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Core values of persuasive writing (TLDR)



Kinds of Persuasive Writing


Influencing the reader can be done for various reasons, including the writer's intention for the reader to take a specific action or just to inform the reader of genuine truth. Here are some samples of persuasive writing that will grab the reader's attention:

  • Newspaper editorials

  • Poems and songs

  • Literature and speech

  • Print and commercial advertising

  • Junk emails (e.g., sales or recruiters emails)

  • College publications, etc.

Principles to Write Persuasive Style


As long as the author has a good understanding of the subject, they can make a claim accurate with facts and figures. However, it takes more work to write persuasively than to write descriptively. So, before writing anything, a writer needs to know some essential things.


This article will explore Luntz's principles. He wrote a famous book called: "Words That Work: It's Not What You Say, It's What People Hear."


1. Brevity: Make your sentences short.


A good copywriter can show that they can write well by writing their work. They can make their point quickly and well. Think about the purpose, how long it is, and whether it's good or bad. Putting your points together to make sense is one way to write compelling recruitment copy. Keep an eye out for words that people might not understand, like acronyms and shortcuts.


Short sentences, just like harsh words, make it easier for people to read and understand them. Because most people don't read online (they skim), it's important not to write long paragraphs or talk about small things. As a result, many people say that short sentences are better than long ones.


Fluff words such as "really, very, great, quite, rather, totally" should be removed.


Focus on the main point, ask yourself is there a shorter way to write this. What does the reader need to know? What are the essentials?


You can use readability statistics; we use tools such as:

  • Microsoft Word

  • Readability-score.com

  • Readable.com

  • Datayze.com/readability-analyzer.php

  • Hemingwayapp.com

What numbers to look for? Well.. word count should be as low as possible. Words per sentence 12-20. Flesh-Kincaid reading is higher than 50, and Flesh-Kincaid grade level for the leading career home page (grade 5-6) and for concrete job pages, where the reader finds answers can be a little more complex (grade 8-9).


The difference is a lot, and it makes a big difference in how many people can read your writing.


2. Simplicity: keep things simple by using small words


The best way to be a good copywriter is to write as you talk. If your writing is too hard to read, your prospect won't read it. He has far too much going on to struggle over your words. Your writing should be a way for your reader to get inside your head.


People don't have the time to think. They only have about two seconds to look at your blog or website, so you need to make it clear.


Nobody enjoys reading hard words.


Seeing lines of sentences with no space between them makes it look like a challenging read, which makes your reader emotionally shut down, and they would not read your message.

Everything you write should be clear. Direct. It's easy to read. That means using words that are familiar and simple sentences that aren't very long (Flesch-Kincaid grades keep between 5-8)


3. Credibility so the reader believes you


So how can you give credibility to your writing? There are 4 ways:

- A brand that we've heard of is more likely to be credible than a brand that we haven't heard of.

- If your wife says it's good, or your friends say the company, employer X isn't perfect.

- What we see when we look at things quickly (e.g., the career website looks good or "application seems to be a lot of work").

- Comes from real-life experience (e.g., friendly candidate experience with recruiter or hiring managers or text full of typos and factual errors)

If you want your messaging to be more trustworthy, there are many ways to do this. Most of them are simple. People like simple language and correct spelling.


4. Consistency matters


People like consistency, so your brand should be consistent. That means consistency of messaging, brand, and design.


The only way to make people believe in your brand is to be consistent. Consistency is the only way to convince people that your brand is credible. If you have a lot of inconsistency in your brand, your audience won't be able to trust you.


Because our candidates care about the little things, even though they might not know why the details are essential. Your brand should be consistent with the rest of your website. Establishing a consistent tone of voice or consistent layout of your job page from the start is essential because it helps build a strong brand.


There are two things that people who plan media like to think about: how often and how many people see their ads. This principle is all about how often it is used. Basically, being able to say the same thing repeatedly has value. In fact, research shows that repeating a message a few times can make it more effective. Repeating a message could also lead to the mere exposure effect, where you start to like things that are the same.


5. Novelty: offer something new


Our minds seem to be drawn to new things. So not only does a unique experience seem to get our attention, but it also appears to be a basic need for the mind.


Our brain needs to pay attention to things that aren't clear to us. Once we know and understand a new item, we look for something else to learn. When a potential applicant arrives on the career website or job page and starts reading, be aware that the novelty factor fades away in seconds.


If they would think: "it's all the same, it's boring, nothing interesting" - you will immediately be lost them! To keep your website visitor's attention, you need to show them something new every second. People pay more attention when they see small changes in background color, how text and images are placed, and how many images there are.


For text-heavy content like a long recruitment reach-out, you need to keep users' attention and get as many people as possible to read it. You can use novelty to do this. For example, you can use hook phrases that make them keep reading what we are talking about in our ebook Copywriting in recruitment.


Words associated with novelty are World's first / only, Startling, Limited-edition, Revolutionary, One-of-a-kind, Never-seen-before, Game-changing, Weirdest/Weird, Life-changing, Hack, Magic, Challenge, Discover, New, Latest, Remarkable, Extraordinary, Sensational, Surprising, Miracle, Spoiler, Unexpected, Shocking, Suddenly.


6. Sound and texture matter


"It's not what you say; it's what people hear." - Lunz

That implies that you should be conscious of the sound actually, then the meaning as a writer. What is the rhythm of the sentence, before and after each sentence?

There are many techniques to bring to your writing sound and texture, for example, writing techniques such as repetition, alliteration, consonance, assonance, rhythm, resonance, parallel structure, bucket brigades, sensory words, and the rule of three.


For example, look at these words, which sound as they are: woof, quack, bang, crash, purr, thud, biff, whack, buzz.


Or how does this sounds to you?

Harder, Better, Stronger, or The thinnest, lightest, fastest


6. Speak aspirationally


My point is that speaking aspirationally doesn't mean saying utopian, and I want to make that clear. For your web copy, it might be better to focus on the benefits rather than the features, so you can focus on that.


Some examples I came across:

"Miro redefines team collaboration. Join us."

"Can code improve healthcare? At Quin, our answer is a resounding 'yes!'

'The only thing to fear is fear itself…."


8. Let your audience visualize your message


If your audience cannot imagine what you are saying, your writing is useless. There are several techniques to help your readers make them visualize your writing. We have different magic phrases and power words. We have sensory writing to be descriptive.


This is an excellent technique when writing about perks on your job page. Usually, people just put their bullets of Perks of benefits with one to three words.


But just imagine how your audience envisioned your proposition.


The example I used at one fintech client:


Before:

Benefits & perks:

  • company with a vital mission

  • competitive salary

  • personal development budget

  • pension plan

  • commuting allowance

  • great office in Amsterdam, great colleagues, team events, coffee & snack

After:

The Good News is that if you were reading this far, we bet you're a bit like us:

  • You're excited about changing the way people pay. You love the sound of our mission: "The most wanted payment connection in all of Europe."

  • You like that your job is paid well, and 55-70K brut annually would be enough for you.

  • You strive for continuous personal and professional development every day. Therefore you would use the budget of 5% of your annual gross salary without any hesitation.

  • You are looking forward to the future with us with the support of the pension plan

  • You like going to work every morning, and you want it more because it is paid from your commuting allowance.

  • You like long walks to the coffee machine and casual beers while gazing towards the breathtaking views of Amsterdam while enjoying tosti and some fresh fruit on the side.

  • Last but not least, you like to celebrate when things go well, and you are every Friday excited to have drinks and snacks with your colleagues


9. Ask questions


Questions are, of course, a common way to persuade people. You've seen a lot of headlines that have asked questions. You've heard a lot of speeches start with that. Because they are good at it. It could be because of the generation effect, which says that information is better remembered if it comes from your own mind rather than just being read.


Questions are, of course, a common persuasive communication tactic. You've seen countless headlines asking questions. You've heard countless speeches start with them. Why do they work? This is possible because of the generation effect, a "phenomenon where information is better remembered if generated from one's own mind rather than simply read."


The use of questions in your message is an effective way to make your point and make your audience remember it. This is why many writers use questions to start their messages. They ask questions like, "Why is this important?" "How can I make sure this happens?" or "What do you think?" These questions will help you to make sure that you are understood. If you are using questions in your message, you should make sure to use them correctly. For example, don't ask, "Why is this important?" Instead, ask, "Why is this important to you?"


If you ask a question, you also give the other person the opportunity to answer. The other person has to answer, and the more questions you ask, the more options you offer the other person to talk. The more you ask questions, the more information you get.


10. Give a background and explain why this is important.


It all starts with this: research. Understanding who you want to reach. There's no way around it. No matter how clever or aspirational your short sentences and words might be, they won't work if your audience is not interested in them, even if they're intelligent.


You can find out about your audience by asking your candidates what they like to read. You can also ask your friends or relatives or colleagues if they have any job descriptions or articles that they want to read. Maybe they can show you that recruitment email that triggered their interest. You can also do some online research. You can use Google, Bing, Yandex, and other search engines to find out about your audience.


By understanding your audience, you will be able to provide context and explain the relevance.


Final Thoughts

Don't assume people best understand you based on your own linguistic logic. It's a noisy world out there, and the best copy educates people in a way that the brain finds easy to digest.


If you write copy, there may be some rules, but it's also a lot of fun, and there are no limits to how you can be creative with your recruitment materials.


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