carpe diem

Using Psychology to Create Articles that Hit Home with Readers

Most of the time when we try to think of new article topics, we focus exclusively on teaching our readers how to do new skills. It’s true that most of the time people will search for your free reprint articles because they need to learn how to do something practical.

But did you know that sometimes your reader doesn’t need another step-by-step tutorial to move forward? Sometimes he knows exactly the steps he needs to take, but something is standing in the way of him getting started.

Try to put yourself in your reader’s shoes: Has there ever been a time in your life when you wanted to do something very badly but you avoided doing it? For anyone who has ever had the opportunity to go bungee jumping, skydiving or some other type of really adventurous, thrilling, and seemingly dangerous activity, you know what I mean. You can be really tempted to do something–you may have even imagined yourself fearlessly jumping from an airplane–but when you’re faced with the plane and the parachute and all the logistics, your fear paralyzes you.

That is one example of how psychology plays a role in the activities people participate in. If you had a skydiving business, at a certain point your readers would need more than just another tutorial on how to jump out of a plane with a parachute. They may need an article that helps them to overcome their fears associated with the activity before they can take the next step and sign up for lessons.

Think about your own business–what could be causing fear, anxiety, or procrastination in your potential customers?

In my own business I run into people who are very motivated to start marketing their websites, but sometimes there is a confidence issue–they feel intimidated by the thought of learning a new skill and wonder if they can effectively do online marketing.

For you it may be something different that is causing your readers to stall before putting your advice into practice. How can you know exactly what your readers need? Here are 3 tips:

1 – Pay attention to people who solicit encouragement or who express anxiety or negativity associated with their efforts to take part in your niche. It may come as a subtle or not-so-subtle email from a client or potential client who unloads his frustration on you and asks you for help in dealing with a problem.

I have this happen from time to time. Most recently a long time client contacted me completely fed up with the articles that she was producing. She said that suddenly, despite her best efforts, she could no longer produce an article that was up to her standards. She said that even rigorous proofreading would still not catch all the typos and grammar issues, and writing just a few sentences was extremely labor intensive. I could sense her emotion–she was really fed up and was starting to doubt her skill and her sanity.

I immediately empathized with her–what she was describing to me sounded very much like writer’s block, and I was able to give her some encouragement on that account. That interaction with that client made me realize that perhaps other people were experiencing the same frustrating thing, and I decided to write an article about overcoming writer’s block.

Have any of your readers, clients or customers let you in on a secret struggle they’re going through having to do with your niche? What types of article submissions can you write in response to that expressed emotional need?

2 – Perhaps you don’t have people getting in touch with you and asking you questions–that’s okay, and you can find this sort of information from other sources. Online communities like blogs and forums are often great for getting insight into the struggles and thoughts of people in your niche. Take a look at some popular blogs or forums in your niche and check out the comments or questions being asked. Even though the question was not directed to you, you can still use it as inspiration for an article.

3 – Remember how you felt when you were first starting out in your field. What sorts of things caused you to procrastinate doing things you knew you should do? What brought on feelings of anxiety or negativity? If you can remember how you felt, you can write articles for others in anticipation of others going through the same thing.

Your readers may sometimes need more than just technical know-how. Sometimes there are other factors that are keeping them from implementing the practical information that you provide in your other articles, and they need encouragement and inspiration that is more emotionally based.

What issues do you think are keeping your readers from moving forward in their knowledge of your niche? How will you help them in your articles to take the next step?

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