The 5 Immutable Laws of
Persuasive Blogging

Blogging is a great way to grow a business, promote a cause, or spread new ideas, because when you take an educational approach to marketing, you gain the attention and trust of people who might otherwise simply ignore old-fashioned advertising. Not only can those people become your customers or converts, they can also become your advocates.

While there are as many ways to approach blogging as there are blogs, some things remain steadfast when it comes to gaining influence and prompting action. Here are the 5 bedrock elements to keep in mind when you blog to persuade:

1. The Law of Value

Your blog must provide value to the reader by addressing a problem, concern, desire, or need that the reader already has. Fresh, original content is critical.

2. The Law of Headlines and Hooks

Your post titles must stand out in a crowded, noisy blogosphere, and you must quickly communicate the value of reading further with your opening.

3. The Law of “How To”

People don’t want to know “what” you can do, they want to know “how” it’s done. If you think you’re giving away too much information, you’re on the right track.

4. The Law of the List

Love them or hate them, informational posts presented in list format are easily digestible, and allow for an efficient transfer of your value proposition to the reader.

5. The Law of the Story

Stories are the most persuasive blogging element of all, as they allow you to present a problem, the solution, and the results, all while the connotation of the story allows readers to sell themselves on what you have to offer.

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Reader Comments (164)

  1. says

    Excellent observations, especially number three and number five? In the long run, you cannot “trick” people into visiting, much less continually reading your blog. You must honestly identify a problem and provide a solution. After you provide value comes number five – it enables you to connect with your readers in a way that makes them realize the website they’re looking it is a vehicle for a human voice, not some machine tossing data at them.

  2. says

    Blogs are fine for as far as they go– but it is worth asking — who is really reading this page?

    The survey I read this week saying only 8% of Americans even read blogs was startling.

    Only 20% of Americans read books– so we are really talking about just a few people.

    Brian is counting on at least half of us needing help picking up a pen.

    Audience will have to grow – or merge with TV and podcasts.

    TSC

  3. says

    Excellent post.

    Pre-educating your prospects with high quality, high value information is very effective.

    And doing it in a way that is appealing and easy to assimilate is also good plain common sense.

  4. says

    Right on the money, Brian. All five of these have worked well on my blog. The story is really key for me. I find it much easier to tell a story than try to explain something with facts and figures. The story puts the reader in the picture. Outlines and lists are good too, especially if they are accompanied with graphics.

    My most popular posts are ones that offer value to the reader, usually in the form of a free download or “how to” information.

    If you can create a post that combines all five, you’ll really be on to something!

    John

  5. says

    I have enjoyed your posts for so long as a subcriber to your feed. They are so informative and helpful to me as I build my readership for Helpful Blogger Resources. I thought it was time to let you know I value your tips and say a big thank you to you. Sherry

  6. says

    Certainly some great advice. I run a web site which I try to diferentiate from a typical blog (although I have just added a blog section!) and I have a few people who contribute on a semi-regular basis.

    I will be passing on these tips. Thanks.

  7. says

    The law of How To is especially important for business blogging–particularly for consultants. Many people think that if they tell the client how to do something, the client will do it on their own. I’ve found that when you tell someone “how to” do something they start seeing you as the expert which makes your services even more attractive.

  8. says

    Sound advice! Many of the blog posts that get a lot of attention on digg are how-to’s or other original content. I’m bookmarking this page as a reminder for my future posts.

  9. says

    HitTail can help bloggers with laws 1 and 2 by turning search traffic to the blog into a sort-of writing topic suggestion box, then helping you formulate the perfect headline.

  10. says

    Regarding “The Law of Headlines and Hooks” how to give a headline that stands out if you are making a review blog (like mine) ?
    I think that the most important information in this kind of blogs is give the title of the “thingy” that you are reviewing, or am I wrong ?

  11. says

    Nice one. I totally agree with the tips there and they are the principles on which I have established my blog. One should make sure that there is some kind of value proposition to visitors. At the same time, there should also be some semblance of the personality of the blogger as humans like to know about the humanity behind each blog.

    Do pop by my blog and feel free to comment too!

    http://coolinsights.blogspot.com

  12. says

    Brian, thanks a lot! My top-favorite advice is:

    “If you think you’re giving away too much information, you’re on the right track.”

    I and my colleagues are running a blog in Bulgarian language – http://www.novavizia.com. For the last 6 months we managed to identify several cases where articles of ours (after some transformation, of course) had been published in one of the most famous Bulgarian business media. All publications were made without any attribution to us and other people were undersigned as “authors”.

    Today we had a new case of plagiarism. My wife asked me: “Are you working for the Red Cross?! You write articles for free in NovaVizia.com, other people publish them in popular media and gain various benefits. So? What are you going to do?”

    She is right, of course. I started to hesitate a bit… Am I on the right track?

    Your message “If you think you’re giving away too much information, you’re on the right track” have helped me to realize that I and my colleagues are really on the right track.

    Thank you for the inspiration!

  13. says

    Well, by “giving away” I mean to your readers… as information marketing.

    I don’t think it’s cool that people are stealing and republishing your content, without permission or attribution.

  14. says

    Exactly!

    My logic was: “If somebody is stealing content from your blog, it means he likes the content and the idea behind it.

    If strong business media publish the content (without knowing who’s the real autor) – then they like it, too.”

    Which means that we are on the right track (to become a really persuasive blog).

    Have a great weekend!

  15. Andy says

    When I saw this LA Times story, I immediately thought of the Law of Headlines and Hooks:

    Ersatz Chewbacca succumbs to dark side

    “A street performer dressed as Chewbacca from “Star Wars” apparently succumbed to the dark side when he allegedly head-butted a tour guide operator in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles police said today.”

  16. says

    What about my 6th law ? Can anybody give me some thoughts ? I really would appreciate it because I’ve been following this law for quite some time.

    By “Law of friendship”, I mean that being friends with your readers has high influence in persuasive blogging. When doing persuasive blogging, its better to be a “buddy” than “blogger” to the reader. What do you think ?

  17. says

    This is the stuff that sets apart the boring blogs from the successful ones out there. Thanks for the advice. I particularly like using “the story” angle to clearly show the reader the benefits of a post. It really helps people connect with you.

  18. says

    > What about my 6th law ? Can anybody give me some thoughts ?

    There’s already a suggested 6th law above your comment, but I’ll chime in that perhaps it’s the law of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). Those with the most time to spend immersing themselves in the blogosphere, familiarizing themselves with everyone and everything they need to know in their space have a distinct advantage. Once you’ve absorbed everything there is to know in your particular space, it’s easy to come up with your own “story”. And don’t forget to try http://www.hittail.com

  19. says

    walter and all, right on especially about the 6th Law of friendship, especially since we’re in the innkeeping business!. I’m finding that readers are a mix of folks wanting to know about the entrepreneurial side of starting a bed and breakfast as well as about the recipes.

    Feel free to partake of fixins’ :)
    GP in Montana
    http://fishcreekhouse.blogspot.com

  20. says

    I conpletely agree with the Law of Headling and Hooks. We have a great headline, but for a book, but now there’s a controversy brewing on our site that you and your readers may find interesting.

    Recently a billboard advertisement we bought through Clear Channel was removed due to complaints on the use of the word “sucks”.

    This has fired up many readers and we would be interested in your opinion on the situation if you can find the time please visit http://www.msco.com/blog/ the-discussion-on-billboards-that-suck

    Thanks,
    Chris Kieff, Editor Unconventional Thinking

  21. says

    I noticed this section of a comment by Timothy
    “The survey I read this week saying only 8% of Americans even read blogs was startling.

    Only 20% of Americans read books– so we are really talking about just a few people.”

    These stats are incredibly important, because they can help focus a blogger’s mind on a key point: his or her market.

    It doesn’t matter if only 8% read blogs, as long as a chunk of that 8% are your target market and you are reaching them. It’s the old story – no form of media will be the answer to all your needs, but blogging can be a great way to reach a specific niche. It can also be a colossal waste of time if your targets don’t read blogs.

    So, as always, make sure the media is appropriate to the market.

  22. says

    First time here and glad I found it. some great information, I’ll be spending some time on this blog. Thank you.

    Sure will give me many things to think about on my blog.

  23. says

    Brian, Great post. I was putting together a “Blogging Basics,” more for new readers than writers [http://theyrodeon.blogspot.com/2007/02/some-blogging-basics.html] and had to link to this. Keep up the great work. Doc.

  24. says

    While I fully agree to these laws in a classical sense, I couldn’t help but notice that there are just too many overly persuasive blogs lately. It’s almost like one’s subvertly exposed to these “would-be” blogs, which are created only to push a product, offer a deal or otherwise make its owner money. Not that it’s necessarily evil, but I think a dash of “natural” language and a good story to tell can sometimes do much more than writing a perfectly persuasive blog that doesn’t come across as a blog, but rather as a marketing medium.

  25. says

    Brian,

    Every so often I run across a post with real value, to do it in under 300 words in my time-starved world is exceptional value….let’s see if I can apply your wisdom. Kudos.

    Follow up: what’s your perspective on brevity vs. lengthiness?

    Sean “Buzz Canuck”

  26. says

    A brilliant synthesis of the things we should bear in mind as we step gingerly into the blogosphre!

    I’m focusing my efforts in particular on point 5 – tell a story – by publishing an online novel.

    You’re welcome to drop by any time.

    Kind Regards

    Thomas Hamburger Jnr

  27. says

    Brian,

    Glad to see you have Value listed as #1. My Blog captures this line of thinking, with an emphasis of creating a quality product in a Blog. Your Blog has done this and I’ve made it a point to say so at my Blog and link to you because I only link to something of value. Actions speak louder than words. My Blog tries to provide value like yours and the minority of others. It’s time to clean up the Blogosphere, but maybe it will clean itself up by default, via the law of value. All of your other points seem to build on that one. Things not valuable will eventually fall by the wayside. Anyhow, keep up the great work maintaining such a quality Blog!

    Michael Erik

  28. says

    I just read this article and saw that I’m on the right track by building my other blog. Pamps’ How To Guide which talks about the how to of everything that I learned in the blogosphere. The other tips are as much valuable.

  29. says

    These are 5 areas that are helpful to apply to any type of presentation, advertising campaign, copy writing and of course blogging. Thanks for relating its use in blogging effectively.

  30. says

    recently found this blog, and I must say there is so many interesting and helpful articles on here, including this one

    its really helped my way of thinking for our own blog

  31. says

    Great Post!

    Just wanted to let you know that I truly enjoy reading your articles. I’m learning a great deal from your advice and tips. Subscribed to your email and working on a marketing plan to build more traffic to my site. Must admit that, there are days when I run out of mental energy, trying to keep up and comprehend as much information that I can.

    Following a daily schedule that keeps me on track, and I able to stay more focused.

  32. says

    Your article was very informative. Thank you.

    I’m just starting to get into blogging myself and I’d like to attract more people to my blog. I had the idea to start with something that affects my life personally that I know affects others in the same way. So I came up with the idea of blogging about <a href=”http://bigandtallclothes.wordpress.com” title=”Big and Tall clothes “for men.

    The one theme that struck me about your blog is that it matches your #1 point. It provides value. I like that.

  33. says

    Interesting post, Brian. I am new to this blog, but I am already finding it to be very valuable. Thanks for all the great information.

  34. says

    You always have great solutions. I am glad that I read this.
    I am new to blogging like so many others I see right here. That said I don’t feel bad, because I am not the only one going threw the learning process.
    Thanks for the good Post

  35. says

    HitTail can help bloggers with laws 1 and 2 by turning search traffic to the blog into a sort-of writing topic suggestion box, then helping you formulate the perfect headline

  36. says

    This post sums up all the important points very concisely. I think I can increase my blog readership by making sure I follow these 5 points.

    Thanks,

    Yasir

  37. says

    Hey Brian,

    Using your 5 laws of persuasive blogging, how about this for a title:

    Read This or Be Irrelevant: Top 10 Tips on How to Help People (That Obama Used to Become President)

    :)

    Seriously though, in each of my articles I try to use an irresistible and catchy headline, focus on the value to the reader, and include a story to show the idea in action.

    Awesome and succinct list of 5 laws to make rock-solid persuasive writing,
    Oleg

  38. says

    HitTail can help bloggers with laws 1 and 2 by turning search traffic to the blog into a sort-of writing topic suggestion box, then helping you formulate the perfect headline


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