When you begin to write an article for your blog or a guest post, a lot of things start running through your mind. “What should I write about?”, “How should I start?”, “What is the best way to make this article SEO friendly?” The list goes on and on, but I would argue that there is one important factor that people miss through this thought process and that is “How can I get my reader engaged in my blog?” This is where you can use psychology to help you.
If you can manage the elusive feet of making readers feel compelled to leave a comment or share the post on social media, then you have achieved something special! This is when your readers will choose you as one of their source for knowledge or information on your topic.
Here are three famous psychology studies that can give us an insight to doing this.
Use Psychology To Encourage Interaction
Any of you that have studied psychology will be familiar with the Milgram obedience experiment. During this experiment Milgram gets participants to deliver seemingly lethal electric shocks to another human being, simply because an authority figure in a white coat is stating that “it is necessary for the experiment that you continue”. Luckily no-one had to die to get these interesting results but over 90% of the participants did in fact think they were delivering these deadly shocks.
The lesson we can take away from this experiment as bloggers is that if we project an heir of authority, then the audience will respond positively to that. We are writing as experts on a particular subject and hopefully we are writing so that people can gain something from it. Unless we seem like we know what we are talking about, then people won’t believe that we do!
Now to put this authority into your writing try and avoid statements like ‘I think’, ‘maybe’ or anything that sounds ambiguous. These statements will make people think that you are unsure about what you are saying and that will allow them to think that you don’t know what you are on about. If you aren’t sure about what you’re talking about then why should they be?
Conformity is a Powerful Thing
Although most of us wouldn’t like to admit it, we like to conform to the accepted norm of the time. Human beings are the most social animals on the planet and with that comes a certain desire to fit in with your peers.
Another very interesting psychological experiment to come out of the social science era of the 1950’s and 60’s was the conformity experiment by Asch. In this experiment one participant is put with a group of stooges and asked to match a line on the left to one of three lines on the right. The stooges all pick the wrong answer and in over 75% of cases the participant chooses the same as the rest of the people in the room, even if they believe it is wrong.
This can be hard to apply to your articles as how can you show that other people agree with your opinions? One way that you can do this is research. If you can link to other people online that share the same or similar opinions and information to you, then your audience can have the evidence right in front of them that there are other people who support your view.
Perhaps the ultimate way to create conformity from your post is to encourage social proof to your articles. Put easily available options for people to share your posts and even encourage them within the article to share it or write a question at the end to encourage comments. The more comments, likes and re-tweets that you can get to your content, the more people will believe that it has been approved by the social community. This almost ‘gives them permission’ by their peers to like it also.
Create an ‘In Group’ on Your Blog
The final psychology experiment that I’m going to share with you is one that was performed by a man named Tajfel in 1971. For this experiment he randomly put boys aged 14-15 into groups and then set them a task of allocating money throughout the groups. The boys could either give their own group the most profit, the other group the most profit or make sure that both groups achieved maximum profit. The strange thing to come out of this is that the students mostly gave their group the most profit even though they could have given the same amount of profit to everyone in the experiment.
This just shows that people want to feel part of a group or a community and you can use that on your blog to encourage people to have increased interaction. You are going to have to put in some extra leg work to make people feel as though they are part of a community on your blog but it is all part of being a good blogger. Use strategies like responding to peoples comments every time and even encourage other readers to have discussions with each other to increasing the community spirit.
Social media will be a big medium for creating a community as well because people are on a community based site. Respond with interest to peoples comments about your blog and ask questions to your followers to encourage discussion. Allow guest posts on your sites, if you encourage people to work on your site that opens the door for them to get more involved and share the content that they wrote on their own social networks. If you do these things then you will get people involved in your community and give them a reason to invest in your blog.
Have you thought about your approach to blogging? What psychological tips have you used on your site? If so, did they work? Let us know your opinions by leaving a comment below!