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9 Emotional Hooks That Will Make Your Content 10x Better

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Adam Heitzman
Adam Heitzman
9 Emotional Hooks That Will Make Your Content 10x Better

What makes a piece of content compelling?

The secret ingredient to awesome content isn’t a watertight argument or even a great concept.

It’s emotion.

People make most of their decisions based on how they’re feeling, whether they realize it or not.

This is especially true when it comes to purchasing decisions.

If your content hasn’t been converting the way you want it to, injecting some emotion could make all the difference.

Forging positive connections with your audience won’t just increase sales – it will also promote brand loyalty down the road.

And, once you know how to leverage emotion in your marketing, your content will just keep getting better.

To get started, here are nine simple hooks you can use to create more emotionally powerful content.

1. Use Your Content to Tell a Story

Want to keep your audience engaged? Tell them a good story.

Storytelling is a simple, but effective, tool for grabbing people’s attention and getting them emotionally invested in your content.

Everybody wants to know what happens next, especially if they can identify with the story’s hero.

Telling stories about your business can increase your brand’s likability factor.

For instance, you could tell your audience how your business got its start, what kind of challenges you’ve overcome, and how you’re working toward your current goals.

Stories about customers can also be an effective way to connect with your audience – try putting your storytelling skills to work through case studies.

2. Leverage the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)

The fear of missing out is a powerful force. Nobody wants a great deal or a juicy secret to pass them by.

If you can create a sense of anxiety or urgency in your audience, you’ll get a reaction out of them.

One good way to use FOMO is to promote a product or a deal for a limited time only.

After all, who hasn’t bought a limited-edition product simply because it won’t be available later?

Another idea is to offer an exclusive membership or loyalty program. If people worry about what they might be missing out on, they’ll be more interested in your brand and your product. 

3. Make Your Audience Feel Special or Powerful

The desire to feel special drives a lot of purchasing decisions.

From clothes to gadgets to cars, consumers often buy things just to feel unique or superior to other people. Harnessing this drive is a great way to build a strong image for your brand.

To tap into your audience’s desire to feel special, use your content to paint a specific picture of your product or service: it’s high-quality, distinctive, and a bit exclusive.

Represent your current customers as people your audience can identify with or would like to imitate. Product demos, customer spotlights, and evocative advertisements are all good ways of doing this.

For this strategy (and any other emotional marketing strategy) to work well, you’ll need to know your audience.

Content that pushes some people’s emotional buttons won’t work on others, so don’t forget to make audience research an ongoing part of your work. 

4. Create a Feeling of Belonging

People need to feel accepted, liked, and important. Because of this, content that makes people feel like part of an in-group or cause can be very effective.

One way to make use of the feeling of belonging is to present your brand as a club or lifestyle, instead of just a business.

Look at Apple for a great example of how to put this idea into practice. There’s a major social and emotional component to Apple’s marketing. Some people consider using Apple products to be almost part of their identity.

Your business may not have the same reach as Apple, but you can do the same thing on a smaller scale by creating a strong brand image and nurturing a sense of exclusivity around your product.     

5. Use Mystery to Make Your Content More Compelling

Unanswered questions are intriguing.

That’s why so many pieces of content are titled with a question – people want to know the answer, so they click.

If you want more people’s eyes on your content, adding a little mystery might be exactly what you need.

Ask a question in your title, and use the body of your content to answer it.

Or, if there are any long-standing unanswered questions in your field, try creating content around them, since people tend to be interested in the unknown.

6. Promise to Help Your Audience Achieve Their Goals

Goal-setting and personal achievement are highly emotional topics.

For most people, there are desires, fears, and feelings of self-worth tied up in even the most pedestrian goals.

So if you can figure out what your audience wants most, you’ve got a direct route to their emotions. Offer to help them get what they want, and they’ll see you as an ally – and probably make a purchase.

To find the right angle with this approach, it’s especially important to do audience research.

Try to talk directly with your audience by polling or interviewing them. Then incorporate your findings into your content, highlighting how your product or service can help your audience get what they want out of life. 

7. Use Humor

Marketing doesn’t have to be serious all the time. In fact, including humor can be great for your brand’s image.

Laughter is a great way to form an instant connection with someone.

It also shows that your brand doesn’t take itself too seriously.

If your content has felt a little flat lately, try creating a humorous piece or two, and see how your audience receives it.

Keep in mind that while humor is versatile, it isn’t right for every situation. Know what’s appropriate in your field, and be careful not to say anything your audience might find insensitive or offensive.

In addition, be careful that your humor doesn’t stifle your brand’s authentic voice.

8. Surprise Your Audience

If you think your content might not be memorable enough, add an element of surprise.

Are there any common misconceptions in your field that you can break down?

What about surprising facts that most people wouldn’t believe at first?

Challenging someone’s ideas or changing their mind on an issue is a great way to get them to remember your brand.

Even a good plot twist at the end of a story can make your content stick in a reader’s mind long after they’ve clicked away.

9. Incorporate Pop Culture into Your Content

Using pop culture references can instantly make your content more interesting to a lot of people.

Pop Culture ReferencesFractl and Moz found that more than a quarter of high-performing content marketing campaigns included a pop culture reference.
High Low Social SharesAlmost one in four pieces of content that did well on social media contained a pop culture reference.

Research by Fractl and Moz found that content marketing campaigns were more likely to perform well and to go viral on social media if they included a pop culture reference.

Think about what types of entertainment your audience likes, and choose pop culture references that will establish a feeling of common ground with them.

Try including references to classic TV shows, new blockbusters, or even memes – just be sure not to infringe on any copyright laws.

The Takeaway

Emotion is the key to creating content that’s both memorable and effective.

Targeting positive emotions, such as amusement, empowerment, and a sense of community, is usually a good strategy, but you can also use negative emotions like anxiety to spur your audience to take action.

Try incorporating one or more of these highly effective emotional hooks into your next piece of content – you might be surprised at the reaction you get from your audience.

More Content Marketing Resources:


Image Credits
Featured Image: DepositPhotos.com
In-post images: Moz/Fractl

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Adam Heitzman

Adam Heitzman

Managing Partner at HigherVisibility

Adam Heitzman is a co-founder and managing partner at HigherVisibility, a nationally recognized SEO firm. Having been a marketing executive ... [Read full bio]

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