We like to think of ourselves as rational beings. Intellectual curiosity enabled us to perform literal miracles when it comes to technological advances.
But is it so? Or were we just trying to solve a problem that made us angry, bitter, or sad?
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.
In today’s ultra-connected, information-saturated online landscape, building a successful blog goes beyond simply producing content.
It’s no secret that many folks seek to build relationships with the bloggers they follow, so how does one go about creating and nurturing an emotional connection with an audience?
Think of Your Blog as a Person
Building a brand as a blogger often seems like a convoluted process, but it’s rather simple: think about what kind of person your ideal reader would admire and respect most. What qualities do they have? How do they communicate? What are their values?
Then you can work towards building a personality archetype.
This, put simply, is your blog’s personality, how they choose to communicate with an audience.
You have to decide whether or not a humorous approach is aligned with the way your ideal readers perceive a blogger, whether your online influence and authority are hindered by the words you use (such as swear words), or the fact that you write from personal experience or not.
The thing is, like most other elements of blogging, it’s all a balancing act.
If you compromise too much of your personality, you will have trouble consistently producing content, and if you disregard what the reader wants, you will have trouble building an audience.
The Origin Story
No matter what you blog about, you need to share your origin story. You need to share information about who you are, your journey to becoming that person, and how reading about that journey can benefit someone else.
Do not underestimate the importance of telling a story about how your blog came to be.
The truth is that building a successful blog is all about offering your readers enough information, so they can paint a picture of who you are. They need enough information to know if you can be trusted. They also need to know if you’re as good as you claim to be, as you have the experience and skills required to be an authority figure within your niche.
For instance, it’s always fun to read about someone’s struggles with developing a certain skill. It shows they’re human, and it shows they are confident enough in their abilities (paradoxical, I know) that they don’t feel the need to project an aura of perfection.
The Art of Blogging’s motto is “punch the damn keys.”
I literally do that whenever I write a blog post, and it influences the way I write, the words I use, and my tone of voice.
The Art of Blogging is also my attempt at providing value, while learning new elements about building a successful blog.
Think about you and your blog. What’s your primary motivation for having a blog? Why do you write about the things that you do write about? What about your style? What are you looking for in a reader?
If you have a clear picture of what your blog is, you can better market it to those you want to read your content.
Most bloggers are willing to settle for anyone, as long as someone’s reading their content. Don’t do that. Be clear.
As an example, I do not consider my content to cater to those who are self-described hobby bloggers, those who share personal stories for lack of a diary, so I do my best to show that in the content I write, while also explaining to them that they’re not my target audience.
Because they aren’t.
I sell online courses for those who are serious about blogging, who want to build a proper audience, and who want to monetize their blog, so naturally, I am not interested in those who are not serious and committed in their pursuit.
Emotional Engagement 101
Let’s talk about emotions.
How do you build emotional engagement with your readers? How do you get them to trust you? Or perceive you as an authority figure within your niche?
How do you turn first-time visitors into true fans?
Well, you build emotional engagement with your readers by:
- providing value (sharing information that they can use, information that inspires them, or words that motivate them)
- being consistent (you are trustworthy enough that they can set their alarm clocks to the cadence of your blog)
- entertaining them (it’s not just about making people laugh, it’s about making them feel something; telling stories is integral to this)
- enabling them to connect with like-minded individuals (that’s why it’s often a struggle to build an audience from scratch… there’s no community to attract potential readers, so they can’t be sure they will be able to connect with others just like them)
You need to provide all of these in order to build an attractive brand that will make it almost impossible for your target audience not to subscribe.
The 6 Most Underused Emotions in Blogging
Because of the previous principles, most bloggers have the following endgame: positive vibes.
They write with empathy, they write with passion, they want to comfort the disturbed.
But here’s the thing… you can’t truly comfort the disturbed unless you are willing to disturb the comfortable.
That’s why the following 6 emotions are rather negative, but they can surely provide you with the tools you need to write some of the most compelling articles on the web.
1. There is no bravery without fear.
Authenticity and vulnerability are incredibly close to one another, and most times they even touch.
I’m not saying that we should all be crybabies, but I do think that we should share our fears, insecurities, struggles, and failures. We should also be brave in our desire to write our truth, even if we’re going to alienate some of our readers.
As wordsmith, as tellers of tales, we have an obligation to write the truth into existence, no matter the consequences.
At the same time, however, instilling fear in your readers will make it worth it when you provide them with the tools they need to overcome it.
Don’t diminish fear. Use it. Expand upon it. Show others that they can be afraid, and still achieve their goals and dreams.
Don’t tap dance around the truth. Fear exists. Use it to get your readers to feel strongly about your article’s main topic, use it to make them relate to you as a person.
If your fingers don’t shake against the keyboard, at least from time to time, then you might just be too afraid to use fear in your writing.
2. Man, this is tough…
How do you become an authority figure within your niche?
Easy. Be competent and confident.
But here’s the downside: it makes it more difficult for others to relate to you. As the terrible cliché goes, it’s quite lonely at the top.
Instead, you’ve got to make use of frustration. A vastly underrated emotion, you can share your frustrations in a strategic manner, ensuring that your audience can more easily relate to you.
Don’t try to be perfect. It’s okay to be frustrated, especially when things don’t work. Share the story of frustration after failure in your articles, and your readers will love you for it.
Rather than trying to appear perfect, understand that weakness also makes you more relatable.
3. There’s a secret ingredient you can’t use.
What is the natural response when someone tells you that you can’t do something?
You try to do it, right?
There are few emotions we hate more in life than the feeling of powerlessness, yet it’s a vastly underused emotion in blogging.
What competent blogger would ever want to make their readers feel powerless?
A clever one, actually.
Empowering is a nice word. It’s a powerful word. It evokes the image of someone who has the ability to either find a way or make one, who can turn an obstacle into an advantage.
But at the same time, it’s important to understand that overcoming adversity is all about overcoming the feeling of powerlessness.
Tell your readers that it’s impossible, and then proceed to delete the first two letters.
4. Punch the damn keys.
Imagine me punching the keys as a I write these words. So much so that the damn keyboard might start crying in pain. So much so, my fingers hurt.
Most often, passion is synonymous with anger.
What is something that makes your heart boil in your chest? What makes you so angry that you’d gladly walk through hell by yourself to rid the world of it?
Anger is a terribly powerful emotion. It can be a common cause for good, it can be a warcry, and it can certainly persuade people to take action.
If you want your readers to take action, get them good and angry first. Tell them how unfair a situation is, or provide them with reasons why it will only get worse if they don’t take action.
5. Et tu, Brute?
Yes, we’re talking about betrayal.
We’re talking about the gnawing feeling of having lost something we were certain of, we’re talking about high hopes and broken expectations.
If you want your articles to be literal emotional rollercoasters, you’ve got to add a bit of betrayal, just to spice things up a bit.
6. An eye for an eye…
When done right, this does not leave the world blind. It kind of makes you the one eyed kind of the world.
Revenge, especially when talking about some bitter circumstance, is quite powerful.
You see this in all the viral articles ever shared on LinkedIn.
Everyone said they couldn’t, but they did it anyways.
A word of caution however: there’s a good reason revenge is a vastly underused emotion in blogging. It’s incredibly easy to go into petty territory, thus ensuring you become the villain of your own story.
Truth be told, writing about revenge will test your persuasive capabilities. You need to convince your readers that your motives are justified, otherwise you will alienate a large portion of your audience.
Chanting “there’s no weeds” over and over again as you walk through the garden won’t make for an empowering article, but telling the story of how you pulled the weeds out, even if you were afraid, or felt that it just couldn’t be done, will make your readers fall in love with you.
If you want to get results with your blog, use emotions to your benefit. Also, don’t forget the endgame: positive vibes. Fear or pain might bring them in the door, but it’s the prospect of a positive outcome that will keep them coming back for more.