You may be thinking, “What in the world does psychology have to do with content marketing?” Don’t worry, you are not alone.
Our popular culture portrays psychology as therapy rather than research, as medical prescriptions rather than behavior analysis, and as a series of terrifying mental disorders rather than organizational performance improvement. This post corrects these common misconceptions and shows the ways in which social psychology is most useful for content marketing.
What Is Content? The King, That’s What
Let’s define content within digital marketing. Content refers to any text, photography, video, audio, or otherwise interactive material in your brand’s advertising campaigns and website. The content is anything that the consumers come to view, read, hear, or click.
In the digital marketplace your brand’s content must be flexible in order to adapt to different media and devices. Both your mobile site and your desktop site must display your products in an entertaining and attractive format.
Your brand’s content must also engage consumers, immediately. Consumers want to view your products, now. They want to watch your video, now. They want your web page to load, now. Don’t make them wait – capture their attention at the very second that they are available to you! Offer the information for which consumers are searching. Create content that appears when consumers search for your brand’s industry, topics, or services.
After consumers view, read, or click on your content, what do you want them to do? Whatever task you want them to complete, you must make it obvious through a Call-to-Action. Direct consumers’ behavior by actually giving them something to do: subscribe, fill in the information, click the button, or leave a comment.
To create effective content for your brand’s digital marketing, study and understand human behavior.
Social Psychology - Real People, Real Interactions with Your Brand
Most people believe that psychology is all about Freud, psychotherapy, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (an amazing film that’s currently available on Google Play). But, that assumption is wrong.
Psychology focuses on the research of human behavior and cognition. Social psychology, specifically, is the study of individuals in social interactions to better understand society.
A recent peer-reviewed article by Acar & Puntoni (2016) discusses the power of individuals in digital marketing: consumers are active agents in their digital viewing and purchasing decisions. It is important to remember that, in digital marketing, consumers are responsible for their actions rather than brands.
For this reason much of social psychological research focuses on the contexts of behavior. Applicable questions are: “What conditions need to be present for consumers to purchase your product?” and “In what kind of situation is a purchase, subscription, or click probable?”
The answers to these questions depend upon the distinct context in which consumers interact with your brand. The order of your brand’s content – the actual words, images, videos, and designs – matter to consumers’ perceptions of, and overall interactions with, your brand (Ducarroz, Yang, & Greenleaf, 2016).
Psychology & Content Marketing - Not That Crazy, After All
When you think about these aspects of social psychological research, it is clear that they apply to your brand’s digital marketing content. Use social psychology to study and direct the behavior of consumers:
- Be flexible with your content to fit any kind of interaction or digital interface.
- Focus on a consumer’s immediate environment and available choices to foster engagement.
- Use the needs of consumers rather than the needs of your brand to encourage purchases.