Let’s talk about fear

Let’s talk about the big, scary elephant in every room — fear. It can be used for the good and it can also be bad. Today we explore a couple of ways it affects us and helps our businesses. 

Fear. It can stop us from doing things that we should do … and motivate us to action when used in content. 

When we feel fear around content strategy and our business, we can get paralyzed like the proverbial deer in the headlights. 

We begin to feel fear of the unknown. Fear of the costs and fear of the work involved.

These are all really valid things to be concerned about. None of us wants to spend money and time on a program that will produce few results. 

But, when done well a content strategy can help us get away from fear and into action.

Businesses (and their owners) can get out of their own way and into an effective content strategy when they focus on:

>> The truth that consumers are 131% more likely to buy after reading educational content from a brand.

>>And that content marketing generates 3 times as many leads as traditional marketing and costs up to 62 percent less.

Spend less money and get more leads? Build recognition and revenue? Like most of you, I’m in!

The next part of fear is actually the part that is fun. It is when we use fear (not the Halloween kind of course) to persuade readers to take action. This is closer to eliciting the fear of missing out or the fear of losing out.

The FOMO and FOLO drive many of our actions as consumers. 

We sign up for events or buy products because we are inspired to act with a “buy now” button or the caution from an ad that the “offer expires soon.”

How many times have you bought an item that was on sale (4 for $5!) because you didn’t want to miss out on the deal?

This type of fear drives action….and can be a positive addition to your content strategy

>>Tools like the scarcity concept can cause readers/customers to buy or sign up for a product when they fear that the product will no longer be available in a short time. Using this works well for products like online courses (offered only 1x a year!) or programs (don’t miss out on this opportunity to change your business!). Think “act now” when you write content intended to create scarcity.

>>Use the fear of losing out when you are working to keep customers engaged and buying. Studies of fear show us that  people are actually much more likely to act to save something than to obtain something. This means that when you offer a product or service, you can use this to create a need (as opposed to a want) that will not only encourage, but requires action by your customer. For example – you could create content with a message that says “if you don’t take this action, you could lose your….business, income, opportunity for success…” Your content could say “you are a leader in your field…don’t miss the chance to stay ahead of the pack with this service” and inspire a fear based reaction.

>>The fear of loss also applies when people are afraid of losing status. Status in the eyes of their peers, in how their customers see them or in their own minds. Content that elicits responses using this tool might say something like “you can become a thought leader in your field using this product.” People want to feel as if they are making smart decisions. Help them achieve that and you will win a long term client.

The goal of content marketing is to create an inspirational message that will create the action in your customers that you wish them to take. 

It might not be aimed at immediate action, even long game strategies can use fear to keep customers around.

Pam Parker Foley

Pam Parker Foley

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