Wade Harman
March 17, 2016

I sat at my desk this morning and looked out the window. The deer were on the porch again. They love eating my wife’s flowers. Even though they have millions of other things to eat out in the woods by my house, they choose to come on MY porch and eat the tops off the flower bulbs.

It’s getting to where a guy can’t even have any peace because the deer are always knocking on the door looking for a handout.

What does this have to do with content?

As a content writer, you have one job to do after you bring someone to your articles.

Keep the reader engaged.

I have something those deer can’t get anywhere else, and for that reason, I can’t keep them away.

There are many different strategies that you can use to keep people engaged on your content and I want to talk about those for a few minutes.

But first I would like to help you understand the cognitive approach and how the brain perceives this information. Knowing this could mean the difference between keeping the reader engaged on your site and watching them walk away.

What Does The Brain Say?

We already know how the brain receives visual stimulation, and how it perceives time as well. All of these facts are important to remember when you craft different things in your marketing.

But to understand the mind and how to retains written information could be the clinching point in keeping people truly engaged on your content.

The Trigger Points

First of all, we have to research how the brain does an every day task. When in comparison to reading, you must think about what people do every day. One thing that most people do is read. So we’ve got to figure out how people comprehend the written word.

Studies have suggested that the brain doesn’t typically see words alone, but they see familiar words linked as pictures in their mind.

Understanding this aspect as a content writer, your main goal is to write in pictures.

That sounds impossible, but the point that you want to focus on is to tell that story. So, now that we have a small look into how the brain receives written information, let me show you some important strategies to remember.

Actionable Tips For Content

Demian Farnworth has shown me one of the best strategies for keeping people on my content.

The strategy is to keep the paragraphs short.

Maybe only write five words.

Or two.

Either way, this keeps the brain more engaged.

Copyblogger says to create scannable content. In other words allow the reader to retrieve the information by simply writing the cliff notes with the heading and sub-heading tags.

These trigger points allow people to have a sense of accomplishment with your article. It also brings them to the end of your content quicker leaving room for a call to action later.

Actionable Tips For Emotional Responses

Once you have figured out the structure of your article, it’s now time to create the emotion that engages the reader.

Simply writing about 10 Tips To Build Your Blog isn’t going to be good enough. People can get that particular blog post on hundreds of other blogs in search. But what makes your post better than the others?

To begin with, you must remember the hook.

The Hook

Probably the most important thing for your content is the hook. This is a short story, or some shocking statistic, that grabs the readers attention and makes them want to learn more about what you have to say.

The hook has been researched by many different psychologists, and one study says that a great hook will trigger the right hemisphere of the brain which is the imaginative, emotional, and dreaming side.

It’s so important to engage the right hemisphere when you write your content because of these facts. Telling stories and sharing details of how someone is going to do something brings the right hemisphere to life as they imagine themselves doing the things you have told them.

There is nothing more powerful than someone seeing themselves do what you’re explaining.

The hook gets the mentally prepared, and it activates and ignites the right hemisphere which allows the reader to visually see this happening for them.

Perhaps the hook is a story like the one I told above. While it didn’t directly affect what I was trying to say, you started using your imagination to see the deer eating my flowers and immediately bridged that with how people could be that interested in your content as well.

Induce the imaginative side of the readers brain to get them ready for the engagement later.

Left and Right BrainImage via Flickr

The Left Brain is Important Too

A great piece of content marries the right and left brain together. Depending on whether or not you’re right brained or left brained, you may find writing for the left brain difficult.

This is a more logical sense of writing. Statistics, analytics, things happen when you do this and there are no variables. Writing for the right brain means that you are more descriptive in your story-telling, you can make the words jump off the page at the reader.

But combining both areas are important to help the reader logically realize why they need what you have.

Last Thought

While it may be easier for you to just sit down and start typing the first thing that comes to your head, you may want to try some strategy on a white board before you start.  Remember that you want them to do something when they get to your site.


Draw your article out before you begin.

This will help you “see” the article better and if you can, then you can be sure that the reader will be able to see what you’re seeing by the time they get to the finish line.

What are some of your thoughts? Have you found the Holy Grail of writing content that you would like to share? I’d love to hear about your ideas in the comment section below!


Wade HarmanWade Harman

Events Manager at Social Media Examiner
My main social media marketing strategy with my blog is to build on a larger fan base by connecting individually with each person. This creates a more targeted clientele base and eventually leads to more sales. Building a site that has integrity is what I’m all about in my social media marketing strategies. This is also known widely as relationship marketing, of which I practice every day with my social strategy.

This article was originally titled “How To Keep Your Readers Emotionally Engaged To Your Content” and was published on wadeharman.com and is republished here with permission.

Lead/Featured image: Copyright: ‘http://www.123rf.com/profile_ayzek‘ / 123RF Stock Photo

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