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Are you in the marketing game to change people? You probably shouldn’t be. It’s impossibly ambitious. Great writers spin their magic by capitalizing on who the reader already is and what moves them—their feelings.

Don’t make the mistake of believing it’s rationale we rely on to make decisions. It’s our emotions. Heartstrings. Hot buttons. It’s what we feel.

Here are 11 desires that trip everyone’s triggers.  When you write content, fondle them.  

We’re all freaks when it comes to control. Really, what don’t you want more control of? We want to be in control of our relationships, health, finances, jobs, pets, toys, environments—and everything else that matters to us.

We’ll fight like hell to avoid surrendering control. This is why we fear change. However, as marketers, we aim to affect change. Consider the all-powerful control button when you write content of any kind. Promise to put the reader in control of his or her destiny. Provide choices and options for getting in and getting out.

Want to fit in? Welcome to the club. Online marketers must heed the human need to belong. We are social animals looking to connect. We long to put our trust in others. We want to share our experiences. We need validation.

The words you choose should assure readers they’re in the right place. Make it clear they’re amongst others with similar challenges. Make your readers comfortable. Give ‘em some group therapy.

Our most precious asset is limited. You might be capable of saving your customers a variety of things, but you’ll never top time.

timeRespect your reader’s time by getting to the point. Respect how your customer’s value their time by offering ways to use it wisely. Assure them what you have to say or offer is worth their time. Preview time commitments by revealing how much time something will take. In every possible way, put time on your side.

As you know, sex sells. Love trumps it though. It lasts longer and means more. It’s fragile. Powerful. Priceless. A long list of adjectives could go here.

… And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.

~ Lennon and McCartney

Ain’t it the truth? Spread some love with the words you write. Help people find it and keep it. I wish I could tell you exactly how it’s done. I can’t. Your best bet is to do it any way you know how.

Lennon and McCartney

Know anyone who loves losing? We’re competitive beasts forever fixated on scaling higher heights.

Philosophical types often say it’s the journey, not the destination that matters most. Psychological types will call bullshit on that one. Sorry philosophers, in marketing, psychology wins.

Your writing should tap into the individual’s quest for achievement. Define it how you like… victory, money, power, sway. The achievements will vary. The human desire to achieve will not.

What do you call someone who no longer has an appetite for discovery? My answer: “dead.” The joy of finding new things is absolutely universal.

Think about how much pleasure you get from discovering the latest, greatest product, or story, or movie, or album—or anything that floats your boat. Why? You want to be the wise one to spread the gospel.

Tap into this desire with your writing. Present a new idea, a new twist, even a new application for an old product. Deliver your message with a touch of the unexpected and you’ll produce magnetic content destined to be shared.

How dull would life be without fun? In a world of predictability and repetitiveness, our lust for fun is undeniably powerful.

Can you offer your readers a break from the same-old-same-old? You should and you must.

Inject your writing with a sense of escape. Be funny. Promise stress-relief. Add a gaming element (often called “gamification”) to whatever you can. Give your readers something to play with and they will play along.

Influence is positively intoxicating.

Draw readers in with possibilities to be more influential. Promise to give them the tools: expertise, reach, charisma, attention and recognition.


knowledgeAh, to be in the know. We all want to become smarter and have the knowledge others seek.

I know a few things about writing content that plays on your heartstrings. You got into this article to tap into my knowledge and you made is this far because you’re learning (I hope).

Craft your copy with this angle in mind. Be a teacher. Be a student. Be generous with your experience. When it comes to writing headlines, you simply can’t outperform the powerful pull of knowledge.

How are you feeling? Are you at one with the world and experiencing the bliss that comes with complete peace of mind?

I didn’t think so. Maybe we can’t have perfect peace, but that doesn’t stop us from wanting it.

I don’t want to encourage you to promise what you can’t deliver, but almost any solution can provide baby steps toward some sort of solace. Try to help your readers smooth their seas.

Maybe it’s the opinion of a “creative,” but I say creativity doesn’t make the hot button hall of fame the way it should. I believe even the world’s most hopelessly left-brained soul is attracted to the notion of expanding their creativity.

And what is creativity? You can be endlessly creative with your definition. Creativity need not be inventing a global game-changer or paving an amazing new path. Creativity can simply be creating something.

Everything’s fair game for this one. Think about the perceived limitations of your audience and suggest ideas for busting a barrier, whatever that barrier may be. Give the gift of creative power.

sat·is·fac·tion—noun—The fulfillment or gratification of a desire, need, or appetite.

Is this one too easy or obvious? Who cares? Until your target market is done imagining a better life, you’re in the dream fulfillment business.

Make it your job to figure out what your readers want and then help them get it.

How do you feel about this article? Which heartstrings did I fail to pull on?

Go ahead and expand my list.