This Is Your Mind On Content: 4 Psychological Triggers To Use Today

This Is Your Mind On Content: 4 Psychological Triggers To Use Today

Content marketing is an ever-changing world.

But in the face of constantly evolving strategies and best practices, one thing remains constant: readers’ behaviour.

This is what makes psychological triggers so damn valuable. They allow you to tap into the consistent, primal nature of unchanging human behaviour.

Use these to best effect in your content and you’ll be able to psychologically guide your audience towards a desired goal. Miss the mark, though, and you can end up sounding more Mad Hatter than Sigmund Freud.

So, we thought we’d show you how to get it right. Yep, today we’re teaching you how to become the Derren Brown of content.

Without further ado, here’s how you can introduce 4 common psychological triggers into your own content today.


You’ve probably heard the term FOMO thrown around before.

This ‘fear of missing out’ is the anxiety surrounding being excluded from an experience. FOMO has been a marketer’s best friend for many years. Why? Because it’s super easy to manipulate.

From limited edition offers to stock level warnings, there are plenty of simple ways a marketer can inspire the right combination of envy and urgency.

But how does this apply to your content?

When it comes to utilising FOMO in your content creation, you have two options.

Option A is to leverage your content. This can be particularly useful in driving leads.

Think of it as an exchange: we’ll give you X, if you give us Y. Of course, in order for you to effectively exploit FOMO, you’ll need to offer a worthwhile incentive - something your reader won’t want to miss out on.

What exactly this is will depend on your audience, so be sure to take a deep dive into your audience personas to understand what truly makes your readers tick.

For example, we know that Paragraft readers want the latest and greatest in content tips. If we wanted to grow our email subscriber list, we could leverage a high-value piece of content and use FOMO to drive readers towards our goal: ‘receive exclusive, one-of-a-kind content tips by subscribing now’.

Option B plays on information gap theory. Don’t worry - it’s more interesting than it sounds.

The brain loves wholeness. When there’s a missing piece of the puzzle, the human brain is driven by a fear of missing out on completion, creating a compulsion to find the answer.

This creates ample opportunity for you to strike up FOMO from the off with some cleverly crafted headlines. Evoke curiosity by dabbling in clickbait, providing an irresistible incentive readers can’t help but engage with: ‘the secrets to [something your audience cares about]’.

Choice paradox

Believe it or not, customers don’t like choice. OK, that’s not strictly true - customers don’t like too much choice.

When faced with an abundance of options, the human psyche gets overwhelmed. In some instances, this can even cause the person to freeze, panic and do nothing! This is what we call ‘analysis paralysis’. What a term.

Of course, for purpose-driven content with a defined goal in mind, this simply won’t do.

Pay close attention to your overarching content strategy with this choice paradox in mind.

Intertwine the content you produce with your sales funnel, creating content for each stage of the journey. Start by creating informational content for the awareness stage, then craft content that nurtures the reader through to conversion.

The trick here is to make the reader’s choice for them. Create a logical content path for your user to explore, then tidily lead them down this path using internal linking and imperative language: ‘now you’ve learned about choice paradox, the next step is to [insert link to next stage content]’.

Herd mentality

We the sheeple.

As social beings, humans have an inherent need to conform - they’re doing it, so we want to do it. This isn’t just good news for Apple’s profit margins - it’s great news for your content, too.

You can establish a herd mentality around your business by building a brand community. Here, content plays a major role. Start by creating high-value content you know your audience needs: provide solutions, embrace hot topics, incentivise engagement.

Next, you want to encourage conversations and interactions. Keep those comment sections open, ask open-ended questions and directly inform readers on how to get involved.

The final piece of the puzzle is your use of the collective. Shift away from ‘we the brand’, embracing your audience and favouring ‘we the community’.

This sense of unity, paired with the hotbed of conversation you created, should stir up a herd mentality that sees your content engagement skyrocket.

Confirmation bias

Who doesn’t like being right?

Confirmation bias is the common tendency for us to lean towards the information that supports our existing beliefs.

For fact-based reporting, this can be problematic at best. That’s because your readers may not be seeking objective facts, instead interpreting information to support an existing belief while ignoring the information that challenges it.

For a content marketer, though, this can be pretty handy. Why? Because you guarantee more engagement.

Don’t be afraid to create belief-based content. No, this doesn’t mean setting up your soapbox in Speakers’ Corner. Instead, create content that’s driven by the values of your brand.

Today, brand values matter to customers more than ever before. In fact, a mammoth 89% of shoppers stay loyal to brands that share their values.

By creating value-driven content that aligns with the core beliefs of your brand, you’re likely to receive more meaningful engagement. That’s because you’re ensuring your content resonates with those who identify with your brand, meaning you’re more likely to capture, convert and retain these readers as a result.

Using psychological triggers in your content doesn’t make you a Bond villain. On the contrary, the creative use of these principles helps you to create more strategic, purpose-driven content.

If you’re struggling to prioritise mind over matter, why not leave it the professionals? Get in touch with Paragraft to learn how we can help today.

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