Empathy: The Key to Writing Compelling Blogs
Empathy is the ability to put yourself in the shoes of others and being able to understand what they are feeling and thinking.
As you may be able to surmise, having empathy is generally a positive thing that helps you get along with and understand others better. And when it comes to writing, empathy allows you to engage with your readers on a level that cannot be achieved if you’re just writing with a neutral and matter-of-fact perspective. Understanding how your readers interact with your content and any products or services that you’re promoting will result in more conversions and more audience retention.
Focus on Timely Topics
Think about what is going on in the real world, outside of your business, as well as in your industry specifically. If you’re not conscious of what’s going on in people’s lives, you’ll appear tone-deaf when creating content.
Don’t pretend that difficult things aren’t happening, just for the sake of maintaining a false sense of “business as usual”. There are opportunities to create content related to difficult times, as well as positive times. Anything can be inspiration for content as long as you don’t profit off of people’s suffering.
Understand Empathic Language
It’s easy to say something insensitive if you’re not thinking with empathy. Think about these two responses to learning that someone has had a loved one pass away recently.
- “Cheer up, things will get better.”
- “I understand what it’s like to lose someone. And I know you’ll get through this.”
Both of these sentences ultimately say the same thing. But the second sentence shows empathy while the first does not. People are sensitive to how something is phrased. For example, the phrase “Good for you!” has the connotation of being said sarcastically, so even though it is a valid comment, you have to assume that the person reading it will hear sarcasm, regardless of if you meant it that way or not.
Imagine you are the one reading the sentence. How would you interpret it?
Use Personal Stories
The easiest way to show empathy and understanding is to share personal stories and experiences. After all, what better way is there to show that you know how someone feels than to have actually experienced the same thing. This goes back to a fundamental lesson in writing – show, don’t tell. Instead of writing a blog that teaches a lesson, instead tell a story from your life that shows that lesson in action. Story is a superior form of communication because it is easier to remember and retain something that was told in a story.
Readers want to hear about your experiences because it lets them connect with you more. You’ll appear much more human and draw in readers to the meat of your article. Writers often recommend to “write what you know”, so use your experiences to make your content even better!
Think About Experiences, Not Features
Understanding how people use products is important to showing empathy. Don’t just focus on the features of something, but rather how that is going to impact someone’s life. A cell phone is not just a fancy piece of tech, it’s a gateway to communicating with friends and family around the world. A pen is not just a writing utensil, it lets a child do their homework reliably. A password manager is not just a convenient tool for making passwords, it keeps your personal information safe from identity theft and hours of reclaiming accounts.
These are the things that matter to people. Features are essential of course, but what ends up being the most important is how the end user is going to interact with the product every day and how it will improve their lives. Even the most innocuous of products can have a higher meaning to someone.
Write Content That Makes You Feel
The best content is content that makes you feel. Don’t write another forgettable blog post, when instead you can create something that actually connects with readers and appeals to their emotions. Understand who your readers are, why they would read your content, and what they deal with in their daily lives that will affect their decision-making.