The Power of Ethos, Logos, and Pathos in Writing Promotional Copy

It’s not uncommon for students in both high school and higher ed to question whether what they’re learning will actually have relevance in the real world of work. There are three concepts, though, from several speech classes I taught at the undergraduate level, that I’ve found to be extremely helpful in creating content designed to resonate with various needs and preferences of the target audience: ethos, logos, and pathos. Before I lose you, trust me, these are really simple concepts that you can use to create and evaluate your promotional content.

In the world of advertising, crafting compelling copy that resonates with your audience is essential for success. One effective approach is to incorporate elements of ethos, logos, and pathos into your promotional messaging. By understanding and utilizing these persuasive techniques, you can create captivating content that engages and influences your entire audience.  

These are concepts that date back to ancient Greece! They were first introduced by Aristotle in his work “Rhetoric,” and they are truly still relevant today.

Ethos: Establishing Credibility and Trust

Ethos refers to the ethical or moral character of a brand or speaker. It involves building credibility, trust, and authority. When writing promotional copy, incorporating ethos helps to establish a strong foundation for your message. You can do this by incorporating:

  • Testimonials and endorsements: Including testimonials or endorsements from satisfied customers or well-known figures can enhance your brand’s credibility. Example: “Join over 10,000 satisfied customers who trust our premium skincare products for healthier, radiant skin.”
  • Expert opinions: Quoting industry experts or professionals can bolster your brand’s authority. Example: “Our revolutionary software, endorsed by top cybersecurity analysts, provides the ultimate protection against online threats.”

Logos: Appealing to Reason and Logic

Logos emphasizes logical reasoning and evidence-based arguments. It involves presenting facts, data, and logical appeals to support your claims. When incorporating logos into your promotional copy, consider the following techniques:

  • Statistics and data: Include relevant statistics and data to back up your product and service claims or to demonstrate effectiveness. Example: “Our energy-saving bulbs use 80% less electricity, helping you reduce your carbon footprint and save up to $100 on your energy bills annually.”
  • Features and benefits: Highlight the unique features and benefits of your product or service, emphasizing how it solves a problem or fulfills a need. Example: “Our smart thermostat not only adjusts the temperature automatically based on your preferences but also learns your schedule, saving you up to 20% on heating and cooling costs.”

Pathos: Evoking Emotional Responses

Pathos appeals to emotions, with the intent of creating a strong emotional connection with your audience. Incorporating pathos into your promotional copy can elicit desired feelings and responses. You can tap into ethos through:

  • Storytelling: Share compelling stories that resonate with your audience, evoking emotions such as joy, nostalgia, or empathy. Example: “Rediscover the joy of cooking with our heirloom recipe collection, passed down through generations, bringing families together around the dinner table.”
  • Imagery and sensory language: Use vivid imagery and sensory language to create a visual and emotional experience for your readers. Example: “Indulge in the velvety smoothness of our luxurious chocolate, crafted with the finest cocoa beans that melt in your mouth, taking you on a journey of pure bliss.”

Each of us is moved in different ways by these three persuasive rhetoric approaches. And, the way we tent to be moved is the way we tend to use when we’re trying to persuade others. I’m most motivated by logos–logic and facts. So I have a tendency to overrely on facts and data in my writing. I have to make a real, conscious effort to incorporate etho and pathos into my writing, whether I’m writing an email pitch, social media post, or presentation.

By combining these elements effectively, you can create promotional content that resonates with your entire audience. Remember to understand your target market, tailor your messaging accordingly, and continuously test and refine your copy to optimize its impact. 

Then take a look back to check to see if you’ve touched on each of these powerful approaches that can be used, in combination, to get the results you’re looking for.


About Us

Strategic Communications, LLC, works with B2B clients to help them achieve their goals through effective content marketing and management with both internal and external audiences. We work with clients to plan, create and publish high-quality, unique content. Whether on- or offline, or both, we’ll help you achieve desired results at reasonable rates.

In addition to content creation we specialize in helping B2B clients raise awareness and drive website traffic through a strong LinkedIn and Twitter presence.

(Strategic Communications is certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise through the Wisconsin Department of Administration.)

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