Put An Emotional Spin On A Boring Topic: Ecstasy & Grief

Welcome the second part of my Emotionally Appealing Content Series.  This series is about using an emotional connection to make readers care about a topic that is ordinary, overdone or just plain boring. For each post, I’ll feature two opposing feelings from Plutchick’s Wheel of Emotion and show how to make three boring topics more engaging by incorporating the given emotional appeals.

This week I’m tackling the major high and low of the roller coaster of emotion  —  Ecstasy and Grief. 

Ecstasy

Somewhere between optimism and love, we have the ability to drift from serenity to true ecstasy. And what most often brings us happiness is something really, really sometimes even stupidly, funny.

 If you can create content that makes people laugh out loud, you can almost guarantee that the person busting a gut is going to socially share the content. Why? Because what’s the fun in laughing at something all alone?

It’s not always easy to make someone laugh, but if you can at least develop an interesting or unusual spin to a boring topic, you can expect to attract readers that normally wouldn’t care about a lame industry (like accounting).

Tips for writing to incite ecstasy:

  1. Be a part of the joke – Writing about dorky accountants? Write from the dorky accountant’s perspective. Everyone loves to see people make fun of themselves.
  2. Be specific – Don’t give generalities. The more specific you can be, the funnier you can be. So don’t say accounts are dorky because “They Don’t Have Social Skills.” Say, your accountant is dorky because, “The Last Time You Were in His Office, The Only Eye Contact You Had Was with a Framed Photo of Hans Solo”.
  3. Be topical and relevant – Connect to a mainstream trend or pop culture reference to unite your content to something people are already interested in. Even more, if you can connect to something that is topical and already funny, you will have an even better chance at making the reader laugh.
  4. Create silly comparisons – Make a boring topic more interesting by comparing it to other things the readers already knows about. By making the topic more relatable, you are more likely to connect to the reader’s funny bone.

Examples of spinning boring topics toward ecstasy:

Accounting

  • The # Reasons Your Accounting Degree Makes You Better than the Rest of the Population… at Math
  • # Actors Who Played Painfully Awkward Accountants
  • The # Signs Your Accountant Was a Nerd In High School
  • TAKE IT UP A NOTCH: The # Signs Your Accountant Is Probably Still a Virgin

Cloud Computing

  • # Things You Wish You Lost in the Cloud
  • # Cloud Computing Tech Terms That Sound like Complete, Utter Gibberish
  • Does Cloud Computing Have the Potential to Turn Us Into Lazy Slobs?

Home Insurance

  • # of the Weirdest Things Ever Insured
  • # Television Houses with Home Insurance Rates the Characters Could Never Afford
  • Strong Hurricanes With Wimpy Names
  • TAKE IT UP A NOTCH: # Hurricanes With Old Ladies Names That Would Have Knocked Down Your House

Remember, everyone can experience and respond to the ultimate high of ecstasy.

Grief

Disapproval and remorse. Sounds bleak. But if you can move a reader from pensiveness to sadness to grief – you are pushing the audience that much closer to the social share button.

It’s not always fun to write about something dark and depressing, but grief is a major way to pull on the heartstrings of your audience. Misery loves company, so odds are, if you can create something pretty disturbingly sad, people are going to make sure that they aren’t the only one crying over the bad news.

Tips for writing to incite grief:

  1. Connect with the audience – Make audience feel like they are part of the grief by mentioning things that the audience most cares about. Family, friends, job, security, and pets are just a few things most connected to a reader’s sob strings.
  2. Play off of fears and insecurities – Use what you know about your audience to identify their fears and insecurities. By showing potential destruction caused by the result of those fears and insecurities, you can make the reader care.
  3. Show loss – Show something going away or being forever lost. At the root of most sadness is losing or not gaining something.
  4. Don’t be afraid to be dark – Don’t hold back if you are trying to use grief to motivate your readers. Intense words and grim details create an impression that will likely resonate with readers.

Examples of spinning boring topics toward grief:

Accounting

  • Is Accounting Really the Most Depressing Job in the World?
  • What Almost Everyone Hates Their Accountant
  • 7 Ways Your Accountant Can Cost You Your Bank Account, House and Freedom
  • TAKE IT UP A NOTCH: # Deaths Caused by Accounting Miscalculations

Cloud Computing

  • # Jobs That Cloud Computing Knocked Out of the Market
  • # Cloud Computing Mistakes that Will Put Successful Companies Out of Business
  • # Ways Cloud Computing Is Going to Make Your Children’s Life Better… Or Extremely Worse

Home Insurance

  • # Natural Disasters That Left More Than a Million People Homeless
  • The Top # Things That Families Almost Always Lose In a Fire and Can’t Ever Get Back
  • The Real Cost of Insurance: # People Who Lost Everything By Failing to Renew

And, remember everyone can experience and respond to the ultimate low of grief.

Before you start a crying fest from your content – either by pushing the reader to tears from uncontrollable laughter or utter heartbreak, first really assess your audience and decide what is the best way to reach them.

Not all audiences respond to ecstasy, and not all readers want to cry. Make sure you know your audience before you go pushing their buttons to get them to press the social share button.

Join us next time when we tackle Admiration and Loathing.

About the author

Raubi Marie Perilli

Raubi Marie Perilli is the founder of Simply Stated Media. She regularly writes about freelancing, writing, and marketing on her blog and around the internet. Learn more by following her on Twitter or signing up for her free training, How to Get Your Freelance Business Off the Ground Without Wasting Time.