I bet you’d love people to binge on your blog posts, podcasts, videos, or whatever content you put out.
But do they?
They may give you some likes, some comments, they open your emails (sometimes) and learn a thing or two.
One can wish.
But, do you want to know the secret to hook them on your content? To make them salivate for your prose like they would for some delicious baby-back ribs?
I’ll tell you in a minute.
You see, your audience craves entertainment.
Actually, they crave the neurochemicals released into their system when their curiosity is triggered by the plot of a TV show: dopamine and norepinephrine.
Scientists say these neurochemicals are as addictive as cocaine.
And that is good news for you as a writer.
Unless you are writing scripts or novels, you are not in the entertainment business.
You want to help others, inspire them, educate them somehow. Not just entertain them, right?
Still, you can use neurobiology to your advantage.
Want to know how?
It’s a simple technique I use in my novels.
And I am using it here.
A few paragraphs above, I promised to tell you how to hook your readers. But I haven’t done it yet.
I made you curious about something, then I withheld the information for a while.
That curiosity created a surge in your brain activity. Then I revealed the secret and your brain rewarded you with another neurochemical that makes you feel good.
(The dopamine levels here are not as high as with a movie, which involves sounds and moving pictures, but the principles are the same).
But there’s more. Let me show you.
See what I just did?
I don’t want you to stop reading just yet, so I make another promise and get you curious again.
That’s how a TV show or a book series can last for years. It creates lots of questions in the audience, resolves some, but keeps stacking up more questions.
One season ends in a cliffhanger scene where you don’t know whether the villain is dead or alive. You wait until next season to find out that he escaped at the last instant. But at the end of that season there is another cliffhanger.
In fact, there are cliffhangers before every commercial break and at the end of each episode (or book chapter).
Why? To keep you hooked, wanting to come back for more.
So, let’s apply this principle to your writing.
- What are some promises that you can make to your audience that will pique their interest?
- Plan some serialized content that leaves questions unanswered so your audience will want to keep coming back.
Write a post or an article where you start telling a story but leave the ending for later (maybe the next day’s post or further down the article). You can add some lessons or key points, but don’t tell the ending of the story.
Take an existing piece of content where you are giving all the information upfront and rewrite it so you are withholding information until the end.
The exercises above are not a gimmick to manipulate your readers.
If you want to write like a thought leader, you must be able to command attention in world full of distractions and information overload.
You are competing with the best storytellers and entertainers in the world.
So use their same weapons to lead your readers to improve their lives and inspire them to succeed.
A boring leader is less likely to make an impact.
So lead with excitement; lead with neurobiology.
See you next time! I’ll share some kick-ass storytelling techniques. Don’t miss them.