The Psychology of Content

Click behavior, click triggers, logical impulses, common sense… it’s all part of the psychology of content. The amazing thing is how much actually goes into this psychology.

Words have more than just a dictionary meaning… They create imagery, emotion and most of all a connection. This is one of the lessons I intend to pound into you today (figuratively speaking, of course).

Words mean things. When you say, “guarantee”, for example, you’d better be prepared to back it up. For example, have you ever wondered why an online clothing outfit would have a disclaimer that “product colors may vary slightly from those shown online”? You can bet someone saw the word “orange” for a color and complained because they received a shirt that didn’t look orange to them.

Consider calls to action:

“Act” doesn’t offer the same feeling as “Act Now”. Simply by adding “now”, you give your call to action a sense of urgency. “Buy Now” isn’t as forceful either. It just doesn’t carry the same umph, the same power.

“Fill out this contact form below to get a free quote”… okay, it tells you what to do, but what about “Request a Quote Today!” with an arrow?

I can think of several examples, as I’m sure you can. Maybe they seem repetitive. Maybe you’re a creative individual and think you can do better than “Act Now”, and maybe you’re right. Before you go being creative, though, consider why words like these are used repeatedly by any number of companies. The simple answer is – because they work.

Why is Content Crafted, Not Written?

Copywriters like to use the word “crafted” when talking about content: “Well-crafted content”. Why can’t we simply say “well-written”?

Craft Your Content

Writing content is a craft. Part linguistics, part psychology, part marketing… a whole bunch of parts go into a single piece of content. The writer has to take all those parts and “craft” a clean, easy-to-read marketing tool. Of course, it could also have something to do with the fact that “crafted” sounds stronger than “wrote”…

In marketing, we study things such as click behavior; why do visitors click on Meta tag A instead of B or C? Why is it easier to find the shopping cart if it’s in the upper left hand corner than if it’s… well, any place else? What elements of a page can be considered “click-triggers”?

Millions of people use the Web. We search through links, scan headlines, jump from intriguing snippet to intriguing snippet, and find the best pricing on our every need. With the tons of choices out there, how do we decide which site to land on?

  • Sticky content
  • Attention grabbing, well-written headlines
  • Finely-crafted copy
  • Pleasant user experience

These sites manage to hit a sequence for the natural, logical buying impulse. We have a desire; these sites make fulfillment and conversion a natural progression rather than a forced, manipulated sale. We stay relaxed because our defenses (raised by feeling pushed) are never triggered; in turn, we stay longer, become more engaged and, eventually, convert or gather brand recognition.

Never Mind the Man Behind the Curtain

Never Mind the Man Behind the Curtain

Like the little man behind the curtain in The Wizard of Oz, we often believe our visitors are impossible to pin down. How visitors navigate websites is the stuff of magic, smoke and mirrors or slight of hand. Because it very much looks like you have to learn how to read your visitors’ minds, many just shrug and guestimate… which is similar to ignoring the facts about visitors and using guesswork instead.

Strip back the curtain, people. Don’t ignore the visitor. You can learn how to write to your target market, reach out to them and lead them down your golden pathway to conversion. You have a singular moment unlike any other moment in your relationship with a potential customer. You’re at that one moment in time when you can persuade your visitor to convert using research, common sense and logical buying impulses.

Reinforce the concept you’re trying to get across with a visual aid. Share information they really want to know. Entertain them. Tailor your presentation; turn your website into a fitted Armani for your target audience; always, always, stick to the K.I.S.S. principle

The simpler you keep the information, the lower the chances of people surfing away. Likewise, with research, a wee bit of foresight, a sprinkling of continuity and a dollop of follow through, you’ll have a strong grasp on your target market’s psychology.

Finally, remember – your market may not think the same way another’s market thinks. Certainly, pay attention to how other successful websites have built their content, but never make the mistake of “copying” another site’s style. Learn, absorb and then apply your knowledge to that most fantastic of all markets – yours.