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How to Write an Argumentative Essay | Examples & Tips

Published on July 24, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.

An argumentative essay expresses an extended argument for a particular thesis statement . The author takes a clearly defined stance on their subject and builds up an evidence-based case for it.

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Table of contents

When do you write an argumentative essay, approaches to argumentative essays, introducing your argument, the body: developing your argument, concluding your argument, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about argumentative essays.

You might be assigned an argumentative essay as a writing exercise in high school or in a composition class. The prompt will often ask you to argue for one of two positions, and may include terms like “argue” or “argument.” It will frequently take the form of a question.

The prompt may also be more open-ended in terms of the possible arguments you could make.

Argumentative writing at college level

At university, the vast majority of essays or papers you write will involve some form of argumentation. For example, both rhetorical analysis and literary analysis essays involve making arguments about texts.

In this context, you won’t necessarily be told to write an argumentative essay—but making an evidence-based argument is an essential goal of most academic writing, and this should be your default approach unless you’re told otherwise.

Examples of argumentative essay prompts

At a university level, all the prompts below imply an argumentative essay as the appropriate response.

Your research should lead you to develop a specific position on the topic. The essay then argues for that position and aims to convince the reader by presenting your evidence, evaluation and analysis.

  • Don’t just list all the effects you can think of.
  • Do develop a focused argument about the overall effect and why it matters, backed up by evidence from sources.
  • Don’t just provide a selection of data on the measures’ effectiveness.
  • Do build up your own argument about which kinds of measures have been most or least effective, and why.
  • Don’t just analyze a random selection of doppelgänger characters.
  • Do form an argument about specific texts, comparing and contrasting how they express their thematic concerns through doppelgänger characters.

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persuasive essay writing devices

An argumentative essay should be objective in its approach; your arguments should rely on logic and evidence, not on exaggeration or appeals to emotion.

There are many possible approaches to argumentative essays, but there are two common models that can help you start outlining your arguments: The Toulmin model and the Rogerian model.

Toulmin arguments

The Toulmin model consists of four steps, which may be repeated as many times as necessary for the argument:

  • Make a claim
  • Provide the grounds (evidence) for the claim
  • Explain the warrant (how the grounds support the claim)
  • Discuss possible rebuttals to the claim, identifying the limits of the argument and showing that you have considered alternative perspectives

The Toulmin model is a common approach in academic essays. You don’t have to use these specific terms (grounds, warrants, rebuttals), but establishing a clear connection between your claims and the evidence supporting them is crucial in an argumentative essay.

Say you’re making an argument about the effectiveness of workplace anti-discrimination measures. You might:

  • Claim that unconscious bias training does not have the desired results, and resources would be better spent on other approaches
  • Cite data to support your claim
  • Explain how the data indicates that the method is ineffective
  • Anticipate objections to your claim based on other data, indicating whether these objections are valid, and if not, why not.

Rogerian arguments

The Rogerian model also consists of four steps you might repeat throughout your essay:

  • Discuss what the opposing position gets right and why people might hold this position
  • Highlight the problems with this position
  • Present your own position , showing how it addresses these problems
  • Suggest a possible compromise —what elements of your position would proponents of the opposing position benefit from adopting?

This model builds up a clear picture of both sides of an argument and seeks a compromise. It is particularly useful when people tend to disagree strongly on the issue discussed, allowing you to approach opposing arguments in good faith.

Say you want to argue that the internet has had a positive impact on education. You might:

  • Acknowledge that students rely too much on websites like Wikipedia
  • Argue that teachers view Wikipedia as more unreliable than it really is
  • Suggest that Wikipedia’s system of citations can actually teach students about referencing
  • Suggest critical engagement with Wikipedia as a possible assignment for teachers who are skeptical of its usefulness.

You don’t necessarily have to pick one of these models—you may even use elements of both in different parts of your essay—but it’s worth considering them if you struggle to structure your arguments.

Regardless of which approach you take, your essay should always be structured using an introduction , a body , and a conclusion .

Like other academic essays, an argumentative essay begins with an introduction . The introduction serves to capture the reader’s interest, provide background information, present your thesis statement , and (in longer essays) to summarize the structure of the body.

Hover over different parts of the example below to see how a typical introduction works.

The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts is on the rise, and its role in learning is hotly debated. For many teachers who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its critical benefits for students and educators—as a uniquely comprehensive and accessible information source; a means of exposure to and engagement with different perspectives; and a highly flexible learning environment.

The body of an argumentative essay is where you develop your arguments in detail. Here you’ll present evidence, analysis, and reasoning to convince the reader that your thesis statement is true.

In the standard five-paragraph format for short essays, the body takes up three of your five paragraphs. In longer essays, it will be more paragraphs, and might be divided into sections with headings.

Each paragraph covers its own topic, introduced with a topic sentence . Each of these topics must contribute to your overall argument; don’t include irrelevant information.

This example paragraph takes a Rogerian approach: It first acknowledges the merits of the opposing position and then highlights problems with that position.

Hover over different parts of the example to see how a body paragraph is constructed.

A common frustration for teachers is students’ use of Wikipedia as a source in their writing. Its prevalence among students is not exaggerated; a survey found that the vast majority of the students surveyed used Wikipedia (Head & Eisenberg, 2010). An article in The Guardian stresses a common objection to its use: “a reliance on Wikipedia can discourage students from engaging with genuine academic writing” (Coomer, 2013). Teachers are clearly not mistaken in viewing Wikipedia usage as ubiquitous among their students; but the claim that it discourages engagement with academic sources requires further investigation. This point is treated as self-evident by many teachers, but Wikipedia itself explicitly encourages students to look into other sources. Its articles often provide references to academic publications and include warning notes where citations are missing; the site’s own guidelines for research make clear that it should be used as a starting point, emphasizing that users should always “read the references and check whether they really do support what the article says” (“Wikipedia:Researching with Wikipedia,” 2020). Indeed, for many students, Wikipedia is their first encounter with the concepts of citation and referencing. The use of Wikipedia therefore has a positive side that merits deeper consideration than it often receives.

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An argumentative essay ends with a conclusion that summarizes and reflects on the arguments made in the body.

No new arguments or evidence appear here, but in longer essays you may discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your argument and suggest topics for future research. In all conclusions, you should stress the relevance and importance of your argument.

Hover over the following example to see the typical elements of a conclusion.

The internet has had a major positive impact on the world of education; occasional pitfalls aside, its value is evident in numerous applications. The future of teaching lies in the possibilities the internet opens up for communication, research, and interactivity. As the popularity of distance learning shows, students value the flexibility and accessibility offered by digital education, and educators should fully embrace these advantages. The internet’s dangers, real and imaginary, have been documented exhaustively by skeptics, but the internet is here to stay; it is time to focus seriously on its potential for good.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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An argumentative essay tends to be a longer essay involving independent research, and aims to make an original argument about a topic. Its thesis statement makes a contentious claim that must be supported in an objective, evidence-based way.

An expository essay also aims to be objective, but it doesn’t have to make an original argument. Rather, it aims to explain something (e.g., a process or idea) in a clear, concise way. Expository essays are often shorter assignments and rely less on research.

At college level, you must properly cite your sources in all essays , research papers , and other academic texts (except exams and in-class exercises).

Add a citation whenever you quote , paraphrase , or summarize information or ideas from a source. You should also give full source details in a bibliography or reference list at the end of your text.

The exact format of your citations depends on which citation style you are instructed to use. The most common styles are APA , MLA , and Chicago .

The majority of the essays written at university are some sort of argumentative essay . Unless otherwise specified, you can assume that the goal of any essay you’re asked to write is argumentative: To convince the reader of your position using evidence and reasoning.

In composition classes you might be given assignments that specifically test your ability to write an argumentative essay. Look out for prompts including instructions like “argue,” “assess,” or “discuss” to see if this is the goal.

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Using Rhetorical Strategies for Persuasion

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These OWL resources will help you develop and refine the arguments in your writing.

There are three types of rhetorical appeals, or persuasive strategies, used in arguments to support claims and respond to opposing arguments. A good argument will generally use a combination of all three appeals to make its case.

Logos or the appeal to reason relies on logic or reason. Logos often depends on the use of inductive or deductive reasoning.

Inductive reasoning takes a specific representative case or facts and then draws generalizations or conclusions from them. Inductive reasoning must be based on a sufficient amount of reliable evidence. In other words, the facts you draw on must fairly represent the larger situation or population. Example:

In this example the specific case of fair trade agreements with coffee producers is being used as the starting point for the claim. Because these agreements have worked the author concludes that it could work for other farmers as well.

Deductive reasoning begins with a generalization and then applies it to a specific case. The generalization you start with must have been based on a sufficient amount of reliable evidence.Example:

In this example the author starts with a large claim, that genetically modified seeds have been problematic everywhere, and from this draws the more localized or specific conclusion that Mexico will be affected in the same way.

Avoid Logical Fallacies

These are some common errors in reasoning that will undermine the logic of your argument. Also, watch out for these slips in other people's arguments.

Slippery slope: This is a conclusion based on the premise that if A happens, then eventually through a series of small steps, through B, C,..., X, Y, Z will happen, too, basically equating A and Z. So, if we don't want Z to occur A must not be allowed to occur either. Example:

In this example the author is equating banning Hummers with banning all cars, which is not the same thing.

Hasty Generalization: This is a conclusion based on insufficient or biased evidence. In other words, you are rushing to a conclusion before you have all the relevant facts. Example:

In this example the author is basing their evaluation of the entire course on only one class, and on the first day which is notoriously boring and full of housekeeping tasks for most courses. To make a fair and reasonable evaluation the author must attend several classes, and possibly even examine the textbook, talk to the professor, or talk to others who have previously finished the course in order to have sufficient evidence to base a conclusion on.

Post hoc ergo propter hoc: This is a conclusion that assumes that if 'A' occurred after 'B' then 'B' must have caused 'A.' Example:

In this example the author assumes that if one event chronologically follows another the first event must have caused the second. But the illness could have been caused by the burrito the night before, a flu bug that had been working on the body for days, or a chemical spill across campus. There is no reason, without more evidence, to assume the water caused the person to be sick.

Genetic Fallacy: A conclusion is based on an argument that the origins of a person, idea, institute, or theory determine its character, nature, or worth. Example:

In this example the author is equating the character of a car with the character of the people who built the car.

Begging the Claim: The conclusion that the writer should prove is validated within the claim. Example:

Arguing that coal pollutes the earth and thus should be banned would be logical. But the very conclusion that should be proved, that coal causes enough pollution to warrant banning its use, is already assumed in the claim by referring to it as "filthy and polluting."

Circular Argument: This restates the argument rather than actually proving it. Example:

In this example the conclusion that Bush is a "good communicator" and the evidence used to prove it "he speaks effectively" are basically the same idea. Specific evidence such as using everyday language, breaking down complex problems, or illustrating his points with humorous stories would be needed to prove either half of the sentence.

Either/or: This is a conclusion that oversimplifies the argument by reducing it to only two sides or choices. Example:

In this example where two choices are presented as the only options, yet the author ignores a range of choices in between such as developing cleaner technology, car sharing systems for necessities and emergencies, or better community planning to discourage daily driving.

Ad hominem: This is an attack on the character of a person rather than their opinions or arguments. Example:

In this example the author doesn't even name particular strategies Green Peace has suggested, much less evaluate those strategies on their merits. Instead, the author attacks the characters of the individuals in the group.

Ad populum: This is an emotional appeal that speaks to positive (such as patriotism, religion, democracy) or negative (such as terrorism or fascism) concepts rather than the real issue at hand. Example:

In this example the author equates being a "true American," a concept that people want to be associated with, particularly in a time of war, with allowing people to buy any vehicle they want even though there is no inherent connection between the two.

Red Herring: This is a diversionary tactic that avoids the key issues, often by avoiding opposing arguments rather than addressing them. Example:

In this example the author switches the discussion away from the safety of the food and talks instead about an economic issue, the livelihood of those catching fish. While one issue may affect the other, it does not mean we should ignore possible safety issues because of possible economic consequences to a few individuals.

Ethos or the ethical appeal is based on the character, credibility, or reliability of the writer. There are many ways to establish good character and credibility as an author:

  • Use only credible, reliable sources to build your argument and cite those sources properly.
  • Respect the reader by stating the opposing position accurately.
  • Establish common ground with your audience. Most of the time, this can be done by acknowledging values and beliefs shared by those on both sides of the argument.
  • If appropriate for the assignment, disclose why you are interested in this topic or what personal experiences you have had with the topic.
  • Organize your argument in a logical, easy to follow manner. You can use the Toulmin method of logic or a simple pattern such as chronological order, most general to most detailed example, earliest to most recent example, etc.
  • Proofread the argument. Too many careless grammar mistakes cast doubt on your character as a writer.

Pathos , or emotional appeal, appeals to an audience's needs, values, and emotional sensibilities.  Pathos can also be understood as an appeal to audience's disposition to a topic, evidence, or argument (especially appropriate to academic discourse). 

Argument emphasizes reason, but used properly there is often a place for emotion as well. Emotional appeals can use sources such as interviews and individual stories to paint a more legitimate and moving picture of reality or illuminate the truth. For example, telling the story of a single child who has been abused may make for a more persuasive argument than simply the number of children abused each year because it would give a human face to the numbers.  Academic arguments in particular ​benefit from understanding pathos as appealing to an audience's academic disposition.

Only use an emotional appeal if it truly supports the claim you are making, not as a way to distract from the real issues of debate. An argument should never use emotion to misrepresent the topic or frighten people.

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40 Strong Persuasive Writing Examples (Essays, Speeches, Ads, and More)

Learn from the experts.

The American Crisis historical article, as an instance of persuasive essay examples

The more we read, the better writers we become. Teaching students to write strong persuasive essays should always start with reading some top-notch models. This round-up of persuasive writing examples includes famous speeches, influential ad campaigns, contemporary reviews of famous books, and more. Use them to inspire your students to write their own essays. (Need persuasive essay topics? Check out our list of interesting persuasive essay ideas here! )

  • Persuasive Essays
  • Persuasive Speeches
  • Advertising Campaigns

Persuasive Essay Writing Examples

First paragraph of Thomas Paine's The American Crisis

From the earliest days of print, authors have used persuasive essays to try to sway others to their own point of view. Check out these top persuasive essay writing examples.

Professions for Women by Virginia Woolf

Sample lines: “Outwardly, what is simpler than to write books? Outwardly, what obstacles are there for a woman rather than for a man? Inwardly, I think, the case is very different; she has still many ghosts to fight, many prejudices to overcome. Indeed it will be a long time still, I think, before a woman can sit down to write a book without finding a phantom to be slain, a rock to be dashed against. And if this is so in literature, the freest of all professions for women, how is it in the new professions which you are now for the first time entering?”

The Crisis by Thomas Paine

Sample lines: “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.”

Politics and the English Language by George Orwell

Sample lines: “As I have tried to show, modern writing at its worst does not consist in picking out words for the sake of their meaning and inventing images in order to make the meaning clearer. It consists in gumming together long strips of words which have already been set in order by someone else, and making the results presentable by sheer humbug.”

Letter From a Birmingham Jail by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Sample lines: “We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was ‘well timed’ in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word ‘Wait!’ It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This ‘Wait’ has almost always meant ‘Never.’ We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that ‘justice too long delayed is justice denied.'”

Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau

Sample lines: “Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it. It is only expressing to men feebly your desire that it should prevail. A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority. There is but little virtue in the action of masses of men.”

Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Roger Ebert

Sample lines: “‘Kindness’ covers all of my political beliefs. No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime.”

The Way to Wealth by Benjamin Franklin

Sample lines: “Methinks I hear some of you say, must a man afford himself no leisure? I will tell thee, my friend, what Poor Richard says, employ thy time well if thou meanest to gain leisure; and, since thou art not sure of a minute, throw not away an hour. Leisure is time for doing something useful; this leisure the diligent man will obtain, but the lazy man never; so that, as Poor Richard says, a life of leisure and a life of laziness are two things.”

The Crack-Up by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Sample lines: “Of course all life is a process of breaking down, but the blows that do the dramatic side of the work—the big sudden blows that come, or seem to come, from outside—the ones you remember and blame things on and, in moments of weakness, tell your friends about, don’t show their effect all at once.”

Open Letter to the Kansas School Board by Bobby Henderson

Sample lines: “I am writing you with much concern after having read of your hearing to decide whether the alternative theory of Intelligent Design should be taught along with the theory of Evolution. … Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. … We feel strongly that the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing towards evolutionary processes is nothing but a coincidence, put in place by Him. It is for this reason that I’m writing you today, to formally request that this alternative theory be taught in your schools, along with the other two theories.”

Open Letter to the United Nations by Niels Bohr

Sample lines: “Humanity will, therefore, be confronted with dangers of unprecedented character unless, in due time, measures can be taken to forestall a disastrous competition in such formidable armaments and to establish an international control of the manufacture and use of the powerful materials.”

Persuasive Speech Writing Examples

Many persuasive speeches are political in nature, often addressing subjects like human rights. Here are some of history’s most well-known persuasive writing examples in the form of speeches.

I Have a Dream by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Sample lines: “And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

Woodrow Wilson’s War Message to Congress, 1917

Sample lines: “There are, it may be, many months of fiery trial and sacrifice ahead of us. It is a fearful thing to lead this great peaceful people into war, into the most terrible and disastrous of all wars, civilization itself seeming to be in the balance. But the right is more precious than peace, and we shall fight for the things which we have always carried nearest our hearts—for democracy, for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own governments, for the rights and liberties of small nations, for a universal dominion of right by such a concert of free peoples as shall bring peace and safety to all nations and make the world itself at last free.”

Chief Seattle’s 1854 Oration

Sample lines: “I here and now make this condition that we will not be denied the privilege without molestation of visiting at any time the tombs of our ancestors, friends, and children. Every part of this soil is sacred in the estimation of my people. Every hillside, every valley, every plain and grove, has been hallowed by some sad or happy event in days long vanished. Even the rocks, which seem to be dumb and dead as they swelter in the sun along the silent shore, thrill with memories of stirring events connected with the lives of my people, and the very dust upon which you now stand responds more lovingly to their footsteps than yours, because it is rich with the blood of our ancestors, and our bare feet are conscious of the sympathetic touch.”

Women’s Rights Are Human Rights, Hillary Rodham Clinton

Sample lines: “What we are learning around the world is that if women are healthy and educated, their families will flourish. If women are free from violence, their families will flourish. If women have a chance to work and earn as full and equal partners in society, their families will flourish. And when families flourish, communities and nations do as well. … If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights once and for all.”

I Am Prepared to Die, Nelson Mandela

Sample lines: “Above all, My Lord, we want equal political rights, because without them our disabilities will be permanent. I know this sounds revolutionary to the whites in this country, because the majority of voters will be Africans. This makes the white man fear democracy. But this fear cannot be allowed to stand in the way of the only solution which will guarantee racial harmony and freedom for all. It is not true that the enfranchisement of all will result in racial domination. Political division, based on color, is entirely artificial and, when it disappears, so will the domination of one color group by another. … This then is what the ANC is fighting. Our struggle is a truly national one. It is a struggle of the African people, inspired by our own suffering and our own experience. It is a struggle for the right to live.”

The Struggle for Human Rights by Eleanor Roosevelt

Sample lines: “It is my belief, and I am sure it is also yours, that the struggle for democracy and freedom is a critical struggle, for their preservation is essential to the great objective of the United Nations to maintain international peace and security. Among free men the end cannot justify the means. We know the patterns of totalitarianism—the single political party, the control of schools, press, radio, the arts, the sciences, and the church to support autocratic authority; these are the age-old patterns against which men have struggled for 3,000 years. These are the signs of reaction, retreat, and retrogression. The United Nations must hold fast to the heritage of freedom won by the struggle of its people; it must help us to pass it on to generations to come.”

Freedom From Fear by Aung San Suu Kyi

Sample lines: “Saints, it has been said, are the sinners who go on trying. So free men are the oppressed who go on trying and who in the process make themselves fit to bear the responsibilities and to uphold the disciplines which will maintain a free society. Among the basic freedoms to which men aspire that their lives might be full and uncramped, freedom from fear stands out as both a means and an end. A people who would build a nation in which strong, democratic institutions are firmly established as a guarantee against state-induced power must first learn to liberate their own minds from apathy and fear.”

Harvey Milk’s “The Hope” Speech

Sample lines: “Some people are satisfied. And some people are not. You see there is a major difference—and it remains a vital difference—between a friend and a gay person, a friend in office and a gay person in office. Gay people have been slandered nationwide. We’ve been tarred and we’ve been brushed with the picture of pornography. In Dade County, we were accused of child molestation. It is not enough anymore just to have friends represent us, no matter how good that friend may be.”

The Union and the Strike, Cesar Chavez

Sample lines: “We are showing our unity in our strike. Our strike is stopping the work in the fields; our strike is stopping ships that would carry grapes; our strike is stopping the trucks that would carry the grapes. Our strike will stop every way the grower makes money until we have a union contract that guarantees us a fair share of the money he makes from our work! We are a union and we are strong and we are striking to force the growers to respect our strength!”

Nobel Lecture by Malala Yousafzai

Sample lines: “The world can no longer accept that basic education is enough. Why do leaders accept that for children in developing countries, only basic literacy is sufficient, when their own children do homework in algebra, mathematics, science, and physics? Leaders must seize this opportunity to guarantee a free, quality, primary and secondary education for every child. Some will say this is impractical, or too expensive, or too hard. Or maybe even impossible. But it is time the world thinks bigger.”   

Persuasive Writing Examples in Advertising Campaigns

Ads are prime persuasive writing examples. You can flip open any magazine or watch TV for an hour or two to see sample after sample of persuasive language. Here are some of the most popular ad campaigns of all time, with links to articles explaining why they were so successful.

Nike: Just Do It


The iconic swoosh with the simple tagline has persuaded millions to buy their kicks from Nike and Nike alone. Teamed with pro sports-star endorsements, this campaign is one for the ages. Blinkist offers an opinion on what made it work.

Dove: Real Beauty

Beauty brand Dove changed the game by choosing “real” women to tell their stories instead of models. They used relatable images and language to make connections, and inspired other brands to try the same concept. Learn why Global Brands considers this one a true success story.

Wendy’s: Where’s the Beef?

Today’s kids are too young to remember the cranky old woman demanding to know where the beef was on her fast-food hamburger. But in the 1980s, it was a catchphrase that sold millions of Wendy’s burgers. Learn from Better Marketing how this ad campaign even found its way into the 1984 presidential debate.

De Beers: A Diamond Is Forever

Diamond engagement ring on black velvet. Text reads "How do you make two months' salary last forever? The Diamond Engagement Ring."

A diamond engagement ring has become a standard these days, but the tradition isn’t as old as you might think. In fact, it was De Beers jewelry company’s 1948 campaign that created the modern engagement ring trend. The Drum has the whole story of this sparkling campaign.

Volkswagen: Think Small

Americans have always loved big cars. So in the 1960s, when Volkswagen wanted to introduce their small cars to a bigger market, they had a problem. The clever “Think Small” campaign gave buyers clever reasons to consider these models, like “If you run out of gas, it’s easy to push.” Learn how advertisers interested American buyers in little cars at Visual Rhetoric.

American Express: Don’t Leave Home Without It

AmEx was once better known for traveler’s checks than credit cards, and the original slogan was “Don’t leave home without them.” A simple word change convinced travelers that American Express was the credit card they needed when they headed out on adventures. Discover more about this persuasive campaign from Medium.

Skittles: Taste the Rainbow

Bag of Skittles candy against a blue background. Text reads

These candy ads are weird and intriguing and probably not for everyone. But they definitely get you thinking, and that often leads to buying. Learn more about why these wacky ads are successful from The Drum.

Maybelline: Maybe She’s Born With It

Smart wordplay made this ad campaign slogan an instant hit. The ads teased, “Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline.” (So many literary devices all in one phrase!) Fashionista has more on this beauty campaign.

Coca-Cola: Share a Coke

Seeing their own name on a bottle made teens more likely to want to buy a Coke. What can that teach us about persuasive writing in general? It’s an interesting question to consider. Learn more about the “Share a Coke” campaign from Digital Vidya.

Always: #LikeaGirl

Always ad showing a young girl holding a softball. Text reads

Talk about the power of words! This Always campaign turned the derogatory phrase “like a girl” on its head, and the world embraced it. Storytelling is an important part of persuasive writing, and these ads really do it well. Medium has more on this stereotype-bashing campaign.   

Editorial Persuasive Writing Examples

Original newspaper editorial

Newspaper editors or publishers use editorials to share their personal opinions. Noted politicians, experts, or pundits may also offer their opinions on behalf of the editors or publishers. Here are a couple of older well-known editorials, along with a selection from current newspapers.

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus (1897)

Sample lines: “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias.”

What’s the Matter With Kansas? (1896)

Sample lines: “Oh, this IS a state to be proud of! We are a people who can hold up our heads! What we need is not more money, but less capital, fewer white shirts and brains, fewer men with business judgment, and more of those fellows who boast that they are ‘just ordinary clodhoppers, but they know more in a minute about finance than John Sherman,’ we need more men … who hate prosperity, and who think, because a man believes in national honor, he is a tool of Wall Street.”

America Can Have Democracy or Political Violence. Not Both. (The New York Times)

Sample lines: “The nation is not powerless to stop a slide toward deadly chaos. If institutions and individuals do more to make it unacceptable in American public life, organized violence in the service of political objectives can still be pushed to the fringes. When a faction of one of the country’s two main political parties embraces extremism, that makes thwarting it both more difficult and more necessary. A well-functioning democracy demands it.”

The Booster Isn’t Perfect, But Still Can Help Against COVID (The Washington Post)

Sample lines: “The booster shots are still free, readily available and work better than the previous boosters even as the virus evolves. Much still needs to be done to build better vaccines that protect longer and against more variants, including those that might emerge in the future. But it is worth grabbing the booster that exists today, the jab being a small price for any measure that can help keep COVID at bay.”

If We Want Wildlife To Thrive in L.A., We Have To Share Our Neighborhoods With Them (Los Angeles Times)

Sample lines: “If there are no corridors for wildlife movement and if excessive excavation of dirt to build bigger, taller houses erodes the slope of a hillside, then we are slowly destroying wildlife habitat. For those people fretting about what this will do to their property values—isn’t open space, trees, and wildlife an amenity in these communities?”   

Persuasive Review Writing Examples

Image of first published New York Times Book Review

Book or movie reviews are more great persuasive writing examples. Look for those written by professionals for the strongest arguments and writing styles. Here are reviews of some popular books and movies by well-known critics to use as samples.

The Great Gatsby (The Chicago Tribune, 1925)

Sample lines: “What ails it, fundamentally, is the plain fact that it is simply a story—that Fitzgerald seems to be far more interested in maintaining its suspense than in getting under the skins of its people. It is not that they are false: It is that they are taken too much for granted. Only Gatsby himself genuinely lives and breathes. The rest are mere marionettes—often astonishingly lifelike, but nevertheless not quite alive.”

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (The Washington Post, 1999)

Sample lines: “Obviously, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone should make any modern 11-year-old a very happy reader. The novel moves quickly, packs in everything from a boa constrictor that winks to a melancholy Zen-spouting centaur to an owl postal system, and ends with a scary surprise. Yet it is, essentially, a light-hearted thriller, interrupted by occasional seriousness (the implications of Harry’s miserable childhood, a moral about the power of love).”

Twilight (The Telegraph, 2009)

Sample lines: “No secret, of course, at whom this book is aimed, and no doubt, either, that it has hit its mark. The four Twilight novels are not so much enjoyed, as devoured, by legions of young female fans worldwide. That’s not to say boys can’t enjoy these books; it’s just that the pages of heart-searching dialogue between Edward and Bella may prove too long on chat and too short on action for the average male reader.”

To Kill a Mockingbird (Time, 1960)

Sample lines: “Author Lee, 34, an Alabaman, has written her first novel with all of the tactile brilliance and none of the preciosity generally supposed to be standard swamp-warfare issue for Southern writers. The novel is an account of an awakening to good and evil, and a faint catechistic flavor may have been inevitable. But it is faint indeed; novelist Lee’s prose has an edge that cuts through cant, and she teaches the reader an astonishing number of useful truths about little girls and about Southern life.”

The Diary of Anne Frank (The New York Times, 1952)

Sample lines: “And this quality brings it home to any family in the world today. Just as the Franks lived in momentary fear of the Gestapo’s knock on their hidden door, so every family today lives in fear of the knock of war. Anne’s diary is a great affirmative answer to the life-question of today, for she shows how ordinary people, within this ordeal, consistently hold to the greater human values.”   

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persuasive essay writing devices

How to Write a Persuasive Essay: An Extensive Guide

persuasive essay writing devices

A persuasive essay seeks to develop students' abilities in persuasion, argumentation, and advocacy for their viewpoints. Also known as argumentative writing, this form of essay utilizes logic and reasoning to establish the dominance of one concept over another. 

The primary goal is to persuade the reader to adopt a specific perspective or take a particular course of action. 

This article explores the definition of a persuasive essay, delves into the distinctions between argumentative and persuasive essays, outlines its fundamental components, and provides crucial writing tips, along with a couple of illustrative examples.

What Is a Persuasive Essay

According to the definition of a persuasive essay, it is a common academic writing assignment often assigned to students in schools, colleges, and universities. The purpose of persuasion in writing is to influence, motivate, or guide readers toward a specific viewpoint or opinion. Engaging in persuasion inherently recognizes the existence of multiple opinions on the subject.

Contrary to the common image of heated exchanges, in writing, an argument takes on a unique form. It embodies a well-reasoned viewpoint supported by evidence and explanations, contributing constructively to the advancement of knowledge and ideas. Written arguments lose effectiveness when emotions overshadow logical reasoning. Although readers may not always align with the presented argument, the goal is to prompt them to respect and contemplate the thesis or opinion as a valid perspective.

Persuasive essays are a frequent task for high school students, especially in English or composition classes, occurring multiple times per semester. In higher education, the frequency varies based on majors and specific courses. Disciplines like English, history, political science, or philosophy often expose students to persuasive essays on multiple occasions throughout a semester.

The Importance of Writing Persuasive Essays

Learning persuasive writing is a foundational skill introduced to students early in their academic journey. It represents a dynamic and enjoyable form of expression designed to spark discussions on chosen subjects. This approach challenges students to adopt a clear stance on specific topics or causes and employ compelling arguments to persuade readers of the author's perspective.

When composing a persuasive essay, students are required to thoroughly investigate the assigned topic, conduct a comprehensive analysis, and take a decisive and argumentative position. Following this, through the use of logical arguments and persuasive language, students must dispel biases and assure readers that the author's viewpoint is the most valid. If, at any point, the task becomes too challenging or time-consuming, our persuasive essay writing service is precisely the support needed to excel in the assignment.

Argumentative vs Persuasive Essay

When students turn to Google with a ' write my paper ' query, the nuances between persuasive and argumentative essays can often perplex them. Despite both being forms of academic writing aiming to sway the reader toward a particular viewpoint or action, several key distinctions exist between the two:


  • Persuasive Purpose: Both types share the primary goal of persuading the reader, influencing their beliefs, attitudes, or actions.
  • Clear Position: In each essay, the writer takes a distinct stance on a specific issue, supporting it with a thesis statement or central claim throughout.
  • Use of Evidence: Both rely on evidence, reasoning, and logical arguments, incorporating facts, examples, statistics, and expert opinions to bolster their case.
  • Counterarguments: Effective essays of both types acknowledge opposing viewpoints (counterarguments) to strengthen their position, showcasing a fair and thorough analysis.
  • Organizational Structure: Both generally follow a similar structure, featuring an introduction, body paragraphs presenting evidence and arguments, and a conclusion summarizing key points and restating the thesis.


Audience and Tone:

  • Persuasive Essays: Typically target a broader audience and may employ a more emotional or persuasive tone, appealing to readers' emotions and values.
  • Argumentative Essays: Aimed at a more academic or formal audience, maintaining an objective tone relying on logical reasoning.

Emphasis on Emotion:

  • Persuasive Essays: May use emotional appeals, storytelling, and rhetorical devices to connect with readers emotionally.
  • Argumentative Essays: Prioritize logical reasoning and factual evidence over emotional appeals.

Use of Personal Experience:

  • Persuasive Essays: Writers may draw on personal anecdotes and experiences to make their case.
  • Argumentative Essays: Generally avoid personal experiences, focusing on empirical evidence and objective reasoning.

Purpose Beyond Convincing:

  • Persuasive Essays: While primarily aimed at persuasion, they may also seek to motivate or prompt readers to take action.
  • Argumentative Essays: The main goal is to prove the validity of a point of view through logical and reasoned arguments.

While both essay types share the objective of persuasion, their approaches, tone, and reliance on emotional appeals differ. The choice between them depends on the intended audience and the specific purpose of the essay. For further guidance on writing an argumentative essay, refer to our comprehensive guide on how to write an argumentative essay .

Persuasive Essay Key Elements and Outline

Persuasive essay essentials and framework.

Curious about commencing a persuasive essay? Incorporate the three essential elements, originating from Aristotle's modes of persuasion, to craft a compelling argument influencing others' viewpoints.

Ethos: Establish your credibility, expertise, and moral integrity. Readers trust individuals with genuine knowledge, personal experience, or a respected position. An ethical appeal in persuasive writing effectively advocates your perspective.

Pathos: Appeal to the audience's emotions to elicit feelings. Forging a connection between readers and your narrative enhances engagement and memorability, sparking interest in your writing.

Logos: Persuasively appeal to the audience's logic and reason. A well-structured persuasive essay unfolds logical arguments, guiding readers to embrace your position convincingly.

A gripping persuasive essay seamlessly integrates these modes, rooted in credibility, emotion, and logic, effectively swaying the audience's opinions. Refer to our guide on how to write a synthesis essay , another common task for students.

Formatting Guidelines

  • Font: Utilize Times New Roman, Georgia, or Arial for clarity.
  • Font Size: Set headlines to 16pt; remaining text to 12pt.
  • Alignment: Maintain justified alignment.
  • Spacing: Use double spacing, with exceptions for 1.5 spacing where applicable.
  • Word Count: Aim for 500 to 2000 words; refer to specific assignment instructions.

Outline Template

For a more lucid guide on crafting an outline for a persuasive essay, here's a template focused on the topic 'Are Women Weaker Than Men Today':

  • Introduction
  • Hook: 'In the 21st century, women transcend traditional roles.'
  • Background Information: 'The age-old debate on women's relative strength persists.'
  • Thesis Statement: 'The era of male dominance gives way to a new reality. Today, women excel in any field or role as men do.'
  • Argument #1: Strength in Family Dynamics + Supporting Facts, Stats, and Evidence
  • Argument #2: Strength in the Workplace + Supporting Facts, Stats, and Evidence
  • Argument #3: Strength in Society + Supporting Facts, Stats, and Evidence
  • Summary of Key Arguments
  • Restate Thesis: 'For centuries, women were unjustly labeled as the weaker sex.'
  • Thought-Provoking Conclusion: 'Women globally prove their capability, dispelling traditional notions. Despite achievements, they strive for greater participation, showcasing enduring resilience and determination.'

persuasive methods

Shaping a Compelling Persuasive Argument

Crafting a potent persuasive argument in your essay is intricately linked to the art of presenting compelling points. Here are key tips to guide you in developing irresistible arguments for your paper:

  • Do Thorough Research: Establish a solid understanding of your chosen topic to formulate persuasive arguments. Conduct extensive research using credible sources, gather expert opinions, and unearth pertinent facts.
  • Ensure Controversy: Construct a thesis that encompasses two contrasting sides – the one you endorse and the one you plan to counter. A persuasive argument thrives on a debatable topic, making it crucial for a compelling narrative.
  • Comprehend Contrary Views: Strengthen your arguments by understanding opposing perspectives. Skillfully identify and address counterarguments, enhancing the robustness of your stance.
  • Utilize Supporting Evidence: A persuasive argument gains credibility through substantial evidence. Ensure your essay is replete with relevant and reliable supporting evidence to bolster your assertions.

Remember, if the task feels overwhelming, you have the option to buy essay paper from seasoned academic writers. This ensures you can excel in your assignment, even when faced with formidable challenges.

support essay argument

Supporting Your Argument

Ensuring the robustness of your persuasive essay involves employing various methods to fortify your argument and resonate with readers:

  • Statistics: Strengthen your ideas by incorporating a range of statistics, as they carry significant weight in the broader context. Ensure the statistics are valid and sourced from reputable sources.

Example: Presently, women constitute 18% of the officer corps and approximately 16% of the enlisted military forces in the United States, reinforcing the notion that women are equally capable as men.

  • Facts: Established facts serve as potent tools of persuasion in your paper.

Example: Research indicates that, in terms of longevity, women are more likely to survive illness and cope with trauma.

  • Examples: Enhance the impact of your persuasive paper by incorporating real-life examples, including personal experiences, references to literature, or historical instances, providing substantial support for your arguments.

Example: Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, serves as a compelling real-life illustration of women's strength. Her success in politics, competing against men, and holding the top spot on Forbes' list of the world's most powerful women for nine consecutive years demonstrate that women can excel in various fields.

  • Quotes: Reinforce your ideas by including direct quotes that reflect the opinions of respected and credible figures.

Example: Mahatma Gandhi once stated, 'To call woman the weaker sex is a libel; it is man's injustice to woman. If by strength, brute strength is meant, then indeed, a woman is less brute than a man. If moral power is meant by strength, then the woman is immeasurably man's superior...'

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How to Write a Persuasive Essay: Steps to Success

When undertaking the task of composing a persuasive essay, a common mistake students make is plunging directly into the writing process, often neglecting crucial preparatory steps. To remedy this, we present a comprehensive, step-by-step guide to navigate you through the entire process:

Choose a Great Topic

Your persuasive skills shine when advocating for something you genuinely believe in. One of the critical steps in writing a persuasive essay is selecting a topic that resonates with your convictions. While research remains essential, having a strong opinion about the subject will fortify your argument.

Do Thorough Research

To master the art of writing a persuasive essay, you need to convince readers to embrace your viewpoint while understanding the opposing perspective. Familiarize yourself with both sides of the argument and learn how to effectively counter opposing views to address potential doubts.

Know Your Audience

Before persuading your readers, get to know them. Tailor your approach to match your target demographic. For instance, if you're advocating for the removal of standardized testing from school systems, consider that your primary audience is likely parents. If delving into readers' minds seems challenging, you might explore custom essay writing services from professional writers skilled in appealing to diverse audiences.

Create an Outline

Before embarking on the writing process, construct a persuasive essay outline. This helps structure your thoughts, organize your research, and establish your essay's framework. Elaborate on main points, pairing them with relevant supporting evidence from cited sources.

Compose a Captivating Introduction

A compelling article begins with an effective persuasive essay introduction, typically the first paragraph. Its purpose is to introduce the central premise, provide necessary background information, appeal to the reader's sensibilities, and capture their attention. The introduction should also feature your essay's thesis statement, acting as a roadmap for the ensuing content.

Write Your Body Paragraphs

This section forms the substantive core of your persuasive essay, using data and evidence to support your thesis while addressing opposing viewpoints. Each body paragraph comprises a topic sentence, pertinent supporting sentences, and a closing or transition sentence. This structure maintains focus, delivering clear and concise information. It's also an opportunity to discuss opposing opinions, ensuring claims are substantiated with credible and pertinent information. Did you know that one of the reasons students choose an essay service is because they find body paragraph writing too exhausting?

Conclude Powerfully

The persuasive essay conclusion is the final segment, encapsulating the entire work. It should recap your thesis, summarize key supporting ideas, and convey your final perspective. This is where you present your call-to-action if urging readers to take prompt action on a particular issue.

Proofread Diligently

Always subject your writing to thorough proofreading before submission. Overlooked words, grammatical errors, or sentence structure issues can undermine your credibility in the reader's eyes.

Writing a Persuasive Essay: Key Recommendations

Considering the aforementioned information, here are concluding tips to elevate the caliber of your persuasive essay:

1. Simplicity Over Complexity:

  • Embrace simplicity over complexity. While incorporating vocabulary variety is acceptable, don't anticipate a higher grade solely from using fancy synonyms. Find your writing style and aim for clarity.

2. Natural Transitions:

  • Ensure your essay flows seamlessly by employing logical transitions between different sections. This enhances readability, making your essay easy and enjoyable to read.

3. Explore Different Writing Methods:

  • Experiment with various persuasive writing methods. While fundamental elements are covered in this article, numerous other techniques can be discovered in various sources and mediums.

4. Meticulous Proofreading:

  • Triple-check your work! Regular practice and diligent proofreading enhance the quality of your writing. Review your essay for readability, logical consistency, style, tone, and alignment with the thesis. Seek a second opinion by having a friend read your essay.

5. Ask the Right Questions:

After writing and proofreading, address the following inquiries:

  • Did I adhere to the teacher's instructions?
  • Have I addressed the primary question presented in the assignment (if applicable)?
  • Is my essay well-structured?
  • Is the text coherent and clear?
  • Is my word choice throughout the paper appropriate?
  • Have I provided sufficient supporting evidence for my ideas?
  • Is my paper free of errors?
  • Can I enhance the overall quality further?
  • Does it present a convincing argument?

So, knowing all the vital elements of persuasive writing, have you already contemplated persuasive essay topics ? See our collection to get your creative juices flowing!

Persuasive Essay Examples

Explore the persuasive essay examples provided below to gain a deeper comprehension of crafting this type of document.

Persuasive Essay Example: Are Women Weaker Than Men Today?

This well-structured persuasive essay challenges the presumption that women are weaker than men and presents supporting evidence.

The question of whether women are weaker than men has often elicited raging debates, with conservationists arguing that women are certainly weaker than men. The converse is, however, true, and if the 21st-century woman is to be taken as an example, women are certainly as strong as men, if not stronger, across all comparable platforms. The era of male dominance came to an end with the rise of feminine power, and gone are the days when men were the more dominant of the human species. As the saying goes, "what men can do, women can do better," the women of today can do almost everything men can do and as just as good.

Persuasive Essay Example: Should People Who Download Music and Movies Illegally Be Punished?

This persuasive essay example adeptly employs source material and addresses a contemporary concern. The author questions the concept of online piracy and argues that media sharing has become a societal norm.

The United States government came up with the Copyright Act of 1976 to protect the works of art by different artists. The act outlines the punishable felonies concerning authenticity; for instance, illegally downloading music from the internet is a punishable offense. In addition, it sets specific fines for committing such crimes; for example, it says that one could pay a fine of up to $ 30,000 per piece of work (Burrell & Coleman, n.d.). Therefore, though downloading songs freely from the internet could sound normal, it is a felony. However, some questions exist on whether this act is worth the penalties. For this reason, a critical analysis of the transgression will determine whether or not it merits the charges.

This comprehensive guide encompasses all the essential aspects of crafting a persuasive essay. From choosing a compelling topic to constructing robust arguments, we've delineated the crucial steps. Additionally, we've shared insights on crafting impactful introductions and conclusions. By adhering to this guide, you can master the art of persuasion, effectively conveying your viewpoints to captivate your audience and potentially achieve an outstanding grade.

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The Art Of Persuasive Writing: Techniques For Crafting Compelling Essays

By Elayna Skye

Published on June 18, 2023

Imagine having the power to captivate an audience, sway their opinions, and inspire action through the written word. Such is the essence of persuasive writing—an art that holds tremendous value for college students seeking to express their ideas effectively. Whether you're aiming to convince your professor, engage in a debate, or sway public opinion, mastering the techniques of persuasive writing can make a profound difference in the impact of your essays. In this article, we will explore the art of persuasive writing, unraveling a range of techniques that will elevate your essay writing prowess. With the help of these valuable strategies, you can harness the potential of PaperTyper AI and create compelling arguments that leave a lasting impression on your readers. Get ready to unlock the power of persuasive writing and make your voice heard in the most impactful way possible.

Understanding Persuasive Writing

At its core, persuasive writing involves presenting arguments, evidence, and reasoning in a manner that convinces others to embrace a particular viewpoint or take a specific action. To become a persuasive writer, it is essential to grasp the key characteristics of this form of communication. Analyzing your purpose and identifying your target audience will shape your approach and the strategies you employ.

Establishing Credibility and Building Trust

Presenting Compelling Evidence and Research

Persuasive essays rely on the power of evidence to support arguments. Conducting thorough research and gathering credible sources that substantiate your claims is crucial. Incorporating relevant statistics, studies, and examples not only strengthens your position but also adds depth and credibility to your writing.

Using Credible Sources and Citing References

Establishing credibility involves using reputable sources in your writing. Cite your sources properly, adhering to the appropriate citation style, to provide a solid foundation for your arguments and allow readers to verify the information independently.

Incorporating Expert Opinions and Testimonials

Leveraging the authority of expert opinions and real-life testimonials enhances the persuasive power of your writing. When authoritative figures or personal experiences support your claims, it not only adds credibility but also creates an emotional connection with your readers.

Crafting Strong Arguments

To convince your readers effectively, your arguments must be well-structured and compelling. Here are some techniques to consider:

Identifying and Addressing Counterarguments

Anticipating opposing viewpoints and addressing them proactively demonstrates a comprehensive understanding of the topic and strengthens your position. By acknowledging and refuting counterarguments, you fortify the validity of your own arguments.

Structuring Arguments Logically and Coherently

Developing a clear and logical flow for your arguments is paramount. Each point should build upon the previous one, creating a cohesive narrative. Using topic sentences to introduce new ideas and employing transitional phrases ensures that your essay flows smoothly and engages the reader.

Utilizing Persuasive Language and Rhetorical Devices

Employing persuasive language techniques such as ethos, pathos, and logos appeals to the emotions, logic, and credibility of your audience. Strategic use of rhetorical devices like repetition, parallelism, and vivid imagery enhances the persuasive impact of your writing, making it more memorable and engaging.

Engaging the Reader with Persuasive Techniques

Captivating Introductions and Attention-Grabbing Hooks

Start your essay with a strong and captivating introduction. A compelling hook, such as an intriguing question, a shocking statistic, or an engaging anecdote, immediately grabs the reader's attention and makes them eager to continue reading.

Emotional Appeal and Storytelling

Emotions play a vital role in persuasive writing. Connecting with your readers on a personal level through storytelling or by invoking empathy can create a powerful impact. By incorporating relatable stories or experiences, you can evoke emotions that support your arguments.

Vivid Descriptions and Sensory Language

Using descriptive language and sensory details helps to paint a vivid picture in the reader's mind. Engaging their senses creates a more immersive reading experience, making your arguments more relatable and compelling.

Structuring the Essay for Maximum Impact

Clear Thesis Statement and Focused Topic Sentences

Craft a concise and well-defined thesis statement that encapsulates the main argument of your essay. Ensure that each paragraph begins with a topic sentence that relates directly to your thesis, providing a clear roadmap for the reader to follow.

Organizing Paragraphs Effectively

Structure your essay with clear paragraph breaks, each focusing on a single idea or argument. Use transitional words and phrases to facilitate smooth transitions between paragraphs, guiding the reader through your essay effortlessly.

Transition Words and Phrases for Smooth Flow

Utilize transition words and phrases such as "furthermore," "in addition," "however," and "consequently" to create coherence and establish logical connections between ideas. These linguistic signposts guide readers through your essay, making it easier for them to follow your thought process.

Persuasive Writing Tools and Strategies

Analogies and Metaphors

Analogies and metaphors simplify complex concepts and make them more relatable to the reader. By comparing your argument to something familiar, you can enhance understanding and strengthen your persuasive impact.

Repetition and Parallelism

Repetition of key phrases or ideas reinforces your message and makes it more memorable. Parallelism, or using similar grammatical structures, adds rhythm and emphasis to your writing, making it more persuasive and impactful.

Call to Action and Concluding Statements

End your essay with a powerful call to action that encourages readers to take a specific step or adopt a certain viewpoint. Craft concluding statements that summarize your main points and leave a lasting impression on your audience.

Addressing Counterarguments

Acknowledging Opposing Viewpoints

Acknowledge the validity of opposing viewpoints and demonstrate that you have considered alternative perspectives. This shows fairness and strengthens your credibility as a writer.

Rebuttal and Counterargument Strategies

Refute counterarguments by presenting evidence and reasoning that supports your position. Clearly articulate why your stance is stronger and address potential doubts or objections that readers may have.

Strengthening Your Position through Persuasive Reasoning

Use logical reasoning and persuasive techniques to bolster your arguments. Present sound evidence, draw logical conclusions, and employ persuasive language to sway readers towards your viewpoint.

Editing and Revising for Persuasive Impact

Reviewing and Refining the Essay Structure

Evaluate the overall structure of your essay to ensure coherence and logical progression. Rearrange paragraphs or sentences if necessary, and ensure that each paragraph contributes to the persuasive impact of your essay.

Checking for Clarity, Coherence, and Logical Progression

Read through your essay to ensure that your arguments are clear and well-articulated. Look for any inconsistencies or gaps in your reasoning and address them. Ensure that each paragraph flows logically into the next, maintaining a cohesive narrative.

Polishing Language and Refining Persuasive Techniques

Pay attention to the language you use and its persuasive impact. Eliminate any unnecessary jargon or complex language that may hinder reader comprehension. Refine your persuasive techniques, ensuring they are appropriate for your audience and purpose.

Real-World Application of Persuasive Writing

Persuasive Essays in Academic Settings

Persuasive writing skills are highly valuable in academic environments. From persuasive essays to argumentative research papers, the ability to present a compelling case and influence others' opinions is crucial for academic success.

Applying Persuasive Writing in Professional Environments

Persuasive writing extends beyond academia and is essential in various professional settings. Whether you're creating persuasive business proposals, marketing campaigns, or policy briefs, the art of persuasion will help you achieve your goals and influence decision-makers.

Ethical Considerations in Persuasive Communication

While persuasive writing can be a powerful tool, it is crucial to exercise ethical practices. Ensure that your arguments are based on reliable evidence, avoid manipulative tactics, and respect opposing viewpoints. Ethical persuasion promotes open dialogue and fosters respectful communication.

Mastering the art of persuasive writing is a journey that requires practice, dedication, and an understanding of effective techniques. By applying the strategies discussed in this article, you can craft compelling essays that captivate your audience, influence their opinions, and inspire action. Remember to utilize the power of evidence, employ persuasive language techniques, and structure your essay for maximum impact. With these tools in hand, you can become a skilled persuader, shaping opinions, and making a lasting impression through the power of the written word. So, embrace the art of persuasive writing and let your ideas shine through the pages, leaving a mark in the minds of your readers.

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Top 5 Persuasive Writing Techniques for Students

persuasive writing techniques

“The purpose of a persuasive text is to convince , motivate , or move the reader towards a certain opinion or course of action.”

The Innovative Guide to Teaching Nonfiction Writing (2021)

Writing persuasively is an important skill for our students to develop. These skills will be helpful when writing a wide range of different persuasive text types, including these. Click the links for a detailed guide on each section.

●      Persuasive essays

●      Debate speeches

●      Advertisements

●      Editorials

●      Reviews

●      Letters

Though the structures of the text types listed above may differ, many of the persuasive strategies and skills used in them are common.

This article will examine the top five persuasive writing skills our students will need to convince their readers to do or believe something.

The Top 5 Persuasive Writing Techniques

1. understand the audience/build rapport.


One of the most important aspects of persuasive writing begins long before the student even puts their pen to paper.

Before students begin writing, they will need to determine who it is they are writing for. This is true regardless of the text type involved, but it’s especially imperative when persuasion is the name of the game.

When students respond to a writing prompt, they can often mine details of the intended audience from the prompt itself, either through a close analysis of the wording or by inferring an audience from the topic of the prompt itself.

Where a specific audience isn’t stated explicitly or implicitly, it is still good practice for the student writer to create an audience ‘avatar’ in their mind.

Having a clear picture of who they are writing to, helps students:

●      build a rapport with their audience that they can later leverage as a persuasive strategy.

●      create an intimate tone that builds trust with the reader.

●      choose an appropriate language level.

●      select the most relevant information to share.

●      decide on which persuasive tools to employ and what tone to adopt.

As the student writes their persuasive text, they should keep a clear picture of their intended reader in their mind at all times. This will help them make decisions on tone and choose an appropriate language register. It will also help the student decide on which specific persuasive strategies to use and when to use them.

Each audience is different, with their own preferences and biases. A persuasive writer needs to understand this and use the knowledge to maximize the persuasive effect of their writing.

Persuasive Writing Practice Task: Create a Reader Profile

One effective way to help student writers keep their target audience in mind is to have them create a profile of their target reader. Though this profile will be essentially fictional, it will serve to help the student develop a more vivid picture of their intended audience in their mind’s eye.

To create a reader profile, students should consider a number of details, including:

  • The reader’s age
  • The reader’s sex
  • Their level of education
  • Their economic status
  • Their values
  • Their beliefs
  • Their interests
  • Their location

Students can add other categories according to the specific needs of the text they are writing. Students should keep their reader profile close to hand and refer to it constantly throughout the writing process.


persuasive writing techniques | RHETORIC | Top 5 Persuasive Writing Techniques for Students | literacyideas.com

2. Adopt a Strong Writing Structure

As we’ve mentioned, there are many different types of persuasive texts. Each of these has its own distinctive underlying structure. Over time, students will get to know the particular features of each of these many different persuasive text types, including persuasive essays, advertisements, letters, leaflets, and reviews. With experience, students will learn to select the appropriate structure for their specific text.

In the first instance, it is helpful for students to see these structures in action. To do this, gather together a selection of persuasive texts structured similarly to the one your students will write. In groups, have your students go through each text to identify and list the various structural features used.

Students can share their findings as a whole class at the end as you list the various elements and structural features on the whiteboard. They can then use this list as a guide when they come to produce their own persuasive text.

Persuasive Writing Practice Task: Use a Graphic Organizer

The chances are that your students will be familiar with graphic organizers and have used them in the past. For this activity, however, they’ll be challenged to design their own.

Designing their own graphic organizers forces students to pay attention to the various structural elements of the text type itself. They will also have to consider the relative position of each element as they lay out their template in a visual form. Finally, their graphic organizer will serve as an excellent planning tool and, best of all, it’s reusable!

This activity often works most effectively when completed as a group activity, as students will be able to share and discuss the merits of different ways of laying out their graphic organizer. While students can design their organizer freehand on paper, there are many excellent tools online that students can use to design professional-looking templates. One of the best of these graphic design tools is Canva. [2]

3. Support with Evidence


We live in a cynical age. In days gone by, even the most outlandish of claims could work if delivered with a smile and some confidence. But times are getting harder and harder for the snake-oil salesmen among us. For a persuasive text to convince an educated reader to do or believe something, the writer better brings some proof along with their claims.

There are several types of evidence which students can use to support their persuasive efforts. The most common of these are:

●      Facts

●      Statistics

●      Quotes

●      Anecdotes

Let’s take a look at each of these in turn.

Facts: As facts are indisputable by nature, they are perhaps the most powerful form of evidence available to our students. Facts are usually gathered during the planning and research stage of the writing process, though if the student is well-informed on the subject already they may already retain some relevant facts to support their assertions. It’s important that students do not confuse opinions and facts , especially as opinions are often presented as if they were facts.

Example Fact: All dogs are mammals.

Statistics: Numbers are concrete – or at least have the appearance of solidity. Though most of us are familiar with the phrase ‘There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics’, most of us still find numbers to be highly persuasive. Although the careful selection of statistics can be used to prove almost anything, sourcing statistics from reliable and respected sources can go a long way to persuading even the most sceptical of readers. Often, the writer will also cite the source of any statistics to be used as evidence.

Example Statistic: Mandarin Chinese is the language with the largest number of native speakers in the world. Source: Ethnologue (2019, 22nd edition)

Quotes: Using quotes from experts in the field, or similar authorities, can lend weight to students’ arguments. However, as with statistics, students need to choose their sources carefully. A poorly selected source can do more harm than good. For a quote to carry its full weight, the reader will often need to know who that source is and why they should be listened to on that topic. Therefore, if the reader cannot be reasonably expected to know who the source is, then the writer must identify them adequately in the text.

Example Quote: However, not everyone believes the Olympic Games offer good value for money. Paula Radcliffe, a six-time world champion runner, argues that “the money could be thrown at other areas such as grass-roots sports.”

Anecdotes: Anecdotes are a form of evidence usually based on personal observations or experiences. Unlike statistics, this form of evidence is collected in a casual, non-systematic manner. Given their informal nature, anecdotes are sometimes looked down on as a form of evidence. However, they can be very effective, as the widespread use of testimonials in advertising reveals.

Example Anecdote: It is time that zoos are banned. A recent visit to my local zoo revealed cramped, inhumane conditions for the majority of animals who all appeared miserable and poorly cared for.

Persuasive Writing Practice Task: Put the Tools to the Test

For this activity, provide students with or allow students to choose a debate topic. For example:

●      All zoos should be banned.

●      Physical education is as important as academic education.

●      The Olympic Games are a waste of money.

Students should choose a side on the issue and then provide an example of each of the four different evidence types supporting their position.

4. Employ Powerfully Persuasive Writing Strategies


As with any text type, persuasive writing has its own tools and tricks specific to its purpose. Your students won’t be able to produce truly compelling persuasive writing without a firm grasp of at least some of these strategies.

There are many possible persuasive strategies for students to choose from, and it will take time to familiarize your students with them all, but here are five of the most effective.

i. Directly Addressing the Reader: This persuasive strategy works by connecting directly with the reader using second-person pronouns such as you and your . While a very effective technique, readers don’t like to be ordered around, so it’s essential to first build rapport with the reader. Which very smoothly brings us to our next strategy!

ii. Build Rapport and Trust with the Reader: Persuasion is an art, and we are much more likely to be persuaded by someone we like and trust. One way to create a sense of intimacy in writing is to adopt a conversational style. This will be much easier to do if the writer has already clearly defined their reader persona. To help create trust in the reader, students might establish their credibility at the outset by relating why they are qualified to speak on this topic.

iii. Humor: Using humor in a text also helps build that all-important rapport with the reader, but it also makes the idea expressed more memorable. For this reason, it is a common strategy employed in advertising and debates especially. Of course, students will need to consider whether or not it is appropriate in each instance. For some more serious topics, humor is more likely to offend than persuade.

iv. Flattery: Praising the reader can help convince them to give up one idea for another. Sometimes our student writers make the mistake of thinking that if they aggressively attack the current beliefs of the reader, this will help convince them of the error of their ways. The reverse is often true. When we feel attacked, we often shut down and refuse to accept any of the arguments made by the person doing the attacking.

v. Presumption: This technique works by shutting down space for the reader to disagree with the writer’s position. It subtly implies that the matter has already been decided and that any opposition to it is foolish. It can be easily be identified by the use of phrases such as ‘As everybody knows,’ ‘Everyone agrees,’ or  ‘Of course, we all know that…’

Persuasive Writing Practice Task: Offer the students a range of persuasive writing topics to choose from, some topics are listed in the previous activity. Challenge your students to write a single paragraph using each of the persuasive strategies above for their chosen topic.

5. Use Persuasive Images


While not every persuasive genre requires the use of images, text types such as advertisements and persuasive leaflets often use images to great effect.

Images and their accompanying captions can help catch and hold a reader’s attention. They can come in many forms, e.g. photos, pictures, infographics, diagrams, logos, etc. Visuals can help lead the reader’s eye into the text as well as support the text’s overall persuasiveness.

Persuasive Writing Practice Task: Create a Persuasive Image

Nowadays, many free stock photo websites such as Pixabay and Unsplash and online graphic design tools such as Canva and Gravit can help students create their visual masterpieces.

Challenge students to play with the above tools to create their own persuasive image to accompany one of the paragraphs they wrote in the previous activity. Can they write a suitable caption to accompany their image too?

As with any writing, when students have completed their persuasive text, it’s time to edit and proofread.

The main focus in these final stages of writing will be to establish whether or not the text succeeds in convincing the reader to do or believe something. This is the primary measure of success for any persuasive text and with mastery of the skills outlined above, the answer should be a resounding “Yes!”


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Marquette University Law School Faculty Blog

Marquette University Law School Faculty Blog

Logos, Ethos, and Pathos in Persuasive Writing

  • Post author: Lisa A. Mazzie
  • Post published: January 27, 2014
  • Post category: Legal Writing / Political Processes & Rhetoric / Public
  • Post comments: 1 Comment

At their core, objective and persuasive legal writing share many of the same traits, such as maintaining the small scale organizational paradigm we refer to as CREAC (a/k/a IRAC). Because lawyers use that paradigm to advance their arguments, students need to master it, which makes the structure of the argument look similar to objective writing. But students need to make other, subtler changes in their writing (and thinking) to persuade effectively. It’s often challenging to succinctly explain these more subtle differences, but one easy way is to introduce the “why” behind the differences, which in turn helps explain those differences. Good persuasive writing argues a position by using a combination of three ancient rhetorical techniques: logos, ethos, and pathos.

The first technique is logos, which means logic. Persuasive writing that uses logos uses, where appropriate, literal or historical analogies as well as factual and historical data. Such writing contains citations to authorities or experts. As scholars Ruth Anne Robbins, Steve Johansen, and Ken Chestek say in their new book, Your Client’s Story: Persuasive Legal Writing 21 (2013), “Logos makes your audience think you are right.”

Logos is the easiest technique to understand when referring to legal writing.  It makes sense that a persuasive legal document use logic to persuade readers, and logos is undoubtedly the starting point for a persuasive argument.  But it’s just the start.

The second technique is ethos, which deals with the credibility of the writer. When we read something from someone we trust, we are more likely to believe what she is saying. As Professors Robbins, Johansen, and Chestek tell us, “[E]thos makes your audience trust you are right.” Id. Building ethos in legal writing means the writer must focus on providing substantively sound analyses and arguments, while appropriately acknowledging contrary law and counterarguments, but also focus on creating a professional and polished document that is error-free.

The final technique is pathos, which deals with emotions—specifically, with empathy.  When a speaker or writer uses pathos, he is appealing to his audience’s sense of empathy for his position or his client. He may use vivid, concrete language and examples.  He might use figurative language, such as alliteration, similes, or metaphors. “[P]athos makes your audience feel you are right.” Id.

There are two kinds of pathos: emotional substance and medium mood control. The speaker or writer uses emotional substance when she is trying to elicit an emotional response from her audience. One example that I use to illustrate this idea is the ten-second public service announcement popular in the late 1980s. The spot opens with butter sizzling in a hot pan. There’s an ominous bit of music and a serious voice tells you, “This is drugs.” We then see an egg cracked into the pan, which is so hot that the white of the egg cooks immediately. The voice returns. “This is your brain on drugs. [pause] Any questions?” Here, it seems clear that the viewer is to feel fear and to act on that fear: Look what happens to your brain when you use drugs! Don’t use drugs!

In legal writing, we use the emotional substance pathos when we attempt to create empathy for our client and when we appeal to grander themes of fairness or justice.

Another kind of pathos is medium mood control.  “Medium” here applies to the mode of communication and how that mode of communication affects the audience’s mood.  Humor is an often used technique.  When the reader feels happy, he is more likely to be receptive to (and, thus, persuaded by) the reader’s message.

Humor is quite difficult to use in legal writing.  Instead, a legal writer effectively uses medium mood control by using an appropriate tone, carefully choosing words, and avoiding techniques that might irritate a reader (like poor citation or sloppy organization, among others).  Most of the things a writer does to build her ethos apply here as well: a well-crafted, accurate brief is a joy to read, which makes a reader happy to read it.

The trick with pathos is to use emotion appropriately.  Heavy-handed pathos can make your reader feel manipulated, and no one likes to feel manipulated.

Using all three techniques in concert helps create a strong persuasive piece.  The example I like to use is Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail .  In that piece, Dr. King so brilliantly uses all three rhetorical techniques to create a compelling and persuasive document that explains why white clergy’s call for gradualism in the early days of the civil rights movement was misguided. If you haven’t yet read the Letter, I encourage you to do so and to locate for yourself how and where Dr. King uses logos, ethos, and pathos.

How a reader responds to a writer’s persuasive techniques depends on two things: what the reader’s stock structures are and how the reader is being asked to respond.

First, when people are asked to confront new situations or new information, they rely on their stock structures to make sense of that situation or information.  See Robbins et al., Your Client’s Story 29-36. Stock structures (which are known by different names in different fields) are our stereotyped models of experiences. Stock structures provide useful cognitive short cuts because we can quickly assess a new situation and know how we should respond based on our experiences with that situation. But—and it’s a very important “but”—while there may be some commonality between them, stock structures differ for different people because our experiences differ.

Second, readers can be asked to respond in one of three ways: response shaping, response reinforcing, and response changing.  See id. Where a reader has little knowledge or experience and is being persuaded to adopt a new position, the writer has a chance to shape the reader’s response, to help build some stock structures, if you will. This situation does not occur frequently in law, mostly with issues of first impression. A reader who is being asked to simply reinforce what he already knows or has experienced may be easily persuaded. For example, when a trial judge is asked to simply apply precedent, she is being asked to simply reinforce what she knows she needs to do. More difficult is the reader who is being asked to respond by changing his existing beliefs in order to form new ones. Such a reader will need more persuasion.

As our students begin their foray into persuasive writing, share with them some of your favorite persuasive pieces (legal or otherwise).

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Great post.

I just came across a footnote in Law and Language: Effective Symbols of Community , by Harold Berman (edited by John Witte, Jr.), which explains the relationship between syllogistic logic and legal argument:

“‘However useful syllogistic logic may be in testing the validity of conclusions drawn from given premises, it is inadequate in practical science such as law, where the premises are not given but must be created. Legal rules, viewed as major premises, are always subject to qualification in light of the particular circumstances; it is a rule of English and American law, for example, that a person who intentionally strikes another is civilly liable for battery, but such a rule is subject, in legal practice to infinite modification in light of the possible defense (for example, self-defense, defense of property, parental privilege, immunity from suit, lack of jurisdiction, insufficiency of evidence, etc.). In addition, life continually presents new situations to which no existing rule is applicable; we simply do not know the legal limits of freedom of speech, for example, since the social context in which words are spoken is continually changing. Thus, legal rules are continually being made and remade.'”

73 n.23 (quoted in part, internal citations omitted). Syllogism is the starting point for discussing legal logic. I find it helpful to explain the structure of legal argument in the context of major premise/minor premise/conclusion. But Berman highlights the very point that allows two sides of an argument to be presented: that the major premises “are subject to qualification.” The same point could be made of the minor premises–the facts.

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10 Timeless Persuasive Writing Techniques

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Want to use persuasive writing to convince your readers to do something or agree with your point of view?

OK, that was a silly question. Of course you do. You’re learning how to be a copywriter .

We all know how easy it is to get distracted these days, and you want your online business ideas to stand out and reach the audience you’re aiming to serve.

It’d be great if that happened by itself, but smart content entrepreneurs know it takes research, dedication, and skill to make a living online .

What is persuasive writing?

Persuasive writing is generally an exercise in creating a win-win situation. You present a case that others find beneficial to agree with …

You make them an offer they can’t refuse, but not in a manipulative way that violates marketing ethics .

It’s simply a good deal or a position that makes sense to that particular person. To make your job easier, though, there are techniques that you can learn to make your case more compelling.

Why learn persuasive writing?

If you’ve ever wondered why some blogs turn into businesses, and others stay hobbies, it’s likely because the blogger has studied persuasive writing and call to action examples .

Nothing’s more disappointing than having great blog post ideas that no one pays attention to … learning how to write a good blog post that persuades not only attracts people to your content, it also keeps them interested in your message.

More on that in a bit, but now let’s look at persuasive writing examples.

Persuasive writing examples

While this list is in no way a comprehensive persuasive writing tutorial, these 10 strategies are popular … because they work.

1. Repetition

Anyone who’s familiar with psychology will tell you repetition is crucial.

It’s also critical in persuasive writing, since a person can’t agree with you if they don’t truly get what you’re saying.

Of course, there’s good repetition and bad. To stay on the good side, make your point in several different ways, such as:

  • A direct statement

You could also use inspirational quotes for writers when they’re appropriate, and restate your point once more in your summary.

2. Reasons why

Always remember the power of the word because .

Psychological studies have shown that people are more likely to comply with a request if you simply give them a reason why … even if that reason makes no sense.

The strategy itself does make sense if you think about it. We don’t like to be told things or asked to take action without a reasonable explanation.

When you need people to be receptive to your way of thinking, always give reasons why.

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For the first time, The Copyblogger methodology is now available to a select few clients. We know it works. We’ve been doing it since 2006.

3. Consistency

It’s been called the “hobgoblin of little minds,” but consistency in our thoughts and actions is a valued social trait.

We don’t want to appear inconsistent, since, whether fair or not, that characteristic is associated with instability and flightiness, while consistency is associated with integrity and rational behavior.

Use this in your persuasive writing by getting the reader to agree with something up front in your headline writing and introduction that most people would have a hard time disagreeing with …

Then rigorously make your case, with plenty of supporting evidence, all while relating your ultimate point back to the opening scenario that’s already been accepted.

4. Social proof

Looking for guidance from others as to what to do and what to accept is one of the most powerful psychological forces in our lives.

It can often determine whether or not we take action in many situations.

Obvious examples of social proof can be found in testimonials and outside referrals, and it’s the driving force behind social media.

But you can also casually integrate elements of social proof in your writing and marketing stories , ranging from skillful alignment with outside authorities to blatant name dropping.

5. Comparisons

Metaphors, similes, and analogies are the persuasive writer’s best friends.

When you can relate your scenario to something that the reader already accepts as true, you’re well on your way to convincing someone to see things your way.

But comparisons work in other ways too. Sometimes you can be more persuasive by comparing apples to oranges (to use a tired but effective metaphor).

For example, when you’re learning how to create digital products , you won’t want to compare the price of your online course to the price of a similar one — compare it to the price of a live seminar or your hourly consulting rate.

6. Agitate and solve problems with persuasive writing

This is a persuasion theme that works as an overall approach to making your case.

First, you identify the problem and qualify your audience. Then you agitate the reader’s pain before offering your solution as the answer that will make it all better.

The agitation phase is not about being sadistic. It’s about empathy and writing better content .

You want the reader to know unequivocally that you understand his problem because you’ve dealt with it and/or are experienced at eliminating it.

The credibility of your solution goes way up if you demonstrate that you truly feel the prospect’s pain.

7. Prognosticate

Another persuasion theme involves providing your readers with a glimpse into the future.

If you can convincingly present an extrapolation of current events into likely future outcomes, you may as well have a license to print money.

This entire strategy is built on credibility. If you have no idea what you’re talking about, you’ll end up looking foolish.

But if you can back up your claims with your credentials or your obvious grasp of the subject matter, this is an extremely effective persuasive writing technique that also builds trust in relationships .

8. Unify … selectively

Despite our attempts to be sophisticated, evolved beings, we humans are exclusionary by nature.

Give someone a chance to be a part of a group that they want to be in — whether that be wealthy , or hip, or green, or even contrarian — and they’ll hop on board whatever train you’re driving.

The greatest sales letter ever written uses this technique. Find out what group people want to be in, and offer them an invitation to join while seemingly excluding others.

9. Address objections in persuasive writing

If you’ve ever presented your case and left someone thinking, “Yeah, but …”?

Well, you’ve lost.

This is why direct marketers use long copy — it’s not that they want you to read it all, it’s that they want you to read enough until you buy.

Addressing all of the potential objections of at least the majority of your readers can be tough, but if you really know your subject, the arguments against you should be fairly obvious.

If you think there are no reasonable objections to your position, see what happens if you enable comments on your content.

10. Storyselling

This is really a catch-all technique — you can and should use storyselling in combination with any and all of the previous nine strategies.

But the reason why storyselling works so well lies at the heart of what persuasion really is …

Stories allow people to persuade themselves, and that’s what it’s really all about. You might say that we never convince anyone of anything — we simply help others independently decide that we’re right.

Do everything you can to tell better stories, and you’ll find that you’re a terribly persuasive writer.

Persuasive writing, simplified

What if you could write in a way that automatically engaged your readers? What if your words had the power to persuade?

Many people don’t understand the true power of great copy. I remember when I was starting out with my business … I spent hours crafting blog posts that I thought would be useful and helpful for my desired audience.

But when I hit publish … crickets.

That’s because I didn’t yet understand the differences between content and copy.

Once I learned persuasive writing, a new world opened up to me.

Suddenly …

  • My headlines generated clicks
  • People subscribed to my newsletter
  • Visitors stayed on my website longer

Best of all, I was generating sales and making money

Here’s the secret

Copywriting is not about trickery, manipulation, or even trying to convince people. Great copy is about storytelling, empathy, relatability, and service.

Without great copy, it’s unlikely you will ever be able to grow your online business. It’s that important.

To learn more, sign up below to keep your finger on the pulse of modern content marketing.

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Brian Clark

Brian Clark is the founder of Copyblogger, the midlife personal growth newsletter Further, Unemployable, an educational community that provides smart strategies for freelancers and solopreneurs , and Creative Affiliate, affiliate marketing advice for creators .

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Reader Interactions

Reader comments (246).

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September 26, 2007 at 6:51 pm

This is flat-out one of the best posts you’ve ever written.

One of the best posts I’ve ever read, for that matter.

This incredibly useful information is immediately being printed out and taped to my wall.

– Mason

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September 26, 2007 at 7:06 pm

Yeah, I’m spreading this around to my friends in sales and marketing. Thanks for all the links back to older content, too. I haven’t been reading the site faithfully for very long, so that’s helping me catch up with the gems that have been posted earlier.

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September 26, 2007 at 7:28 pm

great tips on writing techniques

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September 26, 2007 at 7:35 pm

Wonderful post! I think the storytelling approach is one of the best. Readers of any background or age group can get into a good story and if it’s about how the writer (the normal guy/gal) sticks it to “the man” or “the system”, all the better. If “the man” or “the system” has horribly wronged the writer to some unbelievable degree, that works just as well. Thanks for the great info once again.

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September 26, 2007 at 7:37 pm

you’ve done it again.

you repeated yourself, and at the same time sent us off to get some of your previously written top content.

thanks for repeating yourself 🙂 and nice list.

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September 26, 2007 at 8:42 pm

Regarding consistency, when I read this post I couldn’t help remembering with a smile the characters in the movie Next Stop Wonderland . They reminded us that what Emerson actually said was that only “foolish” consistencies are the hobgoblins of little minds. The kinds of consistencies you describe are the good and useful kind.

Thanks for a great list. Very practical and, like the others, I’ll be taping it to the wall

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September 26, 2007 at 8:47 pm

They reminded us that what Emerson actually said was that only “foolish” consistencies are the hobgoblins of little minds.

Ahhh… it’s moments like this when I regain my faith in humanity. Very smart recollection, David.

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September 26, 2007 at 11:21 pm

This is fantastic! It’s going to really help me with the sales letter I’m working on.

Thanks, Brian!

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September 26, 2007 at 11:54 pm

I’m gonna have to agree with the tribe, this is one of the finer posts of all time.

The comparison portion was worth the cost of admission all by itself.

Great info, great intra-links, great all around.

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September 27, 2007 at 5:34 am

This amazing post is just the thing I need to compliment the amazing book The Writer Behind the Words . Absolutely a pleasure to come upon your site.

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September 27, 2007 at 8:31 am

Like everyone said above, great post. I never stop learning from this site.

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September 27, 2007 at 8:48 am

Many of these persuasive strategies are used in the development of white papers (although perhaps with different names like trends rather that social proof).

As usual you show your grasp of persuasion with elegance.

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September 27, 2007 at 10:39 am

This post is like the cliff-notes of marketing! You just cost the gurus a lot of book sales, cd sales, membership and conference fees 🙂 All you need to know is right here.

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September 27, 2007 at 10:51 am

The storytelling piece is the most important, as it will make someone more interested in reading.

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September 27, 2007 at 10:52 am

Don’t forget about the power of writing lists in persuasive writing. In fact your post is in list form!

Nice run through.

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September 27, 2007 at 11:03 am

I’m a big believer in the rule of threes. Typically, people believe something if they hear if from three different sources. Keep that in mind when attempting to write persuasively and it will give you an advantage.

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September 14, 2011 at 4:49 pm

Nice. I like that theory. I’ll have to test it out.

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September 27, 2007 at 11:10 am

Excellent post. Every time I read your posts I learn something new. Thanks.

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September 27, 2007 at 11:12 am

I forget to really tie the reader back in during the ending. Thank you for the most crucial and important reminder.

You are like a waterfall of constant inspiration. thanks

What about odd numbers? Why did you use 10? I thought that was “bad”.

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September 27, 2007 at 1:16 pm

Fantastic post. I have recently discovered this site and am now an avid reader.

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September 27, 2007 at 2:24 pm

Thank you for the great website – a true resource, and one many people clearly enjoy.

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September 27, 2007 at 3:59 pm

Great post. Like you said, these are things we already know, but it’s always good to be reminded.

Your point on consistency is supported by the fact we elected an idiot to be President, twice, because the masses assumed his consistent message meant that the man had integrity and was rational.

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September 27, 2007 at 7:39 pm

i totally disagree with you, so this techniques didn’t really work…

just kidding… 🙂 it’s a great post!

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September 27, 2007 at 10:50 pm

Very comprehensive plan to persuade – I would say you have succeeded in persuading me to use these techniques to persuade others 🙂

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September 28, 2007 at 8:07 am

Very good reminders. It’s so easy to be caught up in my 4 little walls syndrome.

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September 28, 2007 at 11:44 am

“Don’t compare the price of your home study course to the price of a similar course—compare it to the price of a live seminar or your hourly consulting rate.”

In some cases, you can also compare it to the cost of NOT buying the home study course (or whatever your product is).

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September 28, 2007 at 11:38 pm

Brian, this is one of the best articles I have come across on the topic of Copywriting. I like your site and am definitely going to read the previous stuff.. Peace

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September 29, 2007 at 2:30 am

Read, printed and cherished! Great article. Thanks

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September 30, 2007 at 10:33 am

Excellent post! We have learned to use these techniques over the years, but to have them all tied together is a precious gift. Thanks!

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October 1, 2007 at 9:00 pm

You forgot one… show pictures.

If reading is slower in on your computer, the adequate imagery is even more critical.

Your post is right though.

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October 2, 2007 at 9:04 am

This is exceptional advice.

I think the only way it could be improved on is to use more of the techniques you recommend in the post.

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October 4, 2007 at 10:59 am

It’s a great list, but why do you seem to never have numbers beside your Top X lists? I don’t know about others, but its nice to know which number I’m on so that I know how many I have left to read.

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October 7, 2007 at 4:44 pm

Hello Brian, what you are telling here is really intresting, do you know where this is coming from? 😉 It is NLP (the other side of that self-healing stuff). Things like the use of negation (your unconsciousness does not recognise it) and storytelling (hypnosis, works also on single&flirt-websites^^), the use of “but” (it changes the meaning of the sentence before) a.s.o. All that is really interesting and it can be dangerous, but if you really have to persuade people, this stuff works – it is the dark side of the force. I’ve tried about a year in my main job and everyday conversations and I’ve been frighten about myself. Please excuse my english, I just can read it good 😉

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October 8, 2007 at 3:53 am

Wonderful post! I think the storytelling approach is one of the best. and i know how to promote my site: http://www.healths-fitness.com

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October 9, 2007 at 2:26 pm

this would really boost my english essays… you’ve done a good deed to the nation or perhaps … the world ! 😛

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October 10, 2007 at 7:58 am

Having re-read it since it was first published, I noticed I still have learned something new. An awesome article. Thanks.

October 11, 2007 at 2:28 am

You forgot one… show pictures.

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October 12, 2007 at 12:35 am

Then you agitate the reader’s pain before offering your solution as the answer that will make it all better. This sounds very much like Churchill. “Social proof”, anyone?

Anyway, thanks for the tips!

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October 23, 2007 at 4:25 am

This is a good site but i suggest that this website needs a catergory of some samples of persuasive writing so it gives students the potential for them to understand persuasive writing and give them the oppotunity to express what persuasive writing they have in mind.

so yeah this is my suggestion of this website thank-you to allthe people who are reading my comment.


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October 24, 2007 at 12:13 pm

This I’ve been meaning to grasp! Thanks for the wonderful tips.

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October 30, 2007 at 8:34 am

Definitely, this is the best write-up on Copy Writing I ever read in years.

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October 30, 2007 at 2:38 pm

Definitely a great read, jam packed with content!! Thank you for allowing me, as well as my readers, the opportunity to your knowledge!!

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November 1, 2007 at 3:30 am

nice post , thank you !

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November 9, 2007 at 12:46 pm

Fantastic article!

This has really helped me out a ton. Thanks again for all the hard work.

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November 27, 2007 at 10:10 pm

What writer, would be so kind, as to assist those who compete with him? Apparently, you have such grace of character, that you are able to resist the vanity inherent in writing. Thank you, for your surprisingly objective insights, and unexpected compassions.

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November 28, 2007 at 5:39 pm

I’m a student, and this article here has been a big help in my persuasive letter writing. Thank you so much. ; )

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December 15, 2007 at 6:07 pm

Thanks Brian, this post has helped clear up a few questions I was having about converting my traffic to registrations.

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December 24, 2007 at 5:45 am

Great to read on your articles, inspire & thanks a lot,

Merry Christmas & Happy New year

Tracy Ho wisdomgettingloaded

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December 29, 2007 at 12:25 pm

Thanks for the wonderful tips.

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February 8, 2008 at 9:15 pm

thanks 4 all the tips

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March 11, 2008 at 5:08 am

ingenious truly..

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March 13, 2008 at 12:32 pm

This was really helpfull with my english coursework, thanks.

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April 26, 2008 at 12:31 am

This is really a great posts and I really learn a lot from the techniques shared here about persuasive writing. I would use these techniques to attract readers to my site.

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May 17, 2008 at 1:30 pm

Nice post. There are even more you left out. Can you reference the psychological study you found which shows that telling people the reason why increases compliance? That doesn’t ring true for me. Personally, if someone tells me the “reason why” and it “makes no sense,” then I’m even less likely to comply, and it strengthens my resolve to keep not complying. Even with kids, I some point you have to give up giving reasons and say, “Because I said so.”

May 17, 2008 at 1:35 pm

Martin, there’s a link for you to follow at “makes no sense” that provides the source of the study and the actual results.

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May 31, 2008 at 3:17 pm

I am applauding you on this end in the most worshipful manner I can muster.

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June 6, 2008 at 4:47 am

I found this post and I thought to my self, wow, this is the best resume that a journalist could ever had on how doing his job. My profession? Guess what?

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June 17, 2008 at 4:20 am

Some very good tips there, definitely will incorporate some of the points made here in to my own life.

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June 17, 2008 at 3:48 pm

These tips seriously have to be the Ten Commandments of Persuasive Writing. I can definatly score a 6 on my Eng 12 speach w/ these techniques. Thks ;D

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July 1, 2008 at 3:47 pm

What an excellent article? Does anyone know of any other resources on persuasive writing?

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July 8, 2008 at 3:58 pm

Absolutely wonderful article. I will refer to it often and pass it on. Keep up the great work.

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July 15, 2008 at 3:46 pm

Brilliant article. Bookmarked for the future!

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August 6, 2008 at 11:05 pm

Wow! What a great post! You have written something which one can write if he is knowledgeable enough. Keep up the good work.

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August 16, 2008 at 10:39 am

Getting all the objections can be hard especially if you are attached to the product yourself. I find it’s good if you ask people directly “Why wouldn’t you buy this?” and to ask myself that question too.

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August 18, 2008 at 4:18 pm

nice list thanks good work

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November 7, 2008 at 12:09 pm

This is fantastic! It’s going to really help me with the sales letter I’m working on. Thanks, Brian!

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December 6, 2008 at 5:38 pm

I find too much repetition annoying. Some of these sales messages go on for pages until your eyes glaze over. Better than sleeping pills for insomniacs!

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January 3, 2009 at 3:09 am

We all want more success, don’t we?

We all want to be respected and stay ethical, right?

Well that’s what real persuasive copywriting is all about.

Reaching out to the clients needs and showing them how our product will meet or benefit those needs, without disrespecting them or powerselling them.

Good copywriting is the essence of success when you are selling something and I found these tips definately helpful.

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January 14, 2009 at 2:17 am

Hi! thanks for such a nice post, its very informative but the best thing i found in it and story telling and i believe in word of mouth marketing as it results best in the long run….any way keep it up….cheers!!!

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February 16, 2009 at 12:10 am

I liked the Tribal thing. The people living in the western United states only 250 years ago were all totally tribal.

I didn’t understand that “because” is such a powerful word but I will try using it more just because. Rick

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May 10, 2009 at 6:44 am

I’m gonna have to agree with the tribe, this is one of the finer posts of all time

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August 11, 2009 at 11:51 am

I am starting to blogging and as a newbie I have to learn to write articles. This postng is giving much help.

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September 5, 2009 at 6:22 pm

Having re-read it since it was first published, I noticed I still have learned something new. An awesome article. Really hanks.

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September 16, 2009 at 11:13 pm

This is a great article. It would have been extremely beneficial if I knew all this information before I got started myself.

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September 23, 2009 at 1:53 pm

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October 2, 2009 at 11:01 pm

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October 15, 2009 at 4:09 pm

A story tied in with other persuasive techniques results in the ultimate writing.

A personal story can show your experience and results – social proof. Your experience also acts as a prognosis for the reader’s future: if I could do it, so can you, and here’s how.

If your story is an amplified version of yourself, you go tribal and become super-relatable to those similar to you.

Add to the mix agitating and solving their problem while addressing any objections they have, and your writing becomes insanely persuasive.

Great tips Brian, they’re indeed timeless and will be used in whatever form writing evolves to next after blogging, Oleg

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October 27, 2009 at 9:34 am

Prognosticate is my new favorite word for the day:)

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November 25, 2009 at 4:19 pm

Great strategies for persuading. Thanks for this list and discussion. Each of these is a rhetorical strategy, with a fancy greek name, applied to persuasion. When combined with common strategies for impact, they are even more effective: http://preciseedit.wordpress.com/2009/04/06/guns-bullets-and-bang-combining-impact-strategies-in-writing/

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November 25, 2009 at 4:21 pm

This is great. This will come in handy for our presentations as well.

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November 25, 2009 at 6:16 pm

Great article! This should be required reading for all salespeople, marketing executives and small business owners.

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November 28, 2009 at 11:48 pm

I got to agree this is one the best posts I have seen since I found copyblogger. It really strikes at the heart of what we all are trying to do “influence the reader to a point of action” very well done.

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December 24, 2009 at 3:26 am

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January 30, 2010 at 9:14 am

Thanks for the great article! Prognosticate – I think this one is definitely the most effective way of persuasion. I like your analogy – like having a license to print money!

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February 10, 2010 at 10:50 pm

wow thanks so much for this!! really helped me with my english assignment!! they’re seriously good tips! thanks a million, maybe now I will pass college!

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February 24, 2010 at 10:03 am

Bingo! Your insight is spot on & inspires to write with a purpose, which sometimes gets lost in the assignment or deadline to produce a well written, persuasive piece. Thank you copyblogger again (and again) for providing valuable and motivational copy for all writers!

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March 1, 2010 at 11:00 am

Tremendous food for thought here. Using just a few of these tips will greatly improve my posts.

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April 6, 2010 at 10:43 am

Oh! this is really like a God`s gift for novice students like me. really thank you Brian!

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April 8, 2010 at 4:16 am

Nice post, thanks. The idea of storytelling (your last point) is a really important one.

Lots of people make sense of the world through political or religious narratives. And in their personal lives, people love casting themselves as the hero, villain or love interest depending on their circumstances. Just listen to people talking on their cell phones next time you’re out in town!

So stories are potentially very powerful tools for copywriters. If you can deliver you copy messages through a well-written story, you can make strong emotional connections with your readers. And that’s got to be a good thing. . .

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May 24, 2010 at 5:33 pm

Great article, love it! Well written and concise.

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June 3, 2010 at 5:43 am

Thank you so much for your help! This should really improve my GCSE English grade.

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June 11, 2010 at 8:01 am

Found the article on Ten Timeless Persuasive writing techniques to be very good. Even though I’m a professional copywriter, I think the tips will help me write with even more persuasive impact.

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June 24, 2010 at 2:54 am

I appreciate your ideas so much. I’m a content writer and writing content for 5 years. I used to take 1 hrs for write a article but now your technique would be more useful for me.

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July 23, 2010 at 8:26 am

thanks for sharing this info. this is good article.

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July 29, 2010 at 12:11 pm

gold for a copywriter/blogger

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August 5, 2010 at 10:30 am

Quite a lucid and useful presentation. It saves the time of wading through Aristotle’s Rhetoric. Thanks.

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August 5, 2010 at 10:33 am

I’m a content writer and writing content for 5 year

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August 18, 2010 at 1:17 pm

Great post, will adopt them to my list of blogging strategies!

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September 4, 2010 at 1:38 pm

Thank you for these tips. I will surely review this the next time I write.

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September 19, 2010 at 8:52 pm

There is a Russian proverb: repetition is the mother of learning. Repetition you describe brings best results, the way it is intended.

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September 23, 2010 at 10:11 pm

Having accumulated dozens of books and guides on the art (and science) of Copywriting – it’s always to go back to the basics – to the most important rules for writing a compelling and persuasive copy.

Great refresher!

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September 24, 2010 at 12:01 am

I also know one of the best Japanese proverb: ” No One Ca Do this, so I am Sure I will DO this” well with this attitude thay made country very good in very recent time. nice article

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September 28, 2010 at 3:22 am

Well, what can I say? This got me thinking. HARD. I think I read it like three times! Great, great article Brian! Thanks for reminding us what really matters.

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October 29, 2010 at 2:07 pm

This was great! You’re right, there are sooooo many ways to be persuasive. One thing that I do (when it fits) is to take a subject or idea that I’m attempting to share and dramatize it. Exaggerate it. It helps to get a point across. For example, a friend of mine just wrote a great radio ad for a business that wanted to let everyone know of ALL their many services. Which is no easy feat if you’re trying to stay away from being boring. So, he wrote an ad for the business as if you were ordering their services at a drive-thru fast food joint. This particular concept also would fit into your “Comparison” tip.

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November 11, 2010 at 8:57 am

This very helpful. Thanks a lot!

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January 8, 2011 at 3:08 pm

wow, that really helped!! I’m in the eighth grade, and the writing test in a month or two is really important to pass. My ELA teacher has only taught us a few persuasive writing techniques, and I’m so glad to find more ways to persuade than just the few (maybe like, four) ways she has told us about. Wow, I feel a bit more confident about (probably) getting a persuasive topic for the writing test!

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January 25, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Brian, i’m a freelance writer who would love to pull a quote from this blog and post it on my website in a tips section. what’s the protocol for doing so? thanks, Karen

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February 18, 2011 at 1:04 am

Great methods! Have looked at some of these techniques on my website about persusasive techniques.

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February 25, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Another persuasive technique to use is Scarcity – letting the reader think there is a limited availability of something.

It is used by Amazon a lot where they display things like – ‘only 5 copies of your DVD left’. Scarcity acts as a call to action prompting the reader to put more value in the product/ebook/service you provide.

This concept also works by showing a scarcity of time (‘only available today’) on sales sites.

It can work on information sites too when showing access to information may be hard to get at (e.g. membership only data, mailing list only special webcasts/information/etc).

Super post BTW

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April 11, 2011 at 10:07 am

Combining the scarcity with exclusivity can be a killer plan. People want to know that they have the chance to be part of something that no one else is, and they love the idea that it is only for a limited time – stroking the ego!

September 14, 2011 at 4:48 pm

I agree with Mason Hipp that this is one of the best posts I’ve read here (interesting considering it was on the topic of persuasion). You convinced us you know your stuff! And the advice to study past advertising copy that works is EXCELLENT. Amazing how easy it is to overlook the simple things that can make the most difference.

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November 14, 2011 at 4:19 am

A proffessional post,highly persuasive and educative.

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May 7, 2022 at 1:25 pm

Brian, I knew what’s persuasive writing, only until I read your post. Having finished, I concluded I hadn’t known earlier. It’s a gem of a post. You’ve cited the techniques so clearly, one can keep the list in front for reference while doing a persuasive piece. Thanks. Looking forward to reading more articles from you.

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May 10, 2022 at 3:07 pm

Thanks for the great tips! I especially love that you reference storyselling because it is such a critical part, not only of selling, but engaging readers in the first place so you can get them to a place where they’re ready to be sold to.

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May 12, 2022 at 5:57 am

A succinct, well-curated list. Will be archiving this as a reference when writing. Thx!

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May 12, 2022 at 10:04 am

Great tips! For someone like me who just started blogging, techniques like this will definenlty help me write better articles. Thanks a lot.

This article's comments are closed.

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Persuasion Map

Persuasion Map

About this Interactive

Related resources.

The Persuasion Map is an interactive graphic organizer that enables students to map out their arguments for a persuasive essay or debate. Students begin by determining their goal or thesis. They then identify three reasons to support their argument, and three facts or examples to validate each reason. The map graphic in the upper right-hand corner allows students to move around the map, instead of having to work in a linear fashion. The finished map can be saved, e-mailed, or printed.

  • Student Interactives
  • Strategy Guides
  • Calendar Activities
  • Lesson Plans

The Essay Map is an interactive graphic organizer that enables students to organize and outline their ideas for an informational, definitional, or descriptive essay.

This Strategy Guide describes the processes involved in composing and producing audio files that are published online as podcasts.

This strategy guide explains the writing process and offers practical methods for applying it in your classroom to help students become proficient writers.

Through a classroom game and resource handouts, students learn about the techniques used in persuasive oral arguments and apply them to independent persuasive writing activities.

Students analyze rhetorical strategies in online editorials, building knowledge of strategies and awareness of local and national issues. This lesson teaches students connections between subject, writer, and audience and how rhetorical strategies are used in everyday writing.

Students examine books, selected from the American Library Association Challenged/Banned Books list, and write persuasive pieces expressing their views about what should be done with the books at their school.

Students will research a local issue, and then write letters to two different audiences, asking readers to take a related action or adopt a specific position on the issue.

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  18. Persuasion Map

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