Zeroing In On Your Reader's Core Emotions

Jen Adams here, back to help you dig into the mind of your reader to strengthen your writing.

And today, we’re going to talk about the importance of understanding your reader’s feelings.

Feelings – also called “the core emotions” – are very important in effective persuasive writing. Tapping into the right feelings can make your writing stronger and more memorable to your reader. And, by understanding which feelings dominate your reader’s life, you’ll be better able to trigger the emotions you want him or her to feel when reading your words.

Some of the most powerful core emotions to consider when you’re writing include:

  • Curiosity
  • Vanity
  • Fear
  • Benevolence
  • Insecurity
  • Power
  • Wealth and Abundance
  • Security
  • Belonging
  • Guilt

To pinpoint which emotions will work best in any given piece of writing, you’ll need to connect with what your reader feels about the topic.

To do that, picture your ideal customer. Imagine him or her as a real person, complete with a name and a full life story. Use your creative skills to build up his or her personality in your mind.

Next, focus on the ideal customer’s feelings. In general, is he or she happy or sad? Confident or anxious? Angry? Frustrated? Hopeful? Based on the life story you created, pick out a few emotions that define your ideal customer.

Now, write a few sentences that target one of his or her strong emotions or characteristic feelings. For example, if it’s being hopeful, you might say, “Are you ready to feel fulfilled, uplifted, and encouraged? Is it time to leave behind all the negativity in your life in favor of a fresh start based on your true potential?”

The “fulfilled, uplifted, and encouraged,” “fresh start” and “true potential” all speak to that element of constant hope in the person’s life. And they make your reader think you really “get” him or her emotionally.

Try a few more emotionally charged paragraphs and share them in the comments. Or, if you’d like to read more about using emotionally charged words, check out this article from Guillermo Rubio with tips on adding emotion to your writing.

And tomorrow, be sure to join me for a discussion about understanding your reader’s special relationships, as they relate to your writing …

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Published: March 18, 2014

4 Responses to “Zeroing In On Your Reader's Core Emotions”

  1. Here is my beginning steps to learn how to write emotionally charged paragraphs:

    Imagine waking up feeling well rested, alert and ready to tackle the day without the craving for coffee or an expensive energy drink that sends your body into a mid-day tailspin. Sound to good to be true? Well read further and discover an amazing, all natural product that will jump-start your day without the use of caffeine or man-made stimulants.


  2. Jen, I would go farther...I would be willing to actually interview the person I would like to target. This will really give me an actual person to write to and then read the copy to them where I can watch their facial expressions. If I get an "Ah-ha!" then I have struck gold.


  3. Please consider my humble attempt to employ your method.

    In these tumultuous times we cringe while we watch the buying power of the Dollar crash. Each day we look in fear to see if the price of gas has once again soared or if a loaf of bread has passed the five Dollar mark. Brace yourself, because salvation is at hand. There is one currency that is not only stable, but has been around for thousands of years. Got Gold?

    Guest (Norman)

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