Content creation: A psychological approach
Are you able to develop a relationship with your current clients and make your future prospects like you?
The best way to do this is to understand the personality of your customers. This can help you predict their motives.
Approach content by developing it for the psychology of the user, rather than the psychology of the writer.
For example, for me (who has the attention span of a gnat), what if a content writer knew that she only had 30 seconds to answer “what are the best running shoes I can wear as a beginner?” Or what if she knew that for my friend (who can overthink how a garage door opener works for hours), she had a good 30 minutes to inundate him with as much information about “what are the best running shoes?”
Dr. Taylor Hartman wrote the book on understanding motives in psychology. I was fortunate to have met him and to learn about how “The People Code” could be transformed into developing deep psychological trait-based content for better performance.
I’ve taken these ideas and tested them. Not only the behaviors of individuals, but all the way up to entire countries and cultures.
I was astonished by what I found, from the improved ROI to the more efficient buyer journeys.
Who are you?
The best way to start writing ads or content based on psychological behaviors is to first understand yourself.
There are many different systems and tools you can use for personality assessments. However, for this article, I’m going to use Hartman’s tests and methodology. It starts with an honest quiz you give yourself of about 50 questions.
What ONE word of Phrase describes what you are like most of the time?
As a child, I was:
a/ Stubborn, bright, and/or aggressive.
B/ Well-behaved, caring, and/or depressed
C/ Quiet, easygoing, and/or shy
D/ Talkative, happy, and /or playful.
When you are done with the self-assessment questions in the book, you tally up your answers on how many As, Bs, Cs, and Ds to determine where you stand on the psychological trait spectrum, with:
- As being Red (Dominant).
- Bs being Blue (Compliant).
- Cs being Yellow (Influential).
- Ds Being Green (Steady).
What Am I?
All of our behaviors will fall into a personality classification on this spectrum.
Sometimes they will fall in between two color behaviors as well. For example, you can be evenly split between a Red Dominant and Blue Compliant or a Steady Green and an Influential Yellow.
Most of these traits are people who have type-A personalities. Direct, decisive, doers and workaholics.
They may come across as too confident, demanding and domineering. Often they thrive and appreciate admiration, they have a specific need to look good to others and can also be a bit on the selfish side.
The patience of this trait is usually at a minimum, which means content absorption is also at a minimum.
Very much the intimate ones. Usually cautious about how they go about things and as a consequence, they tend to have anxiety and be very worry-prone.
There is a need to connect with others and to be understood and appreciated. They are dependable, loyal and expect honesty from others.
They can also come across as moody, self-righteous, condescending and sometimes even a little too empathetic.
Most Compliant Blues love other Compliant Blues. They tend to get each other so very well.
That being said, content absorption is usually done when you can touch their heart and their soul.
These are the slow, peaceful yet independent people. Typically quiet by nature, they resist and hate confrontation. They are great listeners yet they thrive and need their alone time.
Even-tempered and supportive, but also silently stubborn and over-sensitive. Sometimes it’s harder for this group to embrace or even understand empathy, yet they are diplomatic. T
hey are the polar opposites of dominant reds and tend to do a lot of research and take their time making decisions. The more content, the better.
These are the fun-loving, extremely social, playful influencers. The ones that are likely to be interesting, interactive, happy and spontaneous.
They thrive on adventure and need to be adored and praised. Friendships are the highest priority for them yet they can turn off others easily by their impulsive and sometimes irritating loud nature.
Always need to look good socially and it seems like nothing can go wrong, except for their attention span. Your content better not be boring or this group will be off with their mind wandering around the next palm tree vacation.
How to create content around these psychological traits
As you can see from the four different personality types, we are all pretty different and what we absorb in terms of content and creative is also different.
What may resonate well with one group, may fall short with another. Using the “Running Shoes” topic, take a look at how each content reverberates with each group differently.
Dominant Red content
This group is the dominant power type-A personalities. They will make quick decisions if you can feed their ego and not bury them with too much information.
Here are some examples that this group would enjoy:
- What the Elite Runners are Wearing – The runners at the front of the pack talk about what shoes they wear and why.
- Best Sneakers Worn by the Biggest Tech CEOs
Compliance Blue content
This group (of which I consider myself a member) is motivated by the heart and feelings. Considering they are so trusting, they can easily be taken advantage of.
This group does have an analytical side and can be brutally honest if need be. They tend to over-read into everything. But throw in a horse with a hurt leg that’s been patched up and is walking again, you’ll have already won them over.
Here are some examples that this group would enjoy:
- The Best Nike Running Shoes Make You Feel Like an Olympian at Every Turn
- 7 Ethical & Sustainable Running Shoes – Run Like the World Depends on It
Steady Green content
This group is the peace-lovers. The ones who take life in the slow lane.
This group is often what we all need in order to slow down, take a deep breath, pretend we do Tai Chi and then go with them on their journey of never-ending research. Stretching the period of decisiveness from what you thought would be two hours to three weeks.
- Running for Weight Loss, The Ultimate Guide for Runners Who Want to Lose Weight. (Eventually, they will research every cited blog in the article to start to come to terms of which shoes to buy.)
- The Best Running Shoes With Arch Support
Influential Yellow content
This group is made up of little rays of sunshine – the influencers who not only make me smile but make me want to pick up a good self-help book so I can be just like them.
Content-wise, you’ve got to make sure you style your content as much as possible. Just about anything colorful and fun can get them going. Because they lack the patience for deep research, I will need to write content that’s fun, useful and clear.
Frustrating an influencer is like death. They can go from the funniest clown to the meanest Karen in a heartbeat.
More to come
In my next article, I plan to do a deeper dive into other forms of psychological profiling, how to tag classifications to personas, how culture, country and language also have their own psychological traits, and how to survey your customers to get insight into what types are attracted to your brand.
Even if you feel you have perfected your writing, re-developing what works based on behaviors is the next step in really enhancing your reader base and ultimately, developing that bond with your current clients and future customers.
Because, finally, you understand them and they get you.