Community Strategy Insights

The latest insights on community strategy, technology, and value by FeverBee’s founder, Richard Millington

The Persuasion Check

Richard Millington
Richard Millington

Founder of FeverBee

Persuasive writing is the easiest win right now. It’s easy to improve too.

Let’s cover a really simple technique from the Advanced Engagement Methods program.

It begins in the magical gap between the moment you’ve finished writing your next great piece of content and the moment you hit ‘publish’.

Most of us use this moment to proof the work. We remove the errors, simplify the language, and run it through a grammar corrector. But being free from errors is far less important than being persuasive.

I want you to use this moment to run it through a persuasion check as well.

Checking For Persuasion

The persuasion corrector is a technique where you scan through each sentence and change any sentence to incorporate more persuasive elements.

  • Ability to imagine. This is the most important. Can you make every sentence easier for someone to visualise? This includes metaphors, analogies, contrasts, and relevancy. Want to know why those list posts and longer headlines perform better? They’re easier for the audience to recall.
  • Ingroup and outgroup factor. Can we be clearer about what people like them do compared with people not like them? A separation between their tribal group and mainstream helps persuade the audience.
  • Immediate gratification. Can you reduce the gap between the action you’re asking them to take and the quickest possible reward. A tiny win now is better than a big win later.
  • Remember. Can we help them remember it through using repetition, stories, and an unexpected surprise?
  • Credible. Can we make this sentence more credible. Are there any links, supportive evidence, examples, studies, or direct honesty that would make this more credible?
  • Language. Are we using the language the audience would use to define and solve their problem? It’s funny how often we get this wrong. Are we using simple words and short sentences?
  • Emotion. Are we triggering an emotion here? Hope, fear, anger, sadness, joy?

Here’s an example:

“A good way to grow your online community is to add Facebook pixel to your brand’s website and then target retargeted facebook social ads to the people that visit your brand.

You can include direct appeals to join your community and attract clicks at $0.1. If you have a 10% conversion rate, you can attract new members for just $1.”

This is factually true, but not very persuasive is it?

None of you are about to rush out and do exactly this. It’s hard to imagine, there’s no in-group factor, limited immediate gratification, it’s hard to remember, lacks credibility, and doesn’t appeal to emotions.

Look at the language here. “a good way to” – we can’t visualise that?

“We recently discovered a unique trick from top experts in direct advertising. This trick will ease your concerns about falling engagement metrics in your Google reports and get new members tomorrow. It’s called retargetting. Let me show you how we recently used it.

First, we added Facebook pixel to our site (walk over to your web guy to do this).

Second, we created direct adverts to people who visited our site. These only showed up to the most likely people to join. Third, we greeted each person as they arrived. Each click cost £0.14 – about the same as a few paperclips.”

Let’s go through the checklist here:

  • Easier to visualise? Yes. “google reports”, “paper clips”, and use of screenshots
  • In-group factory? “top experts
  • Immediate gratification? “add newcomers by tomorrow” (could have said before your coffee tomorrow)
  • Easier to remember? Slightly, we could have written the entire two paragraphs as a short story.
  • More credible? Yes, we included screenshots proving it works.
  • Similar and shorter language? I hope so.
  • Triggers an emotion? We gently nudge the fear factor many people experience.

You don’t need to add every persuasive element to every sentence you write. That would drive you and your audience crazy.

But if you’re going to spend 30 – 60 minutes of your precious time creating content, you owe it to yourself (and your audience) to spend just 5 of those precious minutes ensuring it is as persuasive as it can possibly be.

(By the way, it’s far more important your messages are persuasive than free from errors.)

Advanced Engagement Level

If you’re working at the advanced engagement level, you shouldn’t be hunting around for stock images anymore. Get a virtual assistant or a colleague to do that instead.

You should be carefully combing through every line and every sentence to make it more persuasive.

This is where you add incredible unique value to your organisation. We want to teach you more advanced tips from the fields of persuasion, motivation, and social dynamics to drive a lot more valuable engagement during our Advanced Engagement Methods program. Registration closes on Feb 29.

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