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6 Steps To Becoming A Powerful & Persuasive Writer

May 7, 2008
Do you have a favourite writer - someone whose books you love to read? And when you buy their books do you sit spell-bound while you mentally absorb page after page of their writing? Or have you been so mesmerized by a magazine article that once you started reading it you couldn't stop? Or how about a sales page you've read that had you so intrigued that you were dying to find out more about what it was advertising?

There are writers like these in the world (although not many) and the reason that their books, articles and sales letters put you into a "reading trance" is because they are powerful and persuasive writers.

Not only can they make you want to sit and read their books, articles or sales letters, but, through their writing, they also convince you that everything they are telling you is true.

Wouldn't you like to know how they do this?

Or better still, wouldn't you love to be able to write like them?

Imagine being able to write an article or a sales letter that puts your readers into a trance-like state that keeps them not only reading and absorbing every word you write, but believing every word you say.

This turns your readers into customers and turns YOU into a highly-paid copywriter because powerful and persuasive writers are always in demand.

And here are the 6 steps that can catapult your career as a first-class copywriter:

1. Copy the greats.

Find an extract from a book or a sales letter that you think is persuasive writing and copy it.

By this I mean sit down and write it out word-for-word. Do it several times and look for other pieces of powerful and persuasive writing and copy those out too.

Copying writing instead of only reading it will help you learn the secrets of powerful and persuasive writers.

2. Research, Absorb, Write

This is the order in which you need to work so that you can do powerful and persuasive writing.

First you need to research your subject thoroughly. Don't take notes as you go along. Just keep reading and learning as much as you can. You'll soon discover that the more you read the more you absorb the information and this creates a better understanding.

Once you've researched and absorbed as much information as you can, then AND ONLY THEN is it time to start writing, because you can't write persuasively about a subject you don't fully understand.

3. Use the "Free Writing" technique to write

This means writing from your subconscious rather than your conscious mind. The reason for this is because your conscious mind always has your internal editor attached to it.

Your internal editor is the little chatter box inside your head who criticizes everything you write.

As you write he says things like, "That's not very good writing." "Your punctuation is all wrong." "No one will want to read that garbage." "You are a terrible writer."

Now imagine that instead of being in your head, your internal editor is an actual person standing behind you, looking over your shoulder and criticizing your writing out loud.

Would you be able to write if someone was doing that? Of course not. That's why you need to switch your internal editor off, otherwise it's as though he's physically in the room with you.

What you need to do is take a few deep breaths to calm yourself before you start writing. Then begin. Just put your pen to your paper or your fingers to your keyboard and get going. If you're using a computer, it's sometimes best to turn off your screen so you can't see what you're writing. This will help you to keep going forwards instead of reading back over what you've already written.

Don't worry if you think you're going wrong or you think your writing things in the wrong order. Just keep writing.

And NEVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES try and edit as you go along. Writing and editing are two totally separate jobs and should never be done together. If you think you've made a mistake, ignore it. You'll pick it up later when you edit your work.

The famous horror writer, Stephen King, calls this a "writing trance". You just forget about everything around you and keep writing - no matter what - until you get to the end.

Once you've finished all your writing and taken a break away from it for a few hours (or a few days), THEN it's time to edit it, because you can now see your writing with "fresh" eyes. And you'll be surprised at how good it actually is.

4. Use Bart Simpson as an Editor

In order for your writing to be powerful and persuasive, you have to convince your readers to see things your way. For instance, if you are writing a sales letter to try and get people to by a particular product, you have to convince them that they need it.

You can do this two ways. You can persuade them by describing how bad their life/business is without this product. Or you can persuade them by describing the benefits of owning this product and how much better this will make their life\business. Or you can use both ways.

But first you have to keep their attention so that they'll keep reading long enough to see everything you are trying to tell them.

A simple way of doing this is by keeping Bart Simpson in your head. Young Bart is well-known for being completely disinterested in anything that isn't of personal benefit to him. So with every sentence you write imagine Bart Simpson reading it and asking -

"So What?"
"Who Cares?"
"What's In It For Me?"

These are the exact questions your readers will be thinking, although probably more politely. So give reasons in every sentence as to why you're making the statements that you are. Use words such as because, and, or. These will help you to give more explanations.

So instead of writing something like "Follow these 6 steps and you can become a powerful and persuasive copywriter" you can think about the Bart Simpson questions, "So what? Who cares? What's in it for me?"

Then you can change the sentence to "Follow these 6 steps to becoming a powerful and persuasive copywriter and earn a 6-figure income working from anywhere in the world!"

Now doesn't that sound more tempting?

Remember, people won't buy or do something if it doesn't benefit them in some way. So keep in mind that, like Bart, they ALWAYS want to know what's in it for them.

5. Don't suggest things, COMMAND them.

The most powerful and persuasive writers never make suggestions to their readers - they use COMMANDS.

They make bold statements that leave no room for compromise such as:

"Don't settle for second best"
"Not to be missed"
"Don't delay. Buy it today"

This is because once your readers are in a trace-like state while they are reading your sales letter or article, their minds become more open to persuasion.

For the same reason, when a hypnotist is trying to put someone into a hypnotic state, they don't say "Are you getting sleepy yet?" They command their subject to go to sleep by saying "You are getting sleepy."

Now I know you don't want to hypnotise your readers, but you do want to influence their decisions, so use direct commands:

"You don't want to miss this"
"This is the only product you need"
"This is what you've been looking for"

6. Keep your writing interesting.

Once someone becomes absorbed in reading your article or sales letter, the one thing that can break the trance is by their questions not being answered.

Questions will come to their minds with every sentence they read. Your job as a persuasive copywriter is to anticipate these questions and answer them immediately. So don't just say "This is a brand new product" because this will prompt a Bart Simpson question-

"So what?"

You need to anticipate the question and say "This is a brand new product that will turbo-charge your writing."

And remember that the most important part of your writing that needs to be interesting is the heading. The heading has to be not only interesting but INTRIGUING.

It has to entice those who read it to want to read more.

For instance, the heading of this article begins with the words "6 Steps". This is because using a number in a heading intrigues people enough to want to know what the "6 Steps" are. It immediately puts a question into their minds: "What are the 6 Steps?"

And if you want proof that this works, well, you're reading this article aren't you? So you must have been intrigued enough by the heading to want to find out what the "6 Steps" were.

And the fact that you kept reading to the end also shows that the writing was persuasive enough to make you want to keep reading.

So now it's your turn.

Go and copy the greats - your role models.

Then research, absorb and write without editing.

Don't suggest, COMMAND!

And remember Bart Simpson.

All this will keep your readers in a "reading trance". And when most of them follow your instructions, you'll know that you're a powerful and persuasive writer.
About the Author
Ruth Barringham is a successful writer, author and publisher and runs an very popular website for writers at http://writeaholics.net where you can find articles, eBooks, writers resources and plenty of writer's freebies. You can also sign up for the free newsletter, Writeaholic News, and instantly receive the free eBook, 'Become a Freelance Writing Success.' If there's a way to make money writing, you'll find it at Writeaholics.net
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