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5 Tips For Writing Top-Notch Content That Shares Itself

5 Tips For Writing Top-Notch Content That Shares Itself

There are hundreds of millions of blogs on the Internet, so why should anyone care about yours? If you want to write top-notch content people care about, you need to do everything within your power to stand out from the pack. Apply the following 5 tips if you want to craft emotionally powerful blogs that your reader can’t resist talking about.

1. Know Your Audience

Before you pound out a blog, consider the characteristics of your reader. Are they busy people who appreciate concise material that gets straight to the point without one iota of meandering, or would they appreciate a good in-depth personal story to illustrate your point? If you’re not sure, experiment with short action-based posts and long story-based posts to discover what format results in more interaction, shares, and traffic. Be a relentless self-experiment until you discover what makes your audience tick.

2. Keep It Real

Trying to write material that connects with every single person will guarantee that you connect with no one. Think about it: do you enjoy reading generic content devoid of personality or purpose? Let your personality shine because phoniness can be detected from miles away.

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3. Illustrate Their Pain and Provide a Solution

Every post you write should solve a problem your reader is struggling with. Hook your reader by illustrating their pain in agonizing detail. If you need some help, ask yourself the following questions to get started:

  • What are some common shared goals of my target audience?
  • Why do they typically fail to meet those goals?
  • What negative thoughts are they telling themselves that prevent them from taking action?
  • How would taking action directly benefit them today?

4. Be Aware of Why People Share

People share content online as an extension of themselves, so you need to be aware of the psychological triggers that lead your readers to engage with your material. The easiest way to grasp this concept is simple: think about the last few blogs or articles you shared and ask yourself, “Why did I share this particular piece of material?” Below are the most common reasons people click the share button:

Helpful: If a reader was helped by a blog, they might feel inspired to share it with their friends so they can benefit too.

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Funny: People love to show everyone how witty they are, so they will be more than happy to share some laughs with their friends.

Exclusive: The best bloggers make their readers feel like they are part of a special club or movement. If you can make your audience feel like insiders, they will be unable to resist talking about you.

When in doubt, consider the firmly held beliefs of your audience and write a blog that is in complete agreement with their existing worldview. Pay attention to the comments people make on shared articles and you’ll probably notice things like:

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  • Amen!
  • This is SO true!
  • I couldn’t have said it better myself!

In other words, no one ever changes their mind about anything important because of a blog on the Internet. Write material that speaks to the beliefs of your reader and they will share your content as an extension of themselves.

5. Use Power Words Full of Emotional Weight

Tell me which passage sounds better:

“Losing weight can become frustrating if you keep trying and trying without achieving any results. Click here to learn about 10 sure-fire ways to lose fat.”

Yawn.

 “Are you sick and tired of crash diets that don’t include enough food to feed a mouse? Click here if you want to build a sexy body that allows you to walk with confidence and swagger… no restrictive dieting required.”

Now we’re talking! To craft top-notch content people care about, don’t merely consider what your audience wants but become aware of why they want it. Help your reader visualize the specific benefits they desire by using power words that elicit a strong emotional response. Click here for a comprehensive list of 317 power words that will instantly make you a better writer. To maximize the impact of your new-and-improved vocabulary, combine those power words with these 8 qualities of powerful writing.

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More by this author

Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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