The Art of Persuasion — Jay Heinrichs at Content+

Pace is happy to introduce Jay Heinrichs as one of the speakers for the 2013 Content+ conference from Aug 14-16. Jay is currently Pace’s Editorial Director for Southwest Spirit magazine and has consulted on other content marketing projects at Pace. With a background in rhetoric and an accomplished book used from schools to corporate offices, Bloomberg BusinessWeek says he “brings the art of persuasion to the masters of manipulation.” And that is exactly what Jay plans to discuss during his session at the first annual Content+ conference.

You can learn more about Jay at his personal website.

Your Favorite Friend

1. You chose to present on the trust factor when it comes to content persuasion. Can you describe your topic and why you have a passion for it?

I’ll actually be focusing on Ethos, a brand’s projected character. The ideal brand has customers liking and trusting it as though it were a favorite friend, or even a hero. Three essential tools go into developing the ideal ethos, whether you’re an individual or a corporation.

  • First, Craft. That’s where quality of content becomes so important.
  • Second, Caring. That’s the sense a customer or audience gets that you have their personal interest at heart.
  • Third, Cause – the trickiest and most powerful tool of all. Beyond shareholder value, what cause does your company represent?

What’s your version of Southwest’s giving people the freedom to fly? I’ll be challenging participants on Content+ to articulate their own personal career causes as well.

A Published Teaching Tool

2. Your book Thank You for Arguing is published in 6 languages and used as a teaching tool in corporations and school programs. What does it teach?

It teaches rhetoric, the original art of leadership. Rhetoric shows you how to speak and write persuasively, produce something to say on every occasion, and make people like you when you speak. It also lets you get the best outcome from a negotiation or disagreement. Readers also tell me that Thank You for Arguing has helped them talk to their kids and even saved marriages!

The Spirit Voice

3. Southwest Spirit magazine has a loyal fan base. As Editorial Director, how has your research in rhetoric been highlighted in Spirit content?

Rhetorical principles inform every page of the Spirit format. Our motto is “simple, useful and fun.” That translates directly into Craft, Caring and Cause. Plus, in rhetoric you learn the importance of tone. Our client has told us that we “get” Southwest better than anyone. That’s a form of rhetorical decorum, the art of fitting in. Once you start thinking rhetorically, though, everything becomes rhetorical.

Persuasion = Marketing + Storytelling

4. Do you see modern day content marketing more focused on the art of persuasion or storytelling?

All marketing is persuasion. Storytelling is part of persuasion. The ideal outline to a persuasive talk – or presentation or memo or, well, anything else – is to start with an introduction that gives an idea of your ethos: your craft, caring and cause. Next comes “narration,” or storytelling. After that, you pitch your argument – the way you want to change your audience’s mood, mind, or willingness to do something. And you end with some emotional appeal. Storytelling – narration – is the fun part.

The Thinking Comes Before Social

5. Studies show social media as the source people go to for product recommendations from peers. How can content marketing add rhetoric to gain peer-like status?

Social media are excellent for attaching friends’ ethos to a product. But these media aren’t very good at conveying important information, telling stories, establishing brand identity, or even distinguishing products and brands significantly. In other words, the thinking part of any marketing needs to happen before social marketing, in other media. Just take one example, the “controversial” (but not really) Cheerios ad with the biracial family. It deliberately created a cause narrative, and then social media took over.

I should note that rhetoric isn’t “added” to anything. Persuasion surrounds us, not just in our advertising but in our clothing, gestures, jargon, and guilt trips. We either become aware of it, and skillful at using it, or ignore it to our peril.

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