Psychology Secret Revealed: Satisfy Those Expectations, Baby!

LaptopLauraPodcast [listen here!], Psychology

In this episode, we look at a quick tip around the Psychology of expectations and apply that to writing headlines that get clicks and compel the reader to go further!

Psychology Secret Revealed:

Expectations and satisfaction are strongly linked.

The Psychology Principle at Work:

Have you ever heard the — kind of true — joke about how the solution to being happier is to ‘lower your expectations’?

no jar jar binksI know for me that often times when I go into something with certain expectations if they are met, I am happy and content. If they are not meant, I am disappointed and annoyed. Star Wars Episode 1-3, anyone? (the new ones)

Turns out, to a great degree, we like predictability and to know going in what we will find.

Sure, curiosity for what is left missing piques our interest (and could be an entire blog in and of itself), but you better deliver or over-deliver on what you entice me with or you lose credibility and I’ll bounce to watch cute cat videos.

Or I’ll refuse to watch another George Lucas film, depending on the circumstances.

Let’s Apply This to Headlines:

While I am not saying to toss creativity out the window with headlines, some of the most effective headlines still to date are ‘list’ articles.

  • “Top 10 Social Media Tools: 4 of Which are Free”
  • “Sleeping: 5 Ways You Are Doing It Wrong”
  • “9 Examples of Effective Headlines That Got 3x Increase in Subscribes”

By putting numbers in headlines, it gives our brains an anchor for what we can expect.

Then, when we read further and see the numbers laid out in a clear list — delivering on the promise! — we feel pleased and it builds trust.

Real Headline Examples:

Here are two examples from the Huffington Post. Both of which I want to click on. I love me some numbas!

Maybe it’s the former Math teacher in me.headline example from huffponumbers in headline example from huffpo

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Host: Laura Petersen
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