August 3, 2020
Conviction, defined as a person’s firm belief in a point or argument, is what makes any excellent written content effective. By injecting undeniable conviction into their output, a content writer shows that they are confident that what they have written is true and correct. Thus, it can convince readers to agree to what they are saying.
Regrettably, some people need a bit of help when it comes to exuding confidence that can show their conviction on a specific matter. This is particularly true for content writers who are tasked to write about a topic they are not familiar with.
The answer? Learn persuasive writing.
Persuasive writing is used in many different forms of communication – from op-eds and reviews to advertising copies. When writing effective and persuasive copy, you need to use a combination of thorough research, the careful use of words, and a passion for the topic you’re writing about.
Read on to learn the eight secrets on writing with conviction and become an effective content writer.
1. Study Your Audience
The first thing you need to do before writing just about anything is to do some research about your target audience. After all, they are the ones whom you need to convince to agree with you in the first place.
Studying your audience allows you to know the specific preferences and language that the demographic you’re targeting will understand. It can also help you craft a piece that will make them feel a sense of connection with you and the topic you’re writing about.
2. Choose a Topic You’re Passionate About
In some cases, writers are asked to pick a topic for their writing tasks. Although this won’t always happen, take advantage of the chance by choosing one that you’re passionate about. This will help the ideas flow more freely, giving you an edge in weaving a highly convincing piece.
Topics that are in line with the writer’s own sensibilities also makes both research and defense against naysayers a whole lot easier.
3. Organize Your Ideas
In order to persuade people with a point you’re trying to make, it is important that they are able to follow and understand it. This means you should make sure that your thoughts and ideas are organized into a concise flow that is understandable even from the perspective of non-experts.
To achieve this, you should present your point in a clear statement at the very beginning of the article. This “thesis statement,” as it is called in academic writing, would serve as the anchor and reference for the entire piece you’re writing.
From there, proceed with your supporting ideas presented in a logical format and anchored in with analysis and evidence. It would also be good to learn about opposing ideas so that you can prepare a counter-argument and further cement the credibility of the point you’re trying to make.
Remember: Never attempt this off the top of your head. Coming up with an outline before writing the entire piece can help you present your ideas in an organized and understandable manner.
4. Reconsider Your Words
Another secret to making your written piece a lot more convincing and persuasive is to reconsider the words you use. Stick to strong, clear and straightforward words and phrases, and avoid weak and ambivalent ones like:
- Sort of
- Kind of
These don’t add value and credibility to your point, not to mention they diminish your argument. If you’re confident and have supporting evidence to prove that you are correct, then assert it confidently with strong words.
5. Adopt an Affirmative Tone and Active Voice
Aside from the word choice, you also need to watch the tone of voice you’re using when writing a persuasive piece. To present your point with conviction, try to avoid the negative approach whenever possible.
For instance, rather than saying, “Political leaders are not doing enough to address climate change,” it would be more persuasive to say, “Political leaders must act immediately to address climate change.”
In the same manner, you must also stick to the active voice when writing to convince others to agree with you. For example, the phrase “global leaders must act” is a much stronger statement compared to “action should be taken.”
Some writers who aim to persuade also make the mistake of forgetting empathy. Remember that readers are more inclined to side with you in an argument if they feel that you can relate to their actual experiences. Thus, making a copy more effective in persuading others to agree with your point.
Appealing to human emotion is one weapon in persuasive writing you must never neglect. It not only goes well with sound reasoning but also appeals to the readers’ sensibilities, therefore, making it possible for an opposing party to change their beliefs.
7. Go Straight to the Point
As mentioned earlier, you have to watch your words to be able to write with conviction. This also means you have to get straight to the point and avoid saying things like:
- “I think…”
- “In my opinion…”
- “Here are my thoughts on…”
- “The way I see it…”
Remember that people are reading your written piece because they are after your opinion, so there’s no need to say these. Plus, small talk often puts off readers and causes them not to finish an article they are reading.
So, rather than writing, “In my opinion, donuts are wonderful snacks,” weave your words into something like, “Donuts are awesome because of their mouthwatering, sugary goodness.”
Once you remove subjective phrases and those that make your statement weak, you can improve its efficacy even if it becomes shorter. The key is to drive the idea home and prove your point with as little fluff as possible.
8. Emphasize Your Point
Emphasis is another strategy you can use to make readers remember your point and agree with it. Of course, hyperbolic statements shouldn’t be taken literally. They are only meant to help readers get a clearer picture.
Take, for example, the slogan for Disney theme parks. They say that it’s “the happiest place on Earth” not because the statement is an objective opinion but because it creates a clear, desirable feeling for their target audience: children and families.
Believe in Your Argument
Writing for the primary purpose of persuading people to side with you or act on your opinion is not as difficult as it sounds. In fact, many expert content writers have proven that it is far from an unattainable feat.
The key is to write with conviction. When your output reflects how strongly you believe in your argument, then your audience is bound to follow suit.
Hisham Wyne is an award-winning copywriter, brand consultant and content creator based in Dubai. He has over a decade's experience in helping brands get their messages right. From crisp web copy and zippy brochures to in-depth company profiles and analytical annual reports, Hisham makes words work for you - so you can sell better, gain visibility, and give your brand a unique voice.