5 Cognitive Biases You Need to Put to Work … Without Being Evil

All writing is persuasion in one form or another.
This is more obvious in some types of writing than others, but it is nonetheless true for all.
When it comes to copywriting, it is clearly true. Every piece of copy we write should drive a reader toward a specific action.
“Writing gives you the illusion of control, and then you realize it’s just an illusion, that people are going to bring their own stuff into it.”
– David Sedaris
But even the best piece of copy in the world doesn’t actually control a reader’s actions. Well-written copy only provides the “illusion of control.” What a reader does after reading is dependent on the “stuff” they brought into it.
That “stuff” includes past experiences, preconceived notions, and, above all else, cognitive biases.
Let’s discuss a helpful handful of these cognitive biases — some you’ll know well, some you may not — and how understanding them and structuring your content in a way that acknowledges and appreciates them will help you connect, compel, and serve better.
What are cognitive biases?
“A cognitive bias refers to the systematic pattern of deviation from norm or rationality in judgment, whereby inferences about other people and situations may be drawn in an illogical fashion.”
– Wikipedia
In other words, cognitive biases are mental shortcuts we all make, all the time, without consciously realizing it, that can lead to irrational thoughts and actions.
An example:
We tend to search for and interpret information in a way that confirms our preconceptions.
I sat down to

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