Psychologists will tell you there are four basic temperaments, each with it’s own particular emotional triggers. Most TV sitcoms have characters who are prime examples of these.
Take Sex in the City. Each of the four women embody different personality styles:
- Carrie serves as the Humanistic hub that brings all the others together, and she discusses and writes about her feelings and relationships
- Samantha, the here-and-now, “I’ll try anything,” confident hedonist, represents the Spontaneous temperament
- Miranda’s hard-edged, skeptical, career-minded “voice-of-reason” perspective corresponds to the Competitive temperament
- Charlotte’s more traditional, conservative concern for “The Rules” marks her as a Methodical
Jeff Sexton writes a great guest post on Copyblogger entitled The Hidden Key to Cosmo Headlines: Sex and the City? He asks if as a blog writer, do you take into consideration each temperament when you write your headlines?
Or, "are they predominantly appealing to only one temperament? Are you just grabbing the interest and attention of Competitives? They only represent 10% of the population, so broadening your headlines’ appeal could have a huge impact."
This is important stuff to learn, not just for blog writing and headlines, but especially for writing any content that tries to persuade, i.e., sales copy.
It’s easy to become engulfed in our own assumptions and world views and forget to write for others who may not find certain words appealing.