We like to think of ourselves as rational beings. Intellectual curiosity took us to the moon and back, beat terrible diseases, and invented the Internet.
But if you think about it, emotion always wins. The man who conquered and lost empires might have only cried when the love of his live broke up with him. We use our brains, yes, but it is our hearts that dictate most of our actions.
If your aim is to persuade, you have to use emotions. The part that tells itself “I’ll have that” is emotional. It’s funny how it works, actually. We decide on an emotional level, and then we rationalize.
Greed is… good. But so is fear.
As Gordon Gecko used to say, greed is good.
In a way, greed is a manifestation of fear – fear of not being able to provide for your family, fear of losing everything and living under a bridge.
You can capitalize on fear, you can sell stuff to folks who have the most to fear, but you can also write in such a way that people feel what you want them to feel.
Pain is the secret ingredient
Fun fact: phantom fear (and its cousins, social isolation and embarrassment) are used a lot because readers often build up imaginary fear-based scenarios to be much more frightening than even a very difficult real problem.
The other advantage of pain is that it tends to linger. We all remember our most painful moments (whether physical or emotional) and can recall them in vivid detail.
We are scared, lonely, and tired, and wish we wouldn’t have to be lonely alone.
It was Blaise Pascal who stated that all of man’s troubles derive from him not being able to sit still in an empty room. Our desire to connect with others is so strong that at times it conflicts with our self-preservation instinct.
Let’s take a blog who has built a genuine community. The blogger acts as a conversation proprietor, greeting commenters by name, welcoming them back. That conversation becomes a powerful emotional benefit. It doesn’t actually matter that most readers never post a comment. They still benefit from a sense of belonging to a warm, comfortable community, by reading what other folks discuss.
We love to entertain you!
People waste a ton of time watching cats being cats on Instagram, because it is entertaining.
That’s a different way to make people feel something.
Make your readers laugh. At least make them smile.
If you want to get results with your blog, use emotions to your benefit. Also, don’t forget to include an element of connection.
Fear or pain might bring them in the door, but it’s connection that will keep them coming back for more.