Persuasive writing


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Persuasive writing

  1. 1. Certified Sales and Marketing Skills Programme Persuasive Writing Dr. Brian Monger Copyright January 2014. This Power Point program and the associated documents remain the intellectual property and the copyright of the author and of The Marketing Association of Australia and New Zealand Inc. These notes may be used only for personal study associated with in the above referenced course and not in any education or training program. Persons and/or corporations wishing to use these notes for any other purpose should contact MAANZ for written permission. MAANZ International 1
  2. 2. MAANZ International • MAANZ International, is a Not for Profit, internet based professional and educational institute which has operated for over 25 years. • MAANZ International offers Professional Memberships; • Marketing Courses (Formal and Short) • And Marketing Publications • MAANZ International 2 2
  3. 3. Dr. Brian Monger • Brian Monger is the CEO of MAANZ International and a Professional marketer and consultant with over 40 years experience. Marketing In Black and White MAANZ International 3 3
  4. 4. Persuasive Writing • Messages are designed to change attitudes and opinions, reinforce existing attitudes and opinions, and influence people to use a product or a service. • At other times, the organisation's objective is simply to create a two-way dialog between itself and its various publics. MAANZ International 4
  5. 5. The Basics of Communication • To be successful, a message must be received by the intended individual or audience. It must get the audience's attention. It must be understood. It must be believed. It must be remembered. And ultimately, in some fashion, it must be acted upon. • • Failure to accomplish any of these tasks means the entire message fails. To communicate is to make known—to project ideas into the minds of others. MAANZ International 5
  6. 6. Forms of Communication • Communication can be classified into two basic forms: • 1. Auditory - audible –basically spoken communication • 2. Visual – including graphic (basically symbolic- drawn or written) and body language • Communication often includes both forms simultaneously. MAANZ International 6
  7. 7. The Communication Process • Personal communication can be improved if we understand the basic model of communication. The communication process takes place in various situations for different reasons, with the potential for many interpretations. It has eight main elements: • • 1. sender/transmitter • 2. message • 3. receiver/respondent • 4. encoding and decoding • 5. feedback message • 6. medium or channel • 7. context/setting/situation 8. noise or interference – internal and external. MAANZ International 7
  8. 8. E x te r n a l N o is e C o n te x t/ S itu a tio n C o n te x t/ S it u a tio n M essage M e diu m o r C h a n n e l Encode In te r n a l N o is e Sender D e c o d e ( P e r c e p t io n ) D e c o d e ( P e r c e p t io n ) R eceiver/ R espondent Encode M e diu m o r C h a n n e l F e ed back C o n te x t/ S itu a t io n C o n te x t/ S it u a t io n E x te r n a l N o is e Figure 1 A Communication Model MAANZ International 8
  9. 9. Context • Context is the situation or setting within which communication takes place, or the circumstances that surround a particular piece of communication. • Context plays an important part in how a message is encoded and decoded. The same message can have a completely different meaning depending on the situation, since emotions and reactions to ideas and events vary in different situations. . MAANZ International 9
  10. 10. Noise or interference • Noise is anything that interrupts the message or communication flow between sender and receiver can lead to misunderstanding, or to confused or ambiguous communication. • Noise can be external interference (competing messages; visual or audible interference) or internal interference (within the sender or receivers mind) MAANZ International 10
  11. 11. Audience - Receivers • The receivers are the people you must reach. In public relations, potential or actual audiences are commonly referred to as publics. • A public can be defined in many ways. • For marketing purposes, a public is often defined as a market segment—a group of people who have comparable demographic (income, age, education, etc.) characteristics that will cause them to respond to messages in a similar way. MAANZ International 11
  12. 12. Media • The media are the physical channels that carry the message to the receiver. • They may include newspapers, magazines, radio, television, letters, speeches, audiovisuals, pictures, newsletters, leaflets, brochures, and even the World Wide Web. • Every medium has advantages and disadvantages, as explored in future units. MAANZ International 12
  13. 13. The Message • Your message must be applicable, believable, realistic, and convincing. It must be expressed clearly and understandably in familiar words and phrases. • Above all, you must convince the receivers that the idea you are presenting is beneficial to them. MAANZ International 13
  14. 14. The Sender • The sender is the organisation from which the message comes. • Every organisation has different publics, divergent interests, dissimilar objectives, unique problems, distinctive beliefs and peculiarities. • As a writer, you must know the organisation's objectives so that the messages you prepare will advance these objectives. MAANZ International 14
  15. 15. Communication Barriers • Communication barriers occur as a result of a misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the message. • These barriers can be caused by the sender, the receiver, lack of feedback, a poor choice of channel, the wrong context or any other element in the communication model. • Even when communication barriers appear, something is communicated, but the noise or interference distorts the intended message. MAANZ International 15
  16. 16. Some of the common factors that cause communication barriers are: • • inappropriate choice of words • inappropriate channel • inappropriate message • receiver inattention • lack of courtesy by the sender or the receiver non-verbal communication that does not support the words • different cultural backgrounds • poor layout and presentation • inappropriate timing • inadequate feedback. MAANZ International 16
  17. 17. Theories of Communication • A message may move from the sender through the media to the receiver without necessarily conveying ideas and getting them accepted. • Yet ideas do get accepted, and there are several theories about how this is accomplished. MAANZ International 17
  18. 18. Two-Step Flow Theory • The flow of communication might be described as a series of expanding contacts. It assumes that opinion leaders first pay attention to messages in the media, analyze them, interpret them, and then pass on the information to their friends and associates. • There are formal opinion leaders, such as the CEO of a company, but there are also informal opinion leaders. All of us rely on various people for information and guidance because we believe they are knowledgeable about a particular subject, whether it be baseball or how to get a file transferred on a PC. MAANZ International 18
  19. 19. Media Uses and Gratification • Recipients of communication are not passive couch potatoes. The basic premise of uses and gratification theory is that the communication process is interactive. • The communicator wants to inform and, ultimately, motivate people to act on the information. Recipients want to be entertained, informed, or alerted to opportunities that can fulfil their needs. MAANZ International 19
  20. 20. Cognitive Dissonance • People will not believe a message, or act on it, if it is contrary to their predispositions. A writer must, in this instance, introduce information that causes them to question their beliefs. • This can be done in several ways. • First, you can introduce information that says it is okay to change; perhaps the situation has changed because of new discoveries, and so on. • Second, you can use sources or testimonials from people the audience trusts. MAANZ International 20
  21. 21. Media Effects • One theory postulates that the mass media have limited effects. The media may set the agenda in terms of what people think about, but they have limited influence in telling people what to think. • There is also the theory of moderate and powerful media effects. This theory postulates that the media are influential in shaping public opinion when (1) the public has little or no opinion on a subject, (2) the subject is non-ego threatening, and (3) the reader or viewer has no firsthand knowledge of the event or situation. In a highly urbanised and global society, the public is increasingly dependent on the media for information. • Because of this, framing theory becomes more relevant. MAANZ International 21
  22. 22. Framing • The term "framing" was historically applied to journalists and editors and how they selected certain facts, themes, treatments, and even words to "frame" a story that would generate maximum interest and understanding among readers and viewers. MAANZ International 22
  23. 23. Diffusion and Adoption • The diffusion theory was developed in the 1930s. It holds that there are five steps in the process of acquiring new ideas: • Awareness—the person discovers the idea or product. • Interest—the person tries to get more information. • Trial—the person tries the idea on others or samples the product. • Evaluation—the person decides whether the idea works for his or her own self-interest. • Adoption—the person incorporates the idea into his or her opinion or begins to use the product. MAANZ International 23
  24. 24. Hierarchy-of-Needs Theory • The hierarchy-of-needs theory has been applied in a number of disciplines, including communication. It is based on the work of Abraham H. Maslow, who listed basic human needs on a scale from basic survival to more complex ones: • Physiological needs. • Safety needs. • Social needs. • Ego needs. • Self-fulfilment needs. MAANZ International 24
  25. 25. Hierarchy-of-Needs Theory • The main point is to understand that your audience is looking for messages that satisfy needs. • If you can identify and articulate those needs, you are well on your way to being a persuasive writer. MAANZ International 25
  26. 26. Applying Theory to Practice • Understanding the concepts of opinion formation, the process of information diffusion, and the psychological needs of audiences have a great deal of practical applications for the writer . MAANZ International 26
  27. 27. Tailoring Messages to Lifestyles • Writers increasingly use psychographics to tailor messages to specific audiences. MAANZ International 27
  28. 28. Guidelines for Effective, Persuasive Communication. • Approach everything from the viewpoint of the audience's interest. What is on its mind? What is in it for each person? • Make the subject matter part of the atmosphere in which audience members live—what they talk about, what they hear from others. That means tailoring the message to their channels of communication. • Communicate with people, not at them. MAANZ International 28
  29. 29. Persuasive Writing • Your purpose is to persuade your target audience. Your message may be delivered in one way, a few ways, or many ways. • As you work on message content, how-ever, keep in mind the concepts of audience analysis; source credibility; appeal to self-interest; clarity of the message; timing and context; symbols, slogans, and acronyms; semantics; suggestions for action; and content and structure. MAANZ International 29
  30. 30. A Behavioural Communication Model • Awareness - Latent readiness - Triggering event - Behaviour • Most theories of communication end with the receipt of the message by the receiver. The assumption is that the reader will be persuaded and that the sender's objective will be accomplished. • The behavioural communication model is better because it forces practitioners to think in terms of what causes people to pay attention to a message or take action. MAANZ International 30
  31. 31. Audience Analysis • A message, as already stated, must be compatible with group values and beliefs. • Tapping a group's attitudes and values in order to structure a meaningful message is called channelling. • It is the technique of recognising a general audience's beliefs and suggesting a specific course of action related to audience members' self-interests. MAANZ International 31
  32. 32. Source Credibility • A message is more believable to an audience if the source has credibility, which is why writers try to attribute information and quotes to people who are perceived as experts. Indeed, expertise is a key element in credibility. • The other two elements are sincerity and charisma. • Ideally, a source will have all three attributes. MAANZ International 32
  33. 33. Appeal to Self-interest • Self-interest was mentioned in connection with both Maslow's hierarchy of needs and audience analysis. • A writer must at all times be aware of what the audience wants to know. MAANZ International 33
  34. 34. Appeals That Move People to Act • Persuasive messages often include information that appeals to an audience's self-interest. Here is a list of persuasive message themes: • Make money Satisfy curiosity Save money Protect family Save time Be stylish Avoid effort Have beautiful things More comfort Satisfy appetite Better health Be like others Cleaner Avoid trouble Escape pain Avoid criticism Gain praise Be individual Be popular Protect reputation Be loved/accepted Be safe Keep possessions Make work easier More enjoymentBe secure MAANZ International 34
  35. 35. Clarity of the Message • Communication, as already stated, does not occur if the audience does not under-stand your message. It is important to produce messages that match the characteristics of your target audience in content and structure. MAANZ International 35
  36. 36. Clarity of the Message • One solution to this problem is to copy-test all public relations materials on the target audience. Another solution is to apply readability and comprehension formulas to materials before they are produced and disseminated. Most formulas are based on the number of words per sentence and the number of one-syllable words per 100 words. MAANZ International 36
  37. 37. Timing and Context • Professional communicators often say that timing is everything. • Your message also must arrive at a time when it can conveniently be considered. If it is too early, your audience may not be ready to think about it. • November is not the time to talk about winter sports or sports equipment, but May might be just right. • News about a cure for male baldness gets full attention from middle-aged bald-headed men at almost any time. MAANZ International 37
  38. 38. Symbols, Slogans, and Acronyms • You are not likely to produce a symbol that will become world famous, but if at all possible, you should try to find something graphic that symbolises a given organisation. This is called branding, and corporations often spend millions to establish a symbol that immediately means reliability and quality to a consumer. • Slogans can be highly persuasive. They state a key concept in a few memorable and easily pronounceable words. American Express tells us, "Don't leave home without it," and Hewlett-Packard now uses "expanding possibilities" with its logo. If you can coin a slogan that expresses the basic idea of what you are trying to promote, it will help you attain your objective. MAANZ International 38
  39. 39. Semantics • The dictionary definition of words may be clear and concise, but there is another dimension to words—the connotative meaning to various individuals and groups of people. The study of meaning given to words and the changes that occur in these meanings as time goes on is the branch of linguistics called semantics. • To write persuasively and to influence target audiences, you must be sensitive to semantics. MAANZ International 39
  40. 40. Suggestions for Action • Persuasive writing must give people information on how to take action, and the suggestions must be feasible. MAANZ International 40
  41. 41. Content and Structure • People are motivated by theatrics and a good story. They are moved by bold action and human drama. Your message should go beyond cold facts or even eloquent phrases. If you can vividly describe what you are talking about—if you can paint word pictures—your message will be more persuasive. • A number of techniques can make a message more persuasive; many of them have already been discussed. MAANZ International 41
  42. 42. Persuasion by Repetition • Writers often make the mistake of failing to reinforce messages. Repeating the message in various forms is essential for the following reasons: • Not all members of your audience use the same media channels to get their information. • Repetition of the message, in various forms, reminds the audience about an idea or product. • Repetition helps break down earlier resistance to the message. • Repetition helps overcome competing messages and distractions. MAANZ International 42
  43. 43. The Ethics of Persuasion • The public distrusts professional "persuaders," and the media often refer to public relations people and political consultants as spin doctors. Yet persuasion is an integral part of society. Everyone uses words and visual symbols to share and evaluate information, shape beliefs, and convince others to do or think things. The ancient Greeks recognised rhetoric, the "science of persuasion," as worthy of study and an essential part of public discourse. • In sum, persuasion is not a nasty concept. It does not have to be manipulative, propagandistic, or full of half-truths. MAANZ International 43
  44. 44. Writers should keep in mind: • Do not use false, fabricated, • Do not ask your audience to link misrepresented, distorted, or your idea or proposal to emotionirrelevant evidence to support laden values, motives, or goals to arguments or claims. which it is not actually related. • Do not intentionally use specious, • Do not deceive your audience by unsupported, or illogical reasoning. concealing your real purpose, your • Do not represent yourself as self-interest, the group you informed or as an "expert" on a represent, or your position as an subject when you are not. advocate of a viewpoint. • Do not use irrelevant appeals to divert attention or scrutiny from the issue at hand. Among the appeals that commonly serve such a purpose are "smear" attacks on an opponent's character, appeals to hatred and bigotry, innuendo, and "God" or "devil" terms that cause intense but unreflective positive or MAANZ International 44 negative reactions.
  45. 45. Writers should keep in mind: • Do not distort, hide, or misrepresent the number, scope, intensity, or undesirable features of consequences. • Do not use emotional appeals that lack a supporting basis of evidence or reasoning and would therefore not be accepted if the audience had time and opportunity to examine the subject itself. • Do not oversimplify complex situations into simplistic, twovalued, either/or, polar views or choices. • Do not pretend certainty when tentativeness and degrees of probability would be more accurate. • Do not advocate something in which you do not believe yourself. MAANZ International 45
  46. 46. Communicating Value • Communicating Value to customers and potential customers is a major activity in Marketing and Business Development. • If customers don’t fully know about the value contained in the Value Offer, the exchange is going to be limited – perhaps they won’t be willing to exchange at all (don’t know enough to want to exchange) or will not be willing to pay much (not enough value perceived in the offer). • Either way, to achieve more value for both you and your customers, you need to communicate value effectively. MAANZ International 46
  47. 47. The Promotional Mix • The Promotional Mix (which is a subset of the Marketing Mix) involves four main elements which are used to create mostly external informative and persuasive communications for the organisation: • Advertising • Sales Promotion • Personal Selling • Publicity/Marketing Public Relations MAANZ International 47
  48. 48. The Integrated Marketing Communication Concept • Integrated Marketing Communications is a strategic crossfunctional approach in which an organisation coordinates its Promotional Mix - advertising, sales promotion, personal selling, and publicity in order to present a single approach and consistent image for the product and the organisation. The IMC process is used to plan, develop, execute and evaluate coordinated, consistent and measurable communication programs over time with key stakeholders. • The elements are coordinated and integrated so they reinforce and complement each other in order to create a synergy that better accomplishes the organisation's promotion objectives. MAANZ International 48
  49. 49. Advertising • Advertising is any paid form of commercial communication through the mass media about a value offering – a product (good, service, or idea) by an identified sponsor (the organisation paying for the media). • It is a one way form of communication. The most common media used include magazines, direct mail, radio, television, billboards, and newspapers. MAANZ International 49
  50. 50. Personal Selling • Personal selling is a special form of interpersonal communication. Its goal is to provide information to a prospective buyer in such a way that it elicits a purchase. Personal selling is unique in that it is a form of dyadic (two way) communication. In personal selling, messages flow between one sender and one (or perhaps a few) receivers; advertising, sales promotion, and publicity are mass communication forms. • More money is spent on personal selling activities than on the other promotional tools. Some estimate that firms spend ten times as much on personal selling as they do on advertising. MAANZ International 50
  51. 51. Sales Promotion (Incentives) • Sales promotion is any activity that offers an incentive to induce a desired response from target customers, salespeople, or intermediaries over a limited period of time. • Sales promotion involves some type of inducement that provides an extra incentive to buy. This incentive is usually the key element in a promotional program; it may be a coupon or price reduction, the opportunity to enter a contest or sweepstakes, a money-back refund or rebate, or an extra amount of a product. While advertising appeals to the mind and emotions to give the consumer a reason to buy, sales promotion appeals more to the wallet and provides an incentive for purchasing a brand. MAANZ International 51
  52. 52. Direct Marketing • Long considered to be an element of Sales Promotion, the term Direct Marketing, usually covers direct mail and telemarketing activities. • The Australian Direct Marketing Association defines the term as follows: Direct marketing is an interactive system of marketing which uses one or more advertising media to affect a measurable response and/or transaction at any location. The key element of modern Direct Marketing is the development of in-depth Data Bases which provide buyer details including preferences. MAANZ International 52
  53. 53. Publicity and Marketing Public Relations • Publicity (also known as Marketing Public Relations) is a type of communication that comes under the general heading of Public Relations. • Publicity is news and information generally carried in the mass media about an organisation and its products, policies, personnel, or actions; it can originate with the media or the marketer and is published or aired at no charge to the organisation for media space or time. • Although publicity does not require any payment to the broadcast media for time or to the print media for space, it is not free communication. For example the marketer, may have to pay for the cost of preparing news releases. The main drawback as a promotional method is that publicity doesn’t allow a great deal of control. MAANZ International 53
  54. 54. All Elements of the Marketing Mix Communicate • As discussed previously the marketing mix involves four elements. Product; Price; Promotion and Place(ment) • Each of these elements, not just the promotion element, communicates something to existing and potential customers. MAANZ International 54
  55. 55. Practical Techniques of Creating Persuasive Writing • For simplicity we will refer to all techniques of persuasive writing here as advertising. • An ad is only good when it solves the specific problem you want to solve. MAANZ International 55
  56. 56. Basically, all advertising is about communicating: • the RIGHT information • in the RIGHT way • to the RIGHT people • in the RIGHT place • at the RIGHT time MAANZ International 56
  57. 57. END MAANZ International 57
  58. 58. END MAANZ MXPress Program MAANZ International 58 58
  59. 59. For more information about MAANZ International and articles about Marketing, visit: • • • • • . • • Email: Link to this site - - for further presentations Marketing In Black and White MAANZ International 59 59