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An Overview Of Emotion and How It Impacts Content Engagement

By Tom Seest

How to Leverage Emotional Content That Practically Writes Itself

It is easy for most online entrepreneurs to learn the ropes of Internet marketing enough to understand how to research keywords and even cover a topic to be in line with Google’s Helpful Update.
But when you boil it all down, isn’t it most important that your content resonates with your readers? Because if all you’re capable of doing is writing enough content to cover the basics, and you fail to tap into the emotions and struggles your readers are having, you won’t be the leader they follow for long.
You can look in any niche on any platform and see who is generating the biggest buzz and following, and you’ll usually see that their content makes you have an emotional response. They get the views, the shares, the comments ‘ and the sales.
As a consumer yourself, you understand the need to land on content that touches you and doesn’t just convey facts. Content that paints a picture and makes you feel what the author is writing about hooks you and convinces you to trust the author and to take action on the advice they’re sharing.
But not everyone is good at writing from an emotional perspective. They have a hard time relating facts to a person’s individual journey. If this describes you, or if your content fails to get people to react, you need the strategy that’s about to unfold below.
Using some simple writer’s craft books or free online sources and an easy brainstorming session, you’ll be churning out content that has a major impact on your readers day after day ‘ whether you’re using it for blog posts, email autoresponders, info products, lead magnets or social media content.
You’re going to see how to use this strategy with several different niche topics so that you understand how it can apply to almost any niche. Then you can implement it yourself and track the results of your improved content to see how it helps you build a following and increase your financial success.

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How to Revive Sterile Content That May Be Sabotaging Success

The Internet has opened up a world of information unlike we’ve ever seen before. Do you happen to remember when encyclopedia salesmen went door to door? Or when you had to go to the library to check out books instead of just typing a search query into a computer?
In the past, personalization and an emotional connection were not nearly as important as it is today. But you can even see how effective it is when you think of human interactions you have with others.
You’ve probably had teachers in life who were boring and taught nothing but facts ‘ and those whose personalities took you on an emotional journey as you learned the facts from a more expressive perspective.
People who can’t seem to relate to others and tap into their emotions don’t elicit the same attention that their counterparts do. The same thing happens with your online content ‘ whether you’re leading with text media, videos, images or audio.
Regardless of the niche you’re in, sterile content will be your downfall if you can’t make readers feel something whenever they see your content. They aren’t looking just for facts, but for someone who gets them ‘ and who can convey what it’s like to work toward your goals or overcome struggles.

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How to Leverage Emotional Wording For Higher Engagement and Conversions

You’ve probably heard about how much of an impact ‘power words’ have whenever someone is crafting their sales copy or delivering a strong call to action statement. Wording that evokes fear of missing out is an emotional gimmick used to encourage the reader to act based on how they feel.
By using certain wording in your copy ‘ whether it’s an email to your list of subscribers or a landing page where you’re selling a product, you use words and phrases to tap into how the visitor is feeling.
In doing so, you’re persuading them, convincing them, and evoking a positive response that gives them hope and motivation to pursue and implement your ideas and, ultimately, succeed.
And you probably go to the extra effort of weaving this wording into your sales copy and call-to-action statements, as well as any paid ads that you run. But if you’re like many online entrepreneurs, that’s where it ends.
When it comes to blogging or other content, you’re so focused on SEO (search engine optimization) and word count that you ignore how the person on the other end of the exchange is feeling at that moment.
You might think that if you can flood their brain with information, it should suffice. But there are hundreds of competitors in your niche capable of doing that exact thing. And with search engines and A.I. bots, users can seek facts and information on their own.
You won’t be a determining figure in the equation. You want ‘ no, you need to matter to your readers. If you and your voice don’t touch the person on an emotional level, you will never rise to your full potential as a niche leader online.
From now on, once you learn this content strategy, you need to write every piece with some sort of emotional pull. This does not mean you ignore facts or fail to be comprehensive with your information ‘ those factors still count for a lot, too.

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How to Leverage Print and Online Resources To Create Effective Content

We’re going to be using some resources to help those of you who can’t figure out how to use emotion in your content. You can buy the print versions of the books or read the eBook version.
Some of the sources we’ll look at will be 100% free, too. It is good to have the books on hand as something you can frequently turn to whenever you need to write a new piece of content.
The books we’ll be using are written by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, and it’s known as the Writers Helping Writers Series. Some of these won’t have any use for you, such as the Urban and Rural Settings that are good for fiction authors, but the ones that will be useful for you are:
* The Conflict Thesaurus Volume 1
* The Conflict Thesaurus Volume 2
* The Positive Trait Thesaurus
* The Negative Trait Thesaurus
* The Emotional Wound Thesaurus
* The Emotion Thesaurus
* Emotion Amplifiers
What these amazing authors have done is taken things, such as situations, careers, and character traits and done a deep dive for you into what someone will be feeling, experiencing, taking action on, etc., as they navigate that part of their life.
The Writers Helping Writers Series is going to in terms of things like how the issue came about, complications that can arise, emotions that result from the situation, internal struggles, things that can worsen or improve the situation, and the impact it will have on them.
Aside from these print books we’ll be using, you can find this information on your own using forums and social media platforms. It is a bit more difficult in terms of having to dig up the information and scroll through lots of other content to find what you need, but it’s possible.
You can go to Google and type in your niche and the word forum. For example, if you’re in the weight loss niche, you can type in the weight loss forum or diet forum. You want to find forums that are active and that have plenty of threads that look promising for emotionally-charged topics.
You can do the same on social media. Look on Facebook for public groups so that you don’t have to join to see the threads. You can also go to Groups and then search for a keyword or phrase inside a group to find what you need.
And hashtags can sometimes give you the want you’re looking for on social media platforms, too. Also, looking for certain words like ‘my journey’ or just ‘journey’ can be helpful because it’s when people are usually being raw and real about what they’re going through on an emotional level.

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How Content Is More Than Data, Facts, And Information

So the goal of using these resources for your writing isn’t just to see what emotions people have and slant your topic that way. It is more involved than that. You have to understand how emotions can help your writing.
If you’ve ever studied storytelling, you’ll know that in order to appeal to an audience and keep their attention, you have to pull them into the story. Even if what you’re doing is sharing your personal journey, it’s possible for you to make them feel as if they’re there, or in your shoes.
You have to use emotions and backstories to add depth and weight to the presentation. By adding backstory, you get to build up to an impactful ending or call to action for your audience to enjoy.
When you use this type of strategy, drawing them in and really painting a picture of what’s happening, it creates empathy with your readers and makes them resonate with your story.
They’ll be more compelled to not only learn more from you but to take action whenever you instruct them to. They’ll also remember you better. While any site can deliver facts, your storytelling and emotional wording will be unique and memorable.
Even if you don’t have a personal story to convey as an emotional foundation to connect with your readers, you can still paint a picture of hypothetical scenarios that show your visitors that you understand their needs.
Your goal in using this type of wording is to transform your audience from one who is merely interested in the information to someone who is invested in your story or advice. That’s the difference between sterile information and effective content.
Don’t just think of it in terms of convincing them to do something that helps others, either. If you were giving a TED Talk, you might be using emotional wording and storytelling to get people to donate to a charity to help less fortunate people.
But as a niche leader, you want to elicit emotions that have them feeling a certain way about themselves and their own goals and problems. You want them to feel sympathy for themselves and to feel supportive of themselves, too.

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The strategy used here not only helps you paint the picture and tap into the emotions the reader or viewer needs to witness but also helps you come up with relevant content topics and slants that you may not have considered.
If, to date, you’ve been looking at keywords like ‘weight loss’ and not honing in on emotional phrases, you’re missing out. These are what people engage with most! So let’s take a look at the proof.
If you go to Google and look for a weight loss forum, one that pops up is the city-data diet and weight loss forum. When you glance at this forum, notice which post has an obscene amount of engagement compared to the ‘factual’ threads:
Green tea? Zero engagement. Weight loss tips? (Which, by the way, is a phrase many go after) ‘ a mere 15 replies after over 2,600 views. But the one about fault, which is an emotional concept?
That one had over 30k people reading it and hundreds of replies! More people are drawn to emotional threads and content than information about caffeine, bacteria, Wegovy, and weight loss tips.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t talk about those in your content, but emotions build a business online. When you think about that particular thread, you can imagine someone who feels guilt and shame, right?
Your job as a niche leader will be to provide content that helps them navigate those emotions and manage or improve them so that they can move past them and, ultimately, succeed.

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How to Leverage the Emotion Thesaurus for More Engaging Writing

So let’s open the Emotion Thesaurus and look up the emotion guilt to see what we can discuss in our content:
In the Emotions Thesaurus, we get an image of someone who feels so guilty for their poor eating behavior that they can’t look anyone in the eye, they avoid people in fear of being judged, they may engage in self-deprecating jokes and beat themselves up for repeated mistakes, wishing they’d made better choices.
As time goes on, these long-term feelings of guilty will intensify, making them fall into a state of depression, avoiding others completely and not caring about themselves at all. When you talk about these issues in your content, your readers will be nodding their heads in agreement, realizing they see themselves in your words.
Because you’re not someone who is just saying, ‘Here, drink this green tea and take some probiotics, and you’ll lose weight,’ they will listen more to what you have to say. They’ll eagerly tune into your content, open your emails, and follow you everywhere online because this is something they can’t talk to people in their life about.
But you? You get them.
So how do you put it all together in a piece of content? Your slant might be about shame, guilt, or feeling at fault. You could title it: How Guilt and Shame Are Holding You Back from Losing Weight.
You want to use an emotional hook right away, allowing them to see that you understand. So you might look at the Emotion Thesaurus highlighted examples and work those into the content, and you’ll see the concepts taken from the book in bold below:
If you’ve been losing the weight loss battle and you keep jumping from diet to diet, thinking that will fix your problem, you might be surprised to know that the real winning strategy may be in healing your inner emotions.
People who struggle to lose weight often feel shame and guilt at their failures, and you find yourself unable to look people in the eyes as you’re walking down the aisle of a grocery store. You feel judgment everywhere, and you beat yourself up about every morsel you’ve eaten, wishing you could go back and make better choices.
You might have well-meaning friends and family trying to help, but their involvement only makes it worse. You start lying about what you ate and avoiding people so that they won’t notice your lack of progress.
If you are around them, you might start making self-deprecating jokes to lighten the mood or confess and make promises that you’re back on track and won’t let it happen again.
The obsession you have with your emotions tied to your weight loss journey only hinders your ability to succeed. You won’t be able to concentrate on anything else ‘ so regardless of which diet you choose, you’re already setting yourself up for failure.
Then, your content can go into the healing measures they need to take to forgive themselves and focus only on the tips that will work to their benefit, which is where you can certainly talk about all the caffeine, tea, and probiotics you want.
The reader, however, now feels seen and understood. They will be open to listening to your recommendations more than if you ignored the root of their problem. In fact, when you make the recommendations, you can tie them into an emotional tip.
For example, instead of just spouting off the weight loss benefits of green tea, paint a picture for them. Say something like The first thing I want you to do is nurture yourself each day with a 15-minute mindful break. This is when you’ll fix yourself a cup of green tea, which is going to assist in your calorie burning and sit in silence as you let go of any negative emotions and judgment of yourself.
If you want to, you can add anchor text to the words green tea to link to another page on your blog that tells all about how green tea helps people lose weight. That can be one of your more fact-based and informative content pieces, and on that page, you can link to your favorite products, too.
Let’s look at another example using the make money online niche. We all know that there are emotions tied to the process of achieving success in this career. It is not only something that people get excited about, but they worry, too ‘ and feel frustrated and inferior at times.

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How to Leverage Conflict Thesaurus Volume 1 for Better Content

When you think of who you want to attract as a subscriber, it might be someone who is unemployed, who wants to quit their 9-5, or who is a senior citizen. Open the Conflict Thesaurus (Volume 1) and see if there’s anything applicable.
You’ll find under Duty and Responsibility a section called Losing a Job on page 224. There’s also a section called Work-Life Balance Being Threatened on page 232. Both of those could be very helpful in this niche.
If your goal is to lead people who want to make money online, you might tap into their emotional state of losing a job, whether they’ve been fired or had to quit for some reason.
Whether these people are new to marketing or have been failing, the information on these pages can be helpful in painting a picture of the emotions they may be feeling ‘ man or woman.
Your content, instead of just being spammy and hitting them over the head with push-button profit promises, will help them build trust with you because you understand what they may be struggling with on a different level than just ‘finding the right niche and business model.’
Your content might be titled something like Losing Your Job Is the Best Time to Start Making Money Online. Bring in some of the situations and emotions your readers could be experiencing before you introduce your solutions. Like this:
Losing your job is more than just suffering a financial setback. It is a situation that makes you feel powerless and betrayed. It doesn’t matter whether you were fired, laid off due to budget cuts, or forced to leave because of something out of your control like health issues ‘ it can be a hardship no one wants to go through.
You might have trouble finding another job or have to take a big pay cut just to regain employment. If you have an unsupportive spouse or family nagging you and you’re struggling to explain your unemployment, you don’t have to be burdened by this situation any longer.
Making money online will help you maintain your sense of identity as a productive and contributing member of society. If you are disciplined and proactive with your efforts, you’ll discover that this career is even more fulfilling and rewarding than working for someone else ‘ and you get to enjoy the freedom that comes with being your own boss.
Now you’ve managed to show them you understand where they’re at and what they’re feeling, so you can present your solutions next. Whenever you mention things like ‘family nagging you,’ it’s not just a generalization to them.
The reader remembers real discussions with a spouse, parent, sibling, or friend who made them feel inferior and ashamed. This is something that, again, they probably can’t discuss with anyone in their immediate circle, so having you as their friend and guide in this journey is important.
You can turn to page 232 and look in the Work-Life Balance Being Threatened section to see what else might resonate with your audience. You’ll find things such as the stress of dealing with chronic illnesses, the pressure and worry of working on deadlines, relationship issues stemming from not being present with the family but focused on work, making difficult decisions to prioritize things in life, etc.
Page 138 has a section about Having Poor Judgment. Most online entrepreneurs have felt the embarrassment and shame of being taken advantage of and buying the hype, causing a loss of time and money as well as feelings of remorse, regret, anger, and more.
The book even tells you what positive outcomes you could teach them for that scenario, such as channeling that impulsive behavior into something other than business purchases, learning from mistakes and making better choices, not defining themselves by those bad decisions, etc.
In the same niche, you could turn to page 138 of the Occupation Thesaurus and look at what ghostwriters go through. Freelancing is a big moneymaker online, but they suffer from frustration, worry, betrayal, anger and other things, too.

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How to Use The Conflict Thesaurus for More Engagement and Emotion

This kind of tactic works in almost any niche. For survival? Page 136 of the Conflict Thesaurus Volume 2 has a section called A Place of Safety Being Compromised. This is a wonderful survival topic because people have to plan for bug-out situations.
It discusses feelings that might arise ‘ from fear and insecurity to defiance and cautiousness. It gives you tips on things that would be a good outcome, like finding a safe space to go to, learning how to protect yourself, becoming more aware of the signs of danger, being flexible with plans, etc.
The book has topics for the pet niche (dealing with the death of a pet), the debt niche (a partner racking up debt or a recession or economy crash), the marketing niche (being scammed), the self-help niche (having a panic attack), and more.
Some of the concepts fit many different niches. For example, on page 98, the section titled Not Achieving a Coveted Goal is perfect for many niches, like weight loss, success, relationships, and more.
It gives content ideas like having to explain the loss to others and the feelings stemming from that complication, like self-doubt, shame, depression, defeat, etc. The Positive Outcomes section in these books is perfect for content ideas because it’s the solution they want.
There are other great books to use, too. In the Positive Trait Thesaurus, you’ll find traits like being focused. What could you teach your niche audience about focus? The book will tell you that people with good focus are goal-oriented, make time for their interests, know how to shut out distractions, plan ahead, are organized, and so on.
But it also shines a light on problems they might experience. These are what your readers might struggle with. They might lack work-life balance because they shut out their loved ones or lose track of time.
Challenges they may face could include having more than one goal and not being able to focus on both, experiencing failure, which makes them less interested, etc. In the Negative Trait Thesaurus, you might find concepts like Lazy, which can also be applied to numerous niches.
It gives insight into why someone might be lazy, so you can guide them out of it. It might be a physical issue or how they were raised. They might avoid trying out of fear of failure.
Lazy people might resist change or procrastinate. They might look to everyone else to do the work for them and be a bad influence on others, hoping they’ll avoid doing their tasks, too, so they don’t feel so bad.
They tend to feel emotions like indifference, loneliness, resignation, and peacefulness. The authors tell you that in order to overcome laziness, the person has to see the negative effects of their actions and have their eyes opened to it, which is what your content can do.

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How to Leverage The Emotional Wound Thesaurus for Engaging Content

The Emotional Wound Thesaurus is something not everyone will use, but it can give you some niche insight into the emotions of your audience. For example, if you turn to page 82, the section called A Learning Disability can be useful for Internet marketing.
Because even if there’s no true learning disability, many marketers feel these same emotions listed there ‘ feeling stupid, having people make fun of them, being rejected, being unable to achieve their dreams, etc.
People who feel like they don’t compare in talent and learning avoid responsibility, have self-doubt, think small, resent people who do better than they do, and avoid networking. They may feel defensive, overly sensitive to criticism, resentful, envious, and inhibited.
If they have this personality trait, they often won’t want to ask for help and won’t understand instructions, so they get easily frustrated, struggle with new tasks or change, etc. What’s great about giving a window to the world of emotions in these books and resources is that you get to see things from different perspectives.
Even if you, yourself, once struggled with success or weight loss, the obstacles you experienced and the feelings you had may be vastly different from what many others in your audience are going through.
This gives you a much bigger palette to choose from when brainstorming content and slanting it to cast a wider net for readers and followers. Keep in mind that forums and books are only two options.

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How to Leverage Social Media Platforms for Emotion-Driven Content

You can go to Facebook or social media platforms and look up groups or hashtags for your niche topic and see what kinds of emotions people are dealing with. When you go searching, don’t just look at the post itself.
Look at the responses and the engagement the posts have so you can see how many others are resonating with this emotion. You can scroll through topics or type in a common emotion to see what content comes up.

You can feel the heartbreak this person is experiencing based on the words chosen:
* Frustration
* Exhausted
* No motivation
* Needs accountability
* Failing
* No idea where to start
* Doomed to be miserable

This post had 86 comments. People know what it’s like to feel like this person is feeling. So your content is based on frustration, and hopelessness can weave all of these important words and feelings into it so that the reader knows you understand, they can trust you, and accept your recommendations.

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How Can Artificial Intelligence be Leveraged For Emotional Content

Emotional content is what sets you apart as a niche leader. It is one thing A.I. can’t compete with. It is something only the top niche marketers employ the use of as others stay mired down in technical SEO and backlinks.
Don’t just rely on artificial intelligence sources. Brainstorm emotional words and keep a swipe file whenever you see a post or article that involves feelings or actions stemming from a particular feeling.
You can use these resources and your own insight to connect with your readers on a human level. If you see many problematic traits mentioned, you might slant an article something about 5 Mistakes You Might Be Making and then take each problematic trait and turn it into a mistake.
With survival prepping, you might cover being disorganized, uninformed, so isolated that you can’t get help when you need it, being apathetic about prepping, and so on. Paint the visual for your reader and put them at ease following your lead.

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