If you’re writing a persuasive blog post, what kind of structure can you follow? How can you bring your audience around to your point of view?
This is the second post in a three-part series about different ways you can structure your blog posts. In the first part, I talked about general structures for informative blog posts.
I also discussed the importance of structuring your posts so your reader follows your train of thought. It’s your job as a blog writer to lead your reader through your post. You need to show them the connections between your ideas and points. Don’t just assume they’ll “know what you mean.” Show them.
This part focuses specifically on writing a persuasive blog post, and offers a four-step structure you can follow.
But first, let’s define persuasion. Persuasion attempts to reinforce, modify or change your audience’s attitudes, beliefs or values. Attitudes, which are our likes and dislikes, are the easiest to change. Beliefs, which are what we understand to be true or false, are a little harder to change. And values, which are our enduring conceptions of right and wrong, are the most difficult to change.
If you’re writing a persuasive blog post, your goal is probably going to be to change your audience’s attitudes about an issue. At the very least, you want them to consider your point of view and think about why they might agree or disagree with it. This is different from an informative blog post, where you’re simply trying to give your readers tips or information.
How do you get your audience to change their attitudes, or at least consider your opinion? Here is the four-step structure you can follow.
The four-step persuasive structure is good for you to use in your blog posts because it allows you to present arguments on both sides of the issue. This keeps you from being unfair to either side. Your opinions will certainly fall on one side or the other, or you wouldn’t be writing the post. But to be a fair and ethical blogger, you want to acknowledge that there is another side.
This formula lets you do that.
Step 1: State the problem or issue and the position you’re taking in the opening paragraphs. I’ll caution you here to never assume your reader knows as much about the issue as you do, or that they know the same facts about it that you do. Give enough of a summary that you catch your reader up on where you’re starting, and give them a link or two to other sources they can read.
Step 2: Present arguments, examples and evidence to support your position in the next few paragraphs. This is where you want to cite studies, other websites or quotes that back up your opinion.
Step 3: Present the major opposing arguments or evidence, and refute them. Acknowledge the other side, and that its arguments are valid, then show your reader why you think the arguments are wrong.
Step 4: Conclude in your last paragraph or two by restating and emphasizing your stance in different words. This is a good place to make your argument one last time and leave your reader with a final thought.
If you follow this structure, it will give you the chance to present a balance of multiple sides on any issue. But it still lets you emphasize your side and your arguments.
Some of your readers will no doubt believe the other side, or the opposite of the way you do. Showing that you acknowledge the other side of the argument brings those readers into your post and shows them respect. They will, in turn, respect you for writing a fair and thoughtful argument, even if they disagree.
If you want to lead your audience to think about your point of view, the four-step persuasive structure is good to follow. It helps you make sure your post is well organized and develops logically. It also helps you lead your audience to see why you believe the way you do, while still respecting that they may have a different opinion. Good blogging is all about respecting your readers.
Readers, how do you write persuasive blog posts? Do you follow a structure? Will this structure help you? Let us know in the comments!