few years ago a gunman perched atop an eight story Indianapolis parking garage  fired shots at nearby buildings; although he had committed a murder and eventually took his own life, no pedestrians were injured, in part because the news exploded on twitter, warning everyone off the streets. Fear and concern motivated people to share the information. Last month, paraplegic Indy car owner Sam Schmidt completed a ceremonial qualification run at the Indianapolis 500, A Baby Goat Took its Steps Using Wheels, and Indianapolis resident Ryan Cox raised thousands to Erase School Lunch Debt. This content was liked, shared, and commented upon on social media by hundreds. What do these dissimilar stories have in common? They all struck a chord; they created emotion.

Does Your Content Strike a Chord?

OK, not every piece of content is going to strike an emotional chord, but a lot of it can. Begin by writing your content to a specific audience. Then ask the following:

• What do they fear and what brings them joy?

• What problems cause them to lose sleep and what makes them giddy?

• What do they admire and what do they disapprove?

• What are their hopes and needs?

• What do they anticipate and what would be unexpected?

How to Add Emotion to Your Content

Add Emotion to the Title

Here’s an example from Copyblogger, 10 Sure Fire Headline Formulas that Work. A title can appeal to any and every emotion.

Fear, Avoiding problems, Contempt:

• Why [BLANK] Failed and How to Avoid it

• How to Minimize Your [BLANK] Risk

• Don’t Create These [BLANK] Problems

Joy, Awe, Anticipation:

• 7 [BLANK] that will Improve Your [BLANK]

• How [BLANK] Saved my Business

• Finding Happiness through [Blank]

Tell a Story

My co-worker, Eric Benge, recently wrote a post, TKO Tech Talk: Outlining Text , in which he discusses how to avoid issues when sending fonts to print providers (It’s the first in a new TKO Brandwire series, TKO Tech Talk.) The post shares excellent advice on how to supply artwork that includes text to a print shop—his first draft was well written and informative. It was also emotionless, but in Eric’s defense it’s not a topic that, on the surface, inspires emotion; the post is factual, pragmatic, and useful. Eric and I chatted about appealing on an emotional level. For example, anyone who has struggled to send the correct font to a provider has suffered pain—while successfully completing the task brings joy and relief. Sharing pain and joy provides an emotional connection to the content.

Consumers Are Motivated by Emotions

People may seek logical justification for an emotional decision, but don’t be confused, not all decisions are based on logic. Whether it’s a consumer choosing a product, a business looking for a provider, or a social media advocate sharing content, more often than not, they’re motivated by emotion. Joy, fear, awe, contempt, admiration, disapproval, surprise, and anticipation all inspire action. Logic, sound judgment, practicality, deduction, and good reasoning often lead to—more thought and consideration—not action. What inspires you to action?  Why did you read this post, were you AFRAID of missing out?

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