Have you ever wondered if there were specific terms you could use that would make your tweets, status updates, and blog posts a little more persuasive? Well, as a Professional Communication graduate student at Ryerson, that's exactly the type of question that kept me up at night. Here are some insights I found while conducting a study on persuasive language on the review website Yelp.
1. It's all about the user
You're writing for a user, so spell it out for them: This is why YOU should care! Use "you" instead of "I" to help spell out exactly why this information is important to them.
2. Red, and yellow and pink and green
Don't tell me that the portion size worked for you, tell me you got a heaping plate with 8 huge chicken fingers and more crispy but not burnt fries than you knew what to do with! Vague terms have different meanings for everyone, so be as concrete as possible.
3. ...purple and orange and blue
On that note, keep the description coming! If I tell you one latte is "creamy with cinnamon" and the other is "warm, creamy, and sweet, with just a dash of cinnamon," which one are you buying? Don't overdo it with a mile-long list of adjectives, but as a general rule, more adjectives are better.
4. I think I can
If you don't have faith in your advice, why should anyone else? So stop telling people that something "might" or "could" work, and start telling them that it will work! Every time you see a word that weakens your argument (known as a hedging term), ask yourself if it really needs to be there.
5. Wait...what was I talking about again
Supporting details are great (we covered that in tips 2 and 3). And personal anecdotes can make stories resonate with readers. But when I'm writing a blog post about how to become an SEO expert, and end up telling a story about how sometimes when my friend comes over, he makes really good chocolate chip cookies, and then we eat them while watching cartoons ... I may be adding information (and length) but not value. You have a point. Stick to it.
--Sara isn't actually a guest blogger, but she snuck her 5 cents (or tips) in here anyway! As the Wave Community Manager, Sara is constantly looking for new ways to apply her nerdy knowledge to all forms of communication, both online and off.
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