Imagine you have a valuable piece of information that you believe is life-changing in nature. You want to share that information with your readers, but more than that, you want them to ACT on that information. To internalize it, to feel not just remember it.
Say you want your readers to be aware of how important it is to let things go, how important is to always aspire to rise to higher consciousness, to be fully present in the moment, to withhold judgement, to never let the past interfere with us being in the here and now.
You could write: YO, guys! It is important to let stuff go! Do that! Now!
You can use bolds or italics. Or even both.
Or you could share with them an anecdote:
A senior monk and a junior monk were traveling together. At one point, they came to a river with a strong current. As the monks were preparing to cross the river, they saw a very young and beautiful woman also attempting to cross. The young woman asked if they could help her cross to the other side.
The two monks glanced at one another because they had taken vows not to touch a woman.
Then, without a word, the older monk picked up the woman, carried her across the river, placed her gently on the other side, and carried on his journey.
The younger monk couldn’t believe what had just happened. After rejoining his companion, he was speechless, and an hour passed without a word between them.
Two more hours passed, then three, finally the younger monk could not contain himself any longer, and blurted out “As monks, we are not permitted a woman, how could you then carry that woman on your shoulders?”
The older monk looked at him and replied, “Brother, I set her down on the other side of the river, why are you still carrying her?”
Yes, what you say is essential. But how you say it will determine whether or not your readers think so too.
Your “How” is determined by how well you know your readers
When you know your readers well enough, what you’re doing is sharing the same model of the world as they are. You know in what they believe in, so you can frame your story in such a way that it resonates with them on an emotional level.
Based on who you’re writing for, you have to choose the way you tell your story.
How you deliver a message determines whether your readers find your content good or great. It’s not the message itself, but the way you choose to deliver it.
It’s not the intent, but the execution, so here are four steps to creating content that engages your readers on an emotional level:
1. Be unpredictable
If you knew how a book ends, how tempted would you be to read it?
Granted, you’d still want to read it if the writing was great. Then the story wouldn’t even matter. Come think of it, most of the greatest novels ever written have terrible plots.
Irresistible writing is like jumping on a roller-coaster ride.
It creates this bubble around your readers, effectively shutting down the outside world. That’s what you want. It’s just your story and the reader.
Write from a different angle, offer your readers two conflicting perspectives, then tie it all together. Challenge your readers to find the common ground between two opposite world-views.
Fascination is the side-effect of delivering a message that your readers subconsciously knew about, but never thought about it for long enough to arrive at the conclusions you have.
Taking a different approach than everyone else helps you to stand out, and that’s why unpredictability is crucial for content that engages readers.
2. Keep it simple
Here’s a fascinating fact: if you deal with words long enough you develop a skill that is known as verbal narcissism. It means that you can go on talking and talking and talking, and you could probably seduce a glass of water, or sell sand in the Sahara Desert.
But when it comes to delivering a message, it is better to be clear and concise. A strong message is one that delivers but the essence.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying to water down your writing to the point of stupidity.
That defeats the purpose.
But you have to make it clear enough that it travels directly into the minds of your readers, so they can begin to envision your story.
Think of the way you write as drawing a map. Now, the idea is to draw a map that is easy to understand and follow.
If you have a brilliant paragraph, try reducing it to only two sentences. Try to get it down to even more. What is the very essence of what you are trying to convey?
3. Be real
Being your authentic self can be a challenging thing to do nowadays. To keep it real.
Just be yourself, which by definition means to be in line with your core values.
What do you believe in? What are you living for? What would you die for?
What are your principles? The guidelines that allow you to navigate through life?
Why is this so important? Because it’s the only way to be relevant. Without being relevant, your words will never inspire others to take action.
4. Be credible
Your aim is to persuade. It may not seem like that, but you write with the intent of making something happen. If it’s wanting for your readers to better know themselves, to comment on your posts, to buy a certain product, it’s all about making an emotional connection.
We prize logic so much, yet we fail to understand that we base most of our actions on our emotions.
What does you gut feeling say?
Did it feel right or not?
If you were offered a great business deal, fantastic opportunity, all the resources you needed, absolutely everything, but the man who offered you that deal refused to shake your hand at the signing of the contract, how’d you feel? Would you still take the deal?
And what do we do when a deal is too good to be true? We back away from it. We use our logic.
This is why logic is not something you want to deal with if you plan on writing engaging content.
It’s not the cold hard data that matters, but the way you share it. We don’t care as much about numbers as others would like you to believe.
We care about real humans doing real human things in an imperfect world.
Now … mix it all together
Unpredictability, realness, credibility, delivering a strong message in a clear and concise way. Write with your heart, constantly asking yourself how would your readers feel.
You see the difference maker?
We go through life constantly thinking about what others think of us, and very seldom about how others feel about us.
And when do we start asking ourselves that question? When does it become important to know how others feel?
When we care about them.
Want to know the secret to having everything you want in life?