If you’re struggling to help your content hit the mark when it comes to user engagement, we’re here to help.
As seasoned writers ourselves, we fully appreciate the time and effort that goes into creating high-quality content. We also appreciate that you sometimes need to think outside the box to earn the engagement you want (and deserve) from your readers.
No, we’re not going to suggest click-bait headlines and sensationalised stories - we’re better than that. Instead, we’re sharing some less conventional, science-backed tactics that could help win over your readers.
Tap into timing
It’s no secret that our lives and decisions are dictated by time. Not only immediate time constraints, though, but also more subtle temporal landmarks that we all adhere to.
Defined as days that mark transitions in our lives, temporal landmarks are significant because they prompt us to think about making a fresh start or implementing changes in our lives. This makes them a powerful tool to have at your disposal.
When creating your content, try to identify relevant temporal landmarks for your audience. This could include public holidays, birthdays, having a child, reaching an age milestone, the beginning of a new season, a new month or even a new week. By identifying temporal landmarks that will resonate with your readers, you can give your content newfound relatability.
Play on inequity aversion
While life isn’t always fair, this is one emotion that can be used in content to gain an emotional reaction. There’s scientific evidence to show that humans and other animals have an innate aversion to inequality. Put simply, this means we don’t like it when someone receives a greater reward than someone else.
With content, outlining instances of inequity and asking readers if they feel this is fair or not could prove compelling. Charities are masters at this, highlighting the haves and have-nots in specific scenarios that naturally cause readers to contemplate whether or not this is justified.
Finding a relevant example that will appeal to your readers' inequity aversion could help you drive superior engagement compared with a more traditional sales approach. Naturally, the angle you adopt will depend on your target demographic and the nature of your business.
Use time and effort perceptions
As human beings, we often associate the quality of something with the level of time or effort that’s gone into it. We’re sure we can all find an example of when we’ve felt a job mustn’t have been done correctly because it was done more quickly than we expected.
Similarly, studies have shown that, if users are given a gauge of progress or input, this can improve their perception of a particular service or task. Take Amazon’s delivery tracking, for example - you order a product and, from dispatch to delivery, you receive period updates on the status of that order (including delays) to better manage your expectations.
From a content point of view, you can play with the input bias to gain buy-in from readers by using the right language. For instance, place as much emphasis as possible on the amount of time or effort it takes to make a product, or the lengths you went to to research a particular article. This all plays into a subconscious perception that greater input equals higher quality.
Make it rhyme
If you’re looking for a simple way to draw your readers in and prompt them to take action, it’d be a crime not to use rhyme. This technique is known as the rhyme-as-reason effect, and uses our innate cognitive bias towards rhyme to help us retain and accept information.
From advertising slogans to nursery rhymes, poems and parables, the ones we remember are usually the ones complete with a catchy rhyme or two. So, use this technique to your advantage in your content writing.
You don’t need to turn every sentence into a rhyme or transform email marketing campaigns into carefully crafted poems. Simply find subtle ways to incorporate rhyming phrases and sentences that will subconsciously stick with your readers.
Let them feel in control
Feeling in control is a deep-seated need we all have to some degree, and it can be a compelling technique to utilise in your content writing. Social scientists call this behaviour autonomy bias, which plays on our need to feel independent and autonomous in our decisions.
From a content perspective, rather than dictating to your readers how they should feel, which products they should buy and more, give them a choice rather than a single option.
While you’re still influencing them, it’s more subtle and, ultimately, makes them feel in control. You can shift readers’ mindsets from ‘do I want this?’ to ‘which one of these do I want?’. The result is a greater likelihood of a positive response.
This technique can be highly effective with email marketing or onsite content, where you’re pushing particular products or services. However, it can also translate into promoting different benefits to users - or even something as simple as giving them the control over how they respond to or interact with you.
Emphasise bundle benefits
We all love to feel like we’re getting a good deal when spending our hard-earned cash - and offering consumers bargain bundles can be a great way to hit the sweet spot and reduce the pain of paying for individual items.
It’s the bundles that focus on savings for luxury purchases rather than the complete package that typically work best, because, subconsciously, we feel like we’re getting more value for money. This is called hedonic bundling.
If you’re looking to maximise on conversion rates using savvy content, experiment with offering users bundles that display the biggest discounts on the most expensive or coveted item. Even though the cost of the bundle is technically evenly distributed across all of the products, the perception is that shoppers are getting more bang for their buck.
Label your audience
As a rule, we don’t recommend pigeonholing your readers into specific categories, as this implies you’ve made certain assumptions about them. But there are some instances where giving readers a label can have a positive impact and trigger a reaction, where users actually want to live up to that label.
For example, if you’re a fashion brand, you can use terminology that aligns them with your audience, such as ‘fashionista’ or ‘devoted fashion follower’ in your content. This gives them an identity they may aspire to have.
To get this right, make sure you have a clear understanding of your audience and use these labels subtly throughout your content. That way, they’ll become naturally embedded in their mind without your content feeling dictatorial.
Crafting compelling and engaging content is no mean feat. But with these less conventional approaches, which tap into subconscious human behaviours, you could see significant improvements in how users engage with your content.
If you need a little help executing these techniques, look no further. Our team of expert content writers can help you develop a robust content strategy designed to engage your audience in all of the right ways. Get in touch with Paragraft now to get started.