Have you ever read blog articles by professional writers that caused tears to run down your face — either from sorrow or from laughter? Did you find yourself saying, “Wow, that’s exactly how I’ve always felt about that subject,” or “Wow, I had no idea how this affected my everyday life?” And if you did have such a vivid reaction, did you then feel a strong pull to return to those content writers for more of the same? Most of us make those decisions, not with our brains, but with our hearts — so if you can rally the hearts of your target audience to your cause, it follows that your blog’s readership will blossom.
The appeal to emotion is a time-honored marketing technique. You have doubtless heard various freelance writers tell you to “stress the benefits, not the features” in writing about a product or service. But why should benefits get all the ink when your feature set is so impressive or possibly even unrivaled in your industry? The answer lies in how we’re wired to react. Features are only the things that make the benefits possible, the reasons for the benefits’ existence. They appeal to the rational part of the mind that requires facts and figures. Benefits, on the other hand, go for the gut. Peace of mind, greater efficiency, a better life for our children, a feeling of luxury — these are the things that get us excited, and it’s that excitement that spurs us to action. You can list your good points all day long, but ultimately it’s the thrill of what the product or service can do for us that compels us to buy.
Why does this matter for your blogging efforts? Because the appeal to human emotion extends beyond selling a product or service — it also influences whether the readers of your blog buy what they’re reading, and the person writing it. As a blog author, your blog is the product, and you are the manufacturer of that product. If you have a point to make, you must make it in a way that resonates in the hearts of your readers. Your words must evoke laughter, joy, relief, sorrow, righteous anger or whatever other emotion will make your readers (a) read all the way to the end, (b) come back for more and (c) grab others by the labels and say, “You’ve got to check this writer out.”
What steps can you take to capture your readers’ hearts? First, you must decide who your readers are, since no one message is likely to affect everyone the same way (or at all). If you aim your blog at single urban moms, for instance, you must ask yourself what they struggle with, what brings them happiness or despair, and what keeps them awake at night (other than 2 a.m. feedings), and then either write to those points yourself or hire writers to do it for you. You must also illustrate your points with sensory images that work on a primal human level — visuals, sounds, smells, textures that put the reader in the picture, just as an involving novel or movie transports us to another world. Finally, you must give your reader a call to action, whether it’s to write their state representative, submit questions or comments to your blog, or just tune in again for the next amazing article. Once you’ve won their hearts, they will take your suggestions seriously — and you’ve won a new readership.
William R is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments. WriterAccess is powered by ideaLaunch.