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A Process for Persuasive Blogging

Today I was digging through Joseph Sugarman’s ‘Advertising Secrets of the Written Word‘ and came across a section describing how he teaches students to work out the sequence of ad copy.

Without rehashing the whole chapter his style is very much about identifying a reader need and then leading them through a logical process of asking questions and providing answers to a point where he can close the sale.

In asking the right question at the right time in an ad he argues that you get the to read on and establish a flow for your readers to progress through your ad (or if you’re blogging, your post).

In the same section Sugarman also suggests copywriters use a Flow Chart to outline the process that you’re attempting to lead readers through.

At each step along the process you state a problem or question that your readers need to overcome and present an answer to that problem or question.

Post-Process-1

The idea of a flowchart is probably not something that most bloggers would do on any given post – however it’s a good exercise to do occasionally on longer posts (or series of posts).

In fact I used to use this type of approach when writing sermons and have applied it quite a few times over the last couple of years in writing posts.

Another way of thinking about it is like this:

1. State ultimate Problem – starting with a problem that your reader needs to overcome (or a need that they have) is a great place to start if you want to call them to some action. People rarely take action on things if there’s no felt or perceived need.

2. Outline sub-problems – break down the larger problem into sub problems that need to be overcome for that problem to be solved. You’ll then tackle each problem one at a time.

3. Answers/Solutions – Logically step through each of the identified sub problems one at a time. Every time you propose a solution for one of the smaller problems you make a stronger case for the solution of the ‘ultimate’ problem

4. Call to Action - once you’ve tackled each of the smaller issues or problems along the way you’re in a good position to restate the ‘ultimate’ problem and call readers to an action that will answer it and meet the need that they have.

Post-Process-2

This sort of process will obviously work better for some blogs than others (the way I’ve written it is ideal for ‘how to’ blogs) – however it can be applied in a variety of situations.

It works because of the weight from the accumulation of answers. Give it a go and tell us how you find the process.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Greg Butler says:

    Great advice on writing captivating copy. Sometimes it is a challenge to keep the reader interested if the post is longer than normal. In writing on topics of holistic personal development, this type of structure is a very helpful reminder. Thanks.

  2. Kumiko says:

    What do I think about this blogging process?

    It’ll work for commenting too.

  3. Joe Vitale’s Hypnotic Writing is another book written to help readers create captivating copy. I like the use of the flowchart – sometimes I feel copywriting is less about creativity and more about following the formula. Either way, it’s about using what works.

  4. Matt Jones says:

    LOL Kumiko!

    This is perfect advice for affilaite marketing which is what a large part of my site is about, great advice!

  5. JennDZ says:

    Very good reminders! Especially for using affiliates which is something I personally need to improve upon.

  6. Brian says:

    This is some great advise. I see alot of these 1 page ebook selling sites doing the same thing.

  7. narcolept says:

    Based on previous articles you’ve written, you should’ve inserted another entry in the list, to make this more popular among the social media clickers, and named it “5 steps to more persuasive blogging.” :)

  8. Armen says:

    It’s definately more engrossing when an article asks questions and answers them. It is especially effective if you can bring the reader along to ask the same questions as they are reading, and answer them just at the right time.
    Their reaction is then,

    “Ah, I was wondering about that. Hmmm…cool.”

    If you get them to do that, then they’re sold.

  9. Ultimately, people would want to read what they want to know. Most of the time they have concrete questions in mind; other times they stumble upon useful information without planning to. Indeed, identifying what your readers want to learn and creating some sort of outline or flow chart (even in your head) can help you come up with valuable content.

  10. Hush says:

    Great tips.

    I think in some instances , valuable direcly translates to ‘never-read-before” content.

  11. Very helpful tips.

    But does anyone else feel like turning blogging into a ‘science’ with flow charts and all, kind of takes out from the idea of natural blogging? I mean, if blogs become very well thought out and planned, then aren’t they articles?

    Don’t get me wrong, i myself have a website (www.APigeonCalledFrank.com) that is NOT a blog but a website of frequently updated articles and small fictional pieces.

    but my point is, does anyone else feel like we’re all suddenly taking blogging a bit too seriously?

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