6 psychological principles that should influence a content strategy

By Wolfenden
13th October 2021
By Beth Horner


When building out a content strategy there will be various areas to consider, particularly in terms of SEO. The building blocks will come from your content audits, keyword research and competitor analysis. However, it shouldn’t stop there.

As Google continues to update and better understand user behaviour, and the need for hyper-personalised content grows – we need to adapt our content strategies accordingly and think of different ways to engage readers and improve rankings.

One of the ways we can do this is to implement different psychological principles into our content strategy. In any form of marketing, psychology plays a massive role, as understanding human behaviour is one of the key aspects in devising any successful campaign.

So, how can we apply this to our content strategies? We’re going to discuss some of the key principles you should consider below.

1. Information gap theory

George Lowenstein developed the information gap theory in the 1990’s and it is the theory that there is a gap between what an individual knows already and what they are interested to learn. This is one of the most useful theories that can be applied to content marketing.

To apply this theory to your strategy we can use tools that help us to discover trending topics, within our desired industry. This could be through keyword research or search listening tools, for example Google Trends. By implementing these topics into a strategy, we can generate curiosity within our audience, and provide information to fill the gap.

2. Fear of missing out

This one is fairly self-explanatory, but it is based on a person’s fear of missing out. To implement this principle into your strategy it is important to curate content that your audience cannot get anywhere else.

When content, or products, are only available in limited amounts they become more desirable. So, this is where it is essential to share the insight and expertise that only you can provide – not only to peak your audiences’ interest but to also increase your brand’s authority.

3. Cluster content

Topic clustering or creating a pillar page strategy on your site provides consumers with a long-term value proposition. By clustering your content together and linking through to various sub-pages you can encourage readers to revisit your site as they know you have all the information on the specific topic.

Not only that but it makes content easier to find and complements your SEO strategy.

4. Scarcity

Scarcity is the theory that, as humans we place higher value on things that appear to be scarce. For example, if something is sold as ‘limited edition’.

This concept can be applied to content marketing if you can make it appear that your content is rare. An example of how this might work in practice is if you produce a report, whitepaper or eBook that is only available in limited quantities.

5. The frequency illusion

The frequency illusion is a concept in which something that a person has just learnt or seen for the first time starts to appear everywhere they look. We can apply this concept to content marketing through the use of multi-channel campaigns.

Not only does this make for a stronger overall campaign but it increases the likelihood of it being on a person’s radar. With more exposure, comes more engagement. You can do this by curating multi-channel strategies that span onsite, digital PR and social media.

6. Reciprocity

Reciprocity is the concept that as people we respond to the positive or kind actions of others with positivity in return. In content marketing we can do this simply by providing real, valuable insights through blog posts but also through other forms of content such as podcasts, videos and webinars.

By providing content that is genuinely useful without asking for anything in return we can build trust and brand loyalty. Informational content that does not push promotions is a great way to do this.

The great thing about each of these psychological principles is that they lend themselves brilliantly to your content and SEO strategies, in fact you may find that with an in-depth SEO strategy you are already implementing some of these principles.

If you want to look at ways to increase content engagement or need help creating and implementing a content strategy, please get in touch for a chat with our team.



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