If you think back to the most memorable times of your life, they probably weren’t times when you were apathetic or using logic to solve a problem. Odds are far greater that these memorable times were highly emotional. The same is true for content — listing a string of facts will cause many readers to turn away but if you can appeal to their emotions, you can persuade, drive traffic, and get the results you need for your business.
Join an experienced novelist and an SEO specialist as they discuss how to add more emotion into your blogs, and see why emotion is more powerful than a string of facts, every single time.
Inspire Feelings that Lead to Action
For better or worse, it’s the content and events that inspire our emotions that really strikes a chord in our lives. You can see it in politics, for example: the candidate who spouts facts and issues often loses to the more passionate one who appeals to the emotions of their followers. As a writer, you can leverage these emotions and create content that drives traffic, gets responses, and creates lifelong followers.
Six Tips for Appealing to Your Readers’ Emotions
When writing content for a business or with a goal such as driving traffic, it’s necessary to find a balance between providing useful information and writing your content in a powerful way that encourages results. The following tips will help you inspire your readers and potential clients, urging them to take action.
1. Focus on the Pain Point and Solve It
It’s not just happy emotions that are powerful and memorable. If you can relate to your readers’ frustration, discouragement, and sense of defeat pertaining to a particular problem, they’ll most likely hang on your every word. The old saying “Misery loves company” rings true — people like knowing that others are struggling with the same problems.
No matter your business or industry, it’s likely there are problems that professionals or customers are facing. Maybe it’s a particularly difficult process that you can offer tips on or some advice that experts know but amateurs don’t.
Creating a Roller Coaster of Emotion
Once you’ve brought up your pain point and explained it, the next step is to provide resolution by offering solutions for the problem. The type of blog this creates is one that has an arc. It takes your readers on an emotional journey, where they have to acknowledge an uncomfortable problem they’ve dealt with and then feel relief and enthusiasm when they read about how to solve it.
Talking about a common pain point and then providing the solution for it is one of the most common, yet highly effective ways to integrate more emotion into your content.
2. Amplify Emotion with Photos and Video
No matter how powerful your writing is, it will always be better if you include images and video. The reasons for this are numerous, but ultimately, seeing a video or image inspires emotion a lot easier than written text.
Choosing the right type of photos or videos to use in your content is a matter of your own creativity, but there are many options. You can embed an expert testimony that supports your point, adding credibility to your blog. Or, including a video of someone who’s deeply affected by the issue you’re talking about can inspire similar emotions in your readers. The possibilities of how to use video to improve your blog or website are truly limitless.
Example: Dr. Stanislaus Uses a Powerful Video to Tell His Backstory
For any business, sounding more personal and approachable provides a major advantage. This is especially true for businesses that typically seem impersonal, like medical clinics and dental offices. Dr. Eugene Stanislaus found a deeply personal way to use video to tell his backstory, thereby making his practice seem human and making him seem genuine and trustworthy.
In this video, appropriately named “Passing the Torch,” Dr. Stanislaus and his brother recall working for his father when he was a dentist, and what it means to carry on that tradition. From start to finish, the video comes off as sincere and is sure to inspire emotion in the majority of people who see it. The result is that potential patients feel like they know Dr. Stanislaus in the end, and can sympathize with his purpose and why he became a dentist.
3. Strive for Wide Emotional Appeal
If you want to engage as many people as possible with your content, then it’s worth considering what the most wide-reaching issues are and how to channel them in your blog, email, or website.
If you’re able to think from the perspective of the most simple customer and understand what they might be feeling or thinking about a particular issue, you can create content that’s powerful and engaging.
Example: Acknowledging an Uncomfortable but Widespread Problem
One clever way that Dr. Chiarina Iregui realized a widespread problem and capitalized on it in her content was by acknowledging an inconvenient truth: that the main treatment for sleep apnea, the CPAP, is hated and unusable for most patients.
By starting from this realization, she instantly connects with those who visit her site:
This foresight is only possible from being someone who is in the industry and understands the common problems their clients or patients face. By immediately acknowledging that CPAP doesn’t work for most patients, Dr. Iregui earns credibility for her honesty and appeals to the readers’ sense of trust that they’re seeing someone who truly wants to solve their problem, rather than cash in by providing the most expensive treatment.
4. Share a Personal Story
Marketing copy can often feel generic and impersonal. That’s why sharing a personal anecdote is a great way to make your content more emotionally appealing to readers. Ideally, this anecdote should connect directly to the pain point you’re addressing and offer assurance to the reader that they’re not alone.
By relating to your readers and the issues that they’re experiencing, you establish yourself as knowledgeable and trustworthy. This personal connection with your audience will separate you from your competition, influencing them to think of you first when they’re looking for a solution to their problem.
Example: Dr. Shlafer Describes His Journey to America
When you visit a dentist, you largely place your health and safety in their hands. As a result, it’s crucial that you feel comfortable with your dentist and trust them completely. Since most people are unenthusiastic about receiving dental care in the first place, sharing a personal anecdote can be the difference maker that influences their final decision.
Dr. Roman Shlafer establishes an emotional connection in his bio by sharing the inspiring and relatable story of how he got here:
In just a brief paragraph, Dr. Shlafer strikes a chord by sharing a story that many readers can immediately relate to — immigrating to the United States at a young age and working hard to achieve his version of the American Dream. Furthermore, highlighting the principle that hard work leads to success creates an optimistic and inspirational tone that readers will respond to.
5. Write Strong Headlines That Drive Emotions
In the digital age, most people come across dozens of online articles every day, scrolling past the majority of them without even reading a word. You may ask yourself: why would someone choose to read a certain article after passing over ten other articles on the same subject?
The answer often lies in the headline. Though it may seem harsh, the headline is always the first part of your content that a reader will see, and they’ll decide if they want to read the rest in a matter of seconds. In fact, while eight out of ten people will read your headline, only two out of ten will read the rest of the article.
How to Write Quality Headlines
Most importantly, your headline should clearly communicate the purpose of your article. If you write a vague or misleading headline, this will influence readers to seek out sources that they find more trustworthy. It’s also a good idea to show your unique perspective in the headline — for example, “Tips on Writing From a Best-Selling Author” or “A Billionaire’s Advice on How to Get Rich.”
Both of these headlines immediately establish the author as an expert on the subject, making them credible and valuable to the reader. They also create an emotional connection by appealing to the reader’s dreams and goals, in this case becoming a best-selling author or a billionaire.
Consider the difference between these headlines and a generic one, such as “How to Write Well” or “How to Get Rich.” These headlines are vague to the point that the article could be written by anyone, and there’s no way of knowing if their perspective offers any value. While these titles still clearly communicate what the article is about, most readers will pass them over in favor of more specific headlines that forge a personal connection.
6. Call Your Reader to Action
Let’s assume that you’ve mastered the first 5 steps of this article and have written engaging content that emotionally hooks your readers. The next step is converting that engagement into business — this is commonly known as a call-to-action, or CTA.
A CTA can easily come across as manipulative or make the reader feel like you just want to sell them something, which is why it’s so essential that you gain their trust in advance. Ideally, your content should build organically to your CTA. The last thing you want to do is alienate a potential client by coming on too strong or appearing inauthentic
Writing Powerful CTAs That Resonate With Readers
Most importantly, your CTA should offer something of value to the reader. For example, let’s say you write a great article about the differences between various flat-screen TVs — if you end your article with a blatant sales pitch like “Buy our flat-screen TV here,” you risk angering your reader and losing their business.
On the other hand, “Call us to learn more about our flat-screen TVs” is far more innocuous. This CTA reads as an invitation rather than a demand, an important distinction for readers that they’re more likely to respond to. It also gives them the option to learn more information without committing to a purchase, making them far more likely to follow through.
Ultimately, it’s important to create CTAs that gently guide the reader into a transaction, rather than aggressively shoving them. If you try to force their hand, you’ll only end up pushing them away and losing potential clients.
Create a Lasting Bond With Your Readers
The importance of emotionally connecting with your audience is universal across all types of writing. Think about your favorite novelist — do you read their work because the prose is technically superior, or because you relate to their unique perspective? With rare exception, the latter is almost always the case.
While the goals of marketing copy may be different than fiction, you can apply a lot of the same principles to both forms of writing. In fact, thinking of your pitch as a story rather than something you’re selling will help you write content that’s more engaging and unique.
Focusing on relatable issues and offering concrete solutions will hook your readers in. If you follow through with an effective call-to-action, you can build lasting relationships that will expand your client base and improve your business.
About the Authors
After serving 7-years in the Navy and traveling to 22 countries, Nick settled in San Diego where he earned his MBA. He currently works as an SEO Specialist while hosting the Rogue Writers Podcast and writing a wide variety of content on a daily basis.
Adam Peterson is a lifelong San Diego native who earned his Bachelor’s Degree from San Diego State University. He currently works as a content writer for Now Media Group, in addition to writing fiction in his spare time. Adam self-published his first novel, Reclaim Your Mind, on Amazon in 2018 and is currently working on his second novel.