Blogs argue to persuade and engage readers
When is the last time you got into a heated debate or fight?
Did anything productive come from it?
I choose to hang around with people who don't like to fight, but like to argue. What's the difference?
Fighting is violent, abusive, and loud, with both opponents looking silly, base.
Arguing, however, elevates both opponents by forcing them to clarify, justify, and reason to persuade an audience. Each opponent listens and responds to the other in turn.
To argue in the academic and writing sense, opponents avoid yelling, screaming, and fighting. Probloggers argue in their writing to prove a point, resolve a problem, or analyze an issue, but they do not fight.
The following video illustrates a fight, an engagement that reveals the ignorance and incoherence of violence. The total loss of self-control on the part of the driver sickens me. On the other hand, the self-discipline of the Trooper amazes.
Example: This is a fight video, not an argument (EXPLICIT)
You noticed I'm sure the complete lack of tact, empathy, and reason on the part of the driver. Was he at all persuasive? This kind of ignorant assault does not elevate, resolve, or propose.
Bloggers gain no traction by spewing wild, uncontrolled claims, trolling rather than writing.
The best bloggers argue in every post they write because argument engages the readers, involves an audience, snatches the attention of people browsing the web. But, the best blogs argue with tact, empathy, and grace.
Every blog post is an argument
You might be thinking: "I don't argue in my blogging because argument shuns readers." You don't want to offend, especially if you're selling a product or service. Or, maybe you're just reporting information.
You are still making an argument, and I'll show you how.
Imagine you are writing an article about the victors in a soccer match between Spain and Argentina. Your objective is to report your observations of the game, but you also will make the argument for how Spain played better, worked harder, and defended more intensely to win the match.
All writing is argument, even if only subtly, because you are always attempting to lead the reader to see your point or main idea and agree.
Will Newman speaks of the 4 U's of copywriting headlines, and his guidance speaks to all forms of writing. I try to think of each point as I write a blog post. Notice that Newman is describing an engaging argument:
1. Unique: Your prospect is bombarded by hundreds of advertising messages every day. He's "seen it all." So, make sure you state your subheads differently than he's used to. Or focus on a benefit or aspect of your big promise he hasn't heard yet.
Can see him laying out an effective and interesting plan for an argument? Your unique ideas are urgent and useful, so you use persuasion to push your readers to see your way of thinking.
Every post you publish should make an ultra-specific point, or you will lose your readers.
How to argue in a blog
The important question of "how" remains. Academics use various forms of argument, but that complexity is unnecessary.
The Ancient Greeks developed a simple form of argument and persuasion over 2,000 years ago, and writers still use the model effectively.
You start by clarifying the main point or idea that you will argue.
By itself, your opinion or point of view carries little weight in most cases. So, you must be strategic in using resources to convince your audience. Don't be frightened by the image and language below. It's actually simple, and I'll explain.
Let's break down the triangular relationship shown in the image:
Pathos can give the illusion of a strong argument, but it is hollow without logic and reason to provide the foundation. Writers:
"are apt to mistake the strength of their feeling for the strength of their argument. The heated mind resents the chill touch and relentless scrutiny of logic."
Emotions can work powerfully, but they are of little value if logic does not reinforce them.
How to handle opposition to your argument
Readers will often resist your way of thinking and your support. You, for example, may be asking yourself if I know what I'm talking about. If you are a skilled reader, you have questioned me throughout the post. I have tried to strategically combat your resistance.
Usually in arguments an opposing side offers reasons and evidence to undermine your position.
We cannot simply ignore their opinions, but we are tempted to:
"The moment we want to believe something, we suddenly see all the arguments for it, and become blind to the arguments against it."
As you write, think ahead to what opposing arguments might be made. Where are your flaws and weaknesses?
Discuss these points with the reader to show your credibility, and prove with facts, statistics, examples, surveys, interviews, and stories that your point of view is stronger.
The conclusion of your post should be forward thinking.
This means that you lay out for the reader what they should do with the information you just shared. How should they act? Why is the information important for their future? How does your argument change their lives? Respond to these questions rather than restating your thesis (boring). This is your call to action
So, whether you are writing about fashion or philosophy, in a blog post, you are making an argument, and to succeed you must help the readers to see your main point and perhaps adopt it.
If you fail to state the main idea and support it with logos, ethos, and pathos, your writing will be weak. Show your reader that you have done professional level research and writing by constructing a strong argument.
I love argument, I love debate. I don't expect anyone just to sit there and agree with me, that's not their job.
Be bold, abrasive, and passionate because readers enjoy argument. Your support should keep them riveted, enthralled in your writing.
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