What Is Persuasive Writing?

Written by Scott Wilson

what is persuasive writing

What is persuasive writing? Persuasive writing creates text that is aimed to convince or persuade readers to adopt certain beliefs or take certain actions. Both advertising and marketing text and pieces such as product reviews, editorial opinions, and project proposals make use of persuasive writing.

In a free society, persuasive writing can be found almost everywhere. It’s the style of writing you see in many advertisements, working to convince you to buy the product. It’s used in marketing pieces, building brand awareness, and working to improve your opinion of certain companies. Even the daily newspaper has plenty of persuasive writing, in the form of editorial opinion pieces, making the case for or against policy or shaping perspective on national and regional events.

Most writers have some experience in persuasive writing just as a part of their career path. Every cover letter, article pitch, or query letter sent is an example of persuasive writing. For that reason alone, it’s a skill well worth mastering.

What Is the Purpose of Persuasive Writing?

Persuasive writing is all about getting readers to adopt a belief, change their mind, or take an action. It can be any belief or any sort of action. The point is in presuming that the reader needs to be convinced, and will not simply fall in line without some sort of persuasive argument.

Persuasive writing styles includes argumentative writing, but is more focused on getting the reader to adopt the position of the writer than it is on presenting a logical case like argumentative pieces do.

Persuasive writing therefore requires a clear view of the audience to be persuaded. Different types of appeals might be made to different groups. In some cases, a single persuasive piece might attempt to address the concerns or conceptions of several different groups. In others, the text might be specifically tailored to a small audience, or even a single person.

That makes the purpose of persuasive writing very much up to the author. You can decide exactly what the goal is and tailor the piece of that purpose.

Learning The Art of Persuasive Writing Through Creative Writing Degrees

flow of informationPersuading people is a tricky business, and particularly when done in writing. Persuading people through in-person debates allows you to make use of responses and feedback– you can tailor your words to the flow of the conversation. A piece of persuasive writing, on the other hand, must anticipate the reactions of the reader and build a flow around those reactions.

This makes persuasive writing very similar to works of creative writing. Building a persuasive essay is similar to plotting a novel or creating a poem that resonates with readers. The writer must make full use of their literary skills and techniques to develop pacing and evoke responses in their audience.

Creative writing degrees teach elements of the craft that are useful in persuasive writing, such as:

Creative writing programs not only teach the rhetorical and literary structures that persuasive writers use, but analyze them and break down exactly how they work so writers understand how to make the most of them.

What Is the Purpose of Transition Words in Persuasive Writing?

Transition words, or connective words, are important in persuasive writing pieces because they link supporting facts and arguments together with the main objective of the piece.

This kind of linking is good practice in any sort of written work because it also enhances readability. Transition words improve the flow of a document and assist readers in following the thoughts behind the words throughout the piece.

Since a persuasive text is all about building a compelling appeal, it’s critical that the structure of the piece be carefully tied together. Transition words are a technique to ensure that tight structure remains coherent.

Why Is Repetition Used in Persuasive Writing?

Repetition is just another way of saying consistency. Delivering the same message over and over builds a kind of authority all its own. The human brain responds to that sort of consistency, even when the argument itself doesn’t immediately resonate. Psychological studies show that repetition increases the perception that a statement is true whether that statement is plausible to the reader or not.

It’s also the case that many readers do not read texts closely. Repetition, or restating your case, offers a better chance that it will hit home at some point.

Repetition is not as simple as retyping exactly the same sentences or paragraphs over and over. Instead, it is used as a structural element, offering the same argument in different forms throughout the persuasive piece.

Repetition is also a feature in certain literary devices, like parallelism, that create a sort of melody and resonance in writing that can make it memorable.

Persuasive writing is an important part of the repertoire of the creative writer. Whether using it in a professional role such as writing copy or as part of other creative works, it’s a skill that degree programs in the field will help you master.