Writing quality content that markets your products and services online follows a logical progression, but it also follows an emotional pathway. You must engage the brains of your readers… as well as their hearts.
By that I mean, your content should follow a sequence, touching on the following emotions:
- Negative, a painful problem, a fear
- Positive, relief from a problem, benefits, imagine a better future
- Neutral, rational, logical, analysis of facts
- Curiosity, desire, imagination
- Objections, reasons why and why not
- Trust: social proof, statistics, case studies, personal stories
- Scarcity, urgency, fear of consequences
- Call to action, clear next steps, reassurances, guarantees, security
I been reviewing basic steps for writing quality content for the web that works to get you found, get known and get clients. According to Maria Veloso in Web Copy that Sells, there are 5 simple steps that will help you write quality content that connects and engages with readers:
- What is the problem (pain, predicament)?
- Why hasn’t this problem been solved?
- What is possible?
- What is different now?
- What should you do now?
Each of these steps appeals to a different part of the brain, evoking either negative or positive feelings, or to the imagination or the rational brain centers.
Here’s what goes through the minds of readers as your content progresses through these steps.
Step #1 is the opening section where you grab attention, using negative words, evoking pain and fear. Readers are alert to an imagined danger, and want to read more to find relief. As the writer, you begin to earn credibility and trust by showing you understand their problems.
Step #2 is neutral, giving facts, using logic and appealing to rational parts of the brain. This is your opportunity to build more credibility, show what you know. You might want to use some statistics here. The reader is relieved to know others have these problems, there are solutions, and becomes curious to know more.
Step #3 is a positive section, where you ask the reader to imagine the pleasant outcomes of a problem being solved. Here, you appeal to the frontal lobes in the brain, where imagination and future dreaming occurs. The reader imagines their own situation in the picture you are painting. You can add social proof in this section.
Step #4 is neutral in emotional tone, appeals to our logic and rationality, analyzes the situation and explains the solution. Features and benefits may be discussed. The reader is trying to decide if this solution is valid for them, and may think of objections. This is where the objections must be addressed. This is also where trust is formed because you admit to the existence of possible objections and address them. Sharing personal stories works well here.
Step #5 is emotional in tone, evoking scarcity and urgency, where you ask for readers to take action. If the other sections have been well written with authenticity and credibility, you will have built trust and some readers will take further action.
If you are asking for a big commitment from readers, your copy will need to be longer in order to cover possible objections and to facilitate trust. You will have to weave in social proof, statements from satisfied users, or examples and case studies.