Hook them in with emotional content

It’s 30 years since I first held my dad’s hand on the way to my first ever live football match. I say live football match, I actually mean my first professional game having already spent a good few mornings and afternoons watching my dad play on the local pitches around Oldham.

I couldn’t know then just how much the game and my club, Oldham, would go on to become such a huge part of my life. That first visit was enough to get me hooked completely. The noise of the crowd, the smell of the pies and Bovril mixed with musty well-worn coats and cigar and cigarette smoke, the creaking clicks of the old turnstiles, and that was before the sights of professional footballers battling away in a thrilling contest.

Ok, I have embellished that last point. My dad still maintains to this day that the game, a 0-0 draw against Hull City in August 1986, was one of the dullest he’s ever seen. He’s amazed I ever asked to go again…let alone beg to go every other game that season.

The whole experience was a joy for the young me, it was an explosion of sense-wackingly emotions that had me hooked. The key part of the whole experience, the game, had little if no impact on me hence my dad’s amazement. The key reason that 90% of the crowd were there was unimportant to me, I was more taken by everything around it. I was even more excited by the barriers and fences, to me at that age they weren’t the potential death traps they would prove to be, they were an adventure playground of monkey bars and pommel horses, it’s no wonder the game itself pailed into insignificance.

The love for my club, and the game, has built over the years of memories and experiences created by the beautiful game, but it was that first experience that had me hooked.

Looking back at how I became hooked, I did have a large choice of local clubs I could’ve supported, it was almost a perfect storm.

I had:

  • “Social proof” – my dad has been an Oldham fan since he was a child, I lived in the town and was surrounded by like-minded individuals everyday.
  • A little experience – my own playing days had started and I had already discovered a genuine love for playing
  • A reward – the playground of metal was amazing (although an unexpected reward)
  • A feeling that I belonged – I felt a real part of a movement of others

Businesses I work with expect sales-focused content to generate sales, no problem with that, however it can only work when it is surrounded by a 'hook'.

We are creatures driven by our emotions, that gut feeling that kicks in when you’ve finished doing your research on your latest purchase. The very best companies and the very best content create a real feeling or emotional tug and surround the un-sexy sale transaction with more than you expect.

Advertising isn’t dead, and great advertising has always used a hook and generated emotions to create sales. Content must do the same, with an slight exception – when it is part of a clear and well developed content funnel.

A Content Funnel

The content funnel is designed to get your ideal clients hooked and pulled, in the equivalent of a happy Star Wars tractor beam, towards your key (sometimes un-sexy) sales content. By the time a client sees this though they are pretty much ready to buy, and that’s when the emotional pull of your content approach should give you an edge when price becomes a factor.

A typical content funnel is designed with four types of content in mind, each pulling a prospect further into love with your business.

These are typically:

  1. Widest – Industry Related (even loosely) – Funny/Shareable
  2. Narrow – Market Specific – Factual/Positioning
  3. Narrower – Brand Building – Company Specific
  4. Narrowest – Long Tail/Sales – Product Specific

The key is to find a great blend that helps give your prospects and clients an emotional connection with your business via clever and engaging content.