When a writer writes something, whether it’s for a client, their own website, or to make money in other ways, the goal is to get people to take a look and engage with the content. A few ways an audience can participate is by clicking on a link, buying a product, or getting to know more about a company by subscribing to their newsletter. We understand that it’s sometimes challenging to get readers to engage and pay attention to what a writer is saying. The attention span of readers seems to shorten by the week, and it can get hard knowing how to hold their attention. Since the intent is to create content that people like to read and share, what is the secret to making money through enticing writing? We often discuss ways to pull an audience in during our free webinar training, and one area online writers most often neglect is the power of emotion.
OZ Content discusses why emotional impact is essential for successful marketing, and why making a reader feel something is the key to getting them to take some sort of action on your website. This action or next step may be buying an ebook, subscribing to a newsletter or blog, or taking other similar steps as we mentioned above.
Is Emotion Necessary for Successful Marketing?
In short, yes. A study by two University of Pennsylvania professors found that the most shared content on the NY Times site also had strong emotional undertones – with anxiety, awe and anger topping the list. Of course, we have to acknowledge that the average audience of NY Times readers are in their mid-40s, have a pretty solid income level and are highly educated. Audiences who are younger, older, make more or less money or come from different educational backgrounds will be more likely to share content that elicits different emotions – it’s up to you to research the kind of stuff that appeals to your audience. But the takeaway here is that when a post has a cognitive impact and actually makes a reader feel something, they are more likely to not just read it but to share it, too.
Wondering what type of factors go into creating emotional, viral content? Content Factory provides a well thought out explanation on how you can write content that’ll go viral and get an audience to invest in your brand.
There are a lot of factors that go into viral content. Promotion is a huge factor, and brand identity, timing and plain luck all play a role.
But almost all viral writing shares one thing in common: emotional impact..
In a recent article, Hubspot interviewed three different marketing experts on why content goes viral. Although each emphasized different factors, all three emphasized the importance of creating web content that evokes an emotional response in the reader. Megan Conley, Content Marketing Strategist at HubSpot, put it this way:
We all have opinions on what types of content go viral: a soundless social video, a data-backed explainer, a perfectly timed newsjack. But no matter the format, it ultimately comes down to emotion. Does the story make you feel enraged, inspired, understood? With everything you create you have to ask: If this scrolled by on my newsfeed, would I care? If the answer is no, it’s not worth it. Your online content habits are your own best judge.
So the next time you’re crafting a piece of ad copy or web writing ask yourself, “What’s good about this story? How can I give this more emotional impact?” Find it, and you might just have viral website content on your hands.
There are 4 emotional appeals you must master, which are love, greed, fear, and duty. Copyblogger reveals why these appeals matter so much as what you, as a writer, can do to include one or all of these appeals in your writing.
The 4 emotional appeals you need to master
From that platform, you can begin to build a proper appeal. The appeal is the reason you give the reader to buy. And the appeal is almost always expressed in the headline. (I’ll discuss this in greater detail below.)
John Caples, in his book Tested Advertising Methods (a must-read for any copywriter), says that all effective advertising boils down to an effective appeal. Here are the top four:
Love — This covers the entire gamut of love, from friendship to lust. We don’t want to be lonely. We want our children to love us. We want to get married. We want to look good. Think Men’s Health or Beautiful People.
Greed — We want to win the lottery, buy the fastest motorcycle, or throw the best parties. We want to retire early or send our children to the best schools. We want to dominate every opponent on the tennis court or become the smartest guy on campus. This is Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Work Week or Forbes.
Fear — We fear getting laid off, dying or losing a child. We fear the government taking away our rights, our employers pushing us around, or a spouse leaving us. We fear failure. Think Stansberry & Associates or divorce lawyers.
Duty or Honor — We feel an obligation to our spouse, children, and parents. To our country, company, or community. To the poverty-stricken, widowed, and orphaned. Think Army or life insurance.
If you’re developing a blog, for example, Goins, Writer mentions how essential it is to put yourself first. What does he mean by putting yourself first? Well, he explains that sending your readers on a journey is one of the first steps you can take to convince them that what you’re writing about is essential and why they should be interested in the topic as well.
If you love your reader, you will go first. You have to lead them on this journey. To show them how and why it’s important.
There is enough fluffy, meaningless drivel on paper to fill the Marianas Trench. So don’t add to it. Write something that matters. And write it with conviction:
Write about the truths and ideas that are so astonishing you can hardly believe them.
Write the story that keeps you awake, tossing and turning at night because it echoes the ache in your soul.
Write that memoir, and include the parts that you are terrified of putting on paper, because it will remind you they are real. (Some may no doubt need the support of a friend, therapist, or pastor for this.)
Whatever it is, write about those things that punch you in the throat and stir your insides.
Because if it moves you — if it raises a lump in your throat as you type, it will move someone else.
It might just give them the hope that you’ve been given by other writers, with their words and stories that have inspired and reminded you that you are not alone. Aren’t you glad they went first?
As I was writing my first novel, there were many times where tissues had to guard my keyboard from falling tears. The story I was writing moved me and, thankfully, it has gone on to move others.
Such is the inexplicable magic of words, and I am in awe of the weight they can carry.
If you decide to write a book and sell it online, The Editor’s Blog has a fantastic tip below, which is to make a character in your book more sympathetic. Your reader should be able to identify with the main character(s) and if they do they’ll be more willing to continue to follow the story and follow up with you as an author to see if you plan to write more books or on a blog online.
Make a character sympathetic, so the reader identifies with her.
If the reader can identify with a character—with her dreams or habits or choices—he can also identify with her emotions—pains and joys and sorrows. (Readers can also identify with the shared human condition, so sometimes a particular situation will resonate with readers even before the character becomes involved.)
Make sure the reader knows/understands/identifies with the character before trying to connect emotionally. The reader won’t be affected by a character’s deep emotions on page one, simply because he has no ties to the character. By chapter three, if you’ve put the reader in the character’s place in the story, what touches the character can touch the reader. By the novel’s climax, the reader should so identify with the lead character that the character’s pain becomes the reader’s pain, his triumphs, the reader’s triumphs. The reader may have a physical response—laughter or tears or shivers—as if whatever happened to the character had actually happened to the reader.
You know how this plays out in your own life. A death reported on the nightly news means one thing when it’s a stranger and something totally different when it’s someone you know or a relative of someone you know.
Help your readers know your characters.
Make your character believable and sympathetic so the reader wants to be that character, wants to go through everything he goes through for the length of the story.
Taking your readers on an emotional journey is imperative to help them learn more about you as a business and hopefully entice them to invest in your products, books, and whatever else you plan on doing to make money online. For additional ideas on how to create a profitable business online and what other techniques you can apply, join us for our next free webinar training!
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