7 Psychological Hacks for Creating Effective Content

With such fierce competition in the market, it can be difficult getting your voice heard above all the others out there. Looking to your audience for guidance can help align your content with them. Giving the people what they want. Understanding how to influence your buyers’ decisions can give you the edge needed to boot your competitors out of the running. With content underpinning every marketing channel, maximising the effectiveness of each piece offers greater ROI. By implementing hacks from psychology in content, you will see the benefits of taking guidance from your audience.

You may recognise some phenomenon from our Psychology in Marketing series, read on to see their applications in content marketing.

There it is again! (The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon)

Ever noticed something once and then seen it everywhere? That’s the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon in action. Also referred to as the frequency illusion, it can be used to boost brand and product awareness. For example, if you’re promoting a new product, mention it consistently across marketing channels. In your email, your social media posts, on your website and in paid ads. Repurposing and broadening the medium your content is used across can produce this effect. So once someone has seen your product on one channel, they’re more likely to notice and take note when it is promoted on another.

The Limitations of Memory (Clustering)

Consider human memory when you write. It can be so easy to overload the reader when writing emails, blogs and resources. Humans can remember, on average, up to 7 pieces of information in one go (note the number of items in this blog). This means that to overcome this limitation, you should cluster similar topics together. On your website, not only will this make your content more organised and easier to navigate, but it will become more memorable.

In your content, use bullet points and subheadings to help the brain store the information in relatable groups. Additionally, your text instantly becomes more scannable. Whether your readers spend 10 minutes reading your copy, or 1, they’ll understand the main takeaway points. By considering format, it allows your content to become cognitively easier to absorb.

We’re All Copycats (Social Influence)

As social beings, we look to others to dictate correct behaviour. If others are buying things, and especially if we trust them, then we’re more likely to feel comfortable doing so too. By promoting and encouraging customer reviews and testimonials, and creating case studies, you add a powerful motivator to your leads journey. Don’t be afraid to tell everyone what others think about you. By reinforcing how great your customers think you are, you will display your brand as a place to trust. Making your brand relatable to your audience will enhance this effect further.

Returning the Favour (Reciprocity)

When someone has done something nice for you, humans tend to have a desire to return the favour. When you’re giving away great advice without asking for anything in return (well maybe their email address), you can incite people to repay the favour. Hopefully by buying your product, but if not, by at least having a gander. For this effect to work, the content provided needs to be seen as informative enough to push action. This means blogs and emails are unlikely to work. Consider offering your leads something more; a whitepaper, guide or case study can offer in-depth solutions which benefit your audience. Aim to make the reader grateful for the insight and expert opinion that you have provided.

Strike a Chord (Emotional Engagement)

Content is most effective when it makes the reader feel a certain way. If you can achieve an emotional reaction early on, you’re onto a winner. Including this in an email subject line, or blog title is ideal! It’s likely you’ll intrigue enough to warrant an email open or click. Be relevant to your audience to increase the motivation behind this. Positive emotions such as joy, happiness and amusement typically work best for inciting a response. Always consider the outcome you’re after though. Are you aiming to entertain, or do you want your recipient to click onto more content? Manipulate the result based on how you frame your content. A positive spin will reflect back onto your brand, and if you’re after a click, make your CTA compelling!

Yep, that proves it! (Confirmation Bias)

Find out what biases your audience already have, and play up to them. When your lead has a certain preconception, they will subconsciously look out for factors which reinforce this belief. This is known as Confirmation Bias. When you know what preconceptions your leads already hold, you can big up your brand in this area. Be it that a certain competitor is sub-par, or that email marketing is the predominant marketing channel. Once it’s obvious that you are the best fit for this, leads are more likely to look out for other reasons why you’re the best option for them.

Bright, pastel, primary or neon? (The Psychology of Colour)

Colour can influence feelings at a subconscious level, and can also act as a reminder of your brand. When used consistently, this can make you instantly recognisable. When choosing colours for your content, across blogs, web pages and resources, consider what effect they will have on your audience. For example, reds and oranges are often perceived as aggressive or confident. Blues and greens, on the other hand, are perceived as calming. Use colour to evoke the desired emotion, make the call to actions, links and important information stand out and immediately obvious.

For more psychological applications in marketing, check out our Psychology of Marketing Resource. Maximise your strategy by interpreting and adapting to the preconceptions, and cognitive biases people hold.

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