Becoming a Persuasive Writer


Author: Dennis Wilcox

Link to Book: Public Relations Writing & Media Techniques

Persuasion: As old civilization

(In this chapter, it gives you thumbnail sketch if some communication theories that are applicable to public relations writing and what social science research tells us about the way people receive, interpret, and act on information).

  • Aristotle was the first to set down the ideas of ethos, pathos, and logos which means, ” source credibility”, “logical argument”, and ” emotional appeal” respectively.
  • Richard Perloff, author of The Dynamics of Persuasion says, “Persuasion is an activity or process in which a communicator attempts to induce a change in the belief, attitude, or behavior of another person or group of persons through the transmission of a message in a context in which the persuadee has some degree of free choice.”
  • To be an effective writer, you need to understand the basic elements of communication & the complex process of how individuals respond to different messages.

The basics of communication

Four elements: Sender, Message, Channel & Reciever

  1. Sender is- the organization from which the message comes
  2. Message– must be applicable, believable, realistic, and convincing. (what you want the key messages to be perceived as with the receivers)
  3. Channel– carries the message to the receiver ( newspapers, magazines, radio, television, letters, speeches, audiovisuals and etc…) TERM : Soundbites-a statement or quote from an individual, which is inserted into audio and video news releases.
  4. Receiver– the people who you must reach. TERMS: Publics- potential or actual audiences in public relations. Stakeholder- groups of people who can be affected by the actions of an organization

* Framing– term used to describe how journalists and editors select certain facts, themes, treatments, and even words to ” frame” a story in order to generate maximum interest and understanding among readers and viewers.


  1. Awareness: the person discovers the idea or product
  2. Interest: The person tries to get more information
  3. Trial: the person tries the idea on others or samples the product
  4. Evaluation: the person decides whether the idea works  for his or her own self- interest
  5. Adoption: these person incorporates the idea into his or her opinion or beings to use the product

~Through these stages, it is to be influential and help show awareness for the public relations writer- Theory is by Professor Rogers from Stanford University.


  • Branding: the use of symbols to market organizations or products
  • Semantics– the study of meaning given to words and the changes that occur in these meanings as time goes on is the branch of linguistics


Audience analysis, source credibility, appeal to self- interest, clarity of message, timing and context, use of symbols and slogans, semantics, and suggestions for action.

Persuasion should not be manipulative and misleading. It should be based on truthful information and the presentation of ideas in the marketplace of public discussion.


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