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Content Marketing: It’s OK to get emotional

We're always being told getting emotional in the workplace is a bad idea. But not if you're a content marketer. Focusing on emotion is critical for generating leads, building loyalty and delivering value.

With so much else to grab your audience's attention, the best way to get and keep it is by appealing (genuinely) to their emotions. This is true, by the way, whether you're doing B2C or B2B content marketing.

Adding emotion is one way to make content more engaging.

How to Put More Emotion into Your Writing

There are two popular approaches for adding more emotion to your content — in headlines, meta descriptions, body copy and social posts.

1. The Elements of Value Pyramid

A snippet of the Customer Values Pyramid (c) Bain & Company and HBR

This is a snippet. Click to see the full image from Bain & Company.

I've written about the Elements of Value Pyramid and how we use it before. I like it because it gives us a handy way to create a clear purpose and goals for each piece of content and informs our writing of everything from social posts to white papers. It's also a great indicator for voice.

I dig it, but I know some of our clients find it a hard to digest and are, therefore, loathe to use it. That's too bad, because driving to your audience's values, problems and needs is critical to creating engaging content and loyal fans.

2. The SPEF Questions

Here's another way of getting at the emotional and values-based triggers for your audience from consultant and lead-gen/sales guru Michael Port:

  • How does the world look to your audience spiritually?
  • How does the world look to your audience physically?
  • How does the world look to your audience emotionally?
  • How does the world look to your audience financially?

Describing your audience's world view can help you identify key motivators.

3. The Hybrid

In some cases, it makes sense to combine the two approaches, framing the discussion in terms of Port's four buckets and using Bain's value pyramid as suggestions to fill them. This blended approach works especially well if you're just starting to identify audience activators, personas or customer journeys.

Regardless of which approach you use, I suggest running your work by sales, service or anyone else who's close to your audience. A quick gut-check from them tunes you in to emotions more accurately.

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