Category Archives: rhetoric

Create Great Content: Test Logical, Emotional, and Ethical Appeals

In this post, The Emotional Sale: Selling through Social Media, Sam Fiorella argues consumers are shifting from logical decision making to emotional decision making as a way to compensate for information overload and time crunch pressures.

Logical Appeals
What types of content appeal to the left side of our brains? Sam suggests feature comparisons, testimonials, and white papers may be important types of content to provide. If we want to sell stuff using this approach, we need to think about creating evidence to bolster our claims.

Emotional Appeals
What types of content can create an emotional appeal? Sam suggests the following types or features of this type of content: crowdsourced, video/audio, and tone are most important. I agree that developing more affective content designed to appeal to viewers’ emotions can move the needle on an engagement level, but just creating this type of content will not guarantee it. We still need to compete for their attention and getting someone to contribute to crowdsourced content is getting increasingly difficult unless there is a prize component attached.

One additional appeal we can add are ethical appeals.

Ethical Appeals
What types of content can we create so as to appear as trusted expert? While Sam doesn’t call out ethical appeals by name, he does ask us to consider where customers fit in to the equation. It’s good advice, and I’d recommend content in this category would need to be balanced and have a fair-minded approach. We would especially want to consider the readers’/viewers’ perspective and acknowledge what questions and concerns they may have that would preclude or solidify a purchase. I’m not saying that ethical appeals are the “magic sauce,” but it’s one more appeal to (formally) consider.

In addition, we’d want to test various content to…

1. Provide the best type of content for the consumer’s place in the purchase process
Higher funnel content needs to generate awareness and connect on an emotional level. Left-brain type content may be more important in the research phase.

2. Provide content types for different types of consumers
It’s all good. Some consumers over index as more logical decision makers or as more creative right brain decision makers. It may be more difficult for brands to create video and audio content than just churn out text-based content. However, different types of content appeal to different audiences.

3. Provide the right content type for specific media channels.
Brands may decide the best course of action is to syndicate video/audio type content that links to more logical or ethical content types. Or, the opposite may be true. Providing content types that travel best in social media may create more visibility than even a video. The content needs to match the context.

If time and budget allow, we can create multiple forms of content and carefully design tests that can be repeated at various intervals to determine the best course of action.

Tim’s Placecasting

I found a blogger, new to me, whose work sounds interesting. Tim is working on his PhD at Boston College. His research is on place blogging and the ways that people use new media to reinforce place. He also talks about graffiti and placecasting. Plus, he’s a bicyclist. I almost wrote biker, but that would have been confusing. 🙂

BTW, if you’re looking for other place bloggers, you can find them at Amazing site.

Take a look at the visual rhetoric

Take a look at the two pictures on the MSNBC Multimedia page – 1st of Barack Obama with his head bowed “being called to serve” and the 2nd picture of Hillary Clinton as she makes a point at an NAACP convention. Quite the contrasting pictures, wouldn’t you agree? However, click on Clinton’s picture and then number 20 in the slideshow. Isn’t #20 much more comparable?

(not taking sides this early in the game…i’m just saying)

DMAC: Digital Media and Rhetoric

The second session of the day is: Keeping the Focus on Rhetoric
Pat Sullivan, Lisa Ann Robertson, Ben McCorkle, Susan Delagrange

Lisa Ann Robertson uses a classical rhetorical lens to teach digital media. She studies Romanticism, the body, and cyberculture. When she teaches digital media, she teaches it *strong* at the very beginning of the semester and then all semester long they practice and practice it. You can access two of her classes from the link to her homepage above.

She referred to a Daniel Anderson article in Kairos that she uses. She also uses political cartoons and miscellaneous other resources rather than just one particular text. She doesn’t just teach how to use the software, but rather audience analysis and what audiences a particular software is geared for.

In her class they talk about general argumentation, but then integrate digital media as intro, thesis, or conclusion.

In class discussion, she refers to James Brown’s, autobio, The One. She asks students to imagine what it would be like if James Brown were to use Audacity to explain The One.

She said that once students have to make just a visual argument, without words, they realize how much words can mean. Then students construct an audio argument with Audacity. She may combine these assignments next time.

When students start to combine images and sound, they feel really empowered by the arguments they are able to create.

Ben McCorkle talked about Burke and digital media. He says, Burke hated tech, so why use his theories to talk about digital media? It comes down to motive. Burke’s pentad may help us describe what happens in digital media. Ben says Burke said, I should have made it a hexad and then that might have accounted for attitude.

Ben played a video from JibJab.

Susan Delagrange spoke about feminism and digital media. A feminist approach will enable us to look at power and difference issues and whose interests are served by certain “textual” representations.

She talked about google maps and how people who use public transportation aren’t served by the map. Hotels, banks, large stores — those are the places that are mentioned.

She compared the map of Chicago with the map of her town, Jeromesville, Ohio and how there isn’t a detailed view of her town. Also, she noted that the maps of small towns aren’t updated very often.

Pat Sullivan said that the problem with teaching digital media is graduate students. Or, rather, that graduate students teach it, but then they leave and so it brings up a problem of continually finding people to teach it.

She passed out a handout on terms for use in digital composition including repurposing, customizing, appropriating, montage, sampling, recycling, composting, and poaching. Several people in the audience liked the nuances with these terms rather than the term remediation, which several people don’t like.

She talked about an assignment that asks students to design a powerpoint or kiosk assignment describing their experience at the university that the admissions department could use to recruit students.

As an aside, she said that students like contests, so often they make it a contest that the best presentation gets to be used by the admissions department.

And now, a break and more studio time this afternoon…

What a Life

I went to hear Dr. Winifred Horner speak tonight. What an amazing woman! She is now teaching a class on memoir writing for people over 50 as part of a Lifelong Learning program. I was most impressed that she got her MA at 40, her PhD at 50, and in addition to teaching at MU, she later accepted an endowed chair at TCU at 65.

While introducing her, they mentioned that all but two of her books were published while she was at TCU! I am so impressed. We all need stories like hers to let us know that it’s possible to achieve great things such as these later in life. It gives me hope!

I came home and put together a quick bib, which is below. I’m not sure that I’ve got everything, but it’s a start. If anyone knows of other publications, please let me know.

She said she was most proud of this book:
Learning From The Histories Of Rhetoric : Essays In Honor Of Winifred Bryan Horner / edited By Theresa Enos.

Single author:
1. Nineteenth-Century Scottish Rhetoric : The American Connection / Winifred Bryan Horner.
2. Life Writing by Winifred Bryan Horner
3. Writing program, Metropolitan State University by Winifred Bryan Horner

Edited texts:
1. Composition & Literature : Bridging The Gap / edited By Winifred Bryan Horner.
2. Historical Rhetoric : An Annotated Bibliography Of Selected Sources In English / edited By Winifred Bryan Horner.
3. The Present State Of Scholarship In Historical And Contemporary Rhetoric / edited By Winifred Bryan Horner.
4. (revised edition) The Present State Of Scholarship In Historical And Contemporary Rhetoric / edited By Winifred Bryan Horner ; [Foreword By Walter J. Ong.].
5. Rhetoric And Pedagogy : Its History, Philosophy, And Practice : Essays In Honor Of James J. Murphy / edited By Winifred Bryan Horner, Michael Leff.

Multiple authors
1. Harbrace College Handbook Brief: With 1998 Mla Style Manual Updates (Hardcover)
by Winifred Bryan Horner, Suzanne Strobeck Webb, Robert Keith Miller
2. QUIA Passcard for Miller/Webb/Horner’s The Writer’s Harbrace Handbook, Brief Edition (Spiral-bound) by Robert Keith Miller, Suzanne Strobeck Webb, Winifred Bryan Horner
3. Hodges’ Harbrace Handbook (Hardcover) by Suzanne Strobeck Webb, Robert Keith Miller, Winifred Bryan Horner, John C. Hodges, John Cunyus Hodges (Editor)

1. Preface: An Allegory. By: Horner, Winifred Bryan. Rhetoric Review, 2001, Vol. 20 Issue 1/2, p5, 5p; (AN 7863616)
2. Speech-Act and Text-Act Theory: “Theme-ing” in Freshman Composition. Winifred B. Horner. College Composition and Communication > Vol. 30, No. 2 (May, 1979), pp. 165-169.
3. The Harbrace Handbook: Changing in a Changing Discipline. Winifred B. Horner. College Composition and Communication > Vol. 51, No. 4 (Jun., 2000), pp. 651-654.
4. The Roots of Modern Writing Instruction: Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Britain. Winifred Bryan Horner. Rhetoric Review > Vol. 8, No. 2 (Spring, 1990), pp. 322-345

1. Words in Action by Martin Steinmann, Jr. College Composition and Communication > Vol. 31, No. 1 (Feb., 1980), pp. 97-98
2. Oral and Written Communication: Historical Approaches by Richard Leo Enos. Rhetoric Review > Vol. 10, No. 2 (Spring, 1992), pp. 374-376
3. The Formation of College English by Thomas P. Miller. Rhetoric Review > Vol. 16, No. 1 (Autumn, 1997), pp. 146-149
4. Readings from Classical Rhetoric by Patricia P. Matsen; Philip Rollinson; Marion Sousa
Rhetoric Review > Vol. 9, No. 2 (Spring, 1991), pp. 350-352.

Getting through fear: Someone else has done it.

Thoughts about fear are floating in the blogosphere lately (or maybe I’m just recognizing them more).

Curt Rosengren posted today regarding five words that can help us get over fear:

someone else has done it.

Yep. That’s it. Someone else has been where you are or done what you’re trying to do. In other words, it’s possible.

Also about getting through fear — my friend L. said to me tonight: “If you get to feeling like you can’t take it anymore, whip out the credit card and run away to Paris for two weeks. You can always pick up the pieces when you get back.” Now there is a thought to help me push through fear!

Both of these ideas are psychological mind ploys to get us to release those feelings that are holding us back from reaching our potential. I won’t think right now that once I hit one marker, then there are a few more after that. Just one step at a time.