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My Favourite Psychological Principles Content Marketing

Understanding User Intent Through Content Gap Analysis

Subtle Art of Marketing
3 min readMay 8, 2024


“Search intent.”

It's a crazy term that has taken the SEO fraternity by storm.

You know you need content marketing. But do you know how to do it & what to do to reap results out of it?

That’s where search intent comes into play.

If you don’t know your target audience's behaviour, how will you pitch your products or services to them? Even if you do, I bet they won’t buy.

Reason? You don’t know them enough to establish reliability with them.

Let’s explore the psychology so that you can repeat it in your content to attract attention.

Types of User Intent — The Why

A user searches to meet informational, navigational, and transactional needs. That is, either the user wants to know something (informational), wants to go to a specific page/location (navigational), or wants to buy something (transactional).

When you optimize the page for each type of intent and tie all three types with internal links, you get an internal links funnel for sales.

You can craft content answering users' ‘how’ or ‘what’ questions based on their ‘why'.

For example, when a user is searching for “veg diet food plan,” most pages that rank at the top address both the “how” and “what” types of questions.

Screenshot provided by the author

Most topics like these are ‘informational’ but can be further interlinked to high commercial intent pages.

You can apply the same formula for each type of search intent. Find “how” and “why” questions for each type of search intent. This will give you great insights into the search intent, which you can address in your blog posts.

Leveraging Psychological Principles — The How

All purchases are emotional and justified logically.

Your content should use some psychological principles while matching the search intent.


Offer valuable content that fulfils the user’s search intent, creating a sense of indebtedness and increasing the likelihood of engagement and conversion.

Social Proof

Showcase testimonials, reviews, or endorsements to reassure users that your content aligns with their search intent and has benefited others.


Highlight your content's unique value or limited availability, prompting users to act swiftly to fulfil their search intent before missing out.


Establish your expertise and credibility in your content, instilling confidence in users that you can address their search intent effectively.


Frame your content to align with users’ preconceived notions or expectations, guiding them toward more effectively fulfilling their search intent.

Cognitive Biases

Leverage confirmation bias or availability heuristics to shape your content to resonate with users’ search intent and lead them to desired actions.

Emotional Triggers

Addressing pain points, desires, or aspirations related to users' search intent can appeal to their emotions and prompt them to engage with your content more deeply.


Precondition users by subtly introducing key themes or concepts related to their search intent throughout your content, making it easier for them to process and engage with the information.

FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

Create a sense of urgency or exclusivity around your content to encourage users to fulfil their search intent promptly, fearing they may miss out on valuable opportunities otherwise.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Understand the underlying motivations driving users’ search intent, whether basic needs, social belonging, self-esteem, or self-actualization, and tailor your content to resonate with their priorities.

I have put together a guide talking about identifying content gaps in your existing content. This guide will help you fill gaps and rank for more keywords without assuming anything.

P.S. I’m also active on LinkedIn & Twitter.