Are you spellbinding?
Let’s be honest.
It’s a huuuuge challenge.
Probably the biggest challenge each blogger faces.
Because your readers suffer from many distractions.
Social media. Email. Other blogs. TV. Radio. Phone calls. Texts. A car driving past. People talking. Music.Thoughts popping up.
How the hell can you keep your readers spellbound?
How can you keep your readers glued to your content until your last sentence?
How can you keep them yearning for more?
It’s not easy.
But you can learn how to master the art of being fascinating. Enchanting. Captivating. Almost mesmerizing.
You just need to understand the triggers to being fascinating. Once you apply these triggers, your readers will hang on to every word you write.
The 7 psychological triggers to fascination
Let me quickly tell you this first.
These seven triggers are based on research outlined in an *uh* fascinating book by Sally Hogshead. You’ll also find a personality test on her website. Try it! The test will tell you which triggers you’re already using successfully; and how you can learn to use your dormant triggers, too.
These are the seven fascination triggers: Passion, Mystique, Alarm, Prestige, Power, Rebellion, and Trust.
You don’t need to use all triggers. You can choose the triggers that suit your personality. You can pick a few or you can use them all. But for blogging and other forms of online communication, at least one is mandatory. I’ll get back to that later.
Let’s look at each trigger and discuss how you can use it to make your blog irresistibly fascinating.
Trigger 1: Passion
“Passion is the sense of participation that you have when you’re with someone who makes you want to come out of yourself and make an emotional connection.” — Sally Hogshead
For your readers to react to your writing, and to share it with their friends, you have to create a deep connection with them.
But here’s the thing:
Information doesn’t connect with people. Passion does. And emotion…
So, to connect with your readers, you have to infuse your writing with both passion and emotion.
Write about something you’re passionate about. Let your personality shine through. Be yourself, warts and all.
If your readers feel your passion, you connect with them, and you’ll see a boost in social sharing.
Trigger 2: Mystique
“Mystique flirts with us, provoking our imagination, hinting at the possibilities, inviting us to move closer while eluding our grasp.” — Sally Hogshead
Mystique teases us because we want to find answers, solve puzzles, and learn secrets. If you can generate some curiosity in the headlines or sub-headlines of your blog posts, you will increase the number of people willing to read them.
Have a look at these headlines from Derek Halpern:
- What’s the BEST color for high conversions?
- The dumb pricing mistake people make (and how to fix it)
- How to Eliminate “Wallet Closing Words” From Your Emails, Sales Pages, and Speech
These headlines make you curious. But headlines aren’t the only way to use the mystique trigger. You know stories keep us interested because we always want to know what’s happening next, don’t you?
Using cliffhangers is one of the most powerful tools in storytelling. A cliffhanger makes your readers anxious to know what’s going to happen next.
Make your readers dying to learn about your next blog post, your next email, or your next status update. Tell your readers what great, beneficial content you’ll have for them in your next email.
Or just build anticipation by announcing you’re developing something brand spanking new. Just don’t give away all the details yet.
Mystique makes your readers curious. And keeps them dying to learn more.
Trigger 3: Alarm
“Alarm demands a response now.” — Sally Hogshead
Of course, you can use deadlines to get people to act. If you don’t download now, the ebook will no longer be available free. If you don’t buy now, the price goes up. Or the course closes.
That’s one way to use the alarm trigger.
Another is to inspire action by focusing on people’s fears. Their worst fears. For example: the fear of being forgotten when we die.
Have you read How to be unforgettable?
Jon makes you feel afraid of being forgotten, and then he inspires you to take your blogging efforts more seriously. Because you want to be remembered when you die.
That’s the power of alarm.
You just have to be careful. Don’t apply the alarm trigger to each blog post you write. It stops working if you use it too much, and it can even get annoying.
Trigger 4: Prestige
“[P]restige can increase your perceived value.” — Sally Hogshead
How can you gain A-list status as a blogger?
How can you be admired and respected? And be recognized for what you’ve achieved?
Well, you’ll have to earn your status. And that’ll take some time — you can’t develop a track record overnight.
Take for instance Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income. He has earned respect by sharing his tips for making money online and by showing exactly how much money he earns from his various online activities. That kind of success doesn’t happen overnight, though.
Also, prestige doesn’t necessarily have to come from money. If you get lots of comments and retweets and likes on Facebook, people start to respect you too.
Of course, that takes traffic. Thankfully though, there is a shortcut to generating traffic and getting more readers:
If you guest post on the best-known, most-respected blogs, more people will get to know you, and you’ll drive more readers to your blog, not to mention raise your status just through the power of association. For example, take the epic 7,037-word post like Tommy Walker did for ChrisBrogan.com. If you write a post like that and get over 3000 shares and Facebook and nearly that many on Twitter, everyone is going to take notice of who you are.
The keyword in the above paragraph: epic. If you want to trigger prestige, you need to publish epic posts, both for A-list blogs and for your own.
There’s also one more small trick to boosting your track record. Every time you publish a guest post on a popular blog, put their logo on your site and say, “As seen on.”
Prolific guest blogger Danny Iny has quite a few on his Firepole Marketing website. And Tommy Walker has a cool quote from Chris Brogan on the Tommy.ismy.name website. That boosts his track record, too.
Trigger 5: Power
“Whether parental or dictatorial, authority figures use power to control us.” — Sally Hogshead
Power on the web isn’t dictatorial. You can’t force people to listen to you.
But if you become an authority, people will want to know what you have to say. They’ll seek your advice. They’ll want to link to you.
How can you build authority as a blogger?
Decide on your niche and your mission first. You have to find a way to be different, to stand out from the crowd. And then, build your authority:
- Know your stuff;
- Produce incredibly helpful content;
- Develop a unique voice and have an opinion.
That’s how Copyblogger became an authority in content marketing. That’s how Darren Rowse became an authority in blogging. And that’s how Marcus Sheridan became an authority in inbound marketing. They all know their stuff. They all produce awesome, useful content, and they have an opinion, their own way of doing things, and a unique voice.
Your power as a blogger doesn’t come from your ability to fire your readers or to give them a pay rise.
You don’t have access to an army of violent fighters to get them to behave. You can’t even lock your readers up when they misbehave.
But you can be on a mission, build trust and authority, and create a loyal tribe.
Trigger 6: Rebellion
“Rebellion is about creativity and innovation. It’s taking a problem that everybody looks at in one way and interpreting it in another way.” — Sally Hogshead
Are you subscribed to Ben Settle’s email newsletter?
He’s an expert in using the rebellion trigger at different levels:
- He uses bad language;
- He misspells words on purpose;
- He breaks taboos: telling you to email your subscribers daily; to ignore open rates, and to applaud unsubscribers.
You could easily decide to ignore Ben, because it sounds a little too crazy. But you don’t ignore him, because he balances rebellion with the power and prestige triggers.
Ben has a loyal following of fans because he knows his stuff. For example: he often quotes other copywriters – that’s the power trigger. He has also written for Copyblogger, and he lists recommendations from high-profile copywriting experts on his website. That’s using the prestige trigger.
That’s how you mix up different triggers. Now, let’s look at a trigger that surely needs to be part of your blogging efforts…
Trigger 7: Trust
“You can dabble in prestige, or experiment with power, but you can’t dip in and out of trust. It must be established consistently.” — Sally Hogshead
The online world is full of pretenders, spammers and liars. While you can discard other triggers, you can’t do without trust. You can’t think of a popular blogger that’s not trustworthy, can you?
To establish trust as a blogger, you have to become familiar. Turn up regularly – on your own blog or as a guest blogger. Use social media to stay in touch. Or even better: email your audience on a regular basis.
In addition to posting on his blog Chris Brogan sends his subscribers an email each Sunday. He writes his emails as if you’re his friend and if you’re having a cup of tea together. Same conversational style each Sunday. That’s a good way to stay in touch with your audience. And to become trustworthy.
Remember your mission? Write about it. Often. And be authentic. You don’t have to bare all, but you have to be yourself. Don’t pretend. Develop your own voice. And be consistent.
Start building trust now. Because you can’t become popular without it.
The shocking truth about being fascinating
You don’t need talent to be fascinating.
Anyone can leave their readers breathless by using these fascination triggers in their posts.
There’s no magic there. Just the decision and commitment to give this a go.
Does your online future matter to you?
Of course it does.
So, will you take the time to make every piece of writing fascinating?
Of course you will! Because if you’re fascinating, then you’ll build an engaged tribe; and you’ll gain raving fans who spread your ideas for you. .
Make the commitment to yourself right now… Promise to never publish drab, boring content ever again.
That’s what makes all the difference!
About the author: Henneke Duistermaat is a UK based marketer. She is on a mission to make boring companies charming, enchanting, and persuasive. Sign up for her Enchanting Marketing newsletter and receive free tips on copywriting and content marketing.7 Ways to Fascinate Your Readers and Build a Hugely Loyal Following by Henneke Duistermaat