Often, eye-catching details have the power to render us blind, which is how author Rolf Dobelli, in his book The Art of Thinking Clearly, explains the salience effect. Dobelli’s entire book is devoted to cognitive biases, simple errors we all make in our day-to-day thinking, and the author’s hope is that by knowing what those are and how to spot them, we can make better decisions.
As blog content writers, of course, we’re in the business of helping people make decisions, hopefully decisions that will turn out to be good for them as well as good business for the business owners and professional practitioners who are offering products and services for sale.
One phenomenon that Dobelli “spends ink” explaining is the salience effect. What is salience? “A prominent feature, a stand-out attribute, a particularity, something that catches your eye“. The salience effect describes the fact that outstanding features receive more attention than they deserve, it influences the way people interpret the past and imagine the future.
Say a book with an unusual fire-engine red jacket makes the best seller list. It’s easy to attribute the success of the book to its cover, but you might be very wrong. If two men rob a bank happen to be immigrants, we fall into the trap of concluding that immigrants are responsible for the majority of bank robberies.
Myth-busting is a tactic blog content writers can use to grab online visitors’ attention. I explain to newbie content writers in Indianapolis that citing statistics to disprove popular myths gives business owners the chance to showcase their own knowledge and expertise.
One caution is in order: since one of the purposes of any marketing blog is to attract potential customers, it would be a tactical mistake for freelance blog writers to imply they’re out to prove online visitors mistaken, unwitting victims of the salience effect. Business owners can use corporate blog writing as a way to dispense information and address misinformation.
Using your business blog to stop the salience effect shows clear thinking!