How to Use Curiosity in Writing to Hook your Readers in Non-Scamy Way​​​​​​​

How to Use Curiosity in Writing to Hook your Readers in Non-Scamy Way​​​​​​​

What made you open this article?

And How can I guarantee you will read it until the end?

Well, there are no guarantees but, by using the psychology of curiosity you can create an irresistible content that gets read, shared and even referred to.

So, let’s talk about Curiosity?

And the Psychology behind Curiosity?

And finally, we will talk about-

How powerful it is for online businesses?

So, make sure you stick till the end.

Let’s set the context with the basic understanding of curiosity-

Curiosity , the  definition in the dictionary is-

A strong desire to know or learn something.

Searched in google the term Curiosity

Basic human trait that as the famous proverb goes-

Humans are born curious

I would bet you will this article-

Kids were asked about Trump’s first year in office. Hilarious, brutal honesty ensued

I can assure you, you will get what is the title is offering. They did not use the clickbail techniques.

Because I hate clickbaits.

​​​​​​​Yes, clickbaits is considered to be a negative kind of tactic to trick people into clicking something or going to some page.

According to Wikipedia

Clickbait is a pejorative term for web content whose main goal is to get users to click on a link to go to a certain webpage. Clickbait headlines typically aim to exploit the “curiosity gap,” providing just enough information to make readers curious, but not enough to satisfy their curiosity without clicking through to the linked content.​​​​​​​

This definition covered pretty much everything about Clickbait.

It is a proven method to get higher click-through and traffic. But it is misused so much that now people are very aware of it and for this reason, publishers who solely rely on clickbait loses their audience.

But if you use the “Curiosity Gap” / “Knowledge Gap” in the right way, you can turn fleeting readers into loyal fans.

What is this “Curiosity Gap” or “Knowledge Gap”?

It is basically a theory mainly popularized by sites like BuzzFeed, gossip sites, viral sites to create irresistible headlines that “creates a gap” and teases people to click through and go to the specific content.

We become impatient or excited to know what we don’t know and often give up to curiosity gap. 

Sites like Buzzfeed, up-worthy- creates headlines that give away just enough and then leave a knowledge gap– that what makes people eager to know “what is that or what happens after that”.

Though these sites are still using this tactic “curiosity gap” but they have improved a lot and tries not to scam people.

Most of them are not clickbaits.

They still create irresistible headline but they also provide quality content. And people love quality content, they stick around for QUALITY.

Like the previous link I shared.

If you deliver what you promise, it won’t piss people off.

Some examples:

Taken from

Buzzfeed contributors do excellent job at catching it’s audience’s eyes with images and headlines.

Some posts will bore or annoy you but some will leave you with joy and sometimes will leave you laughing. 

What’s happening here?

The main theme here is that buzzfeed contributors want their article read a lot of times.

So, what they do? They create the “GAP”

— — — I am Dying to Know your Email Horror Stories- We have all hit send without a second look — — —

Email Horror Stories; what is that?

How can there be Email Horror Stories??

I wonder what worst has happened to people with sending email?

Email sending mistakes, I got one, I wonder if anyone like me made the same mistakes?

This is just some thoughts. Different people will have different thoughts.

But the base “knowledge gap” is

What have funny things happened to people with email sending?

So, now that we know what is “Curiosity” and “Curiosity Gap” means.

Let’s talk about, why do we feel “what we feel” in the state of Curiosity?

At a 2015 TEDx Salon event Matthias Gruber, he spoke about Curiosity and what it does to our brain. (His Topic line- “This is Your Brain on Curiosity”)

At the beginning of the presentation-

He asked a question that many people are more likely to do not know the answer?

Then he told to explore the “feeling of being curious” to the question

He described the feeling like this-

It may really bug you. This little gap of knowledge you urge to fill…
Maybe an itch that you really need to scratch.

or it may be fun and you are happy to find out the answer.

He then talked about an experiment they had conducted to find out what happens in the state of curiosity? and does it affect learning?

It is a fascinating discussion. Go check it out.

He gave a short description what actually happens in our brain while we are curious-

According to his data-

When Curiosity was initiated there was much-noticed activity is seen in two parts of the brain-

1. MidBrain

2. Nucleus Accumbens

See clearly in this picture-

Picture of the brain from | Brain activity in state of Curiosity | The position of the parts might not be accurate as I am not an medical professional. 🙁

The more curious the participants of the experiment went their brain activity ramped up.

Studies suggest that these parts of brain are connected with the “REWARD SYSTEM

Picture of the brain from | Brain activity in state of Curiosity | The position of the parts might not be accurate as I am not an medical professional. 🙁

For those who do not have a medical degree like me-

Matthias Gruber simplified the meaning of all these-

The state of Curiosity is a state in which you crave and anticipate a cognitive reward (the information you are curious about.)

Curiosity also activates the wanting system.

Curiosity makes us want more information and it helps us seek more information.

So curious people are more likely to read something, take action and maybe share it with their friends.

What can we take away from this big blop of information that I just threw at you?

And How it is relevant to us Content Marketers and Business owners?

Three points:

  1. If you can make something interesting enough to make people curious you will get more engagements.
  2. If you create a state of mind like this- “the person has to know about this (e.g your article)”, he or she will give you their attention (that might be for some seconds or for some days)
  3. Once your people are curious, if you manage to satisfy them with amazing information or tips or tricks, they will be very happy and in result you might get them to take a specific action you want.

You can get engagement, attention, and conversion through using curiosity.

For online business, these are very important. 

And it also works for offline businesses as well.

You see, how powerful it is.

The psychology of Curiosity is very hard to understand and even hard to explain.

Simplest Emotion? Maybe, no doubt it is one powerful emotion.

And a hard one to study too. As there not so much research based on curiosity and how it works and effects.

But studies show that-

Curiosity is linked to our wanting system and it can make us want something.

It is one of the mind-boggling tactics used in writing.

Many writers leverage “Curiosity Gap” to get traffic, leads and even conversions.

Sometimes it is so overused that it becomes Click-bait.

We all hate that moment, when we click onto some link to discover some awesome thing. Then we fall on our face flat, seeing that it is nothing but b*llsh*t

That is not the way you want to build your online presence. Whoever you might be.

Let’s see some examples:

Almost everybody has read this story:

And we fell in love with the BABY.

Photos from fellow Medium Writer: Ashuta Bhattarai’s post.

So you see how teasing the title is. It makes you want to quickly click on the picture.

But we have to move past it.

Because clickbaits like these can be funny but it is not a good way to build online community or authority.

How can you leverage “Curiosity Gap” to hook your reader and make them into loyal fans?

Here are 4 best practices of leveraging Curiosity without being Scamy:

1. Focus on the quality content:

Content is king.

As long as you focus on providing value to your readers, you won’t piss them off. Unless you promised something extra-ordinary in the Headline.

Make your content so lush that readers just love whatever you have to say.

One example:

This is a good example, I want to read that.

2. Create headlines that speak directly to your target audience

You would want to create a headline that is compelling and a potential reader might resonate with.

Make you give enough information in the headline the what the article or post is about but not everything.


Why Sales Reps are the Best Marketers in Your Company

One good use of the “knowledge gap” tactic. Article is from Kissmetrics.

They gave enough to their readers to know what the article is about. But they did not reveal why?

3. Keep the Curiosity Gap honest

Do not create headlines to get click-throughs. Click-throughs won’t convert if you cannot deliver what you promised.

So, keep the curiosity gap honest.

Best ways to do that is by telling them about the outcome of knowledge you are sharing in the article.


“5 killer headline strategies that will increase your click-through rate and even conversions”

long but the “knowledge gap” is achievable.

4. Make the Curiosity Gap story based

Best way to entice targeted audience is by stories.

Most bloggers use their personal story to explain things.

Bloggers use personal stories, failures and success to market their information.

Those are very valuable.

Other than that you can use story or stories to create a case study to prove your point.

Stories are the best way give a practical explanation, besides that people understand more with stories.


“Here is how I overcome my anxiety and you can too”

So you see, anyone freelance writers, copywriters, bloggers or marketers can use simple emotion curiosity and provide value.

In exchange, they can get leads, exposure and possibly conversions.

Follow these 4 tips to use “Curiosity Gap” or “Knowledge Gap” to create irresistible content without being scamy.


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