A few years ago a gunman perched atop an eight-story Indianapolis parking garage fired shots at nearby buildings; although he had committed a murder and eventually took his own life, no pedestrians were injured, in part because the news exploded on Twitter, warning everyone off the streets. Because fear and concern motivated people to share information. So, is this what your content is missing, emotion?
Paraplegic Indy car owner Sam Schmidt completed a ceremonial qualification run at the Indianapolis 500.
All this content was liked, shared, and commented upon on social media by hundreds. So, what do these dissimilar stories have in common? They all struck a chord; they created emotion. Is this what your content is missing?
Does Your Content Strike a Chord?
Okay, not every piece of content is going to strike an emotional chord, but a lot of it can. Begin by writing your content to a specific audience. Then ask the following:
- What do they fear and what brings them joy?
- What problems cause them to lose sleep, and what makes them giddy?
- Are there things they admire, and what do they disapprove?
- What are their hopes and needs?
- What do they anticipate and what would be unexpected?
How to Add Emotion to Your Content
Add Emotion to the Title
Here’s an example from Copyblogger, 10 Sure Fire Headline Formulas that Work. A title can appeal to any and every emotion. Here are a few examples:
Fear, Avoiding problems, Contempt:
- How to minimize your [blank] risk
- Why you should never [blank]
- Don’t create these [blank] problems
Joy, Awe, Anticipation:
- 7 [blanks] that will improve your [blank]
- How [blank] saved my business
- Finding happiness through [blank]
Tell a Story
My former co-worker, Eric Benge, wrote a post, TKO Tech Talk: Outlining Text, in which he discusses how to avoid issues when sending fonts to print providers The post shares excellent advice on how to supply artwork that includes text to a print shop — his first draft was well written and informative. It was also emotionless, but in Eric’s defense, it’s not a topic that, on the surface, inspires emotion; the post is factual, pragmatic, and useful. Eric and I chatted about appealing on an emotional level. For example, anyone who has struggled to send the correct font to a provider has suffered pain — while successfully completing the task brings joy and relief. Sharing pain and joy provides an emotional connection to the content.
Consumers Are Motivated by Emotions
Is this what your content is missing? Is it missing an emotional connection? People may seek logical justification for an emotional decision, but don’t be confused, not all decisions are logical. Not even close. Because whether it’s a consumer choosing a product, a business looking for a provider, or a social media advocate sharing content, more often than not, emotion is the motivation. Joy, fear, awe, contempt, admiration, disapproval, surprise, and anticipation all inspire action. Logic, sound judgment, practicality, deduction, and good reasoning often lead to — more thought and consideration, not action. So, what inspires you to action? Why did you read this post, were you AFRAID of missing out?
If this post struck a nerve, you might want to check out my book, How to Stay Ahead of Your Business Blog Forever. The book is full of action plans for you to create a blogging/writing system that works for you.
If you enjoyed this post you may also like, How to Defeat Writer’s Block.