How to write a persuasive blog post that respects your audience

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.

Persuasive-Structure

Following a four-step structure for persuasive blog posts allows you to be fair to both sides of an issue. You can state your opinion while respecting readers who believe the other side.

 

Persuasive Structure

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!

Comments

How to write a persuasive blog post that respects your audience — 13 Comments

  1. Jennifer — thanks for describing the different types of blog structures. There are information posts, list posts, persuasive posts, Q&A, etc. I think it’s important to vary the structure for your readers to keep their interest and so that you don’t fall into a rut of doing the same kind of post again and again.

  2. As a former journalist/editor I’m pleased to read an article about how to structure a blog post. The majority of bloggers don’t write articles but essays. It’s hence often difficult to focus on it since it doesn’t make you want to know more.

    • Yay, glad to have another former journalist and editor here! I think we journalists are trained to think in structures, and that helps in any form of writing, including blogging.

  3. Kind of like writing a college thesis. I really try not to have a formula and just write my story. I feel too constricted following a certain pattern all the time. I always include a catchy beginning and a call to action at the end. The middle really depends on what I am writing about!

    • I can see that. Sometimes it’s best just to let the words flow. And if you feel like your story isn’t organized, you can always reorganize and structure it during the revision process.

  4. The things you pointed out in your post is really what selling anything is about. Persuasion attempts to reinforce, modify or change your audience’s attitudes, beliefs or values. Being sales for most of my life I think this has spilled over to my blog. I try to show things from a different angle through analogies and it seems to work.

  5. Hopefully, a persuasive blog post will result in the reader thinking more about the particular subject from a perspective that is new to them. I don’t think changing them over to a certain point of view should necessarily be the goal. Interesting topic, Jennifer!

    • Yes, I think if you can get people to think about a different point of view, you’ve accomplished something. Too many people don’t want to think about a different point of view (which might be another topic altogether).

  6. I agree with your thoughts. This also works well in a different way in my story writing. State the purpose of the story (State the problem), give some background (Present the argument), tell the story building to a conclusion (Present the evidence) and then end it with a good close (Conclude). Just my thoughts. :-)

  7. I like the idea of following the classic essay structure to build your posts. I try to do that. I also will try to take from comfortable common concepts and use connected ideas to build stepping stones to a new or uncommon idea. In one post, I started with teachers scolding kids and took the topic to voter engagement and democratic inclusion– but I did that in baby steps.