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  • Writer's pictureMichele Russo

The Power of Textual Persuasion in Online Equity Crowdfunding

In the modern digital age, where communication has become rapid and instantaneous, the words we pen down in the business realm carry profound significance. Crafting a compelling and effective text is no longer a simple skill; it's a fine art that marries science and creativity. The real challenge becomes ensuring that content is not just a vessel for information but also a powerful tool of persuasion. But how it is possible to achieve such objectives?

In this article has been tested the impact of the persuasiveness of startups pitches on the amount invested in crowdfunding projects on Mamacrowd’s platform. The analysis involved both textual analysis as well as structures of the text, especially focusing on the positions that relevant words may occupy in the overall composition of a text.

Drafting a convincing and effective piece of writing, especially in a business context is a herculean job since finding the right balance between content and the way in which the content is delivered is a must.

The two main methodologies involved in the research are Text Analysis and Networks Analysis.

More specifically, the former is related to the analysis of a text under different profiles such as its content, its sentiment (in a static or dynamic context), and the significance. These steps must be carried out to achieve different objectives such as:

· Describing an ad representing a text

· Predicting a specific kind of action

· Explaining a phenomenon using drafted text

On the other side, Networks Analysis can be generically used to analyze the relationships/interaction among elements, such as people, systems, or – as in this case – texts.

By looking into the structure that the words can produce interesting insights can be derived and can be used to:

· Classify the texts according to recurrent patterns

· Assess which are the words that occupy strategic positions in the network of the text

· Evaluate the impact of the aforementioned words on a specific phenomenon

Below is an example that shows the structure of two texts: it is evident that the two are very different in terms of shape and type of connections. In the first one (picture on the left) the connections are very intricated and most of the words are connected among each other: there is no element that occupies a predominant position. On the other hand, the second network (picture on the right) shows a more centralized structure with a specific word occupying the central position.

By leveraging on the analytical methodologies both from textual as well as network analysis, the study has analyzed more than 100 equity crowdfunding projects from a tri-fold perspective:

  1. Emotional Content: The underlying feelings and emotions that a text exudes.

  2. Rhythm or Narrative Time: The pace at which the story progresses.

  3. Structural Connections: How words within the text connect and relate to one another.

This multifaceted analysis demanded an interdisciplinary approach. To gauge the persuasiveness of the projects, the amount of money collected was utilized as a key metric. For a more granular understanding, this was further dissected into average investment and the number of investors, in this way it is possible to determine whether a specific text impacts more on the number of people investing in the project or on the average amount invested.

The main finding of the study was the undeniable impact of the three macro features on the amount of money collected, even if with different strengths and directions. More specifically, it is possible to highlight that:

  1. Textual Structure: The structure of a text emerged as a significant influencer. Texts with a few pivotal words placed strategically were more persuasive than those lacking a clear structure.

  2. Trade-off Dynamics: Interestingly, the textual features exhibited a dichotomous effect on average investment versus the number of investors. This underscores a vital trade-off between the two metrics. It has been shown that some elements influence tend to increase the number of investors, while others push more on the average amount invested.

  3. Sentiment and Structure Interplay: A compelling interaction was observed between the structure and the overall sentiment of the text. The sentiment's potency could temper the impact of structure on the collected funds.

These highlighted findings underscore the paramount importance of a text's emotional valence, narrative time, and structure. It is not merely about crafting a message but about artfully blending these aspects to resonate with the audience: this becomes even more important in the business context.

Indeed, given the adaptability of this approach, the horizon of applicability to other contexts is vast. From advertising campaigns to institutional communications, there lies immense potential to amplify the value of ideas and to convey the right message using the right words.

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