How To Use Emotion When Creating Content
When it comes to creating great content, emotion matters. A lot.
It is all well and good churning out content, but if you fail to create an emotional connection with your audience, it will not have the same impact. Readers do not just want to be informed or advised; they want to feel more involved in the world around them, to grow and develop relationships and get a wider sense of who they are.
In short, they want to feel something from your content.
But how do you go about using emotion in your content? Let’s take a look.
Understand your reader
There are plenty of tools available online to help you to analyse your audience in terms of demographics, interests, and income, but to be able to connect with them on an emotional level, you need to go much deeper.
Consider the following:
- What problems are they wanting solutions for?
- What are they finding frustrated?
- What makes them happy and excited?
- What makes them angry or sad?
By knowing what makes them tick, you can create content that makes them tick.
Use emotional hooks in your content creation
There are various emotional techniques or ‘hooks’ that you can use in your content to draw your audience in. These include:
- Storytelling: Using your content to tell a storey is a simple but effective strategy for attracting people’s attention and emotionally engaging them with your information.
Everyone is curious about what happens next, especially if they can relate to the story’s protagonist. Telling stories about your company might help your brand become more approachable and down to earth – and that is always a good thing.
- Use FOMO: Fear of missing out, or FOMO as it is colloquially known, is a very real thing. No one, no matter what age they are or what field they are in, wants to feel like they are missing out on something, whether that is news, a secret, the latest cool product, or trend or offer. You’ll generate a reaction from your audience if you can establish a sense of panic or urgency in them.
- Consider offering your audience membership or a loyalty programme that is exclusive. People will be more interested in your business and goods if they are concerned about missing out on something.
- Make them feel special: It is human nature to want to feel special. We crave superiority, high-end and exclusive. Leveraging this is a great way to hook in your target market. Use your content to make what you can offer them seem exclusive and something that they need. Represent your current customers as people who your target audience can relate to or want to be like. Demonstrations of products, client spotlights, and emotive marketing are all effective ways to accomplish this. This, of course, goes back to the first point we made about making sure that you know your audience and what it is that they want.
- Build a sense of community and belonging: Think back to the early part of 2020 when the United Kingdom went into a lockdown. There was a huge sense of belonging, community and ‘we are all in this together’. People feel comforted and safe from this, particularly when things are a little challenging. For this reason, content that makes individuals feel like they are part of a group, community or a cause can be incredibly powerful. Presenting your brand as a club or lifestyle, rather than merely a business, is one approach to capitalise on the sensation of belonging. Take British ethical retailer Babipur, for example. They have an exclusive Facebook group for their loyal customers, and a ‘saying’, that customers shout out to one another if they spot someone wearing something from their shop. Customers call themselves Babipurians and there’s a whole little online community built around the brand.
- Be a little mysterious: While openness and transparency should be encouraged in a business, there is nothing wrong with a bit of mystery and anticipation. People are curious and will delve into content to find out what it is all about. Click-bait titles, while often given a bad reputation, are great examples of enticing a reader or a viewer in with a bit of mystery. Try asking a question in the title of your article or video and answer it in the body of the content.
- Help your audience to achieve something: Even the most mundane goals are entwined with desires, fears, and feelings of self-worth for the majority of people. You have a direct line to your audience’s emotions if you can figure out what they want most. Offer to assist them in getting what they want, and they’ll perceive you as a friend – and will most likely buy from you.
- Make it funny: Humour can do wonders in marketing, which is often seen as serious and humourless. Humans bond over laughter and fun, so give them something to laugh at and show that you are human too and do not take yourself too seriously. It is important, however, to make sure that you hit the right tone with your humour. While some brands are famous for and can get away with taking it right to the very edge of acceptable, most can’t, and you do not want to risk offending or upsetting your audience. Make sure the time and place for humour are right.
Research and write about emotive topics
Personal achievement, self-help, goal setting, job progress, and even entertainment are some of the most prevalent emotional topics (keep in mind that themes that work for your individual target group may change!) Do some research on the most popular content on these topics and come up with some original content ideas. For instance, you can utilise BuzzSumo, a content discovery service, to get ideas, although a professional content writer will be able to do this for you.
How Can Using Emotion Benefit Your Brand?
We’ve looked at the how so far and shown you some ways that you can incorporate emotions into your content. What about the ‘why’? If you are going to put the work in to create content that uses emotions, you need to know what benefits it can bring to your brand.
Businesses spend their lifetimes trying to create a professional image. This means that every message that is sent, every word in a blog or email, is scrutinised to ensure that there are no little slip ups. In some cases this is great, but often all this leads to is a brand that lacks any personality.
If you experiment with using emotions in your writing, here are some of the benefits that you are likely to see:
You’ll spend less on advertising
A bold claim – everyone would love to achieve the same, or more, from their advertising while spending less. Well, by tapping into people’s emotions with your content this is exactly what you can do.
If your content triggers emotions it is far more likely to be shared. It may go beyond a few shares and actually go viral. This means that people will consume your content and engage without you having spent a penny on advertising.
Do you want more traffic coming to your website? A daft question – of course, you do. If you can create content, whether that be blogs, videos, infographics, or anything else, that gets in touch with people’s emotions you will get more visits.
The emotions that you are looking to harness here are ones of curiosity or excitement. If you can tap into these powerful emotions your web traffic will naturally grow.
Social media engagement
How many times have you posted on social media and the response has been a little flat, to say the least? While the number of likes and shares can become a bit of a vanity project if we are not careful, social media engagement does matter and it does bring benefits to a brand.
If you can use your content and create humour, surprise, or excitement there is a good chance that your content will get shared. This means more eyes on your brand and your message.
Your brand gains a personality
We’ve considered how serious and professional content can be used. We have also looked at the impact that can have: a brand that is devoid of any personality. Using emotion in your content adds a human element to your brand.
This human element means that people are more likely to engage with your brand. It also means that they are far more likely to relate to it and share their positive experiences.
Your brand becomes memorable
How much content do we consume every day? More importantly, how much of it do we remember? The majority of what we see is all but forgotten as we experience a near content overload. The ones that stick out and are remembered are those that use emotion.
If something has made us laugh, we are likely to recall it. If something has made us curious then we are unlikely to forget. Emotion makes your content stand out from what everyone else is churning out. If you operate in an industry that can be difficult to understand, you can get your message across by using emotion – this is far more likely to be recalled than cold hard facts that mean little to most people.
The impact on search engine rankings
Now, this point is up for debate, but there is a good chance that using emotion in your content can actually help your SEO. How? Well, you will be getting more web traffic. There will be more engagement with your posts. There will be plenty of social signals. These are all good signs that show Google that you are an authority on your topic.
Let’s not take away the other important factors when it comes to SEO though. This is just one part of what is a fairly complex jigsaw.
What all of the above goes to show is that using emotion in your content isn’t just a ‘nice to do’, it is essential. There are some seriously powerful benefits that it can bring to your business and if you’re not doing it you can be sure that your competitors will be.
Consider Where And How You Post
When it comes to creating content that contains emotions, there needs to be some consideration given to where you actually post it. Research suggests that certain emotions are attached to certain social media platforms. The claim is that Facebook and Twitter are all about isolation and anxiety while Instagram and Snapchat are more closely linked to creativity and even excitement.
It is not just where you post that matters: the format that you use matters too. Blog posts are a great way to engage your audience and do well when it comes to building trust. They may not be the best way of tapping into humour though. Yes, the written word is more than capable of triggering a laugh or a smile, but consider how more effective an image or video can be in this instance.
This shows why it is important to have a healthy mix of the types of content that you produce. Some companies have managed to harness infographics. They have taken what would often be considered a dull subject and injected emotion into it by combining words and images.
Do Negative Emotions Work Too?
If you are hoping to create content that resonates with people and goes viral, then you are far more likely to achieve this by using positive emotions. Humour, excitement, and curiosity are emotions that we naturally want to share with our circle. That is not to say that negative emotions can not go viral at all though.
If you want to tap into negative emotions and you are wanting your content to be shared, the least effective emotion is sadness. Content that creates a feeling of anger or even anxiety is far more likely to be shared.
The key to producing content that is both distinctive and successful is to use emotion. It is usually an excellent strategy to target positive feelings like amusement, empowerment, and a sense of camaraderie. However, you can also employ some of the negative emotions to motivate your audience to act. Try using one or more of these highly powerful emotional hooks in your next piece of content; you might be shocked by the results.