Emotions drive most of our decisions, and that includes what we purchase.
Nearly a third of advertisers report success from emotional campaigns, double the amount of those who do from rational campaigns. From the smell of freshly baked cookies triggering memories of hanging out at grandma’s house, to a hysterical blog post making a reader like a brand even more, when an emotion is triggered, it nudges someone closer to or farther from the direction of a brand.
Considering content marketing’s purpose includes forming a connection with consumers that inspires trust, turns them into a lead, and might even spark a sale, the more that brands can humanize their content, the more likely they can incite an emotion that fosters a relationship between consumer and brand. Here are some ways to add a human element to your content marketing efforts.
Show Off Your Humans
People run your business, and people are your customers. An easy way to prove your brand isn’t just a bunch of robots working in a warehouse is to spotlight your team in content marketing. Film videos where they’re directly talking into a camera. Instead of just featuring a customer service pop-up button for users to click on, add a photo of the representative they’ll chat with if they click it.
HubSpot inbound marketing software gives props to their humans in a big way throughout their website. All their training videos are explained by their actual trainers, not models or actors. Whenever you fill out a support ticket, you get a note showing an engaging photo of the person who is working on your issue – and they’re the one who can call you back within five minutes or send you a personal email. Apply these dynamite tactics to your content by adding a bio picture to your blog writer, or by mining your talented staff to use in your next video post or podcast.
Don’t box in your brand with journalism rules, either. First-person posts can give your audience more insight into the content creator and how they contribute to your brand, while video messages directly from your CEO can help build trust. Empower writers to craft content that uses personal examples, so they can better advocate for your brand by becoming a case study themselves.
Create a Reaction with Your Content
Eliciting strong reactions is a way to instantly connect with the human element of your audience and trigger their buying behaviors. Take a look at Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions, especially those bad boys right in the middle, and get inspired to tap into your audience’s most visceral feelings with your content.
Some of today’s most talked-about brands are ones whose marketing campaigns go viral because they’re so gut-bustingly funny. Dollar Shave Club, whose introductory video has racked up more than 25 million YouTube views since it was published in 2012, even features its charming founder and showcases a warehouse worker in it, the perfect blend of humanizing marketing with an emotional appeal.
TD Bank used a sentimental angle with its highly-viewed “Automated Thanking Machine” campaign, where ATM machines gifted unsuspecting users with tear-inducing-worthy gifts, like the gift of overseas plane tickets so a mother could visit her daughter who has cancer.
You don’t need a large advertising budget to make your content more emotionally gripping. Try:
- Writing the first draft of a blog post as if you’re addressing a friend
- Using relevant imagery that inspires smiles, like cute animals or a parent and child
- Creating your content by playing off emotions your customers are feeling – mention their fears, then how your product helps ease those, for example
You can also brainstorm emotion-inspired content by thinking about what adjectives you want to describe your product or service and how it makes your customers feel. Use the stand-out descriptors to guide your content strategy, and strive to evoke related emotions with every piece.
Help, Don’t Sell
Content marketing expert Jay Baer, author of the book Youtility, says that by remembering what your customers need in their lives and then aiming to deliver it, you’ll stand apart from competitors as a caring brand they want to interact more with. When you help, don’t sell, in your content marketing, you also make it more human because you are thinking about ways to assist your customers, which increases admiration for your empathetic brand.
Taking a help, don’t sell, approach to your content can make it easier to make it more human. With each piece of content you create, think about what makes the content helpful. Identify elements where you can play up the human element as you’re being helpful, whether it’s talking about a real-life example of your product use, outlining a case study of how another customer benefitted from the helpfulness, or tracking the emotional journey a customer can expect to take as they use your product.
Use your content as ways to spark friendly conversations between your business and its customers. Encourage discussion about content on social media, reply to comments, use customers and staff members in your content, and create content about the issues that are most important to your customers. They may be consuming it through a screen, but you can still make them feel something in their hearts with your content.