Greek philosopher Aristotle was a teacher of many subjects, including persuasion.
Since persuasion is often the objective of business content and communications, it’s helpful to consider his three means of Persuasion: Ethos, Pathos and Logos.
Ethos: Your Credibility and Character
Whatever you can do to convey your credentials will play on Ethos. In fact, a good reason to create and publish content on a regular basis (assuming it is valuable and helpful) is to build credibility and trustworthiness. We are more likely to do business with people we trust. Your experience, credentials, training and skills all add to your credibility, as do your business brand and reputation. Find a way to weave them into your content or otherwise communicate them to your audience, especially for an audience that doesn’t know who you are.
Pathos: Appeal to Emotions
It’s very difficult to get people to change their beliefs. However, you can get people to feel and respond to something that inspires and moves them on some level. And you if you can’t close the gap, you can narrow it.
The most effective consumer marketing relies on Pathos. Exhibit A: Super Bowl advertising, which is all about storytelling and imagery that connects on a personal, emotional level.
Some industries and businesses, especially those in the B2B space, shy away from Pathos, focusing on logic instead. Yet every buying decision, even if it’s made by committee for a complex business product or service, contains elements of emotion. Ignoring pathos does nothing but rob you of a very useful, valuable tool of persuasion.
Logos: Logic and Reason
While Ethos and Pathos get us believing and feeling, ultimately we are persuaded based on the clarity of a claim and our belief in the supporting evidence. We are swayed by logic, or Logos. Even consumer marketing improves with reason and logic, especially for big ticket purchases like a car or consequential decisions like where to invest our savings.
Take it from Aristotle.
Include a mix of Ethos, Pathos and Logos in your content to make your message stronger, more enticing and more credible.