Persuasive Writing for Learning Lessons

Why are we attracted to some advertisements and not others? Why do we feel we need to read on?

It’s all about what grabs you when you first see it.

Have you ever seen the famous David Ogilvy Rolls-Royce advert?

The art of the advertising copy writer can be used to encourage our learners to become and remain engaged.

Not every learner joins your course with an insatiable desire to learn.  Many are there because they have been directed or because compliance demands it.

Here’s some ideas from the copywriters game book that will help you engage some of the less engaged learners.

Lead with a big idea

A good introduction communicates succinctly what’s special about this concept.

“At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock”

In his Confessions of an Advertising Man, Ogilvy claims the headline of the Rolls-Royce advert is the best headline he’s ever written.

We often think of writing as a creative activity and training as a factual exercise.  But writing for learning is less about being creative and more about re-using words and ideas from people who know best such as people with practical knowledge of what you are teaching.

The words about Rolls-Royce are not about the engineering, they are about a driving experience.

Communicate the true benefits

Good writing conveys the benefits the learner will achieve by taking the learning on board.  In one-on-one learning we allow our personality into the conversation and develop empathy with the learner.  Why then do we become prescriptive and boring when we sit down to write text to learn from?

To write persuasive learning, consider what your Customers, the learners, truly want.  How does your training improve their lives; at work and generally.

Overcome objections head-on

Before Ogilvy became an advertising man, he worked as a salesman for a British cooker company.  He wrote a manual on selling cookers for his colleagues, and a large part of that manual was devoted to overcoming people’s objections to buy his cooker.

During years of providing sales training I came to understand that at least a third of the participants believed they didn’t need to be there.  They believed they knew all about features and benefits.  They were in the field and didn’t need this “trainer guy” to tell them that ‘stuff’’.

Truth is, they werent applying that ‘stuff’ in the field so we had to structure the training so these people believed they were going to get some new ideas to make their lives easier and more successful..

Successful trainers have always been successful salespeople.  They sell learning to their participants.  With eLearning we now have to translate those skills into a medium where there is a lot less interaction.

PS.  You can gind a copy of the Rolls-Royce advert on the  Website.