Is Your Content Half-Brained?
Does your copy mentally satisfy your buying audience? Does it:
Present the facts, and
Stir the soul?
Your prospect needs both fact and feeling to make a decision. If you're only presenting one, your content is half-brained.
Even though everyone exhibits right brain or left brain dominance, no one exists without both halves. We wouldn't survive without both.
In a potentially threatening situation, part of the brain senses something is not right, while the other part assesses the situation. In an instant a decision is made - fight, flight or do nothing.
This is exactly why making a pros and cons list during a difficult decision rarely puts a person at ease with the solution. While compiling the list, we're trying to make a decision by only looking at the facts and leaving emotion out of the equation.
We're not made to think like that. Both sides of the brain have to be satisfied, fact and feeling need to be taken into account, before we can confidently pull the proverbial trigger.
Starbucks proves this point.
The case could be made that Starbucks has mastered the concept of right brain/left brain decision making.
From a rational standpoint, there is little reason to frequent its stores. It is much less expensive to make coffee at home and take a cup with you.
But on the other hand, Starbucks has taken over the coffee world by counting on the emotional side of the brain counterbalancing the rational side.
The company created a cult-like following based on emotional desire by:
Catering to the "snob factor" as we proudly carry that Starbucks logo in our hand, even though we may have secretly refilled our cup with plain old company coffee, just so we can keep up appearances.
Creating a euphoric "can't begin my life without it" beginning to the day, or conversely a relaxed, "pamper myself" break during a hectic afternoon.
And for the most rational person, they have conveniently put a store everywhere, making it easy to swing through without losing time.
In the end, the Starbucks patron uses feeling to trump fact until he or she can rationalize the irrational price for a cup of coffee. The light bulb goes on, the toes tingle and the heart goes pitter patter as we anticipate our daily cup of joy juice.
Both sides of the brain still exist in the Starbucks cosmos, but emotion seals the deal and the world continues to love making a "short, tall, grande, venti, whole, non-fat, regular, decaf" decision in 80,000 ways 8,070,428 times a day.
Ramifications for Your Content and Copy
Reason and emotion satisfy both sides of the brain, clearing the way for a buyer to make a decision and act. That means your copy - all of your content - must address both to achieve the results you want.
Realizing this gives you things to look for in good copy.
Features vs. Benefits - Features are the distinguishing characteristics of your product or service - the facts. Benefits are what the features bring to the prospect in terms of satisfying their emotional needs and desires. Benefits let the reader of your copy feel what it would be like to buy from you or use your product or service.
Here's a simple example: Suppose your company sells gaming computers. Like most, your online copy will list the features of your computers -
H1-616 Graphics Card.
Liquid-Freeze High Performance CPU cooler.
Etc., etc., etc.
Those are facts, appealing only to the reason side of the brain. Alone they will not entice a prospect to
buy, but to compare. You've just given your prospect a list he or she can use to compare your computers to those of your competitors. And what happens next is worse: You'll find yourself in the "race to cheap". All things being equal they'll buy the cheapest computer.
But imagine the connection you'll make in the minds of your prospect if your copy includes the feel-good benefits.
DX7000 Processor - to give you that nano-second advantage during the heat of competition!
H1-616 Graphics Card - puts you in the middle of the action with life-like graphics and the fine detail you need to make clear, snap decisions!
Liquid-Freeze High Performance CPU cooler - to keep you up and running and your machine performing at its best, even after hours of grueling play!
Now you've spoken the language of your audience to let them feel like you understand them. You've given them both fact and emotion. You've satisfied the reason and you've tied in the feeling. It gives them the motivation to pull the trigger. The fireworks go off, the synapses in the brain fire and the credit card comes out. Even if they look at other competitors, the image you painted with fact and emotion will make you the benchmark those others will have a hard time matching.
The Length of Your Copy - Bringing together the reason and emotion in your content is going to necessarily add to the length of your copy. While you will hear many that believe copy must be short - that "no one reads anymore" - there is no evidence to back this up and lots of reasons why the length of your content should be longer.
Size does matter. With Google's switch to a contextual understanding of your content, length gives the search engine the information it needs to present your content to the right audience. For example, Google likes blogs that are 1750 - 2000 words or longer. Anything less has a hard time getting ranked in the search returns. So, if Google isn't showing it, how will your audience read it?
The school of thought that says people will lose interest in longer copy doesn't hold water. If the
public is interested in what you have to offer they'll read. If they aren't interested, why do you care how much they'll read? They certainly aren't buyers and shortness isn't going to entice them to become so.
Artificially short content that doesn't present both fact and feeling will never outsell content that has the chance to present all that a truly interested buyer needs to discover before buying from or hiring you.
Watch Out for "Industry-ese" in Your Content - Every industry has its own "industry-ese", or jargon. It is not uncommon for copy to be full of it. Technical, chemical, communications and software copy quite often falls victim to it. This causes a lot of conversion and engagement dead ends.
It becomes hard to keep that fact-feeling balance when content is loaded with phrases only those in your industry know.
Everyone has feelings. Play to them.
Another thing to realize is that not always does the person who writes the check for your service or product understand all of the jargon. To go over that person's head with industry-ese loses them or, in many instances, tics them off.
Keep the jargon at a minimum within your copy. (You can always offer a technical download if needed.) Go for the conversion instead by keeping both sides of everyone's brain engaged.
Whole-Brain Content Marketing
Don't assume your audience will stick around,
Don't assume they'll remember you as they search competitors,
Don't insult your prospects' intelligence and their ability to read,
Don't think Google will love you,
And don't believe for a second that your content is helping you sell all that you can,
...by offering half-brained content.
The human race needs whole-brain satisfaction to make a buying decision. That's just how we're wired.
Take inventory of your own content. Is it presenting the facts and stirring the soul?
If it's a little half-brained and lop-sided, we can help. If you need new content, we'll give it the whole-brain treatment.
We'll write your new or rework your old so your target audiences' hearts will race while they take in the benefits of working with or buying from you. Fireworks will flash, people will engage and triggers will be pulled!
Here's to your content's success!