Do you feel like you’re fighting an uphill battle to get anyone to pay attention to your content?
People share more than 27,000,000 pieces of content every day. Assuming an average content length of 600 words, that’s like 28,928 copies of Tolstoy’s War and Peace.
It’s safe to say there’s a great deal of content available to your customers, and you need to be scrappier than ever to build an audience.
What’s the solution to this all-too-common struggle? Most content marketers are familiar with the most common criteria of viral content. Highly-shared posts are likely to be longer, include high-quality visual content, inform, and evoke strong emotions in the reader.
If you already know the basic standards for awesome content, how do you take your efforts to the next level? Your solution is to create content that people actually care about by mastering the science of appeal.
Master The 3 Types Of Appeal To Write Great Blog Posts
Are you concerned that mastering the art of appeal is excessively challenging and mysterious? Well, it’s not.
There are various types of appeal, including rational, emotional, and reputation.
1. For rational appeal… think of how Spock from Star Trek would write your blog posts.
Content written with a strong sense of rational appeal is typically well-researched, expository, or journalistic. It presents an argument or position, and uses facts, data, or expert opinion to back up a position.
You likely learned the basics of writing with rational appeal in high school or college composition courses. If you’ve ever drafted a thesis statement and five supporting paragraphs, your instructor’s goal was to teach you the basics of rational appeal.
Common examples of rationally appealing content include in-depth pieces by the New York Times and NPR. Well-known social media and content bloggers who primarily rely on rational appeal in their writing include Jay Baer and the Buffer blog.
2. Emotional appeal helps people feel something from your content.
There’s actually some serious science behind the art of emotional appeal, including the “wheel of emotions” developed by Physician, Psychologist, and Evolutionist Dr. Robert Plutchik:
Winning the hearts and minds of your audience is crucial to gaining the social shares, comments, and fans you deserve.
Have you ever clicked to read a blog from Twitter or Facebook out of pure fear, fascination, or giddiness? There’s a good chance that article’s title and primary image mastered the art of emotional appeal.
Not every piece of content online needs to have logical, academic, or data-driven value. Nearly all of us consume and enjoy content with pure emotional appeal.
Buzzfeed and similar click-bait websites often feature highly emotionally appealing titles, which often capture the audience’s sense of intrigue. Many B2B and B2C brands also rely heavily on emotional appeal, including Marcus Sheridan.
Which emotions matter most? Frac.tl research has found that the top ten emotions inspired by the most viral content are:
While fear is certainly a valid and motivating emotion, you’ll notice that all ten of these emotions are inherently positive.
Remember, the world is a stressful place, and writing blog posts that inspire a sense of hope or happiness in your readers is likely to help you win.
3. Reputation appeal helps your readers know you’re a credible source for information on a specific topic.
There is a third type of appeal that everyone needs, regardless of goals or audience. You need reputation appeal. If your audience can’t trust you, they simply won’t care about your message.
But never try to position yourself as a guru! If your website looks like a spammy mess, you don’t take the time to edit your content, and you’ve only got 13 Twitter followers, aggressive attempts at guru-positioning will fall flat.
Of equal importance, remember that degrees and certifications earned offline aren’t always enough, either. If you’re in a highly saturated or competitive niche, you’ve got to build an online following and relationships for your subject matter expertise to be taken seriously.
Reputation appeal is really just another term for thought leadership, online reputation, or authority. It’s the art of translating expertise into meaningful content marketing and a significant following.
It’s a long hard road, but it’s worth every bit of effort you put into it. I agree wholeheartedly with ImFormza’s analysis of some common aspects of brands who’ve achieved reputation appeal:
- Exceptional quality, velocity, and relevance in content
- Expert content promotion and social media engagement efforts
- Verifiable recognition, such as online awards and offline speaking engagements
- Impressive SEO rankings, social media following, and community engagement
Also, be logical and strategic about how your online presence appears to your audience. No one trusts a user experience Web design blog with four pop ups and a tiny font.
Poor writing mechanics can negate the expertise of any blog. Be strategic, conscious, and unafraid to ask your most honest peers for feedback on what you need to work on.
So Which Type Of Appeal Should You Use When You Write A Blog Posts?
Will achieving rational or emotional appeal yield higher returns on your content marketing investments? How do you build your reputation appeal?
Factors that can—and should—control your strategy include your buyer personas, your brand, your products or services, and your marketing goals.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself as you make your decision:
- How much education does my ideal customer have?
- Where does my audience consume content online?
- How much does data for decision making matter to my readers?
- Is my brand technical and serious, or fun-loving and relaxed?
- Does this topic have a sufficient wealth of data and quality resources to present logical evidence, or is it more inspiring, experiential, or emotion-driven?
Rational and emotional aren’t necessarily separate concepts, either. It’s definitely possible to build rational arguments with data and facts that are so bulletproof, they evoke extreme emotions in your readers.
Don’t be afraid to blend the different types of appeal to your fullest advantage.
What You Need To Know To Write Awesome Blog Posts That Win Hearts And Minds
Writing grammatically-correct, well-researched blogs isn’t always enough. Your content marketing won’t see results unless you manage to create content people care about, and earn social media shares, comments, and attention.
If you’re doing everything right and failing to see results, some work on infusing your content with the right kinds of appeal could be the answer you’re looking for. By balancing emotional, rational, and reputation appeal, your results can soar.