original. How many creative, funny and ironic comparisons (simile) can you make between a mouse and a man?
Metaphors get complex ideas across in a digestible way, through story. They make direct connections in indirect ways. Allegories are tough. Try making one of those up. Think about Plato’s timeless “Allegory of the Cave”.
There is perhaps nothing more powerful than the proper and effective use of these tools. You can dramatically sweep minds right off their feet and into your arms (see what I just did there?). Study them and whenever you can, use them.
#6: Appeal to the Human Animal
Objectively, human beings are beings just like any others, at least in a physical sense. We’re governed to certain degrees, by instincts. These instincts go back hundreds of thousands of years. Jealousy, envy, acceptance into the tribe etc. When you really want to grab someone, grab them tribally. We all intimately understand the concept of “tribe.” Modern tribes are everywhere!
#7: Unrestrained and yet Structured Insanity
Go crazy. Do the unexpected and throw a few proverbial BIC lighters into the fire when no one’s looking. Upset the tribe. The key is to only allow true chaos to reign momentarily. If you sustain it too long the writing will thin out and all connection might be lost. Structure the insanity.
#8: Get Psychological
Last but not least, when your writing needs to evolve go psychological. It’s all psychological regardless really. Become the captain of that ship rather than the guy up in the crow’s nest. As the writer, you’re in control of the rudder of your story, not the audience. Use their minds as your persuasive sails.
Have you created your own story? Do you have any tips for writing with persuasion?