Content Marketing from Freud, with love

Anna Dominik Banzon

Author & Editor

Content Team Lead

Published on: Mar 12, 2013 Updated on: Feb 26, 2024

A Psychoanalytic Approach to Content Marketing

In psychology, the complexity of human behavior results from the interaction of the id, the ego, and the superego. A balance between these three makes a healthy personality, while too much or too little on any of the three makes an unruly personality.

Having a background in Literature, I’ve applied the psychoanalytic approach in describing the personalities of fictional characters in literary works. Its purpose is, besides being a requirement to pass the course, to understand the underlying factors as to why characters acted in the way that they did in the plot. This understanding eventually leads to a broader comprehension of the work itself.

The psychoanalytic approach works to give a wider point of view in terms of psychology and literature. Who’s to say it cannot be applied to understand and improve the content marketing process?

Content Marketing is more than just “using content to market your product”. It’s as complex as the behavior of the human beings behind it. A healthy and effective content marketing campaign is a balance between strategies, social media promotion, good keyword targets, a good headline and all its other components. Like any kind of complex process, the key to improving it is to study and understand it in parts.

The id, the ego, and the superego

Primal Drive

The id in content marketing is the basic goal that needs to be fulfilled at the shortest span of time. The primary desire, if you will, of content marketers is to get a lot of audience for their content. This mostly means pageviews but it can also come in comments, retweets and other kinds of online reactions. Content marketers driven solely by this want only have numbers of clicks in mind, as soon as possible. This leads to disruptive behavior which results in the crappy content and annoying spam littering the internet.


The ego component basically deals with reality. In the world of content marketing, writers and marketers need to be “in touch with reality” in order to have a campaign worth taking a look. Content marketers driven by the ego are more realistic. They regulate the urge of the id, stopping themselves from focusing on mere pageviews. They think of ways to make the content more coherent and to convert the clicks into revenues. Content marketers with the ego component focus more on the usability of their content, thus, getting more people to look at their content with positive reactions, fulfilling the desire of the id in a sensible way.

Aiming for perfection

The superego part deals with actions that aim to be “perfect”. Content marketers driven by this component go beyond the usual marketing sense. They aim not only to make money but to build and develop relationships with their clients and/or customers. This is the most ideal situation that any marketer would want. A good relationship fosters trust between parties which would benefit both. This viewpoint is idealistic and goes against the ego’s principles of realistic actions.

While each part of the concept deals with a certain want of not just content marketers but even website managers, the most ideal would be a balance between all three. Anyone would like a good number of views on their page, usable content that people will understand and share, and readers eventually turning into buyers or customers.

To quote Aristotle and the principle of Gestalt psychology, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”.