Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.
An online devotional for writers
You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. And we are witnesses of this fact! (Acts 3:15, NLT)
Facts are a powerful tool in persuasive writing, especially when partnered with an attention-getting story.
A compelling story engages your reader’s feelings and prompts her to act. But then, just as she is about to respond, her internal protests kick in. The logical part of the human mind looks for excuses to not take action.
Facts counter the reader’s excuses. Good persuasive writing follows up the story with a one-two punch by addressing those protests with facts. Now, with the facts in hand to go with her feelings, the reader is ready to move forward.
Peter gave a perfect example of using that that one-two punch to persuade. It happened one day just as he and John approached the Temple. There sat a crippled beggar, who asked for help. Peter healed him and gave the credit to Jesus.
Talk about a compelling story: lifelong cripple instantaneously walks. No wonder there’s suddenly a crowd. The people were shocked, excited, astonished, overwhelmed …
But if you were there, even if you’d seen the healing or were just inside the colonnade when it happen, wouldn’t you question who had really accomplished it? Especially if that fellow was not physically present at the moment.
That’s when Peter reminded the people of the facts: they had handed Jesus over to Pilate. They rejected Him. They killed Him. But He rose from the dead, Peter reminded them, “And we are witnesses of this fact!” (Acts 3:15, NLT)
Peter’s one-two punch – a compelling story combined with facts – was so powerful that 5,000 people believed.
Facts persuade best when partnered with a story.
You appeal to both our feelings and the facts to move us to act. Help me to use both stories and facts in combination to be persuasive as I write.
In Jesus’s name, Amen.
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