Content marketing Marketing optimization

The ultimate guide to persuasive content

I promised I would never use words such as ‘epic’ or ‘ultimate’ in blog headlines. For once, I’ll break that promise. You know that content marketing is about using customer-centric, mutually valuable and persuasive content in a smart and integrated way. (Online) content needs to engage, respond, persuade and serve, whatever form it takes. And thus it needs to be relevant, in all possible contexts.

Although times have changed and keep changing, the foundations of persuasive content were laid out quite some time ago. And guess what? They still apply. One of the very first books on persuasive content was originally published in 2001.

It was called ‘Persuasive Online Copywriting. How to Take Your Words to the Bank‘ and also explained a new concept that is still used today by many thousands of experts and practitioners: the Persuasion Architecture.

The book was written by Bryan Eisenberg, his brother Jeffrey and Lisa T. Davis. Bryan has been supporting and advising us since we started.

Relevance is the single most significant factor in getting your prospects
to take action (Persuasive Online Copywriting).

It’s funny to see how many of the modern-day content marketing and conversion experts, such as Altimeter’s Rebecca Lieb (back then at Clickz), business blogging queen Debbie Weil, SEO guru Danny Sullivan, Larry Chase, Anne Holland and many others either wrote a few words of praise or were acknowledged in the book. Cheers to all of them.

Coming next: Buyer Legends

Bryan and Jeffrey wrote several other books and are preparing a whole new eBook and concept. Their “Buyer Legends: The Executive Storyteller’s GuideeBook” is due for the Summer of 2014 and is, we quote from Bryan’s blog post “the process of using narratives and storytelling in your marketing and selling efforts”. The eBook goes hand in hand with a Wizard Academy course, only open to business owners and or execs (and only held once, in August 2014).

Brands must make sure their stories are being told properly across all channels and that they can measure alignment and congruence across the channels as well. (Bryan Eisenberg in “The Lonely Brand Story Meets Social Media“)

In a sense, it feels as if this is where Bryan and Jeffrey have been working towards since quite some time now. With their groundbreaking work on persuasion, content, personas and a profound interest in storytelling and other forms of audience definitions – on top of the buyer persona – we’re looking forward to the result.

As Bryan writes in the mentioned post: “By writing stories – or buyer legends – about how your customers interact with your brand, you and your colleagues will better understand your customers and have a ‘legend’ you can use to map more compelling customer experiences”.

The new name of the optimization game: scenario narratives. Bryan continues: “it took us the better part of two decades but we now know that when a company gets Buyer Legends right, everything else seems to fall into place”. Stay tuned for what might be the next “persuasion classic” for the age of “storytelling. Read more here. In the meantime, keep reading about the Eisenberg’s persuasive copywriting classic – and get it – below.

Personality persuasive content and emotion large – source Persuasive Online Copywriting

Personality, persuasive content and emotion: from Persuasive Online Copywriting

What persuasive content is all about – ultimately

So, what is persuasive content?

  • Make sure it’s relevant.
  • The message must be meat.
  • It’s all about the customer.
  • Look at the buying process (see image from the book).
  • Tap into the power of emotion.
  • Write for personalities.
  • Apply a persuasion architecture.
  • Establish a structure.
  • Define a perspective.

Wait a minute. What I’m really doing here is just summing up some chapter titles of the 149-page book.

The classic buying process – source Persuasive Online Copywriting

The classic buying process – source Persuasive Online Copywriting

Here’s a better idea (with many thanks to Bryan Eisenberg): learn everything you ever wanted to know about persuasive content by simply downloading the full book (reviewed edition 2006). Enjoy. And remember: be relevant and…persuasive.

And check out Bryan Eisenberg’s blog for smart conversion, content marketing and overall digital marketing wisdom!



About the author

J-P De Clerck

J-P De Clerck is the founder of i-SCOOP and has been active on the crossroads of technology, people and purpose since 1992. Former publisher, IT channel manager and marketing manager. Digital marketing pioneer, mainly consulting, analyzing and writing here since a decade. Holistic view on IT, OT and convergence. Tweets as @iscoopbiz – connects on LinkedIn.

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