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Influence

How to write content to influence your reader.

The ability to influence is traditionally a face-to-face communication skill of adaptation and interaction that requires you to read the environment and recognise the impact you make. 

Attempting to influence readers using the content on your website is obviously not quite the same. You will not know the circumstances and background of the reader, nor will you be able to immediately adapt from any feedback. 

Instead, you can replace the face-to-face aspects of influencing with your 'trusted expert' status, and create the environment by writing articles that describes a given scenario your reader can relate to. You can then use your perceived status and the created environment to open doors to different paths which the reader can choose to take, putting them in control. This will allow you to offer alternative perspectives and give your reader choice by providing relevant knowledge in the directions you are offering.

Influence ability

Know your status: the origins of your influencing ability.

Your perceived status will be a combination of four sources: 

  • Culture and reputation 
  • Passion and motives 
  • Systems and organisation 
  • Style 

It will be how you present and highlight these aspects of your status that will represent your personality, charm, and benevolence and hence your ability to influence. 

Listed below are issues that may need to be discussed and explained within your article in order to substantiate any 'assumed status': 

Culture and reputation: 

  • What resources do you have?
  • How do you demonstrate the quality of your resources? 
  • What recognised bodies support you? 
  • How do you use accreditation to strengthen your position? 
  • What customers are behind you? 
  • How do you assert recognition on your website? 

Passion and motives: 

  • What is the reason behind your activities? 
  • Why is it important to you? 
  • What risks do you take to follow your passion? 
  • How strong is your belief in your passion? 
  • How do you show concern for the reader? 

Systems and organisation: 

  • How do you reward the reader? 
  • What information are you giving? 
  • What are your connections? 
  • Where is this information coming from? 

Style: 

  • How do you reason with the reader? 
  • How do you coerce the reader? 
  • How do you emotionally appeal to the reader? 
  • How do you make compromises? 
  • How do you demonstrate charisma?
Impartial Persuasive

The impartial strategy (the push)

This strategy is best used when you anticipate high anxiety and low trust in the reader. The intention is to substantiate your status by providing impartial information and communicating in a benevolent way. 

Set the scene 

Your culture and reputation will need clarification so that the reader can begin to relate to you. Your passion and motives must be completely transparent in order to reduce their anxieties. Your systems and organisation must disclose the benefits such as rewards and quality of information. The style you use must be impartial and ready to compromise. 

  • Determine the quality of the proposal 
  • Decide what information the reader requires 
  • Choose a style to communicate your proposals 

Invite reactions 

Build ideas and put forward proposals. Reason with the current opinions and compromise where you cannot justify your claims. Empathise by comparing your arguments with alternative views. 

Summarise 

Put forward the main points and justify the relevant information you have provided. Dismiss certain arguments so that the main arguments are heard. 

Deal with objections 

Objections are not only necessary but essential if you want the reader to fully understand your concerns. Show your concerns by responding to the most obvious objections. Clarify any doubts by higlighting the main benefits. Provide further information by referencing other internal pages, or external pages on other websites. 

Agree outcomes 

Put forward clear conclusions and outline the next step or call to action. 

 

 

 

Persuasive

The persuasive strategy (the pull)

This strategy is best used when you anticipate lower anxieties and higher trust in the reader. The intention is to present a compelling argument by outlining all the benefits you can think of that delivers the value and results the reader is searching for. 

State your view or argument 

Your culture and reputation will not be at issue here as the reader will have formed an opinion from other impartial articles previously read. Your passion and motives will need to demonstrate your concerns for the reader and link the benefits to improved results. Use the best style as a vehicle to connect with the reader and communicate the benefits. 

Clarify other views 

This is your opportunity to position your products or services as unique in some way by describing known problems, how they are currently solved and why your solutions are different or better. 

Work towards agreement 

Clarify common goals and ensure that the value and results you deliver are desired by your reader. 

  • Decide on the quality of questioning 
  • Decide on the style of reasoning and compromise 

Look for a win-win situation 

Make sure your motives are clear and your reader understands why you offer these products and services. 

Propose joint agreements 

State your obligations, guarantees and to what extent you will give, share and serve to ensure delivery of the promised results.

Resistance

Sources of resistance to influence

When presenting your arguments, be aware of the following reasons why resistance to change is found. If you anticipate the most likely form of resistance, you can tackle it head on. Use feel-felt-found techniques, or offer case studies or testimonials where possible. 

  • Fear of change 
  • Done it before 
  • Moralistic 
  • Competing priorities 
  • Fear of failure 
  • Hardened attitudes 
  • Ignorance 
  • Postponement / redirection
Relevancy

Planning for the result

Here is a 10 step plan for organising and planning your strategies to influence the reader. Whether you adopt the Impartial or Persuasive strategy, decide on the attributes of your status that will need to be highlighted. Have a scenario you have in mind in order to paint a clear picture of the environment you will be describing. 

  1. Present the current situation and the ideal situation 
  2. Highlight helpful and inhibiting factors 
  3. Specify the target and any others involved 
  4. Build on the relationships 
  5. Outline the desired outcome 
  6. Introduce the possible rewards 
  7. Introduce the agenda 
  8. Offer time to reflect 
  9. Offer paths to allow for unexpected reactions 
  10. Conclusions and outcomes 

Influencing someone's judgement is an incredibly powerful ability. It requires the combination of many communication skills that, once harnessed, can quicken your efforts to build trust and hence increase co-operative opportunities.

Marketing Workshops

Try our marketing workshops for FREE

The first FREE telephone workshop will cover the strategy builder section of the marketing strategy training programme. 

This workshop will cover the following areas: 

  • Splitting your marketing activities into customer acquisition and customer nurturing marketing strategies 
  • Add clarity to your objectives by asserting a well defined USP 
  • Generate a business posture by presenting value and results combined with your passion to deliver 

Further workshops include Marketing Analysis, Writing Styles, Search Engine Optimisation and Measure for Success. These introductory workshops are 45 minute telephone calls to be held once a week (a time and day that fits). Those companies who wish to take this further can arrange one-2-one training or join an existing workshop group held on Wednesdays or Thursdays.

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