Inboxes aren’t often exciting places. Neither are the majority of web pages, if we’re honest. This can work to your advantage. Your content will stand out when you can reach your supporter’s emotional brain. This is where motivations are fueled. It’s where decisions are made. It’s where attention spans expand.
Whether you’re writing for an email, a webpage, or a post for social media, emotion is the fuel that will drive actions, inspire shares, and commit important ideas to memory.
Anything that will stir emotions will work here—surprise, intrigue, shock, sadness, joy... Find space for a mix of positive and negative emotional responses across your communications. Avoid focussing solely on negative emotions such as sadness, outrage, and anger—this will fatigue most audiences before long. Remember to replenish your supporter’s emotional reserves with stories of hope and aspiration. Telling your movement story is a great way to do this with authenticity.
Millions upon millions of chickens raised for meat will die from lameness before they even reach slaughter age. Birds who can’t walk may suffer painful lesions from contact with feces soaked litter, and may starve without the ability to reach food or water.
In her short life, a ‘meat’ chicken will struggle to carry the weight of her unnaturally large body. There’s a very real chance her legs may collapse—leading to painful ‘breast blisters’ from constantly lying in feces. Unable to reach food or water, she faces a slow death by starvation.
Visual storytelling can also emote more strongly when the focus of a photo or video allows the viewer to connect with an individual. Choose hero images that draw focus to individuals through composition, closeups, or eye contact. Combine individual-centric visuals with individual-centric messaging to multiply this effect.
There’s a reason we teach children important lessons through stories. We’re hardwired to pay attention to them. For thousands of years, this is how we’ve passed on intergenerational information. And our appetite for books, television and movies proves that this is something we never grow out of.
Great stories do more than document ‘what happened when’. Sometimes recounting events in chronological order is the least compelling way to tell a story. Consider how different structures can reveal insights, heighten tension, and build emotional investment in the fate of your subject.
The most memorable stories in human history (such as ‘ the hero’s journey’) are repeated in modern culture again and again and again. This is a story you can tell, too. Inspire actions by writing your supporter into your narrative and turning them into the hero of change stories.
Purely aspirational stories lack consequence; purely negative ones lack hope. A story that connects both outrage and hope will create a ‘pull’ in your reader that you can use to drive action, support, and sharing. By stretching the emotional range in your narrative, you can enhance emotional persuasion.
Facts and statistics will struggle to move your audience. That’s because people’s decisions (and opinions) are largely driven by emotions. When making an emotionally persuasive argument, lead with emotional narrative and follow with facts. Facts will rarely convince your reader, however, they will help your reader rationalize and cement their position.
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