Integrated marketers know that
every line of content on or in your website, advertisements, social media, or
print materials is tasked with the job of communicating with your audience. It
might be intended to explain the value of your product or service, tell a
story, or provoke a feeling of scarcity or need. Just as the famous
architectural saying dictates that form follows function,
your copy should reflect its function, whatever form it appears in.
Writing on MarketingSherpa’s
recently, Daniel Burstein makes the case that your copy needs a
. This is how the
words resonate with the reader, how they roll off the tongue and elicit a
specific feeling or reaction.
What is Earfeel & Why Does it Matter?
Burstein coined the phrase earfeel
based on the definition of the word mouthfeel.
Mouthfeel refers to the “sensations that are experienced inside the mouth while
eating or drinking. These can include textures that touch the tongue, roof of
the mouth, teeth, throat, or… an aftertaste.” Similarly, marketing copy should
communicate more than words—it should share a message that connects viscerally
with the reader/viewer.
Like mouthfeel, earfeel involves
the reader’s senses, creating an experience instead of just reading as words on
a page. Headlines and copy should be more than items we check off a
checklist—they should communicate the intended message and resonate with the
Unfortunately, it’s just as clear
when the integrated marketer or content producer misses the mark.
1. The Headline Isn’t Inviting Enough
A headline with earfeel should be welcoming, sparking
conversation or engagement with the reader. It should also flow naturally and
comfortably. The most important copy you write is the primary headline for your piece. The 6-12 words of your headline can mean
a higher click-thru rate, a lower bounce rate, and a boost in conversion
numbers. This is why earfeel is so important when crafting your welcoming
2. You’re Trying Too Hard
Headlines and copy should just naturally pull a reader
in, orient them, educate them, and encourage them to either learn more or share
this new morsel. But if you try to do too much with your copy, it may end up
doing nothing at all but overwhelm the reader.
While you no doubt have a lot of information to share
with your reader, too much is hard to take in, overwhelms the reader, and can
result in them bouncing off your page or advertisement. Instead, shoot for
earfeel and open a conversation.
3. You’re Being Too Clever
Part of good earfeel is an effortless flow of useful,
clear information. Sometimes, though, the temptation
to get too clever is hard for an
integrated marketer or content creator to resist. Earfeel may mean laughing at
a commercial without being able to tell what is even being sold. Clever copy
may go viral or get shared on social media. But to resonate with the audience,
cleverness needs to be tempered with clarity for a naturally flowing message.
4. You’re Being Bossy
Domineering or overbearing content lacks earfeel—and it’s
just not nice. Instead, aim to make your messaging more approachable and
casual. Remember that how you communicate is as important as what you
communicate. For earfeel, your content should be friendly and welcoming.
The best way to test for earfeel is to read your content
out loud. Read it to yourself or read it to someone else but listen to how you
are communicating your message—check-in with your senses or those of your
listener. What feelings are conjured by the content? Is it compelling,
enticing, or engaging?