If you believe the headlines, 2016 was a risky year to be a well-known artist.
Here’s a few we lost: David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Harper Lee, Prince, Leonard Cohen, Andrew Sachs (Manuel in Fawlty Towers), Jean Alexander (Hilda Ogden in Coronation Street), Muhammed Ali, Gene Wilder, George Michael on Christmas Day, and Carrie Fisher and her mum Debbie Reynolds within a day of each other.
With each passing came a public show of grief. Tears, mountains of floral tributes, declarations on social media, an upswing in Spotify downloads or a post-mortem re-entry into the top 100 music charts…
Why do we feel so deeply connected – and affected – by the loss of people we have never met?
Many made fun of the mourning masses, attributing such public grief to how bored we are, how much time we spend on social media, how little we have of real importance in our lives, how we’ve fallen for the cult of celebrity.
But I think there’s a deeper reason we mourn the loss of beloved artists (quite apart from the reminder of our own mortality).
It’s about the emotional connection we have with their work.
Whether it’s a song, a film or the memory of an event, their work touched our lives in ways we can’t necessarily define.
Maybe it takes you back to a sweeter time, when you were young and falling in love with another or with life or even with yourself. Exploring the world, finding your place.
Maybe it reminds you of someone – or something – you’ve lost.
Maybe it’s the truth laid bare in that lyric, that poem or that play. How it made you feel to see and hear your experiences reflected back at you. What the artistic expression says about their life and yours, about the culture we inhabit. How it helped you feel part of something bigger than yourself.
Emotional connection is what happens when a piece of work helps you feel connected to others through our shared human experiences.
In the online world, we often use the term “resonate” for content that creates an emotional connection. When we say something “resonates”, what we are really saying is that to say that we felt the essential truth of the work so strongly, it’s as if it resounded through us.
That’s some emotional connection.
Content that creates an emotional connection has a deeper and often a longer lasting impact on the reader. Your blog is far more likely to be remembered, when it touches the reader deeply and speaks to something they know deep inside to be true.
So how do you create that emotional connection? Start with these tips:
- Write about things you care about – your personal passion or commitment to a cause raises the emotional stakes
- Show you understand your customers’ struggles – take time to listen to how she feels and understand the nuances of her experience.
- Share from the heart and be vulnerable – Share your truth and lead by example – if you’ve been there, then make sure your customer feels
- Break the rules – David Bowie, Prince, George Michael, Leonard Cohen – these artists weren’t playing by the rules or trying to blend in. They were pushing boundaries, challenging prevailing ideas, sharing their universal truth in a distinctive and moving way.
If you’re ready to bring more emotional connection into your work then sign up for my ‘Write to the Heart of Your Message’ workbook – 12 Essential Questions to Refine Your Core Message, so you can write for your business with clarity, focus and passion.