How to Create a Compelling Argument in Your Content Using Pathos, Ethos and Logos.
Whenever I write a blog for a client I always try to appeal to pathos, logos and ethos. These are terms coined by Aristotle and are still used today. Pathos, ethos and logos are used in marketing, journalism, politics and debating, as well as propaganda.
In order to make a persuasive and convincing argument which is essentially what a good blog should be, we need to present information based on these three modes of persuasion. But what are they?
- Ethos is an appeal to the credibility and authority of the presenter.
- Pathos is an appeal to the audience’s emotions.
- Logos is used to stimulate the audience’s logic. This would include facts or data that support the argument.
A rough blog template can be made from this, here’s a typical example:
- X is a problem which causes negative feelings for the reader. (Pathos)
- Here is evidence X is a wider problem. (Logos)
- Here is what can be done about X. (Logos)
- Here’s how you would feel if the problem X causes were solved. (Pathos)
- Why we’re the right person to solve this problem. (Ethos)
Here’s a brief, basic example using information about getting Google Reviews.
- Online reviews can either make or break your business’s reputation. So many people Google a company before they make a purchase decision, and so if your company is presenting mostly negative or mediocre reviews, you may be missing out on a lot of business and developing a bad reputation.
- A referral from a current customer is the best kind of marketing out there. According to BrightLocal, 85% of customers trust online reviews as much as friends and family recommendations, meaning businesses should put as much effort into online reviews as they do face to face referrals. The same survey found that 73% of customers trusted a business more after reading a positive online review.
- Being active on social media encourages your customers to engage with your business, including writing Instagram posts and leaving Facebook or Google reviews. The majority of customers are happy to leave a positive review or post, simply from being asked to do so.
- Having people share and engage with your business online can increase your customer base and encourages other people to do the same, creating a positive spiral. When people are researching your business, ensure there is plenty of positive material for them to read.
- If you’d like more advice about how to get more online reviews, I have a wealth of experience in helping businesses to improve their online reputation and take control of their reviews. I’ll be more than happy to show you my case studies!
Here are my tips for including pathos, logos and ethos in your writing:
Make sure you are fully up to date with all industry information. I myself am subscribed to a range of journals, and take advantage of all the latest government statistics and scientific reports. Many charities and organisations have press packs which have bite-sized nuggets of information you can easily use in your PR.
If you resell a product or use a certain type of machinery, ask the company directly if they have press packs you can use.
I have Google Alerts set up which notify me about certain topics as soon as they are published online. So if there is a brand new study, I know I’m one of the first people to see it.
When you’ve done your research, you could, of course, publish all the relevant statistics, but I prefer to pick one statistic that’s really going to have the most impact and use that as my inspiration for the rest of the post.
Before you can appeal to your customer’s emotions, you need to have an excellent understanding of your who they are and what keeps them up at night. To do this, create some buyer profiles and outline what a typical customer looks like to you. If you’re struggling to identify how you can appeal to your customer’s emotions, you could try doing some customer research, either interviews or surveys. You could speak to the people that know them best, like your sales team, retail staff or customer retention team. Or you could have a nosey at the people who are most engaged with your social media profiles.
One of my most challenging clients have customers who are afraid to speak about the service we are wanting to sell them because of the associated stigma. And so I’m always sure to address this in any marketing so that they might have more confidence to reach out to us. Addressing the emotional side of the stigma is as important as letting them know that we’re a reputable company who can help them. It doesn’t matter how good we look if the customer is afraid to talk about why they need the service.
Not all customers will fit into the same profiles and they won’t all have the same problems, so these can be addressed separately in different blog posts.
When asserting yourself as an authority, it’s always helpful to have backup and show that you practice what you preach. You can show that you’re a reputable and favoured business by:
- Showcasing awards.
- Developing a wider PR strategy and writing for other publications. If a blog you’ve written is published in a magazine which has more authority than your business, you’ve already shown your ethos.
- Providing case studies and customer reviews.
- Showing community work, charity projects, or other ethical natures to your business. (Such as fair trade, recycled etc)
- Simply telling people why you’re the best person for the job.
Pathos, ethos and logos can be used in many areas of marketing and sales, not just blog posts. You could aim to use these persuasion methods in your advertising, emails or social media strategy.
If you’ve identified that you’re currently using one technique but not others, think about how you can create more of a balance. If you’re only shouting about yourself and your business, inject some posts that will appeal to emotion and logic. If you’re providing lots of good content but not selling yourself, do so, you don’t want to be highlighting problems for other people to solve!
If you would like to discuss your marketing strategy in more detail or get advice about how to reach your customer in a persuasive manner, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to chat with you over a coffee.