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10 Social Psychology Principles That Ramp Up Your Content Marketing

The same basic psychological principles that we used 100 years ago can still work today. And you should use these social psychology principles to improve content marketing.

One essential quality that a great content marketer must have is to understand how and why people think and act in the way they do. It will be hard to write compelling content when you don’t know why it should be compelling to the reader. Before jumping into your marketing strategies, it will be a great help if you know how people works, an area that psychologists are trying to explain. Having an idea of a few fundamental principles of psychology can take your content to another level because the right audience will read and identify with it.

By knowing what makes your readers tick, and how you can persuade their buying behaviors and eventually their decisions are essential when you are developing your strategies for content marketing. Your aim as a marketer is to change the audience’s behavior in an approach that will benefit your business.

To help you appeal to readers, convince them and convert using your content, here are the social psychology lessons that you must know.


Marketing Psychology - Reiprocity

This psychological principle is about an affirmative action that happened in exchange for another positive response. It is as simple as this, if someone is friendly to another person, then as psychology suggests they would be friendly too. If you apply this to content marketing, when you give a reader something for free like a helpful blog or article, online webinars they can join or a fee e-book o download, you are building their loyalty.

If you are posting a content that will make your customers feel like you are giving them something valuable without spending, chances are they will be loyal to you and will eventually buy.

Information Gap Theory

This theory refers to the curiosity that develops in us humans if there is a gap in the information that we know and what we want to know. If there is this gap, people are wired to act to get this information. Translating this to content marketing means to create a curiosity within the audience that triggers them to want to find out more like creating eye-catching headlines that will draw them in and hand them something in your content.

Social proof

social media proof

Social proof and content marketing can work well together. This theory postulates that people are automatically pulled to a product that others already use and trust. In the world of content marketing, this works when people can see that their peers have an opinion on a product or service. This opinion comes in the form of endorsement, review or share.

If a reader finds out that other people have already commented or liked on a post and shared it with their friends, these people will be more likely to do the same.

Fear of Missing Out

FOMO as it is called is part of scarcity marketing theory. This theory proposes that humans are most likely to put a value on things that they may feel scarce and lower the value on anything that they may feel easy to attain.

When we are talking about content marketing, applying FOMO means you must showcase that your content is rare and valuable. An example would be a free e-book that is free to download for a limited time only. For a newsletter, tell them that this issue is exclusive to them and not for everyone else. You can use an HTML email editor for your email blasts that tells your receiver that this is a limited offer for them.

Loss Aversion

Psychology of Loss

In the theory of “economics and decision,” loss aversion is about the way that people prefer to actively avoid losses than acquiring gains. This is because according to psychology, losses are twice as much as gains. In content marketing, the sure way to prevent losses is to give them what they want to see or hear.

You can use powerful words, mainly when your audience is afraid about losing. If you show them that your product or service is a win-win, they will buy it. You need to emphasize the benefits when you are creating the content, and you are alleviating their fears. If you are using email marketing, discuss to them in brief what’s in it for them. It should be more of the benefits rather than features.

Paradox of Choice

This social psychology theory tells us that humans feel less satisfied if they have plenty of choices. Humans always struggle with making decisions, and when they have many choices, they still worry that the other option could have been a better one.

customer choices

In your content, make sure to be concise and direct and not to overwhelm them. When you want your audience to take further action after reading your material, you have to offer them only two routes and avoid letting them choose many options.

Cognitive Fluency

In this theory, it states that human prefer simplistic content and will subconsciously avoid any information that looks complicated. This is the reason why people prefer emojis to communicate their emotions. It is simple and easy to understand fast. From Twitter to blog posts you must apply these too. The easier your content to understand, the more likely you can catch your audience’s attention.

Perpetual Set Theory

It is said that humans are creatures of habit, and this much is true. If you use this theory to that, you should apply to content marketing. If you are subconsciously looking for a button to click on a landing page, you are using the perpetual set theory. The explanation is you should always expect to see something, and you always look for it. For content marketers, you must create content based on how the mind perceives a situation. Don’t go beyond the expectations of the prospect when trying out something new.

Models of Persuasion

marketing persuasion

There are many models of persuasion, but the Fogg Behavior Model is the one appropriate for content marketing. It provides a system to drive the desired behavior by using motivation, ability or a trigger that will coincide with the reader to act. Your content needs to have reliable and relevant messages and is easily understood.

Psychology of color

Psychology suggests that people put their judgment on a product within 90 seconds after seeing it for the first time and most it is based on color. Color is an essential component of content when marketers are forming design, choosing their banner images and when planning videos.


When creating and implementing a successful strategy for marketing content, you need to keep these social psychology principles in mind to help you better understand how to influence the behavior of your audiences and urge them to act. You need to focus on your consumer’s actions and thoughts, for you to stand out in the cutthroat industry that is digital marketing.  

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