Content marketing is a great approach for building a relationship with a target audience. In the 21st Century, traditional sales tactics rarely yield fruit. Instead, consumers prefer to build a relationship, bond with a brand and feel they are purchasing goods and services from a relatable human.
Of course, unless you’re a sole trader, your audience is not dealing directly with a human. This is something that needs to be managed if you’re to build a relationship with consumers. Follow these tips to humanise your content marketing strategy, delighting your audience in the process.
First thing’s first. If you are going to adopt a content marketing strategy, remember why you are doing so. No business ever made a million overnight from content marketing. This approach is the embodiment of playing the long game.
Do not lose heart or patience, abandoning the ideals of content marketing in favour of pushy sales tactics. Keep creating new content that enhances the lives of your audience, ensuring they return for more. Content marketing means placing the needs of your audience first, with your own business aims a distant second.
Think like a journalist
A great way to humanise your content marketing approach is thinking like a journalist. That means keeping at least one eye on the most significant issues impacting your industry, sharing insights from market leaders and successful traders. This is especially important when managing content on social media.
Now, you’ll need to balance this with evergreen content too. Current affairs and the concerns du jour of an audience change quickly, and attempting to chase short-term clicks will harm your reputation for relevance. Showing that you care about the same issues as your audience will enhance your reputation.
Content marketing is not restricted to prose and text. Video is a hugely effective way to humanise your approach. By bringing a face and voice to your brand, you’re no longer a logo and mission statement. You’re a living, breathing entity, discussing what your business offers to a peer.
Video can also bring your audience into the inner circle of your business, breaking down barriers. Think back to the global pandemic of 2020, which placed the world into lockdown. Many of us delighted in seeing newsreaders and correspondents broadcasting away traditional studios. It was a rare look into the reality of the people we invite into our own homes every day.
Write for your audience, not Google
This is a challenging piece of advice to follow for some. This is Google’s world, after all, and we’re all just living in it. Attempting to appeal to Google’s algorithms is often considered to be a fundamental component of content marketing.
The reality is, however, attempting to second-guess Google is often a fool’s errand. History is littered with horror stories of businesses folding as their traffic fell off a cliff overnight, victims of an unexpected algorithm update that did not so much move the goalposts as completely change the sport.
The only way to avoid this fate is to focus your content on humans, not machines. There will likely be pain points along the way. An algorithm update in January may boost your site, while another in June will penalise it. However, if you keep creating the content that your audience craves, you’ll maintain a steady and loyal following.
Tell a compelling story
If you want to connect to your audience on a human level, you need to appeal to their emotions. To achieve this, lean into the power of storytelling and narrative. This means retaining a single, compelling throughline in your entire content marketing strategy.
Start with your long-form copy on your website. You can then use, break down and repurpose this through other techniques. Create videos, for example, that appeal to users that prefer not to read. Share these videos on your social media channels, creating a dialogue. Thread the reaction back to your website. Your brand identity should be one long story, with every blog, social media post or video crafting a new chapter.
Entertain while educating
Sharing information and data with your audience is all-important. However, do not overlook the importance of entertainment too. By creating a unique voice and tone for your content marketing, you’ll have your audience continually returning for more.
Ultimately, we need to remember a golden truth. If somebody wants the answer to a question, they can turn to any number of resources online.
Asking Google “how do I fix a dripping tap”, for example, returns over seven million results in under a second. Somebody facing a plumbing emergency will likely just click the first link. If a user can take a more leisurely pace, though, they are likelier to seek the answer to this question on a site with a unique, amusing, and engaging tone.
Engage with your audience
Popular internet wisdom claims that content creators should never look below the comment line on an upload. The reality is, though, that interacting with your audience is key to building a loyal audience. Through direct interaction, you’ll make your audience feel like a family as opposed to simply consumers.
There are many ways that you can tackle this interaction. A memorable social media presence will always gain attention but needs to be handled very delicately. Unless sarcasm defines your brand, focus on being helpful and approachable rather than sassy. This will build the trust of your audience.
Create out-of-the-box content
Finally, show your audience that you are human by thinking of fun, unique content. The internet is packed with content that offers advice, and these insights are often beneficial. We hope that’s how you feel about this article! There is nothing wrong with being a little quirky, though.
Share some insights with your audience that offer a peek behind the curtain of your business. This could be insights into some of the more bizarre communications you receive (redacting anything could identify the instigator, naturally) or examples of common misunderstandings of your offering.
Do not go too far. Attempts at being too eccentric can quickly become cloying. A little humour and originality can go a long way, though.