Series: Four Types of Written Business Communication (Part 4 - Persuasive)
To finish up our series on business writing, we’re delving into the finer details of persuasive writing. These are the words that entice your readers, put your story front and center, and bring more eyes to your pages. This is the language of convincing, influencing, and appealing to the senses of your wider audience. While, of course, there’s a time and place for that persuasive writing in your full suite of business writing, this one serves the purpose of getting people’s attention and asking them to act or listen in some way. Let’s take a look.
What is Persuasive Writing?
There are times that our everyday business writing is considered persuasive writing, when the ‘all about you’ attitude is crucial to employ. This writing is found in material designed to ‘provide the reader with a unique value proposition...and encourage them to respond’. While many people think of persuasive writing as sales-focused, this style can be used to facilitate relationship building, foster networking, or even provide a call to action. Persuasive writing has a two-fold goal; it shares information with a targeted audience and then impresses that audience with the value of the information provided in order to ‘sway their decision’. Persuasive writing compels the audience to feel, to enhance a connection, and to think about the impact of this writing on their life, business, or livelihood.
When to use it
While individuals might not clarify the speech, many Instagram and Facebook posts are full of persuasive writing. Instagram reels advertise, Facebook live entices, and persuasive blurbs can definitely be shared in Twitter's limited character count. There are many reasons businesses decide to use persuasive writing. You find it in ‘social media marketing, proposals, articles, newsletters, blog posts, memos, emails, requests for meetings, speeches, and reports’. We use it to convince, encourage, boost, invite, entice, and sell. Businesses employ persuasive writing all the time. It’s used often in content for: advertising & marketing, ‘brochures, press releases, emails, newsletters, direct marketing campaigns, sales decks, proposals...cover letters & resumes’. This is the writing that brings people to the table, is designed to trigger engagement, and, if done well, can change the game of a company's bottom line.
How does it differ from Informational Writing?
Informational writing is as far from persuasive as it gets. It’s straightforward, focused on record keeping, legal details, and meeting regulatory needs. Informational writing is devoid of all sorts of glitz, glam, or inviting metaphors. While informational and persuasive writing can both be used to inform a reader, the former is far more perfunctory than the latter. A key feature of persuasive writing is to focus more on the needs of the audience and less on the statistics of the business, often using more flowery language. They both share the idea of performing an interaction between the business entity and a new targeted client, customer, or audience; yet when we think informational we may think frequently asked question data and when we think persuasive writing, we think sales pitch and marketing jargon.
Business writing takes on many forms, yet none designed to intrigue the clients and draw you in more than persuasive writing. Whether it’s ‘proposals to gain more work...a janitorial service looking to land a new client or a nonprofit organization applying for a government grant’, the writer seeks to hook the client, bring them into the fold, and let them know how, in no uncertain terms, their lives will be impacted positively by working together. As far as the leading philosopher, Aristotle, is concerned all kinds of writing is persuasive writing. While we may want to share our own stories, in actuality, readers are interested and impacted most in thinking how the communication and the business directly affects them. So, what are you waiting for - use your voice, turn up the persuasion, and get your clients excited to listen and work with you.