Using content to create a change

April 18, 2018

Content for affecting change

Blog posts, landing pages, videos on social media… Have you tried everything and you’re still not quite getting the clicks you need, the purchases you were hoping for, or the traffic you were expecting? At Intelligent Ink we understand there’s nothing more frustrating than pouring your heart and soul into the creation of content only for it to not have the impact you were hoping for.

Content is a powerful, persuasive tool but, like any tool, you need to keep it sharp or its effectiveness will be limited. Different forms of content will have different effects on your audience, and there’s no doubt that the way you word things matters. That’s why – to really have an impact – it’s important to first consider what you’re trying to achieve before you put pen to paper.

Today we’re looking at how to elicit particular responses in your audiences – changing the way they think, feel or act. Keep in mind, too, that you can use many of these in combination. As many good psychologists will tell you, it’s a lot easier to change someone’s behaviour once you’ve changed their thought processes!

 

Changing how someone thinks

Getting someone to think is all about piquing their interest and forcing them to engage their brains. The most straight-forward method of accomplishing this is by simply asking your audience a question (or several):

 

  • What do you enjoy about your daily commute to work?
  • How satisfied were you the last time you left the bank?
  • What frustrates you most about preparing dinner in the evening?

 

Questions will instantly and naturally elicit responses in your audience. They can be a great way of getting them to identify a problem that you’ve already figured out how to fix; they help your audience to identify (and identify with) your market need.

Of course, instead of asking someone what they think, you can also be a little more direct and explicitly tell them what to think. Say something a little contrary to the norm (or what you anticipate your audience’s opinion to be) and you’ll either reinforce their original belief or get them to challenge their own views (sometimes it can be hard to know which way they’ll go!) Either way, you should get their brain ticking over. This can be an even more powerful tool if you frame the message within a story so that the audience naturally reach the somewhat contrary conclusion – showing, again, the impact that stories can have.

 

Changing how someone feels

You’ll want to be targeting a different part of the brain if you’re trying to evoke emotions in your audience, and that means you’ll need to try some different tactics.

Once again, storytelling is your best bet when it comes to influencing your audience. Personal stories always have a lot of heart and it’s easy to figure out what emotions will result because you’ve been through the experience firsthand and know what mood you were in once you came out the other side. People are naturally good at emphasising with one another so, with a little bit of a push in the right direction, it can be fairly simple to get your audience on your side.

Whether you’re telling a personal story or simply relaying facts, you’ll want to get your audience putting themselves in your shoes (or the shoes of whoever you’re writing about!) Make it as easy as possible for your audience to do this by keeping everything relatable – let the audience know the similarities they share with the main player in the story before getting too imaginative with your words.

 

Changing how someone behaves

Often getting someone to act is facilitated by changing the way they think and feel first – but once you’ve done this, you still need to provide them with the tools to act on their thoughts and emotions.

It’s important to always include an emphatic ‘call to action’ in your content – tell your audience what steps they need to take next, compel them to act as if their life depends on it. This achieves two things: firstly, it makes it very easy for your audience to do what you’re trying to get them to do – they don’t have to search for your product or website themselves if you’re leading them straight to it; and secondly, it allows you strike while the iron is hot; when their emotions are running high and they’re already thinking about the problem you solve.

A call to action is especially useful if you’ve already provided your audience with a little taster of what’s to come. If you’re selling an eBook, for example, make sure your content shows off the high quality information that will be found in said eBook; in other words, provide them with a bit of value right away.

Finally, remember to show your audience the impact of their actions – will they be able to run a more efficient business? Will they help to save a child’s life? Reveal a tangible positive outcome of people’s changing behaviour to really hammer home your call to action.

 

Content is key when it comes to changing how your audience feel, think and act – so make sure you plan your content based on what you’re trying to accomplish!

If you’re struggling to put together compelling content, or just want to fine-tune what you’re doing, then get in touch – and we can help capitalise on some of the many opportunities provided by great content.