Create a Setting and Connect With Emotions

Chris Brogan Drinking Colombian Coffee

I recently moved the delivery time of my beloved newsletter to be Sunday morning (well, that’s when it launches here, though my New Zealander and Australian friends all get it on Monday). In the process, I talked to people about sharing this information over breakfast, and with a “second cup of coffee” sometimes. I basically set a scene in the reader’s head that we were having a personal chat over breakfast.

Ask yourself this: in trying to reach others for whatever your goal may be, is it facts or emotions that will win them over? Which do you think plays the bigger role? Related: what’s the benefit of creating an experience for your customer or prospect such that you tell a story with every aspect of your communications? Would you guess it’s not important, or do you think it merits a lot of thought and consideration?

Create a Setting

Have you ever asked yourself about the “where” of your conversations or media making? I suppose if you’re shooting video then the where pretty much is evident in what you use for a background. But what about in your blog posting or other articles? Where do you want the reader to imagine herself when she’s reading? What stage do you want to set around her?

When we talk about a ‘setting’ for your material, this doesn’t have to be hokey. Just because I describe two delicious over-medium eggs and dipping into the golden yolk with crisp sourdough toast doesn’t mean you have to paint a specific picture like that, but it would be useful to consider the tone of your material and what you hope the reader will take from it. Are you writing for someone sitting in the boardroom? Are you writing for a busy mom on the go? Are you writing for an up and comer or an established pro? Should this be something one reads while waiting in line at the grocery store, or the kind of post that you should read on the front porch, with some lemonade and a cucumber sandwich?

In my mind’s eye, my blog is written as if you are at your desk, in between other duties, and you’ve found five minutes to check in and get some fuel for your plans. The blog, in my thoughts, is for your office, or your coffee shop office. My newsletter, as I said before, is for a personal chat over breakfast. And why is that?

Connect With an Emotion

If I had to give you a general emotional palette for this blog, it would be: confidence,a sense of accomplishment (when you realize something for yourself), and caring. Those are the emotions I want to tap into with you. Have you ever considered which emotions you’d most like to reach in your audience? What are they? And what do they say about your goals?

The business goal of this blog is (and has been for a while) to earn a prominent spot in your mind, and from that, to earn the occasional opportunity to help with strategic advice around developing your digital channel for business. The secondary business goal is to earn the right to keynote or privately educate your association or corporation. So how does this all mesh together?

My blog (and remember, I’m just giving you mine as an example) is written for two purposes:

1.) Educate and equip you for your own success.
2.) Gently remind you that I can help your company with larger goals.

In the case of my efforts here, I want you to find confidence, find a sense of accomplishment, and find reasons to care. Those are pretty reasonable emotions to tap into in this setting.

But there are obviously other emotions. What about fear? Does your writing help others remove fears? You could say that back in the day, Gary Vaynerchuk created Wine Library to remove the average person’s fears about knowing what to do with wine. How about greed? Would you say that John Chow writes to appeal to people who want to make money? I would.

Whatever you choose isn’t a bad or a good emotion (for the most part). But in most cases, people don’t tend to think about reaching out and connecting into emotions, and as such, they miss the opportunity to connect on a level that goes below numbers.

How Will you Apply This?

When I bought my Camaro SS, do you think I cared what the gas mileage was? Sure, I looked at what Consumer Reports had to say, but I couldn’t actually tell you much about it. I bought the Batmobile! That car, emotionally, is my view of speed and power and freedom. The car doesn’t make me feel young. It makes me feel like a superhero. So, if you were going to sell to me, what would you have to do? You’d have to figure out the emotions and the tone and setting with which to couch information to me.

Do you consider that much when writing your blog or creating your other media? My guess is you will now. I’m eager to hear what you think the setting and the emotional center of your site is, and what you’re doing to reach out to people in those ways. Let’s talk more about this in the comments, shall we?

And if you want to see my efforts on setting and emotion at work, check out my personal weekly letter to you.

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