First, let's deal with the compelling content thing. Your content isn't going to market a thing if you don't reach inside the heads and hearts of your readers.
Obviously it's all about your readers. The better you know who they are and what they like, the easier it is to write content for them.
Use emotional words and phrases, and think about triggering their hot buttons. There are universal drives and human motivators. It doesn't matter if your reader is a 20-year-old gamer or a 70-year-old retired professor. Human beings are all driven by hot button motivators. (See the excellent book by Barry Feig for more about this: Hot Button Marketing: Push the Emotional Buttons that Get People to Buy). Some of these are:
b. The desire to know it all
c. The desire for control
d. The desire to love and be loved
e. The desire to enjoy and have fun
f. The desire for family values or feelings of moral righteousness
g. The drive for prestige
h. The drive for self-achievement
i. The drive for power and influence
j. The drive to help others
What drives your readers? How can you test your assumptions? Maybe you could push a few buttons to see what reaction you get?
Another way to look at this is to ask, "What are readers seeking?"
- Recognition – fame
- Revenge/something to prove
- Lost youth
- Ego-Driven…….Empire builders
- Values-Driven……Worry about what others think
Clients can't want what they can't imagine or picture on an emotional level. You must tell them how they will feel, when they use your services or products. Use imagery and associations. How is this product/service/concept going to reach out and touch your client? How is it going to improve your client's life?
4 Drives in a Nutshell
If this seems too confusing, here's another model based on only 4 drivers, from the book Driven: How Human Nature Shapes Our Choices (Jossey Bass, 2001), by Harvard professors Paul R. Lawrence and Nitin Nohria.
Based on evolutionary science, our drives can be categorized into four basic motivations:
- The drive to acquire
- The drive to bond
- The drive to learn
- The drive to defend
This is subtle and important. Let's imagine you run an executive coaching business. You provide professional services to leaders in organizations. Since you work one-on-one with your clients, you probably have a pretty good idea of which of the above four motivators frequently come into play.
If your clients are results-driven competitive executives, you can't assume that they're motivated by the drive to acquire, but it's a good bet. They may just as well be driven to succeed by the desire to form successful relationships with others, or to learn everything there is to know, or to defend their territory.
But one drive will probably be more motivating than the others, and it will be evident in your client's priorities. Assuming your client is driven by the drive to acquire and to have more, you'll need to write content to appeal to this need.
What is the fear associated with each drive?
Next, you need to identify the fear that your reader might have, associated with what motivates them. What would be the pain point that compels a person with the drive to acquire? It would be the fear that they are missing out, the fear that someone else has something they don't.
This is how you use hot buttons to write compelling content. Give a case study, an example, to make it real. Make it resonate with your readers' desires and drives. Spell it out for them by telling a story.
If you aren't continually tying in your stories with what you do for a living, you aren't giving readers the message that you are a working professional for hire. They won't see the opportunities to work with you, or the benefits that your clients receive from you.
Relieve their pain
Tell readers what they need to do to solve the problem. This is a call to action. It depends on the context but the underlying message is that you have what they need. How can they get more of you and your solutions?
To summarize, in order to write compelling content that works to market your business, you must:
- Identify a problem your readers have
- Know what drives them
- Expand on their pain and challenges
- Appeal to their emotions
- Offer a solution
- Ask them to take action
What am I missing on this list? Did I manage to clarify some of what goes into compelling content? Other suggestions? Feel free to hit the comment link and share.