How to Get All Emotional with Your Content Marketing

In the never-ending human effort to categorize and classify everything under the sun, even a topic as ethereal as emotion itself comes under scrutiny.  Although you and I could probably agree that all the concepts of emotion are wonderfully nuanced – every person and situation is different – traditional psychology identifies these six basic feelings:

  • Happy
  • Surprised
  • Afraid
  • Disgusted
  • Angry
  • Sad

If you think hard enough, I suppose you could file every emotion you’ve ever had under one of the above-mentioned categories. Recent studies, however, reduce the number of emotional buckets even further. Based on the similarity of facial expressions produced by each emotion, Surprised can be glommed with Afraid, and Disgusted goes with Angry.

We’re down to four

That leaves us with:

  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Afraid/Surprised
  • Angry/Disgusted

So what does it all have to do with content marketing? Turns out, a lot.

Any kind of marketing only works when you appeal to some kind of emotion in your prospect.  What do you want from your content marketing? You want recognition (of your brand and your expertise) and action (shares,  downloads, sign-ups and, ultimately, sales).

To get those kinds of results, which emotions should you, the content marketer, focus on? Happy is the obvious choice, and you’d be right. But there are two others to work as well. We’ll leave one emotion by the marketing wayside.

Leverage these three

Give yourself this challenge: With any content you develop, whether it’s a blog, E-book or whitepaper, consider how it will appeal to one of these action-evoking emotions:

Happy. Whether it’s humor or providing a long-needed answer or solution (solving for a pain point), making your prospect happy is the primary content marketing emotion you must appeal to. At Brandpoint, we love the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me, or more appropriately, Them). Then give it to them. In addition, studies show social media shares increase when you make your content consumer happy; it’s the way to help content go viral.

Angry/Disgusted. While I don’t recommend using this emotion as often as you do Happy, Angry/Disgusted has its place – in appropriate amounts – in content marketing.  Here, identifying the prospect’s pain point is the key approach. Recognize what their needs are and how that makes them feel. Support your position with verifiable facts (not your opinions) to disassociate your brand from the problem. Then quickly turn to the solution via the content you provide.

Afraid/Surprised. In limited doses, touching on a prospect’s fears can produce results. Again, the trick is introducing the negative idea briefly, then immediately turning to the solution you provide via content. Surprise is another emotion to play on, and one of the best places to leverage it in your headlines. Click rates soar when you can come out of left field with headlines that no one has ever seen before. Take a chance.

Humanize it

Emotions are what make us human. Content marketing is aimed at humans. Sometimes, in the day-to-day trenches of trying to strategize and create great content, it’s easy to forget those facts. Consider the concept of emotion as an element of your next content campaign.

Never fear! We have more expert advice for you here: How Spirit Airlines High-Fived Its Haters With Viral Content5 Secret Ingredients for Cooking Up Viral Content

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