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Marketing With Articles: Using Empathy and Psychology To Come Up With Article Topics
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Sometimes when we start thinking of article topics, we can get completely focused on teaching how to do specific things associated with our niche.

“What?” you ask. “I thought that’s what we were supposed to be doing!”

Before I confuse you too much, let me reassure you that teaching your readers how to do practical things associated with your niche should be the primary inspiration for your article topics.

But one thing I have noticed after spending years of teaching people is that sometimes people don’t need another step-by-step tutorial or more instructions on how to do something. What they really need is something more personal and less concrete in order to do the things that you’re trying to teach them to do.

It may be a surprise, but empathy and psychology do play a role in some of the articles that you create…

What Is Stopping Your Reader From Getting Started?

Let me give you an example. Let’s say that you’re a skydiving instructor and your articles focus on teaching people the mechanics of skydiving. If you spent 100% of your articles teaching very factual “how to” type of things, would your readers have everything that they need to get themselves to some actual skydiving classes?

I would doubt it.

I have seen people skydiving on television, and I know people who skydive for fun. It sounds and looksĂ‚ exhilarating, and I’m always intrigued by people’s stories, but one thing stops me from placing the call to sign up for skydiving lessons.

That one thing is fear. Who’s with me on that?!

You can want to do something very badly and also be so nervous or intimidated by it that you don’t take action. I see it in people I interact with through my article submission service all the time.

Some people really do want to market their websites, but they’re intimidated by the actual process. There is a fear element that makes them put off jumping in and getting started.

I totally get that–I can understand why a person who is a novice to online marketing (or any field) would be anxious about the prospect of getting started. I can imagine it because I’ve been there. It’s been many years since I was a beginner, but I still remember what it felt like.

And that’s why I’ve found that it’s important to not only write articles that teach people the practical steps of how to submit an article, but to also write articles that address the fears that may be preventing them from getting started.

Give Your Readers A Lift

Fear or anxiety are not the only emotions that prey on people who are trying to learn. For instance, a big obstacle for some people in my niche is consistency–they may struggle to get a rhythm going with writing and submitting articles, and once they stop they get frustrated with themselves that they didn’t reach their goal.

Consequently, I need to harness my inner cheerleader sometimes and give people a pep talk. It doesn’t take much to encourage a person. Most people really want someone to come alongside them and give them a lift every now and then.

With your niche and with your articles, you can be the person who does that.

What Do Your Readers Need?

Listen to people who ask for encouragement

You can find out what kinds of emotions are driving your target readers by listening to the concerns of your customers or the people you interact with online (say, through the comments of your blog or when people email you questions about your niche).

People will usually be very forthcoming when they need a pep talk rather than an instruction booklet. I had one client who has been with me for several years who wrote this to me:

I am getting very frustrated, and I hope that you can help me. I have been having trouble thinking of new article ideas. I’m also making uncharacteristic mistakes in my articles–I proofread them but I inevitably end up missing obvious errors. It seems I am just not able to write anymore. I try to work through it, but it’s just getting worse and worse. I wonder what the solution is–do you have any ideas on what would help?

This person was obviously distraught, and I totally empathized with her. What she described sounded very familiar to me. It sounded like she was going through a time of writer’s block.

After writing back to her with some encouraging words, I felt it was important to write something that gave similar encouragement to others.

I came up with this post: Surviving Writer’s Block

Stay in touch with online communities in your niche

If you don’t yet have anyone writing to you asking you for help on these more personal issues, you can easily find out what your target readers are going through by looking at other sources online, such as forums (people will often ask for all sorts of help on a particular niche through forums), blogs, and other places.

Take a stroll down memory lane

You know what challenges you’ve faced over the years in your own field. Try to remember the major obstacles you faced or still face. Then, use that information to anticipate the needs of your readers by writing articles.

Teaching Is About More Than Just Teaching

I’ve had several excellent teachers in my life. They were the ones who not only addressed the facts and details of the subject they were teaching, but they also offered encouragement that I could learn what they were teaching me. They recognized when I got frustrated or felt overwhelmed, and they came up with just the right words to get me back on track and keep trying.

You can play a similar and much needed role for your readers by writing articles that empathize with their concerns.

Questions for you:

What non-technical things do your readers need?

What may be stopping your readers from getting started in implementing the more concrete information that you provide in your articles?


NOTE: Please be aware this content may now be outdated. For the latest quality content on how to build massive publicity for your website, please go to The vWriter Blog - Helping Businesses Grow Traffic, Build Engagement, and "Be Everywhere"


3 Responses to “Marketing With Articles: Using Empathy and Psychology To Come Up With Article Topics”

  1. Ivan Izo says:

    Interesting article, Steve. Closely related to fear is negativity. We will often choose not to do something because we assume it won’t work out. “What’s the point of signing up for skydiving? It will just be a lot of classes and money in return for a few minutes of adrenaline rush. It’s not worth it.” Once negativity has killed an idea, it may not get consideration when a person is in a better mood. Learning how do deal with “garden variety depression” is another lesson that could be taught to encourage people to get interested in new things. Unlike anxiety, which must be addressed directly, mild depression passes on its own. An informative article about the boring or expensive aspects of a hobby or adventure could do a lot to encourage readers. Thanks for the article.

  2. Steve Shaw says:

    @Ivan Izo: Hi Ivan,

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply. You make an excellent point about negativity. You’re right–it would be a great idea to create an article being sensitive to any feelings of negativity (“this just won’t work out or isn’t worth it”) that the reader may have. I think you may have given me an idea for an article of my own :)

    Thank you!

  3. Sir,
    fine and wishes the same. I am following your teaching. I like to prepare articles and definitely send as early as possible.

    with regards,
    Umamaheshwaran

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