If you want to write content that persuades readers – both thinking type and feeling type processors – to take action, you write about emotional triggers AND provide reasons to act.
Many online content marketers misunderstand what it means to “appeal to emotions.” How exactly do you bypass the conscious thinking brain and instantly connect with readers’ emotional centers, out of their conscious awareness?
It’s easier than you might think. Stephen Denning writes about this in his book The Secret Language of Leadership, and these lessons for leadership communications are applicable to writing web content.
Here’s a diagram of how many business professionals traditionally write content when they want to persuade people to take action:
The traditional communication approach follows this sequence:
Define the problem ► Analyze it ►Recommend a solution
Effective content marketers, however, follow a unique, almost hidden pattern:
Grab the audience’s attention ► Stimulate desire ► Reinforce with reasons
When language follows this sequence, it can inspire enduring enthusiasm for a cause and spark action.
- Write headlines that draw the reader in
- Use images that evoke curiosity, humor, or desire
- Format your content for easy reading
- Appeal to basic human drives (food, safety, sex)
- Appeal to universal motivations (save time, energy, money, belong, feel good)
- Push emotional hot buttons (strong words, questions, promises)
- Use persuasion tactics (social proof, reciprocity, authority, likability, consistency, scarcity)
Reinforce with Reasons:
- What are the benefits to readers?
- What are the features of your offer?
- What is your solution to the problem?
- What makes your solution better or unique?
- Why should anyone believe you?
- Why should readers act now?
It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, or what you’re selling, or whether it’s a product or an experience. Same rules apply.
You won’t get readers to take action by exposing them to reason and logic, it doesn’t work that way. You’ve got to connect with readers in emotional ways.
This is why, when you’re writing quality content for the Web, it’s important to use tools such as:
- Vivid descriptions
- Strong emotional language
- Personal stories, using the pronouns “I” and “you”
These writing tools connect with readers in a way that bypasses the conscious thinking brain.
Some of these “connections” don’t happen in text. They occur through images, in sound, and in video clips. If you’re not using video in your content marketing, you’re not using one of the most powerful online content marketing tools.