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Emotional Wellness

Writing to persuade – How to do it and why it matters

Writing to persuade is the act of writing something in order to convince the reader of your argument or idea. In this blog, we outline the key steps in writing effectively for pursuasion.

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You may have heard the term persuasive writing but perhaps you’re not quite sure what it is (or why it even matters). Yet persuasive writing is a type of writing that comes up a great deal in academic English classes in a secondary school as well as in higher education courses that have English Literature studies as a component of the programme. If you’re currently studying English, chances are you’ll encounter persuasive writing, whether you’re reading it or writing it. But writing to persuade isn’t just for students (yes, there’s a reason why they teach it in schools), it’s also a really important skill to have. If you’re a professional working in any job, it’s essential that you understand the tools used in writing to persuade and if you have the skills, you’re more likely to secure big deals and convince your colleagues of your next big idea. In this blog, I am going to outline the eight components of persuasive writing that we often see in everyday marketing and politics.

1. Alliteration

Alliteration is the repetition of a particular sound. It’s a persuasive writing technique used to embed a name or idea in the readers, listeners or viewers’ memory. Think of a nursery rhyme from preschool – I’m guessing you don’t remember much from that age but there’s a reason why the rhyme stuck. It’s because human memory retains repetition far better than if it were listening to generic speech, it’s why lessons are taught through songs to young children and why pop culture is so, well, popular. Next time you’re out and about, just look at a billboard and you’ll see alliteration everywhere. Coca-Cola, Krispy Kreme, it goes on and on. Next time you’re working on a big presentation, throw in some alliteration and see how well it sticks.

2. Facts

Facts or pseudo-facts are used across advertising. Just think about the last toothpaste advert you watched – did 9 out of 10 dentists really recommend it? And who were the dentists anyway? A fact or data behind an idea gives the person listening to the idea that it’s not only you who thinks it’s true, often giving the illusion that there’s a group of people who fully support your idea, and they do say safety comes in numbers. Make sure you support your opinions and ideas with factual evidence to bring your point home.

3. Opinion

There’s a reason why your favourite brand asks you to leave a review after your most recent order, it’s because opinions are powerful. In the marketing world, this is also known as something called ‘social-proof’, the idea that there is popular opinion that a brand or product is good and loved by others. Next time you’re trying to persuade someone of an idea, try to include opinions from other people who support your argument. Surveys are a great way to do this!

4. Repetition

Repetition in persuasive writing often comes in the form of repeating your point in several different ways. Just turn on the TV and listen to a politician. You’ll notice many uses of the persuasive devices laid out in this blog, but you’ll also notice how they continue to repeat the same points over and over again. The goal is that the listener walks away with the words of the persuader on loop in their brains. In visual form, advertisements are a huge example of how repetition works. What colour is the Coca-Cola logo? What letter is used in the McDonalds logo? What’s Nikes tagline? You remember because it’s all been repeated time and time again.

5. Rhetorical Language

A rhetorical language is a tool used to convince the listener or reader that they already agree with you. Is rain wet? You don’t need to think about the answer, I already know you agree with me that yes, rain is literally wet. By agreeing with the speaker or writer as they use this device, it builds a sense of trust so you’re more likely to be convinced of their big idea. Alliteration is also a rhetorical device, as is irony and hyperbole.

6. Emotive language

Emotive language is when the words used are designed to trigger an emotional reaction, or if we’re talking about advertisements, the visual and audio tools used, too. Think of a Nike advert, the emotion triggered is often inspiration. When we think Coca-Cola we tend to think family, look back at their advertisements and you’ll see why. Studies show that humans are more likely to remember something when we have an emotional reaction to it, which is why this is a popular persuasive writing tool used across marketing and politics.

7. Statistics

The goal of using statistics in persuasive speech is similar to why we use facts and opinions – it influences the reader or listener to feel as though your argument is valid because other people have already validated it. It’s important to use data in academic work for this reason.


You can remember these persuasive devices by using the acronym AFORREST. Next time you are trying to persuade someone of your idea or you have a big persuasive writing essay due, don’t forget to use as many of this tools as you can!

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