Empathy in Content Marketing: Three Stories to Tell Your Audience

content-marketing-empathy

You are (presumably) a person. The people you are trying to reach with your brand’s message are, amazingly, people as well. Content works better when it comes from a place of empathy—that is, when you know your audience and can speak to them on a personal level.

For example, I can use my astounding powers of empathy to read your mind right now. “For crying out loud,” you’re saying, “tell me something I don’t know, Nite. I know what empathy is. I know it makes marketing better. Quit wasting my time!”

See? It’s like magic.

Empathy starts with a deep understanding of your audience, gained by social listening, interviews, and persona-building. But you can have a deep understanding of your audience and still fail to tell the stories that will engage them. When you use the insight you have to tell a story that resonates, that’s empathy in action.

The Power of Empathy for More Customer Focused Content Marketing

Customer Empathy

Marketers are really jumping on the content bandwagon while the definition of what “content marketing” really means varies greatly between the SEO, PR, advertising and custom publishing industries.

For example, I recently read a very clever post about content marketing on a popular SEO website providing an impressive array of content types, tactics, tips and shortcuts for content to be created and used as a marketing asset. But not once were “customer journey”, “buying cycle”, “customer insight” or related concepts mentioned.

The focus on tactical execution without insight into a targeted audience that the content is intended to reach, engage and inspire – seems pointless. At best, it’s a speculative exercise in “seeing what sticks”.  The same thing often happens with social media marketers curating content from influential publishers in the hopes of sticky engagement.

Making the Leap: Egocentric to Empathy in Content Marketing

Egocentric to Empathy in Online MarketingImagine this scenario:  Company XYZ has developed a great business creating products and services, developing marketing programs that explain the features and benefits of those offerings and making sales.  The mix of SEO, advertising and newsletter is focused on explaining the solutions offered with the intention of educating and persuading prospects to buy. This is the way it’s been done in the past and it’s what current marketing programs are based on. Pretty common right?

But let’s also imagine in our hypothetical situation that sales growth has started to slow down or even slumped. Competitors are starting to eclipse Company XYZ in search results, the blog doesn’t really get many shares, likes, links or comments and it’s nothing but crickets chipring on the Facebook Fan page, on Twitter and the YouTube channel.  The staff responsible for creating content are running out of ideas. Seem familiar?