In the last post we covered trust. We explored the most important factors to trust. I also made a quick infographic to view. It went over the 7 reasons that trust is so hard to get. If you haven’t seen those yet then view them first.
Now we need to look at gaining engagement. The core to a fruitful site.
Engagement come From Trust and Trust Comes From?
When we were looking at the previous post we focused on the 7 reasons trust was hard to get. We never really talked about how to get it. This post is all about how to acquire trust. Acquire is used specifically and I will explain why.
Acquisition of Trust is a Multi Step Process
In order to think about trust the right way we need to break it down to an acquisition strategy. It is not a quick fix. It will take some time but there are critical factors you can improve to gain speed. The process itself is rather simple so don’t get flustered.
Trust comes from your reader believing what you are saying and you delivering on it.
That in a nutshell seems like what you have been doing right? You publish content with prices and you are willing to sell at that price, right?
The problem to trust comes from the 7 factors we talked about.
7 Reasons Trust is Hard to Gain
- Your Audience has an attention problem.
- Analytics Give False Impressions
- Content Fatigue
- First Impressions Are Difficult
- Previous Experience
- Personality and Voice of Writing
- Problem Evoking Emotions
You now have to attack each of these items in order to gain trust.
The Trusted Engagement Attack Plan
Think in terms of short stories. If you can not recall any then take a moment and google some. They have a quick hit climax. There is a character established in two lines. You find a difficult choice or event. Then a quick conclusion after the event is done. Sometimes you are left to draw on your own conclusions from the story. Other times the author tells you the moral to the story.
That same template needs to be applied to all of your content.
You need to evoke emotion with every piece of content that you publish. In order to do that we are going to walk through a simple “how to” formed as an attack plan.
Step 1: Market Research Will Show You The Path
When you are going to write to your audience you have to know them. You have to study them. This means that you have to gain empathy. You have to understand the pain caused by the problems they have. That is when you can truly speak to them. Until you can feel the pain that your audience does you are not going to evoke emotion.
The pain that you want to focus on is in the form of a problem.
This is the problem caused by the absence of your service or product. You want to understand the exact language used by your potential readers.
I read the content marketing institutes forum. I read a lot of content marketing forums. I also have suffered from the same pain points as those contributing there.
Understand Their Pain Points and Read What Isn’t Written
When you read a post and you can see what is missing then you understand the pain points. In other words, when you can read into that persons mindset and struggle without them saying it. That is when you know you are grasping the pain. Pain seems like a strong word. It may not seem like pain. It is. It is the fact that without a fix there is a discomfort in their life.
Pain Killers Versus Luxury
There are two types of products or services. Either pain killers or luxury items. You want everything to be a pain killer. Pain killers are sought after. Luxury items do not evoke emotion. You need to transform your luxury items into pain killers.
This means that if you service or product is really just a benefit to being able to spend the money, you need to make it a giant void to live without it. When you have identified the pain points from your market research then you are ready to being defining the pain killers.
Step 2: Pain Killer Academy
When you are ready to define your service you have to first identify the pain. Market Research has given you an insight to the pain that your potential customers are facing. Take the words they used and that pain and form your pain killers.
Take your product or service and make a list of all the things it does for someone. Make the list extensive.
Now take that list and start thinking of the opposite of them. Make sure you identify two or three major pieces.
Washing Machines and Dryers
Think of it like this. At some point the common washer and dryer were considered a luxury item. There is a way to clean clothes without them. You would never dream of doing this today though right?
The benefits to having the washer and dryer add up quickly in your head when I speak of taking them away.
That is the same picture you want to pain with your service or product.
You want to showcase the fact that the absence of your item is going to leave the person in a sense of desperation. Yes there may be other ways to solve the issue we are speaking on. Those are outdated and waste valuable time. They also don’t work nearly as well as your product or service. Really dive down and show off the problems with life without your product or service.
Tell the Story – Think American Idol
Now it is time to frame the previous work into a story. Stories and storytelling will be around forever. You need to tell the story and evoke emotion.
American Idol does this wonderfully. I will explain each step I mean below.
Give Us A Character and Make It Good
Start your story by introducing a character. Whether it be someone you found in your market research or someone you make up with the problem. Make sure you change names to protect the innocent.
Some stories will need your business to be the character. Others (most) will need to portray someone the client can relate to. The best are when you can mold both into the story.
American Idol had Simon Cowell. The big bad guy that had all the power. He also was super critical.
In walks the perfect little 17 year old talent that just needed molding. Low and behold he would criticize her. The audience would vote and she would be an instant hit. The stories behind where the broken, poor, fatherless girl was were dripped in throughout the performances.
Layer In the Details but Select Carefully
You need to give the character a quick background. You need something that speaks to their problem.
Examples: Mother trying to make it in a man’s world. Husband and father of two kids living in an apartment with an eviction notice.
Something fast that sums up a fear or desperation. Something that in one or two lines can create a cinematic trailer.
“Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader—not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.”
The details that you add in throughout the story need to be specific. Don’t overlook but also don’t overload.
Give just enough that you paint the person in a picture. Leave just enough out that they have to mentally input the face.
This is where American idol would have the “glimpse” video when a contestant first started. Notice that they went over the hardships. Later on they would layer in the family rooting for them or the entire town. They went from adversity to showing the fact that so many people are believing in them. Details but broken up into episodes.
The Power of Specificity
Include a specific set of circumstances. List three items for every main point.
When you are painting the picture this is often the toughest part. It doesn’t have to be. Just think as if you were acting out the part.
Example: The cell phone rings and another bill collector demanding payment screams on the other end. Tom stops to clear his head before facing the brutal day of two jobs. Still hungry from breakfast he heads to work. He realizes he skipped breakfast in getting Jessica and Ben off to school with lunches and books in tow. He sighs, “I have to make this better, just as he enters the basement to begin cleaning.”
The short stories I told you to google will showcase this perfectly. You can pack a lot into 1,000 words if you have a purpose. You can describe feelings and critical points of emphasis. You can also gently hint that there is a rise coming.
American Idol hints at problems throughout the broadcast. They interview the contestants and show them having to work through difficulty. They then show them performing. Then they again talk through the rise of the previous performances. These are the subtle specific details that we all remember but forget. They are important pieces that form the relationship especially in the mind.
Mirroring is Where You Get To Tell Your Story
When you can place so much emotion inside of a character that they just blank as we all do then you can take over. You can talk through the emotion as the narrator. You get to cast the doubt to another level. You get to put the reader into the place of the character. You wrap the entire story into emotions for the viewer.
From Past Example: Tom realized while cleaning that without a new plan he would never stop the cycle. He had bet it all on his online business. He was once the rising star of a marketing organization. He had it all. He was now just grateful that his wife had stayed with him through the disaster. His feelings of grief and overwhelming emotion of how could it have went that bad eat at him. He continues the day through both jobs, janitor and night security guard, until he pulls into the small apartment. Her face riddled with worry, his wife opens the door to greet him. Tom made it for another day. What now?
American Idol does this with the voice over obviously. It paints the picture that they want you to see during the videos. That is what made the show so powerful and such a hit.
Immerse Yourself Into the Emotions of the Story
When you are writing the story you have to immerse yourself into the story. You have to almost be in tears and worry as you are writing about “Tom.” This is where the power of your authentic voice comes in. Your reader will gain a level of comfort with your story telling ability.
That consistency is what will drive trust. If they trust that every time they read your content they will gain a clear emotion. They will feel like a million dollars for overcoming. Even if they have the problem in the story beat, they get to live it again.
That emotional connection is caused when you have your emotions in your writing through your characters.
To Carry On Our Example: Tom talked to Gina. Her worry was over the fact that he had gotten a call back form a Job. They didn’t want him. He was at whits end. He had no other prospects and everyone had watched him rise to stardom only to be cast into his now humble apartment. This all started with that new marketing project. Tom was supposed to perform the content marketing for the entire company. Tom had been successful in everything he had done to that point. For some reason his marketing didn’t work this time. He tried everything. He just couldn’t get enough sales to justify budget. Then the economy took a hit and he was cut. He remembers the day he was cut as he goes to sleep. He clinches his pillow as he knows Gina is crying behind him, he is just too exhausted to acknowledge her, tonight.
American idol shows judges crying. You hear the fans screaming. You see the outrage on Facebook and fan sites form the previous nights events. This all puts you in the story. You live with them as the show goes week by week.
More Factors To Trust
There are a lot of factors to trust. This is just giving you the ability to write content that will overcome a lot of them.
You still need to have authority. This is the ability to showcase the fact that people should trust what you say. Often you get this from guest blogging. Guest blogging is where you can put those pretty pictures, as featured in, on your site. You can link to the fact that your trade magazine and website feature your content.
We cover that in the next post.
Leave a comment, share, and let me know how and if this helps you.
Read the next article in this series here. Follow the Golden Rule to Maximize Growth. (writing it now)