Confessions of a Copywriter: Emotional Triggers For Blogging Persuasively

by Chris Kahler · 19 comments

This is a guest post by Chris Kahler from

How awesome would it be if you could convince anyone reading your content to do exactly what you say?

How efficiently would you grow your blog and your business if everyone would just do as you asked?…

Persuasion is a skill learned just like any other, and is one of the most beneficial investments one can make as a blogger.

Then the question becomes… What makes this skill so special over any others?

It’s simple really…

If people aren’t compelled to act then they won’t do it. That means you won’t get readers, subscribers, followers, comments, or make any sales.

Bottom line is… well you won’t have a bottom line – your income, traffic stats, and everything else will be pretty much a flat line.

But, on the flip side there’s the scientifically backed methods of influence. Copywriters use these methods daily to generate billions of dollars in sales for companies.

Did you know the top blog in the AdAge Power 150 is Guess why..?

He applies (and teaches) the principles of copywriting with blogging.

Rather than make this an entire lesson on copywriting since there isn’t the time or space here, I’m going to cover the most important aspect: tapping into the emotional triggers of your audience.

The copywriter’s first and most important rule before writing anything about a product or service is to know the prospect. Do you know your audience? If not you should figure out who you are writing for and apply these emotional triggers.

Trigger #1: Curiosity

This trigger is one of the most powerful to be used by bloggers. We have an advantage for creating curiosity.

Normally the thought of curiosity is paired with exploration. The power of curiosity for blogging isn’t found in a person’s desire to explore though.

The exploration that curiosity is responsible for has drawn some of the histories greatest minds to conclude some of the greatest discoveries and inventions of all time. For blogging, there is a term that describes the true power caused by curiosity which I’ll explain in just a sec…

First, here are a few curios creators that have shaped history:

  • Albert Einstein – He was deeply curios with matter, relativity, and physics.
  • Thomas Edison – He was a curios inventor who revolutionized electrical history.
  • Steve Jobs – A very curios man who is responsible for histories largest inventive revolution (smartphones).

So the power of curiosity is something to be reckoned with, huh?

How it relates to blogging is a bit differently, but the power is still there. Psychologists call this the Zeigarnik effect. What it has to deal with is our drive to finish a thought, task, or any uncompleted activity.

Ever lost something and started looking for it, only to find that you simply couldn’t stop searching until you found it? That’s the Zeigarnik effect at work. That is the power of curiosity that a blogger can put to use effectively.

How To Use This Trigger For Blogging

Actually this one is almost built into the basic nature of blogging. Nearly every post is an incomplete thought in some way. For example, this post doesn’t scratch the surface on how many actual triggers there are. I’m only covering some of the most powerfully important ones.

As a blogger though, you can do wonders with curiosity in your blog posts. One thing I’m currently doing is creating a mega series consisting of smaller individual series. Each individual series is meant to teach a skill set required for blogging successfully.

The first series is on copywriting for blogging success, and because there is so much to explain I can easily create a curiosity factor which will keep people coming back for more. This is a very great tactic for growing a blog, community, and repeat readership.

Keep in mind any future post ideas you may have that revolve around a single topic you blog about. Are there any ways you can arouse curiosity in your readers so they will stick around for more in the future?

Keep your future growth in mind as you write and use curiosity to draw people along for that growth.

Trigger #2: Reciprocity

This is an emotional trigger that results in waves of positivity for you and your readers. Reciprocity is a trigger based on the emotions of gratitude and obligation.

Reciprocity is simply the act of giving value away to others and them giving back in return. A lot of the time what you get back is more than what you may have given out.

The psychology behind this is pretty simple as well. When someone receives something of value they subconsciously feel indebted to the person. Whether or not the giver asked to get something back, the person will likely do so anyways just to get rid of the uncomfortable feeling.

The primary way bloggers benefit from reciprocity is by giving away value and asking for what they want, be it social media shares, comments, or opt ins.

For blogging this works extremely well. I actually get more newsletter opt ins at the end of blog posts that I’ve written. I have numerous places to sign up, but it seems I get more after someone has read my content.

Could that be from curiosity? Or could they be opting in as a favorable act?

Probably a little of both. However, the best way to benefit from reciprocity is by having a free report or giveaway to hand out. This will create a much more loyal follower out of someone as the value is automatically perceived to be higher.

The point here is to make your blog as useful as you can and give value everywhere. Read your blog from time to time through the eyes of a stranger… does it seem helpful to you? If not you should do what you can to make your content more useful.

Trigger #3: Hope

This one won’t take too much time to explain. Hope is pretty much a self-explanatory emotion, but did you know it works wonderfully as a trigger as well?

A blog that creates the perception of a hopeful future for others is more desirable than one that doesn’t. To have a positive outlook will bring more readers and followers to stand behind your efforts.

A lot of bloggers tend to take on negative tonality and try to pass it off as being straightforward. I think you can have a positive tonality, still tell it how it is, and paint a beautiful picture of the future for you and your audience.

Here’s a good piece of advice regarding this trigger… if you can learn how to tell a good story, you can stir up a lot of hope in your readers.

That is how you inspire others, and people who are inspired will ALWAYS come back to you for more.

Trigger #4: Want More?

Hate to do that to you, but this post only has three real triggers to use… I’ve rambled a bit and this post is long.

As I mentioned above, I do have a series on copywriting being rolled out (by the time you read this it may or may not be fully out. As of writing this, most of the series posts are still scheduled).

If you really want to learn copywriting skills, such as learning who your readers are and how to get them to act, then you don’t want to miss out on what I’ve concocted for you!

Now I want to know…

What were your thoughts on these emotional triggers? Do you apply them already; if so, in what ways?

About Chris Kahler

"Hi I'm Chris Kahler - I'm a copywriter and online marketer. I'm currently rolling out a massive blog post series so that you can learn to blog and enjoy this rewarding lifestyle! You can subscribe to my RSS to catch the series. Follow me on twitter - @CSKahler."

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susan December 19, 2011 at 10:44 pm

It seems to me that most publishers in the media use the “fear” trigger. Just watching Cnn/fox/msnbc – all of them- their all trying to scare us to death. And also on all of these channels EVERYTHING is “BREAKING NEWS.” Yeah right.
It’s a constant battle for “hearts, minds and eyeballs” to keep driving ad revenue.

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