People are wired to connect. Neuroscientists have discovered that there is a part of our brains in the prefrontal cortex that helps us tune into other people, making the connections that are necessary to create relationships that help us survive.
How does this little bit of neuroscience have anything to do with blogging? Because the most successful blog posts are those where the writer has tuned into something that the reader is experiencing. This affects that part of the brain, generating an emotional connection with the reader.
For those who understand how people really make decisions, that’s the key. You may imagine that we weigh all the rational choices and do some mental calculation in our heads that helps us make a choice but in reality, all the possible considerations would literally stop us in our tracks if we didn’t have the shorthand of emotions to guide us.
Typical objectives for a corporate blog don’t take this into consideration. They focus on goals like providing thought leadership, generating traffic, or to improving SEO–all reasonable goals for a blog but they tell only part of the story. If you want to truly influence people, the most effective way to do that is to connect with them on a deeper, emotional level.
And as a marketer, influencing people is your job.
This means that when people read your post, they must feel something. When a reader connects with you emotionally, you are able to establish trust and as we all know, trust is what makes people want to do business with us. The secret sauce is how you accomplish that.
At Lion Brand, we have several talented writers who are passionate about our product. Our objectives are to inspire and educate people. But the real home runs are when we are able to touch peoples’ emotions. A recent post by a guest blogger is a perfect example of creating that emotional connection.
Franklin Habit, wrote a post called Me, Me, Me, about how he feels guilty about knitting sweaters for himself. He talked about how he gives away most of what he knits and it is sometimes unappreciated. He goes on to say that if he knit more for himself, he would know that he could make something that fit perfectly and it would give him great pleasure. Franklin was able to tune into a universal truth about knitters and about people in general that speaks to the guilt of taking care of yourself. He did it with openness, vulnerability and humor. (I invite you to read the post and consider how you relate to it, whether you knit or not.)
The numbers back up the power of connection. That post, written within the last couple of weeks has been viewed over 11,000 times, shared on social media a couple of hundred times and has received many comments that talk about how he captured their feelings exactly. Clearly engagement is closely related to connection.
There is truly nothing like the feeling that someone “gets” you. People who read that post knew they had been “felt.” This mirroring of peoples’ emotions is one of the most important ways to connect with others. When reading his piece they said to themselves, “Yeh, that’s how I feel too sometimes too.”
I know myself that my most successful posts were written when I was emotional about something and felt I needed to right a wrong. When I wrote this post about how businesses need to change to be able to participate in social media I was feeling angry about an interchange with someone who didn’t understand this. I believe that the sharing of this post was based on others who felt the same frustration that I did.
It’s not realistic to think that you can create a moving piece of writing every day. In the same way that relationships are built on a range of communication from small talk to deep, relationship-building conversations, a blog will consist of a mix of different types of writing.
There are probably thousands of blog posts about (pick your number) of ways to get more traffic or to write a successful post. And all of those tips and tricks can lead to the “small talk” part of the relationship.
But the real secret sauce of a great blog post is the ability to connect with another human being and to make that person feel that you know her. That’s how we create relationships that last.
For an excellent explanation of how we connect with people by mirroring their emotions, read Mindsight by Daniel J. Siegel M.D.