Empathy is a crucial element that is often neglected when a writer is creating content. Cognitive empathy is the ability to actively recognize and respond to another’s emotional state.
Writers mainly utilize logical strategies when creating content including building authority, plain language style, and information design principles. The problem with this is that it leaves out a crucial element: the way readers respond emotionally to written material.
For example, when readers can’t find what they’re looking or can’t understand complicated text, they may become frustrated. According to a 2013 survey, 68% of US consumers have experienced “customer rage.”
It is very important for content creators to understand their readers’ emotional responses because people often make decisions with their emotions and then use logic and reason to justify those decisions.
In marketing, this is clearly understood and it is exploited daily in order to motivate people to purchase a product or service. In content creation, a writer is not usually writing marketing materials to sell something to a potential customer, but writing things such as Terms and Conditions, Help Center information, FAQs, and other content which a reader will engage with and use to solve a problem. Materials such as these need to elicit emotions in a reader not unlike marketing content. For example, how do you feel when you can’t find an answer to your question in the FAQ? How about when the Help information leaves you more confused than when you started?
Content creators need to focus more on creating text that expresses and produces emotions such as trust, relief, and understanding which helps to not only engage users, but make them feel good about themselves and the company or website.