Why Too Much Emotional Appeal in Your Copy Can Harm Your Credibility

By Yael Grauer

Let’s be clear: You need emotional appeal in your writing.

Compelling stories keep readers on your website, and since you must discover their worldviews and understand their experiences so that you can serve them better, you’ll naturally learn about their emotional states.

But when you communicate with your audience, you need to strike the right emotional balance.

In fact, getting heavy-handed with emotional appeal in your writing can backfire and potentially harm your credibility.

The dangers of overstating the problem

If you really know your readers, you know their pain points. You’re aware of their daily struggles and aspirations.

Subsequently, you produce content on your digital media platform that speaks directly to those problems and follow up your analysis by offering your best strategies to address each issue.

But if you only focus on the small percentage of people who are in dire straits — those who literally lose sleep about the problems you’d like to help them work through — you may be ignoring a lot of readers.

Here’s an example.

Let’s say you help people declutter their homes. Some of your readers may be at the end of their ropes. Perhaps they have a serious hoarding problem or large collections that take over their living spaces — and their lives.

If they had to put their level of willingness to address their problem on a scale of one to 10, your most desperate readers may find themselves at a nine or 10 — and the magnitude of their problem could be just as severe.

But unless you only want to help out the extreme cases, writing directly to that archetype may leave readers with a more moderate need for decluttering feeling like they don’t need your service.

Perhaps the boxes in their basements or unfiled papers in their offices are a nuisance, but they haven’t taken over their lives.

If you stick with extreme examples, any readers unable to relate to those circumstances may feel like your message doesn’t apply to them.

Emotional fatigue

I recently started reading a post about public speaking, which is a skill I’m interested in further developing. I didn’t make it through the post, though.

The opening paragraphs explained the level of panic some people feel when speaking publicly.

The writer assumed that my hands would be sweating and I’d get knots in my stomach simply by entertaining the possibility of getting up on a stage.

I got exhausted just reading the introduction.

If I had that level of panic about public speaking, I imagine that there’s a very good chance it would be insurmountable.

And although talking to a crowd isn’t something I’m entirely comfortable with, it’s not something that instills my fight-or-flight response — so the post was draining to read.

Even if your readers sometimes work themselves up in a frenzy over concerns related to your area of expertise, it’s likely that they’re not in that frame of mind while reading your post.

Overplaying their emotional responses can therefore create a disconnect, causing readers to disengage with your writing.

Feeling manipulated?

The biggest danger of overplaying emotional appeal is that a thoughtful sales offer for a credible service or product can start to sound like a slimy sales pitch.

A reasonable sales pitch begins with a problem people have, and then explains a solution and its benefits. It doesn’t rely on manufactured fear or an artificial need, nor does it promise an instant fix.

It will speak to the audience’s emotions, yes — because that’s how we make decisions. But it also offers a real solution to a real problem, and follows through with that promise.

A slimy sales pitch relies on exploited emotions and exaggerated claims. It may overstate or twist the facts to boost a weak case. It overplays the extent and severity of a problem and the effects of doing nothing.

An unethical salesperson highlights an unlikely extreme and presents it as an inevitable fate for anyone who doesn’t buy.

Let’s look at the wrong way to sell a water filter as an example.

An overhyped sales pitch for a water filter begins with an exaggerated emotional claim, such as “Are you embarrassed by the taste and look of your drinking water? Worried that your friends will find out the truth and declare you an unfit parent and a danger to the community?”

An artificial fear then follows the exaggerated emotional claim, such as “Studies show that people without water filtration have a 543 percent greater risk of cancer!” (Never mind that these “studies” carry as much scientific validity as a Harry Potter novel.) “Are you willing to risk the lives of your family? I only have five filters left! Your children’s health may depend on you making the right choice.”

The ethical way to sell the same water filter would be to explain its features and discuss health, environmental, and financial benefits, followed by a call to action to try the water filter in order to experience better-tasting, contaminant-free water.

How to avoid emotional manipulation

The first step is awareness. You must acknowledge that even readers with strong pain points aren’t necessarily losing sleep over the problem you can help them fix.

And if the issue does lead to sleepless nights, they may not be experiencing that level of anxiety at the moment they read your post.

Here are three ways to offer the right amount of emotional appeal in your writing.

1. Vary your examples instead of only highlighting extreme cases

When you avoid overstating problems or the mindsets associated with them, you can still discuss worst-case scenarios if they provide value for your audience.

However, …read more

Source: Copy Blogger

    

Jay Baer on “Generosity Marketing” and the Power of Business Podcasting

By Brian Clark

You’d expect a guy who’s started five multi-million dollar businesses from scratch to know a thing about marketing that works. And then, of course, he’d write the book on it.

In this case, the guy is Jay Baer, and the book is Youtility, a guide so useful for effective marketing it’s becoming a franchise unto itself. In his spare time, Jay is a highly sought-after keynote speaker, podcaster, angel investor, new media personality, and restless entrepreneur who can’t help but add just one more project to his portfolio.

I asked Jay to be the first in a series of Rainmaker.FM interviews that illuminate the path of content marketing into the future. You’ll notice some common themes that turn up time and again among those who have already successfully built audiences, and Mr. Baer sets the stage perfectly.

In this 33-minute episode Jay Baer and I discuss:

  • Jay’s path to a bestselling business book
  • Why podcasting could be the future of content
  • The wonders of “Geographically Agnostic” businesses
  • The strategic basis of my entire career
  • How startups can profit from the concept of Youtility
  • Why Jay doesn’t write as much as he used to
  • How to turn one piece of content into seven
  • The long bet that Jay is making on podcasting

Click Here to Listen to Rainmaker.FM Episode No. 18

Or, grab it in iTunes.

Image by Todd Quackenbush.

About the author

Brian Clark

Brian Clark is founder and CEO of Copyblogger, and uncompromising evangelist for the Rainmaker Platform. Get more from Brian on .

The post Jay Baer on “Generosity Marketing” and the Power of Business Podcasting appeared first on Copyblogger.

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Source: Copy Blogger

    

A Guide to Twitter Chats

By Ian Cleary

Jay Baer

Can you really have a scheduled conversation on Twitter around a topic and get true value from it?

Absolutely.

Twitter chats can be really fun and lively, and they’re a great place to learn and network.

They can also be useless, however, because if you don’t have sufficient people, it’s like being at a party where no-one has turned up… That reminds me of when I was having a birthday party once and I panicked because everyone arrived late!

So, do you want to know what Twitter chats are about, how you benefit from them, and the tools can you use to track them?

Well, you’ve come to the right place.

What are Twitter Chats?

Twitter chats are conversations on Twitter that are based on a specific topic, at a specific time. using a specific hashtag. For example, the guys at Buffer (the social media tool provider) have a Tweet chat called #Bufferchat.

Every Wednesday, at 9am PST, they invite a guest on and ask them a series of questions. The guest answers the questions and everyone else monitoring this hashtag can join in with their own responses.

Buffer Twitter chat with Jay Baer

Twitter Chat Tools

The problem with Twitter chats is that they can be fast and furious so, at times, it’s hard to keep up with the conversation. There are a range of tools that can help you to keep track of Twitter chats.

TweetChat

TweetChat provides some useful functionality to help you manage your Twitter chats.

Tweetchat

This is what you see when you enter in the hashtag in TweetChat

Some of the features it offers include:

  • URL shortening – Automatically shortening a website address for you.
  • Adding the hashtag – Any Twitter chat tool will do this but it’s useful to mention it: you don’t need to remember to add the hashtag to all your tweets, this will be automatically done for you.
  • Pause stream – If tweets are arriving too quickly, you can pause the stream so that new tweets are not displayed. This gives you a chance to read some of the existing tweets before new ones arrive on your screen.
  • Share streams – You can create a tweet with a link to this Twitter chat and share it with your audience.
  • Block/Highlight – You can block particular people if they are not adding value to the discussion. This means you won’t see their tweets any more in your stream (e.g. this can be useful with spammers). If there’s an important tweet, you can highlight it so it’s easier to find next time.
  • Room settings – As well as blocking/highlighting tweets, you can also disable retweets. If someone answers a question and 10 people retweet the same answer, do you really want to see all those retweets? You can also switch the buffering of tweets on or off. The buffering of tweets means only five tweets are displayed at a time, which helps you read when the chat is busy.
  • Tweet interaction – You can reply to, retweet and/or favorite tweets.

Tchat.io

This has a little less functionality than TweetChat but it has a slightly nicer user interface. So, there’s not much to choose from between the tools.

Tchat.io

Nice interface with less functionality than TweetChat

Nurph

Nurph provides the normal features that are offered by other Twitter chat tools, such as pausing a Twitter stream (if you scroll up, it will pause automatically). But, it also provides some cool, additional functionality.

Here are some examples of this:

Twitter chat recording – When Twitter chats are over, Nurph stores a record of them so you can see an overview of what it’s about. Then, you can replay all the tweets from the Twitter chat. This is really nice functionality!

tweetchat  replay

A replay of any Twitter chat

Twitter chat invitations – You can create an invitation page where you can invite people to a Twitter chat and even capture a list of the people who RSVP. After the recording is over, people can see a one-page summary of the Twitter chat and then view the recording.

Nurph Twitter Chat Summary

A good summary of the Twitter chat, with questions also listed

Private chats – You can set up private chats, which are restricted to particular Twitter users. This is handy because you may want to control the conversation around a topic but let everyone listen to the conversation.

Hootsuite

Don’t forget about the reliable owl!

One thing that the tools above don’t provide is multiple tabs. Ideally, you want to view the stream but you also want to see if someone is just mentioning your name.

If the stream is flowing by, it’s hard to keep up. Using Hootsuite to check on a filtered column, where your name or company name is mentioned, is incredibly useful.

How Do Twitter Chats Work?

Hosting a Chat

If you are going to host a Twitter chat, you need to pick out your hashtag, choose a time for the event and then work out a plan.

A lot of the most successful Twitter chats are interview style, where there is one or more guests on the chat. Normally, when questions are asked, you use ‘Q’ to indicate a question, for example Q1 for question 1. When people are answering, they use ‘A’ e.g. A1 for an answer to question one.

They are also very regular and consistent. If you’re going to run it once a month, always do it at the same time/same place.

Before you start a Twitter chat, you need to spend some time on other Twitter chats to figure out the etiquette.

Attending a Chat

Open up your tool of choice a few minutes before the Twitter chat is due to commence and enter in the appropriate hashtag. Then, introduce yourself and start networking!

When the Twitter chat starts, you’ll have the opportunity to answer questions, reply, retweet good …read more

Source: Razor Social

    

The ABCs of Landing Pages That Work [Infographic]

By Steven Lowe



abcs-of-landing-pages-that-work-infographic

Want to publish this infographic on your own site?

Copy and paste the following code into your blog post or web page:

You can also click here to download a PDF of the infographic (133.6 MB), which is suitable for printing and hanging near your workspace when you need to see it most.

Over to you …

Can you think of a rhyme to help you remember your favorite landing page tip?

Which rhyme in the infographic will be your first priority the next time you create a landing page?

Head over to Google+ and let us know!

About the Author: Steven A. Lowe is a consultant, software developer, inventor, entrepreneur, author, musician, and lover of puns. He ran an innovative custom software development company for nearly a decade before joining ThoughtWorks as a Principal Consultant in 2014. Check out Steven’s ebook series on landing pages, and follow him on Twitter.

The post The ABCs of Landing Pages That Work [Infographic] appeared first on Copyblogger.

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Source: Copy Blogger