Internet is a new human habit.

Come on, what is the first thing you do after you wake up and get out of your bed? Do you go straight to your smartphone to check your emails? Or probably Twitter? And do you find yourself going back on Google every 10 minutes?

Because I do.

OK, this blog is not about my addiction confession.

It is a habit – and most of time it happens subconsciously.

About 76% of UK population use Internet on a daily basis, says the Guardian. And ‘the average time people spend on the internet has increased considerably from about 46 minutes a day back in 2002 to ‘one in 12 waking minutes’ by the end of 2013.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing. Wouldn’t it be cool if your consumers had the same habit with your blogs or Instagram account?

There must be some reason why people use Google instead of Bing, Instagram instead of Kodak Moment, says Scribewise.

The vital question is: what creates the habit? What doesn’t? And how to turn your content into consumer habits?

To find the answer, we need to understand a bit of how our habit works.

‘Habit loop’

Habits operate in 3 steps, as Charles Duhigg argued in his famous book, The Power of Habit. There is always a ‘cue’ that triggers particular ‘routine’ and resulting in ‘reward’. What kind of reward? – Happy feeling, positive emotion or a sense of comfort.

‘habit loop’

For example, why many of us are bothered to check our emails even though we know that most of the time they are scams?

It’s because of the power of habit loop. It’s very simple – the cue is your smartphone vibrating or chiming when a new message arrives. Then you subconsciously crave for ‘the momentary distraction’. Therefore the routine of checking your phone regularly (see Just replace emails with Twitter or Google.

But what is the driving force of people’s craving for distraction?

Again, it’s pretty simple. Remember the aim of social media? It’s all about communication, isn’t it? Getting united with old friends, or maintaining a relationship with close friends/family. We all want to be connected, anytime and anywhere. And social media is just a tool to strengthen our traditional communication.

Habit loop and content marketing

Now, how to turn your content into consumer habits? Well, big companies like P&G are doing it already.

How, you ask? First things first – your intention is to ‘change the consumer behaviour’ through content marketing.

Does it sound familiar? But what makes it different from old marketing is…

  • No pitching (sadly those days are over. Just kidding.)
  • Content is there to ‘empower’ and ‘educate’ the audience

Ok, we’ve got a strong cue – as almost everyone go on internet via laptop or phone.

So can your content marketing ‘hook’ the audience into some kind of habit loop? In other words, how can we make your blogs, newsletters or Instagram page a ‘reward’? A place where your customers keep going back to?

  • People crave for more communication and unique digital experiences!

So your content should be…

  • Connection, connection, connection…
  • All about positive and meaningful conversation
  • Full of shareable visuals, image, infographics (oh the list can go on…)
  • Accompanied with powerful and distinctive stories 

GoPro’s content marketing on Instagram features captivating images and videos of different moments. GoPro’s mobile app and photo contest have made it easier for users to share photos and videos via email, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Really, nothing more engaging than user-generated content.

And those make viewers want to go back to its Instagram, looking for more inspirations and unique experiences.

GoPro’s user-generated Instagram content

In a similar way, Random House’s content marketing on Pinterest is fun, shareable and attractive – offering deeper consumer experiences (eConsultancy). Its board is a collection of valuable storytelling.

Random House Pinterest

‘Best Book Covers’

They are just few examples of smart content marketing. They know how to create conversations and encourage participation through photo sharing, contents, behind-the-scene images and so on. And that will make a habit for consumers to check in every morning, during a break or every time they are bored. Whether powerful stories or inspirational images, the viewers are constantly drawn back for the ‘rewards’.

So, what do you think? Habit is powerful and is always there – so why not integrate it in your marketing?