Write Now! Persuasive Writing Prompts:
Ask Your Prospect 20 Questions

Practice your copywriting skills with this prompt from The Professional Writers’ Alliance (PWA).

With this Write Now! Prompt, you’ll understand the value of knowing your prospect whether he’s prone to buy your product or not interested in it at all.

After viewing this video by Jim Wright, you’ll have a list of 20 or more questions to use in an ad or article, where you’ll be writing to a wide range of people, some of whom may be skeptical about your product. (Or read the transcript below.)

Play Video

Here's an exercise you can use write now if you’re having trouble getting started on a project. Pick two characters. Make them real. Give them names whatever you have to do. Now, imagine that one of your characters really likes what you’re writing about, a product or a service, whatever it is. In fact, doesn’t just like it, but loves it, loves everything about it. The other character, not so much. In fact, you can pretend they don’t like it at all.

Now, what I'd like you to do is make two lists. On your first list, write down 20 questions your first character would have about that product or service, again, from the point of view of someone who's really excited about it. Or change it up, 20 things that they might say if they're bragging about your product or services.

Now, do the same thing for the other character, but write down 20 questions they might have from the point of view of someone who thinks this is a complete waste of time. And again to change it up, maybe 20 things that they might complain about that product or service.

The first few questions would be fairly easy, but it would get tougher as you go down the list. But don’t give up. Write down the 20 questions from each character.

If you want to make this more challenging, you can increase the number of questions to 25, 50, or even 100. That would be tougher, but it would be even more powerful. What it will do is give you both a list of things that are really cool about your product or service and a list of possible objections that you might have to overcome or even acknowledge as you write.

This exercise is helpful because in any given ad or article, you will be speaking to both of these characters. But armed with this list of questions, you have a lot of ideas and different angles to think about. And ultimately, this will allow you to speak to all of your audience more effectively and more persuasively.

View Our Full Library of Persuasive Writing Prompts

Write Now! persuasive writing prompts are presented by the Professional Writers’ Alliance (PWA) — a professional association just for direct-response industry writers. Learn about the many benefits of a PWA membership.

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The Professional Writers’ Alliance

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Published: August 16, 2017

15 Responses to “Write Now! Persuasive Writing Prompt: Ask Your Prospect 20 Questions [video]”

  1. This is a great little nugget of gold!

    Kathy Bjorn

  2. Hi Kathy, Thanks for the comment... glad you enjoyed it!
    Cheers and thanks again, Jim.

    Guest (Jim)

  3. Having a limited legal background, I love this idea because it forces you to play advocate and antagonist. You are literally providing your own research playing both sides of the coin. We all know you can't please everybody but creating a list like this makes an attempt to be inclusive. May not change someone's mind right away but could just plant the seed to make a doubter come back and say, "hey let me look at that again."

    Chuck Barber

  4. I think this is a great exercise. Using the positive to address the negative.


  5. This is a really cool prompt!! I was stumped for ideas until I thought of key words/phrases eg cool, awesome, faster, easier, bigger, all-new, etc. That also opened up a flood of opposites. The next step was to write questions or sentences with "What /who/why/when/where" as prompts. I'm paying more attention to the details in copy ads and articles. Thank you!


  6. hmmm... this is an interesting. I wrote down two lists as advised. Its actually not so easy to get 20 statements for each. However, what is interesting is that negative statements are lot easier to come by (at least for me). But I suppose whenever someone is reading a sales letter then they automatically come up with objections as they go (that little nagging voice in our head). So if I write down all the objections and handle them in the right order throughout the copy then it should have a better conversion. Although when I look at my list of objections then I cant really think of how can I weave this all together into a single copy, along with the benefits... Just thinking out loud here. In any case, thanks for the prompt!

    Guest (Kendrick )

  7. I'm working on the final assignment for the Accelerated program. This writing prompt was very helpful to strengthen the benefits of my product and find weaknesses. I will keep it handy for future products for real clients! Thank you Jim!


  8. In today's society, we see, feel, and taste the negative. This exercise builds positive ideas to irradicate or at least subdue the negative so, that we can provide a change of mindset for ourselves and others.


  9. Ah. The nature of yin and yang in practice. Fantastic!

    Crystal Stone

  10. Writing positive things about yourself or your own products is easy to write, be it comments from clients,it is appreciative and soul soothing. Listing things that appeal to our sight,feeling, and taste about your products or service from other people,is as good as listening to someone telling you about how good he or she feels use your product or service.As client enjoy, you also enjoy as you get motivated.Negative criticism is good for improvement,but thorny to the feeling as some demoralizes.Listing negative questions asked or complains by clients about products or services,is a test to your patience and perseverance because some of the complains and comments might be hard to bear.It might also bring down business or prompt legal issues.

    Kosiyae Yussuf

  11. We easily get hyped about our product so we can lose sight of what FQAs we need to address while writing our copy.

    This is a powerful exercise in dealing with clients' concerns before they even come up.

    Guest (Alexwrite)

  12. Character A: Hey, this pair of glasses are really cool! Here are my questions:
    1. How much does it cost?
    2. Where can I buy one of these?
    3. Will it make me famous?
    4. Can it really help the blind see?
    5. Will it help me get girls/guys?
    6. Will it make me become popular?
    7. Will it give me supervision?
    8. Are these powered by batteries? If so, how quickly do they run out?
    9. Will it transport me to a different place? Or better yet, universe?
    10. Will it have X-ray vision?

    Guest (Leslie Loo)

  13. Now, these are the things I would like about it:
    11. It promises the visually impaired that you can see anything from more than just 20/20 vision!
    12. It can help you focus on tasks at hand and anything around you.
    13. If you can’t see something that’s faraway, the glasses can help you zoom in it.
    14. The name is (somewhat) easy to pronounce.
    15. The person who made this is a well-known eye doctor.
    16. You can finally see clearly on the board in school! You don’t have to just sit in the front all the time!
    17. It can help you get around.
    18. It can help you see clearly when you drive.
    19. You can tell all your friends about it.
    20. It’s stylish and cool!

    Leslie Loo

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