The history of advertising has relied on capturing the emotions of potential customers. Whether it’s tugging at heart stings or pushing buttons, there’s no denying the power of words to persuade consumers into buying, donating or otherwise making a commitment to a brand.

Creating an Emotional Engagement

So it’s no surprise that when it comes to creating and publishing content for your website, Facebook account or Twitter feed, the words you choose are just as important. Though many of the interactions you may have online may not directly solicit a product or advertise a service, everything you and your company says online is a reflection of its values.

In past discussions, we talked about the key ingredients of a content strategy -- including audience, refined content and engagement. Although we questioned its inclusion at the time, when it comes to building a relationship with a customer or user, nothing ensures engagement like emotion.

However, according to Steve McKee of BusinessWeek, many businesses fall for what McKee calls the "fallacy of rationality." He describes the fallacy:

That's when you believe that if you just present the rational benefits of your product—the better mousetrap—the world will beat a path to your door. Sure, features, benefits, and cost/value equations enter into it, but never do they do all the heavy lifting. I can't think of a single purchase occasion that's completely rational.

Is Your Content Strategy Relevant?

For those of us who work close to the products and services we talk and write about online, we may think it’s most appropriate for us to relate to a user’s common sense. Instead, we might try evoking personality and emotion. Deana Goldasich, writing for Social Media Today urges us to “take a close look at your online content and social media content” and ask:

Is your online brand evoking any emotion and personality? Or is it safe and scientific? Sure, your blog and social networking efforts may win you respect, admiration and visibility. But, how effective have you been in truly connecting with your friends, fans, contacts and colleagues?

We are constantly reminded that social media is about transparency, which requires authenticity. Nothing attracts the interests of other like one’s true self, so try putting yourself or your voice into your next blog or product description. Many company CEOs have seen success showing some personality among their tweets, status updates and blog posts, while Google’s product and software engineers regularly participate with videos demonstrating new releases and product launches.

A content strategy is most effective when it successfully identifies and meets the needs of its audience. Before you decide to appeal to your users emotions, take the time to research understand what resonates best with them. Who are they? What does your product or service attempt to alleviate? What are their biggest challenges?

By harnessing the power of your words you can work to relate to your customer so that they can begin to trust your brand.