Blogging is now considered by most content marketers as the essential skill for attracting new visitors, turning them into subscribers and ultimately converting them into leads and customers. In other words, blogging is the spigot at the top of the sales funnel. Not all blogs are created equal, however. Notwithstanding the funny video post that goes viral, the most effective posts are those that answer questions, address problems and pose serious solutions. The blogs you remember and subscribe to are persuasive.
What Makes a Blog Post Persuasive?
It's true that a certain amount of "spice" in the headline gets your attention, even if the body fails to deliver the goods, but attention is not enough. To make a blog post memorable, you have to deliver the whole enchilada. A lot of experts will tell you to "tell a story," but what kind of story? What's the point, and how does it get resolved in the end? I would say it's better to tell a parable than a story. A parable doesn't just tell a story, it makes a point. It drives home an object lesson. Reader satisfaction comes from finding a blog post that's relevant to their needs or interests, then learning something new or resolving an issue. So the blogger's job isn't merely to captivate interest—it's really to persuade the reader to "buy-in" to a premise.
Milestones in the Parable
If you want to persuade someone of something, there's a logical sequence you should follow in each post:
- Premise: What question are you asking (and answering), what point are you making (and backing up) or what problem are you posing (and solving)?
- Introduction: Why are you talking about this subject, what's the background and why talk about this now?
- Arguments For: Present and explain evidence that supports your point of view.
- Dissenting Opinions: Try to represent opposing points of view as fairly as you can.
- Rebuttal: Factual arguments that shoot down the opposition and reinforce your position.
- Summary Statement: Summarize why the reader should accept your position and what's in it for them.
- Closing: Ask for acceptance and any action that should naturally result, for example, buying something, voting for something or simply taking the next step.
This is Marketing, Not a Court of Law
You can still tell a story and make it memorable. Just remember your job as a marketer is to persuade someone to do something. If you want to persuade someone, you need to make a very clear statement of what you want them to do (or think), why they should do it and how they will benefit. A single blog post can do just that if you structure your argument well, present the facts and ask for agreement. Never assume that anyone will take your word for it. We've all learned how to turn on our BS filters. A well-reasoned argument is still the best way to persuade people. The added benefit is that your readers will find value in your blogs and subscribe to them for more.
Photo credit: MDGovpics
With over 30 years of business and marketing experience, John loves to blog about ideas and trends that challenge inbound marketers and sales and marketing executives. John has a unique way of blending truth with sarcasm and passion with wit. You can connect with John via Twitter, LinkedIn or follow John McTigue on Google Plus.