Have you ever found yourself needing to write an essay where you convince the reader of your point of view? Then, persuasive writing is what you need!
A persuasive essay or text aims to convince the person reading your words that a particular point is correct. It’s one of the oldest forms of writing and has been used in politics, business, and religion over the years.
Despite there being different types of persuasive writing, they all have one thing in common: allowing the reader to understand (and believe) the writer’s position on any given matter.
But, there is a time and a place for each type, and you need to know when to choose which one to achieve your goals.
Read on to learn more about the three main techniques used for persuasive writing and how to hone your writing skills to have people believe your point of view.
What Is Persuasive Writing?
Persuasive writing is any text that convinces the reader of the writer’s opinion.
There are different techniques and types, which will be discussed later, but each is intended for a specific context and purpose.
For example, if you are trying to get an extension on your essay deadline, you will write an email with a formal tone of voice to your professor. If you’re convincing your roommate to go grab a drink, your text will be far more informal.
You may not even notice it, but persuasive writing is all around us – in the media, in advertisements, in the news, and on social media.
No matter your purpose or context, all persuasive writing has the following in common:
- Evidence to back your claims
- Appealing to the reader’s emotion
- Logical arguments
Why Is Persuasive Writing Important?
Whether you’re a high school student or new to the working world, persuasive writing is an invaluable skill to have in your toolkit.
You may have to write convincing and/or persuasive essays for school to score top marks, or you have to write a convincing cover letter to go with your resume to get the job of your dreams.
But it’s more than that. Knowing how to write in a way to convince others of your personal opinion is a good way to sharpen your writing and negotiation skills. It teaches you how to research, fact-check, and construct concise and clear arguments – tools you can use your entire life.
If you end up in marketing or content writing one day, it is a good tool to have in your writing arsenal. But even if you turn towards charity work, you can use your persuasive writing skills to get donations and rally people to your cause.
3 Types Of Persuasive Writing Techniques
There are three main types of persuasive writing techniques, dating back to ancient Greece. These are:
The Greek philosopher Aristotle coined these terms back in the day, but they are still very applicable today when it comes to argumentative essays or any kind of text that needs to convince the reader.
Most persuasive writing examples use a variety of these techniques, as the combination of them strengthens your arguments.
“Ethos” is the Greek word for “character.” This technique uses writing that appeals to the reader’s character and virtues. For that reason, this style of writing is also called “personal appeal.”
This kind of writing plays on the reader’s sense of right and wrong. The writer establishes themselves as a trustworthy and knowledgeable character, and because of that, the readers will agree with what they have to say.
Some examples of ethos writing include:
- “My family has been farming in Texas for four generations, and I’ve been working in food production for 25 years. So, trust me when I say that we need to avoid genetically modified produce.”
- “I spent my entire childhood and most of my teenage years in Eureka Springs. I know most of you from school. Please, listen to me when I say: we need to put money towards restoring the Winona Springs Church – you all know it’s the right thing to do.”
Pathos means either “suffering” or “experience” in Greek. This type of writing targets the emotions of the reader, which is why it’s also called “emotional appeal.”
The goal of this type of writing is to trigger an emotional response in the reader, which causes them to trust what you have to say.
You can influence readers by eliciting a variety of emotions, including:
Here are some examples of how you can use the pathos technique in persuasive essays:
- “Are you really willing to stand by and watch as millions of unwanted dogs in the Humane Society shelters are euthanized each year?”
- “Business owners say Gen Z is scared to work, but the real reason is that they’re not paying their staff fair wages.”
“Logos” is the origin of the word “logic”. This technique is also called “logical appeal. “It is mainly focused on logical arguments, presenting facts to convince the reader that you are speaking the undeniable truth.
Each statement that is written is backed up by facts, enhancing the writer’s credibility.
It’s possible that a writer may twist facts to fit in with their narrative, but many readers can spot this manipulative style of writing.
Some examples of the logos technique are:
- “If you know nicotine is bad for your health, why are you still grabbing your vape as soon as you wake up?”
- “Passenger cars emitted 374.2 million metric tons of CO2 in 2021. If we truly want to slow down climate change, we need to skip the short car trips to the store and walk instead.”
Bonus technique: Kairos
So, this technique wasn’t grouped by Aristotle with the three discussed above. However, he did believe that this was a fourth way to persuade readers to see your point of view.
Kairos means “the opportune moment.” To use this technique, the writer or speaker must create (or take advantage of) the perfect moment to deliver their message.
As an example: after a major storm in the U.S. Virgin Islands, human rights charities in the area may have more success in raising funds for their causes as they can appeal to people’s emotions.
As you can see, this example combines kairos and pathos.
Persuasive Writing Examples
As is evident from the above, persuasive writing can take many forms. Although the main goal is always to influence readers, the applications of persuasive texts are vast.
Below are just some examples of where you might use persuasive writing:
1. Persuasive essays
In persuasive essays – also called argumentative essays – the writer makes a specific claim about a topic and then uses facts and evidential data to drive the point home.
A persuasive essay aims to convince the reader that the writer is correct and that the evidence can’t be disputed in any way.
This type of persuasive writing requires a lot of research and fact-checking from the writer – it’s about more than just their opinion.
Examples of an argumentative essay include:
- School essay
- Thesis statement
2. Opinion pieces
An opinion piece is just the thing you need if you have strong feelings about a certain topic and want to express your views with the hope of convincing others. These are less focused on facts and instead play on the reader’s emotions.
Examples of opinion pieces include:
3. Cover letters
The job market is tough. Hundreds of applicants are vying for the same position. A convincing cover letter and job application can really make you stand out from the crowd. Using persuasive writing in cover letters can help you sell yourself to the recruiter, convincing them that you’re the only one for the job.
Reviews are typically opinion-based, but they can still make use of ethos, pathos, and logos to convince the reader of your opinion.
Say, for example, you are writing a book review on The Hobbit for school. Here are some ways in which you can adopt the three main techniques mentioned above:
- Ethos: “I’ve devoured dozens of fantasy novels, and I believe that J.R.R. Tolkien’s world-building in The Hobbit is the best. He is able to create detailed imaginary worlds like no other writer.”
- Pathos: “The journey of Bilbo Baggins filled me with a sense of wonder and excitement, reminding me of the magic of friendship and having a keen sense of adventure.”
- Logos: “Tolkein’s use of detailed maps and a sensible timeline makes the story of Bilbo Baggins much more believable, as it lends a sense of logic to a fantasy realm.”
How To Excel At Persuasive Writing
Do you want to become a pro at persuasive writing? Learn by doing!
Here are some tips on how to develop your persuasive writing skills. Follow these pointers, and you’ll hone your skills enough to convince a night owl to become an early bird (with enough practice).
1. Conduct thorough research
Humans are emotional beings, but appealing to emotions alone just isn’t enough at times.
If your readers are analytical, they might not respond to emotional writing. That’s why you need to back up your persuasive writing with cold, hard facts.
Plus, having indisputable proof to substantiate your claims makes you seem a lot more trustworthy. By providing stats, facts, case studies, and references, readers will believe your words to be true.
Of course, you need to write your facts and evidence in your own words to avoid plagiarism. Smodin’s AI Paraphrasing Tool can help you write evidence-based text in your own writing style.
2. Be empathetic
Sometimes, all anyone wants is to feel heard and understood. You can provide your readers with this understanding by addressing, and relating to, their pain points. If you can offer them a solution to their problems, that’s even better!
Showing empathy allows you to identify with your readers. They need to know that you understand them. Only then will they realize that what you say truly matters.
If you show you can relate, and that you can help your audience, they’ll be more inclined to trust your solutions.
3. Use tools to help you write
Sitting down and writing an argumentative or persuasive essay or speech from scratch can be very daunting. Writer’s block is real, and sometimes you may have strong opinions but struggle to formulate your words.
There are plenty of tools on the market, but none are as effective in helping you write persuasive essays as Smodin’s AI Writer and Advanced AI Essay Writer.
The AI Writer can help you write shorter texts and sprinkle some persuasive writing into your work, for example. The smart AI technology can even cite your references to add to your credibility.
The Advanced AI Essay Writer is specifically for helping you craft persuasive essays from scratch. It’s so simple, all you have to do is give the tool five words and it will begin to write a powerful, structured essay.
But of course, writing a persuasive essay with AI is not always ideal, especially if your institution uses AI detection tools. The good news is that Smodin has a solution for you: the Smodin AI Detection Remover.
4. Make use of rhetorical questions
One surefire way to grab your reader’s attention is to use rhetorical questions. These questions don’t require answers, but they are thought-provoking. They’re used to make a point (either negative or positive) and will keep your audience hooked.
Here are some examples:
- “How can we expect to progress as a society if we can’t take care of our homeless?”
- “What’s the point of technological advancement if we lose touch with our cultural heritage?”
- “How can we expect positive changes if we’re not willing to stand up for what we believe in?”
5. Repeat yourself
Repetition is a great tool in persuasive writing. By using this technique strategically, you can emphasize your key points while adding value to your argumentative essay.
You can tell stories, paraphrase what someone else said, or use metaphors to bring your point across.
In other words, you’re repeating the same opinion, without becoming redundant.
6. Choose your words carefully
No matter the kind of persuasive content you’re producing, you need to understand your audience.
There’s no point in writing in Elvish if your audience has never read Lord of the Rings!
It depends on the context, but usually, colloquial language is best for persuasive writing. It allows your audience to relate to you (and not make them feel like you’re better than them).
You’ll also want to avoid jargon or technical terms that not everyone will understand. Rather write inclusively, keeping your target audience in mind.
7. Adapt your tone of voice
A persuasive essay for college will have a different tone of voice than political speeches delivered by world leaders.
There isn’t one tone that works for all persuasive texts. Instead, it depends on the context and the readers. The tone you use goes hand in hand with your vocabulary, and can be:
Can I use persuasive writing in everyday life?
Absolutely! It’s not just about school essays and oral presentations. Persuasive writing and speaking can be used in discussions, cover letters, and texts to your friends… even if you just want to convince them to watch a movie with you.
How can I balance pathos and logos in persuasive writing?
Finding the balance between an emotional and logical appeal is key to your success. First, you need to understand your audience. This will allow you to appeal to their emotions. Then, you can reinforce your emotional triggers with well-researched facts and sound logic.
It is clear that persuasive writing is a very powerful skill to have. It can be used in various contexts, helping you to convince the reader about certain issues. Whether you simply want to bring your point across or motivate readers to take action, persuasive writing can help you achieve these goals.
The key to persuasive writing is understanding who your audience is. You need to tailor your words to relate to them.
Fortunately, Smodin offers a whole suite of tools to facilitate your writing process. Smodin can save you a lot of time, stress, and pre-essay tears as it assists you in writing compelling, hassle-free persuasive content.