Smart psychology types have discovered that we are hardwired to pay attention to three things:
1. Stuff that gives them pleasure
2. Stuff that causes pain
3. Stuff that is new
And we only pay attention to the new stuff long enough to determine if it will give us pleasure or burn us. Every day of our lives begins and ends with this simple 3-part litmus test.
And it works brilliantly.
As a matter of fact, just knowing this little bit of psychology can help you predict the success of your next blog post.
Let's give it a whirl.
Before you publish your next blog post, ask yourself:
Am I showing my readers how to enjoy something in their lives? Am I bringing a smile to their face? Can I give them a Eureka moment? Will my reader say that the 10 minutes spent with my blog post was fun?
A loud "Yes" means that you are cooking with kerosene.
On the other hand…
Does your post warn your readers away from something that will harm them? Are you preventing humiliation, heartbreak, emotional or physical trauma? Will your readers thank you for saving them years of hassle and aggravation?
Yes = Success. By the way, most people avoid pain like my son avoids cauliflower. So pain posts are diabolically effective.
Does your post shock or fascinate?
Can you make even the savviest guru stop and notice? Does your post bring down enlightenment chiseled into stone? Or does your prose at least induce a daydream of possibilities?
Don't worry if you haven't written one of these 1,000 retweet sizzlers.
These posts are incredibly hard to pull off. Some folks (looking at Seth Godin) can wake up and reinvent sunshine every morning. Mere mortals get a bolt out of the blue, crash the car, and tap out their post one key at a time on their CrackBerry. The tough part is that if you write this post, you are better off giving it away (but that's another post).
How to Make These 3 Attention-Getters Work for Your Post
Your readers are on the prowl for your information. Make sure you let them know early and often that you know how to deliver it. Do this and your post will get read – guaranteed.
Some quick pointers for the hands-on bunch:
1. List your readers' most common pain points. Moms have no time for themselves. Dads worry about sacrificing too much. Business owners worry about going bankrupt.
2. Make another list of the stuff that makes your reader smile. Moms love when their children listen. Dads enjoy time teaching their kids what they know. Business owners dream of not worrying about payroll.
3. Put the benefit – avoiding pain or getting pleasure – right in the headline. For example:
"Moms! Here's a Proven Way to Stop Your Children from Crying at Bedtime"
4. Build your entire post around driving home your point. Be relentless – don't let your reader off the mat until they have received their full dose of caution or pleasure.
5. When all else fails, just shock the living hell out of your readers with a statement or perspective that challenges their beliefs and up-ends their view of the world.
Make sense? Tell me how you plan to put this to work in your next post.