Your Quick Reminder to be Emotional (in Your Website Content)

Gianna Callioni
. 19 Dec 2022 . 4 min read

Picture your website. You’ve optimised your SEO, mapped your customer journey, fixed all your anchor tags, finalised your design… but your site visitors aren’t making a decision (outside of the decision to click the x on the browser tab). Naturally, you want your site visitors to do something other than leave you. If you’ve considered all the obvious things, have you also considered your team may be writing from too rational a point of view?

Whether we like it or not, our emotions typically outweigh our rational thoughts when it comes to making decisions. Obviously, everyone is different and you’ll always find some people who are more swayed by rational thinking, but it still typically comes after emotion has made the first judgement call.

Research suggests the difference in emotive content versus rational content in ads can lead to a 23% increase in conversions. Purely based on how you’ve made your audience feel.

We’re marketers though, so it can be easy to rely on data to get our point across and forget to involve emotion (a little bit of irony for you in those three sentences there). Writing with data is pointing out facts. Writing with emotion takes more effort and involvement. When you’re working in a fast-paced environment and are pushed to get a lot of content out, it can be harder to include emotion that’s not simply, ‘I can’t believe I have to write ANOTHER article’.

A quick note on why emotion is so important when writing content

If you’ve got a team of copywriters behind you, it might be good to revisit the ‘why’ with them. Why does emotion play such a big role in the effectiveness of website content?

Human psychology has unearthed the theory of dual processing — the idea that there are two parts of your brain making a decision: your emotional brain (intuitive thoughts) and your logical brain (deliberate thoughts).

When people are confident of an initial intuitive answer, they are less likely to spend time rethinking it or to change their answer after reflection.

Jonathan Evans and Keith Stanovich Dual-Process Theories of Higher Cognition

So basically, we’re just not very good at changing our minds if we think we’re right.

Sometimes, our emotions process things automatically and unconsciously, then our brains try to rationalise that emotional response. Even if our rational brain may not have come to the same conclusion originally, the fact that our emotions have already decided for us often makes it difficult to change that decision.

Is your content emotionally driven?

With the beginning of a new year comes the perfect time to take stock of the content on your website. (You know – ‘new year, new you’ and all that jazz). This could include blog articles, product descriptions, general webpages, anywhere you should be wringing out emotions from your audience.

Depending on how much content you have to go through and how big your team is, you may wish to work through it together or assign a set number of pages to each team member. Go through each piece and note down which emotions you feel when reading (or listening, or watching). Are they the emotions you need from that piece of content? Is there emotion there at all? Of course, emotions are subjective, so as part of this process, specifically look for emotionally-charged phrases, words, or editing.

Once you’ve done your ‘emotion audit’, you may need to edit some of your content. If that’s the case, we encourage you to go through each of these steps:

  1. Think about what action you want your audience to take when they read each piece of content. Remember, this action may be different depending on where people are on your site and at which stage of their buyer’s journey they’re on.
  2. Think about which emotional state is more likely to drive that emotion. Should people be feeling happiness, intrigue, nostalgia? What feelings are going to make them do what you want them to do? And to what degree? We don’t need quite as much of a connection with choosing toothpaste as we do with choosing our home.
  3. Research which emotionally persuasive words will align with that action and emotion (and then actually use them). You can try a resource like this to get started.

And now you watch and wait for the tears and laughter to help you convert more people on your site. Hopefully.

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