Seek Pleasure vs. Avoid Pain: Why Not Both?
It’s widely known that people will do more to avoid pain than to gain pleasure. If someone is happy, they won’t necessarily look for ways to improve upon that happiness. However, if someone is in pain, they most certainly will want to find ways to be pain-free, including how to prevent or avoid pain.
There are more articles that focus on what to do (overcome present pain), than what to avoid (completely bypass pain and continue on the road to pain-free happiness). One theory for this discrepancy is the difference of tone or attitude, i.e., positive tone vs. negative tone.
Approaching a topic by stating “do this” or “don’t do this” resembles a parent scolding a child. Readers don’t like to be scolded. However, they do like informative tips that are engaging and give them the choice to find what best suits them and their situation.
So how do you write a Things to Avoid article without sounding negative? Here are two keys to think about:
Evidence always wins. Readers shy away from outbursts of displeasure, but they love constructive criticism. Use your personal and professional experience to provide descriptive recommendations to help the reader understand why you are an authority on the topic.
Stay positive! This can be as simple as avoiding words with negative connotation, such as “but,” “don’t,” “however,” etc. Also, lead with the benefit (i.e., how your reader can gain pleasure, peace of mind, etc., by avoiding X, Y, and Z).
One final element that binds these two keys is this: By taking preventive action to avoid pain, you will find pleasure. Whether it’s more time to seek out pleasure or simply a better, more pleasing route – avoiding pain isn’t negative, nor is it denial. It’s getting on a path to a better, pain-free life.
Now, armed with your evidence and a positive attitude, write a Things to Avoid article using the following template:
- Title – Pick the niche area you’re going to discuss. Use a title with keywords related to that niche area.
- Introduction – Lead with a positive by describing (in 3-5 sentences) how the reader will benefit by avoiding a place, person, activity, trait, etc.
- Body – Briefly tell a related story about the thing you are advising people to avoid. Sharing an experience will help you build trust and credibility. You’ll become more believable if you have experienced something yourself.
- List – List the things to avoid and/or steps on how to avoid them.
- Conclusion – Remind readers of what to avoid and how to do it. Keep the conclusion short, sweet, and to the point.
Once you finish writing, look back and make sure you have delivered on any promise you made in your Things to Avoid article title. If you say: Here are “10 Things Health-Conscious Shoppers Should Avoid at the Supermarket,” then ensure 10 items are numbered in the article body to avoid appearing misleading.
Go ahead and give this template a try to build your authoritative portfolio with quality, original articles.
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Have you written an article using the Things to Avoid style? Share your article and experiences in the comments section below.