[Part 2] How to use human nature to create irresistible content

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By understanding a simple principle of human nature, you can use two simple lines (sometimes as little as 5 words) to double your open rates and increase the readership of your content.

Let me explain:

Humanity has always been drawn to explore, to discover the physical limitations of this world, and then to push the boundaries.

From the moment we can perceive the world around us, we want to discover the mysteries that it holds. This happens on an individual level, with babies learning to crawl and then walk on their own, exploring as far as they can manage...

But it also happens at a societal level. First it was exploring across the continent, then across the oceans, now it’s across the galaxy. And someday it will be beyond that.

Why do we explore?

Why do we seek to discover new things?

It’s in our nature.

And this becomes an important part of the content you create and copy you write.

By making your content seem new, surprising, or by inducing curiosity, you will get more readers.

You can use curiosity in two ways.

First, to get more people to open your content. And second, to get people to continue reading it until the end.

Let’s start with writing headlines that get your content opened. Consider these two options:

  1. How to double your open rates
  2. This one thing can double your open rates

They are both saying the same thing. But we know from years of testing that using words like “this one thing” or “do this” creates more curiosity than a standard how-to headline.

You could also use words like “secret” or “proven,” although these have been overplayed in recent years. Especially the “$uper $ecret” dollar $ign trick…

How to headlines can still work. But the second headline has more curiosity.

Other ways to increase curiosity in your headlines includes:

  • Create contrast — Use opposites to create contrast: Why slow is better than fast, why less is more, etc. For example, “Essentialism: The disciplined pursuit of less.” This contrasts with the prevailing trend to pursue more.
  • Use unexpected ideas — For example, Gary Halbert’s famous “How to get rich slowly” headline. It disarms the reader with a claim that is the opposite of every other headline in the biz op space. This headline also creates contrast.
  • Create an open loop — For example, the famous John Caples headline “They laughed when I sat down at the piano, but when I started to play!--”

And this brings us to the second way you can use curiosity: To maintain interest in your content.

After someone has opened it, you want them to read the whole thing. This can be done by using curiosity to keep your reader in discover mode, exploring to the end of the article.

You can achieve this using open loops.

An open loop is an unresolved idea, a promise to keep, or tension to release.

The John Caples headline works well because it begins a story that his prospects want to know the end of. So they keep reading until they figure out what happens.

This is the same reason why people keep watching boring TV shows for season after season even though nothing ever happens. The loop has been opened and they want to resolve it.

They want to see it through to the end. But most TV shows never have a resolution.

They do this all the time with romantic relationships. Two people get close over a couple of episodes only to have something stupid blow up the relationship. Then you keep watching as the tension rebuilds and they get closer and closer…

The best way to find engaging open loops is to look for stories that your prospects and customers experience.

You can ask your customers or find these stories on forums or social media. They speak to the innermost desires or problems that your customers face.

So when you open with a line like “they laughed when I sat down at the piano…” This instantly triggers a flood of emotion and the prospect is hooked.

Remember how Star Wars movies always start in a space battle?

Good open loops start in the middle of the action. Then you can rewind to explain the backstory once you’ve hooked your reader.

The final piece of advice I’ll leave you with is that you can find great curiosity-inducing headlines and thumbnails on YouTube.

Scroll through the popular videos and you’ll find some great ideas that you can adapt to your market.

So you can use curiosity to increase your readership.


Andrew Ryder

Create irresistible content
using basic principles of human nature
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