What Is Persuasive Writing?

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Persuasive writing is not a genre that can belong to any particular target writing. I use the phrase ?target writing’ because, for all that we know, a piece of writing has to necessarily have an objective to fulfill. A news item, for example, is meant to bring forth associated happenings in order to provide a clear view on a matter. ?How to write outline’, on the other hand, is a sort of tutorial, just as ‘Blog statistics reveal upward trend’ is a summary of facts related to blogging.

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In each case, the writer aims to target a dedicated readership, concerned with the subject on hand. It is possible to make use of persuasive writing for any of these subjects, and indeed many writers do, either to drive a point or two home, or perhaps as part of their writing style. But, persuasive writing – many will agree – is reserved to make comparative analyses between two points of view, as if to pit one against the other.

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If that be so, what are the ingredients that make a writing persuasive? For one, the essay must be based on facts – preferably supported by figures – and not mere conjectures. This apart, there are several other necessities of a persuasive writing, many of which apply equally to other forms of writing as well. Let’s have a look.

An unequivocal title

No doubt there. Capture attention of your would-be readers. A long title doesn’t serve well. It is better to economize on words that form the title, making sure that it conveys a clear meaning. Phrases and idioms are welcome, but once again, they must be unambiguous and succinct, contributing directly to the subject of your writing.

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Opening sentences matter

It is said a whole story is hardly ever read on screen. That may not be true always, but let there be no doubt that very few people go through an entire piece. The onus is therefore on the writer to make the best out of the situation. Which means the opening sentences are important, because more often than not, they hold the key to whatever comes later. If the reader’s interest is not aroused in the first few lines, chances are he will skip reading the rest.

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Set the tenor

If I may quote OUSD’s definition, “In persuasive writing, a writer takes a position FOR or AGAINST an issue and writes to convince the reader to believe or do something.” Holding this as a guide, it is necessary to figure out how do you plan to proceed. You may prefer going whole hog demolishing the opposing issue, or you may sing paeans to the issue you favor thereby subtly downgrading the opposing one. Whichever you choose, you need to set the tone of your writing right in the beginning. If you want to play between the 2 styles of arguments, you need to exercise caution so as not to confuse and antagonize your readers.

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Facts first, opinion next

Many writers lead themselves into believing that readers are ignorant. The fallout of this fallacy is that a persuasive writing often runs the risk of turning highly opinionated too soon without commensurate backup facts. The ideal writing should first place the facts, based on which opinions must follow.

Depend on circumstance

It will rarely be that all persuasive writings will follow the same ground rules. If a sales pitch is one type, calling upon readers to make a buy, so too is a political commentary, that requires readers to make a firm opinion. However, the style of writing for one will be completely different from that for the other.

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Wit adds color

If you can mix wit with your argument, you’ll be seen as gently persuasive. Writing such pieces may be hard, but if you do it well, half of your objective is won. People simply love this. Remember though that only wits cannot win you the day. You also need to balance with good amount of examples. If you have it in you to make a perfect concoction, even the most dour topic can make a good persuasive writing.

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