The Three Pillars of Persuasive Writing

Jan 21, 2020

In this video, Joshua’s going to simplify the secrets of persuasive writing to three basic pillars.

These pillars are based on core human nature. Core human attributes that every human, every culture, everywhere on the earth, every span of time has always been susceptible to.

Pillar #1: Simplify. Keep your writing simple! Break sentences up, use smaller words. Don’t use a $10 word when a dime word will do. Make it very, very easy to understand.

Pillar #2: Create urgency. Urgency invites people to action. Unless you put some kind of urgency in your copy, people will tend to avoid making decisions. Create urgency by using a strong, clear, call to action and using time or quantity limits on your offer.

Pillar #3: Give value. You have to give them some kind of value. There’s got to be a reason for them to click or to opt in or to buy or to think different, or to act different or do whatever it is or that you want them to do.

If your writing has all three of these elements, you’re going to have higher persuasion power, higher response rates and more success in your business.

Full Transcript

Hello, my friend! Joshua Boswell here, founder of copywriter marketer and author of the #1 best selling program that helps writers like you turn their writing skills into an amazing lifestyle. My question for you today is how do you write persuasively? How do you get people to pay attention and to stay engaged and then take action because of what you wrote?

Now, of course, you know most people think that the process of doing that is very complicated. Lots of techniques about how do you figure out your headline and your lead and the close and all of these are the components about effective writing and what applies to social media and what’s conversational tone and what applies to business to business and all these different things.

There’s so many techniques and so many ideas that you could learn, like have you noticed that like I have? That… Sometimes we just complicate the whole conversation and the whole idea about persuading people.
Well, today I want to simplify this down. I want to simplify this down to three things that I call the three pillars of persuasive writing. And these are based on core human nature elements, core human attributes that every human, every culture, everywhere on the earth, every span of time has always been susceptible to these three core elements.

Why? Because human nature never changes. And once you understand these three things, you can apply them in lots of different ways, in lots of different areas.

And what I love about this framework is that each one of the pillars functions independent of the other. In other words, you could take the first one, which I’ll explain in just a minute. You can take this first pillar and you could apply it to your writing and it would immediately have better results, better response rates, better open rates, better click through rates, better conversion rates, better everything.

Then you could take the second one and do the same thing and you’d get better results. And then you could take this third one, same thing. And then when you combine these, it gives you a ton of synergy.

So here’s a really quick, simple model that you use. I call it the SUV model. Maybe we’ll remember that next time you see a big, you know, a suburban or escalade or some other big vehicle driving down the road, you’ll remember that SUV model and it just keeps it simple and easy for you to remember it. Again, apply this and your persuasion ability will dramatically go up.

I don’t care if you’re writing…. well… I don’t care if you’re writing stuff about marketing agencies or technical papers or travel articles or in depth long copy sales letters or video scripts or whatever it is, apply these principles. Your response rates will go up because they’re tied directly into human nature.

You know, this simple formula is great ‘cause I can teach it quickly and use it immediately as a guide, as a litmus test for whether or not some piece of copy is going to be persuasive or not. For example, I was at a conference the other day and a guy named Brett walked up to me. He said, “Hey, um…” I was speaking at the conference. He said, “Joshua, like you said from stage that you’d review some copy and content while you’re here, and I just wondered if you’d take a look at this particular piece and tell me what you think about it.” I said “sure, I’ll take a look at it.”

And so I pulled it up and I looked at it and immediately it violated the number one rule. Like we didn’t even get into the other two pillars, just this first pillar I looked at it, I was like, Whoa, this is way, way off base.

And I made a couple suggestions. I said, “okay, let’s just fix this.” And it was in an opt in form. He had this content on there. He was offering a free assessment. It was terrible copy. I said, let’s just, let’s just tweak this really quick. And so we grabbed it, I plugged it into a FK score. I made a few different changes on there. I broke it up. So I just, I just cleaned it up a little bit, applied this first rule, and then said ok try that. Came back to me the next day and he was like, man, our response rate went up 40%. Like immediately, like those you just made these tiny little changes and immediately response rate went up. And I can tell you stories about all three of these pillars and where I’ve, I applied that and it takes very little time and it has a huge, huge impact.

So let’s dive in and really quickly go through what each one of these are and just give you an idea about what you can do. So SUV model, pillar number one is to keep it simple. So pillar number one is to have things simple. It’s just to have things simple. And one of the fastest, easiest ways to do that is to look at the FK score. F K stands for Flesch Kincaid. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a readability score. It takes every, it gives a mathematical equation to every single bit of writing that you can give to it. So you take a paragraph or a long copy sales letter or a single sentence, you plug it in there, it does its equation, then it spits out a number and says, Oh, if you’re in fifth grade, you could read this easily. Or if you’re in 14th grade, like you know like at a college level.

Or if you’re in a doctoral level, you could read this and it assigns basically a grade score. So you have a good feel for, well how complex is the idea or how simple is the idea? The lower the score, the simpler. So you want to do a very… and I can just just write this here like this, but – very simple. You can, you can put this in, plug this in and let’s write up here. F K and your FK score. My general rule of thumb is to have a lower and then seven. That’s it. Just plug it in. If it’s higher than a seven, try to rework it. Simplify it down, break sentences up, use simpler words. Don’t use, you know, $10 words when a dime word will do, right? Just keep it very, very simple. So that’s the first pillar is keep it simple.

Second pillar. The next pillar here is having it urgent. Is having it urgent. Okay? And urgency can come in two different ways. Number one, and I’ll just again make a note here so you can see it. By the way, the reason why urgency is a pillar of persuasive writing is because human beings tend to be lethargic like, like I remember, you know my, my children, if I, on a Saturday morning, don’t engage them in some kind of activity, the house doesn’t magically get cleaned all by itself. Have you noticed that if you have children, have you noticed that magically that the house doesn’t just get cleaned up by itself? I’ve got to give them some kind of deadline, specific assignment, something where I’m telling them exactly what to do and when to do it by. And then it creates urgency, then it creates action. Then it creates motion and decision. And unless I put some kind of urgency in there, people are like, people just kind of tend to do their thing and not really have any urgency to make key decisions.

So how do we create a sense of urgency? There’s two different ways. Number one is you have to ask, there’s gotta be a call to action. I’m just going to put CTA right there, a specific call to action. You’ve got to tell them, and it’s got to be clear exactly what you want them to do.

Number two, you want to put a time or quantity limit.

Okay, so number one, to create urgency, you have a call to action, “look – I want you to do THIS” and you give specific clarity. Number two is you say, “I want you to do this within this timeframe or before this quantity of whatever it is runs out.” And so you give time or quantity limits on that.

Number three, the “V.” What does the “V” stand for? “S” is simple, “U” is urgent. “V” is value… Value. So you have to give them some kind of a value. There’s got to be a reason for them to click or to opt in or to buy or to think different, or to act different or do whatever it is or that you want them to do. You’re persuading them to take the action and to move forward in life. So you’ve got to give them a value.

There’s gotta be some kind of a statement there or an idea of something that they’re going to get. Remember, every human being wants to grow and to become better and to do new things. That’s part of who we are as human beings. And so you’ve got to show them the value or the growth or the reward for taking that action. So, how do you present value? Well, there’s two different places where you need to have the value statement.

Number one is when you’re first grabbing their attention, why should they listen to you or read your stuff in the first place? You have to do that. So, you do that by activating what’s called the RAS – that’s called the reticular activating system. Used the wrong color pen. Oops. Um, the RAS there. So you got to activate their RAS. That stands for reticular activating system. It’s just the part of the brain that tells you what’s important and what’s not important, what to pay attention to and what not to pay attention to. If, at any point during this video, I’ve said something or done something, and you said, “Oh, that’s not very important to me right now.” You’ll have stopped the video. You won’t even hear me say that, but if you think that this is important, then you’ll continue to watch and I’ve activated your RAS systems. The next thing is you have to give them a benefit offer. Okay? So we’re going to call this a proposition.

And the proposition basically just says, Hey, if you take this action, then I’m going to, I’m going to give you, or you’re going to get, or you’re going to achieve or you’re going to accomplish or you’re going to be seen as, or you’re going to feel an experience. Whatever it is, I’m going to propose that you do this action and get this reward. And so there’s a, there’s a beneficial offer or a proposition there for them to go ahead and take action. It gives them a reason why it gives them an insight on why to do this. Okay. Now, a lot of other things that I teach here, but very simply S-U-V. Just remember, keep it simple, have it be urgent and give some value to it. And if you’re going to remember that and you can score out and grade out all of your writing and see if it has these three elements.

And if it does, then you’re in luck. You’re going to have higher persuasion power and higher response rates for all of your content and all of the videos and all this stuff that you do. And if there’s not these three things in it, then you know, you’ll be like, “Ah… Well… It was okay.” But people probably won’t respond as well as they could. Cool? All right, now you can go and check out more stuff at copywritermarketer.com and find tools and training and resources there to give you more insights on all of this right here. Great. Thanks for watching. Talk to you soon. Bye.

Joshua T. Boswell

Founder & CEO of Copywriter Marketer


He’s been the personal copywriter and business trainer for startup founders, authors, 
public speakers, entrepreneurs and over 5,000 clients around the world. His techniques have been show to dramatically improve career success, work quality, copywriting tactics, marketing skills, income and even overall life and relationships! Now Joshua Boswell can be YOUR virtual coach!

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