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Don’t Let Emotion Be MIA In Your Content

Posted By Darren Rowse 20th of June 2008 Writing Content 0 Comments

Too many times, bloggers focus on their content without stopping to think about how they’re presenting it. Today Dave Hughes takes a look at creating memorable content by injecting Emotion into it.

The trick is to know how to construct an effective bloggerie (or blog post). Luckily, this doesn’t involve deals with the devil, mystic VooDoo rituals or ancient Chinese secrets. (Unless you want to base your chances of business success on Satan, a dead chicken and a fortune cookie, in which case have at it.) There’s one simple method that is present in all effective marketing that you should use in creating your content: an emotional connection.


Let’s play a game. Look at the following group of letters and tell me what they mean:


Now, let’s look at those same letters, in the same order, but presented in a different way:


I’m going to bet the second group is easier to comprehend, easier to remember, and has more of an impression than the first group. Why? The same “message” is contained in both, but in the second case the message was constructed to play upon your preconceived mental images and emotional connections.

I don’t mean that proper blogging uses acronyms (although they don’t hurt at all)…in the second case, you don’t have to explain what “FBI” stands for, or “CIA”, “NASA”, etc. Your readers will automatically have a mental image pop into mind when they see them.

No one has to be told what the IRS is, but AIRS could be anything.

No Business Like Show Business

Let’s look at this from a completely different angle; Hollywood movie pitches. Pretend for a moment that you’re a movie studio executive accepting one-sentence pitches for new movies. You’ve got $50 million dollars to invest in a movie…all you’re looking for is a sure-fire idea. (After all, you had to mow a lot of lawns to build that $50 million up!) Here’s the first pitch:

“A balding guy runs around in American cellars and caves, finding treasure and solving mysteries.”

Okay…not too bad. It might even have potential. Now, let’s hear the next one:

“It’s ‘The DaVinci Code’ meets ‘Indiana Jones’!”

Which movie do you have a clearer picture of in your mind? They both describe the “National Treasure” movie franchise, but which one makes it easier to envision how great it could be?

Now, are you trying to sell balding guys running around cellars and caves when you write, or two blockbusters combined into one package?

Don’t Forget To Be Memorable

Don’t focus on standing out…focus on being memorable. The best way to do that is to form an emotional connection with your readers, and one of the most effective ways to do that is to help your customers make an association between your writing and something they already have an emotional connection with.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  • Being memorable is the key, I am just finding my feet in this on my financial blog and am beginning to write content which is edgy and diferent yet practical and constuctive

  • Gee Darren, emotion in your every post is a hard ask. Unless I am hot under the collar about a topic or posting something that I am really emotional about, the only emotion you will see on my posts will be an emoticon!

    Man, I am going to have to sit back some and really have a think about this. Thanks mate I really needed to stress out the old brain cells this morning. ;)

  • Did you get that from the book Made to Stick?

  • So don’t string random letters together unless they are common acronyms, and keep your titles short and punchy. Good advice I guess, but I’m not sure either are really the answer to infusing your posts with emotion. I actually don’t see the connection with the acronyms at all (I know it wasn’t literal, but I still don’t see it).

    Wouldn’t better advice for writing emotionally be something along the lines of “write about a topic you care about” or just to keep things personal? I think there is kind of a disconnect here between the idea for the post and the actual advice given.

    Or maybe it is just me :)

  • I found this article to be one of your best. It’s really summed up in your last few sentences, “… be memorable…” It’s what separates you from the pack. Whether it’s with emotional copy or in your overall brand.

    Great advice!

    Maria Reyes-McDavis

  • “A balding guy runs around in American cellars and caves, finding treasure and solving mysteries.”

    Makes me think: “mmm, weird”, but depending on the actors and director I might think “mmm, perhaps I should check it out, could be interesting”.

    “It’s ‘The DaVinci Code’ meets ‘Indiana Jones’!”
    That just makes me think “I want something new, I don’t want to see the stuff already done in a different skin”.

    Guess I wouldn’t make much for selling blockbusters, but on the other hand most of what they try to sell also really doesn’t hit me as anything special :P.

    Also as for the words present:
    FB is final boss
    ICI is a programming language
    Ana makes me think of pro-Ana
    Sami are laplanders

    AIRS is the only thing which doesn’t hold any meaning to me, but I’m sure it’s an acronym for something which for certain bloggers will make just as much sense as IRS if not more.

    If it wasn’t due to a documentary on discovery about some crazy guy who tried to blow up one of their buildings I wouldn’t have known what it was :P.

  • yeah, how do you go about establishing a connection with readers?

  • My first thought when I saw the title was that it might be tricky for many writers to inject emotion into their content. The idea of a writer presenting an idea by connecting it to associations a reader might already be familiar with is the way to do that, as stated, but I don’t know if a lot of bloggers/writers would realize that. What I think I’m trying to say is that this requires empathy, lots of people just don’t have that.

    Although…I guess that might be different for a writer…. just thinkin’ ‘out loud’ here…

  • I recently went to a talk by Simon Sinek ( where he talked about how powerful it can be to tell your customers (or your readers in this case) WHY you do what you do and not just HOW to do things.

    He made the great point about how Apple Computer uses emotion to sell their products in a market segment where everyone else competes on features and cost.

    I’m a pretty pragmatic person, so my blog (I blog about travel with kids) is usually full of practical advice, top ten lists, etc. My readers seem to like it, but after hearing Simon’s talk I’ve been thinking more about how to convey my thoughts and feelings about why I write the articles I do.

    Your post came at a nice moment for me, because tomorrow I plan to publish my first post on WHY I’m writing about my topic. I am launching a series of articles on traveling with children who have severe allergies and I worry that the bulk of my audience will just “change the channel” so I want to explain why I think the topic is important enough to spend a few posts on even though it doesn’t apply to everyone.

    I’m excited to see how my readers respond, whether I strike a chord with them, whether I get a lot of comments, etc


  • I get the last part of this post, about the emotional connection. I wrote an article and got it dugg expecting only a few dozen diggs, but it was liked so much it got to the front page :)

    I’m not the greatest writer in the world, probably down there with some of the ‘no so good’ but that day I wanted to just write what I was thinking in my head. And got comments like “omg I feel like I wrote this article!”

    That felt really good to read that :)

    Great article again Darren!!

  • It’s definitely easier to apply this advice when you’re writing about something you care deeply about. For instance, in my blog about biking, a post about almost getting hit by a careless driver would probably be a lot more emotional than a review I could write about some gear.

    BUT that doesn’t mean you can’t connect on a personal, memorable level if the topic is one you’re less passionate about. My tip would be to try and think back to why you started your blog in the first place. Remember the energy you had about answering questions or giving advice, and run with it.

    You’d be surprised how a trip down memory-lane can revitalize your ability to put emotion into your posts.

  • This post is so timely for me. My articles have been getting more and more personal lately and I feared perhaps too much so. I suppose for some readers, they may be. But, I am pushing myself past my comfort zone anyway b/c I write to try to help those few who might benefit from it rather than those who might be offended by it. Thanks for the great post, Dave!

  • Being memorable is difficult.

    Sticking out is a lot easier.

    Remember the article on “The Class Clown?” He stuck out and was memorable becasue of that.

    I find it difficult to write “GREAT” content every single day. Good content yes….great content…well not everyday.

    The Masked Millionaire

  • You had me until you implied National Treasure was great…

  • Good point….content must have feelings //emotions

  • A very excellent article! I only have one complaint: you forgot to mention P.I.B. – perhaps the most important acronym of all. It stand for:

    P.I. Blog

  • Memories are connected to emotions. Your blog makes a powerful point to keep in mind when writing – and how you would like your blogs to be remembered and what type of emotions that will be connected to your blog.

    Jessica Bond
    Medical Careerist

  • Writing creativity is needed to make readers read and effecting to their emotion, in which I have to learn more.

    Standing out writing might be interesting but to keep it memorable needs something extra – PASSION.

    Good point. And it keep me away from writing bloggerie reflecting on my personal views.

  • I seem to remember that game in Made to Stick. :P

  • Great article. I’ve been way too clinical in my article writing (mainly due to my daytime profession) and this is a good step in the direction of stopping. I’d be the guy describing Nicholas Cage as balding normally, the Indy meets Davinci sounded too hyperbolic to me.

    The more I read Problogger, the more natural I’m finding myself getting. Maybe some day!

  • Every post coming from Problogger always seems to impress me. This article was excellent, and a great reminder that emotion plays a critical part in any blog. What great information. Your articles have led me to be persuaded to purchase your Problogger book – as I’m always interested in the knowledge I gain from your writings!

  • Great guest post. I definitely agree with the emotional connection. We must remember that we are not being seen by our readers and they depend only on what they read.

    It’s funny that I just made a post I think is similar to this one. It is entitled How to convince your Visitors to read your Blog Posts. And here is the summary.

    1.0 Inspire them
    2.0 Guide them
    3.0 Sell your posts, not yourself
    4.0 Be simple as possible


  • Who is MIA?

  • Thanks for the comments, everyone (and thanks for letting me guest-post, Darren!).

    For the record, I never said it was easy. :) I struggle with it every day, but one type really stood out for me in the above list; summed up, it says “It’s hard to do this unless you’re passionate about the subject of your blog.”

    That’s a very good point, and one of the reasons why one of the most-given pieces of advice to beginning bloggers is “Write about a topic you’re passionate about.” If you do that, then putting emotion into your posts will be mostly automatic.

    Later, you’ll learn to find passion in whatever topic you write about. I always know when I’ve failed to do that, because I can re-read what I’ve written and my only comment is “Boy, that stinks.”

    I’m reminded of a quote originally attributed to French novelist Jean Giraudoux…”The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you’ve got it made.” (It became more well-known after George Burns altered it slightly to refer to success as an actor.)

  • Reminds me of the studies showing that you don’t need letters in the correct order for people to be able to comprehend the text.

  • That exercise above is very similar to one in the book “Made to Stick”, I highly recommend to everyone.

  • Hi Darren,

    I love this blog and have linked to it from my blog. Many of your posts help ME become a better blogger, and this one is an example.

    I took up your idea, and really shared a bit of what happened to me in the day, and the result is there – comments! Not just comments, but the second comment responded to the first and mine responding to it!!!!! This is my first “community feeling” and the credit directly goes to this post of yours. I would like to share this post with you. I know a post with 4 comments, 2 of which are from me wouldn’t even make you look again, but what I AM sharing here is the impact your blog has had on me.

    Thank you and keep up the good work!!! I have linked to you from my personal blog, and am making a post about posts that specially helped me (writing it right now). This post inspired me again.


  • This is the post where I begin my list of helpful articles with this one.

  • Great post. It reminds me that I need to be clearer when I write a post. Not in a sense of writing in a more basic way but creating a clearer picture. I think using analogies to help explain complex topics works well.