Content might be made up of words, pictures, code, and video. But good content is also made up of some kind of human connection, as well — it addresses a concern, taps into an emotion, or bonds through some sort of commonality.
Content is created by people and for people (sorry, I think this is starting to sound very Abraham Lincoln-y), so people should always be at the forefront when deciding what to write about and how.
But how can you actually put that into action? Here are my favorite tactics.
Highlight your employees
Content should be people-centric, but let’s not forget that brands should be too. And one way to achieve that through content is to showcase who the people are that make the brand mission come to life.
Cava is a fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant chain. Look what’s above the fold on their about page.
The three friends who came together to create this brand. You can see their faces. You can read about what inspired them.
And it doesn’t end there. You can read employee spotlights on their blog. You can check out the stories of staff and brand advocates alike on their Instagram.
Do they feature their food? Of course — that’s the primary content. But they’re not hiding their people, either.
When creating content for your brand, give your employees a voice. What makes them care about your brand objectives? What are they passionate about? What might they have in common with your potential customers?
Then feature these stories on your blog, on social, in ads, or anywhere else that feels appropriate for your marketing strategy.
Listen to your clients and customers
When you’re marketing a brand, your primary goal is to speak to your potential clients and customers.
Imagine if an acquaintance you met at a party once walked up to you, talked at you for 25 minutes and then asked if you wanted to give them $1,000.
Unfortunately, a lot of brands communicate like this with their audiences. They talk at them without much thought into what they might actually want to hear.
To create people-centric content, consider what your audience wants to know:
- What concerns/problems do they have that are relevant to your brand?
- What questions might they have for you or for any authorities in the industry?
- What might emotionally resonate with them?
This can even apply to more general top-tier link-building content. My team worked with FundRocket, which offers capital to small businesses, to create a content campaign that would be widely appealing.
They considered: what might people who are interested in starting or running a business wonder about? After researching, they decided that retaining great talent was a concern and a priority for many business owners.
So they surveyed 1,000 full-time employees on what made them feel work-related pride, and the results were published in The Motley Fool, MSN, Glassdoor, Business.com, and more.
Why? Because it resonated by relating to a common question. Identify these questions in your industry and find out how your brand can uniquely and thoroughly answer those questions.
Use a human tone
This is the easiest change to implement if you don’t do it already.
Personally, one of my biggest pet peeves is when people don’t use contractions in their writing.
People do not talk without contractions very often. When they are speaking, they are doing so quickly, and they can not communicate as naturally if they are separating each contraction into two words.
(Seriously, wasn’t it a little weird reading that paragraph?)
We need to let go of the advice of our English teachers of the past and start writing like we’re talking to people.
There may be a few exceptions to this rule if you’re in a highly technical or academic space, but in general, people don’t want to stumble over clunky, artificial sounding language. They want to feel like they’re being spoken to by someone real.
Look at how John Deere talks about commercial mowing parts. They use conversational language like addressing the reader as “you.” They use contractions. They even — *gasp* — started a sentence with the article “And.” As a result, it sounds like they’re actually talking to you rather than writing a research paper.
Simple changes like this can make your content feel more accessible and approachable, which can go a long way in getting people to actually read and resonate with what you write.
Whether you’re making some minor adjustments to your tone or changing your editorial calendar, you should absolutely consider making alterations to your strategy in order to make it more people-centric.
By communicating more effectively with content that answers real questions and concerns, you’ll resonate with your audience more effectively and possibly start building real positive affinity for your brand.