September 3, 2021

How To Make Your Message Stick: Empathy In Content Writing

When your customers feel like you don't have their best interests at heart, they might tune out or go to your competitors. Empathy is a muscle, and you must always exercise it when you're in business. Creating SEO content helps you convey your commitment, but out-of-touch content can just as quickly lose customers as no content at all. A Forrester report says that 65 percent of B2B customers report that they get too much messaging from businesses and that many emails or promotions do not fit their needs. Empathy involves imagining yourself in another's situation, taking on their perspective or feelings on something. It is not about pretending you feel like them; it's about actually doing so.

Why You Need Empathy In Being A Marketer

Empathy can affect everything from team management to content creation. If you succeed in empathizing with others, you can make people feel seen, and your messages will resonate with them. Empathy in content marketing can help you serve your audience better—this is true whether you are a B2B or B2C company. Here are a few things that could help you put yourself in others' shoes when writing.

Brainstorm Posts For Topics In Your Specialty

"Write what you know" is standard writing advice, and it has staying power for a reason. Though it can be tempting to write about popular or trending topics, prioritize writing content about your expertise. Ensure that your posts touch on your audience's concerns with some planning. Start by drawing a Venn diagram; in one circle, list your audience's concerns, and in the other circle, list your brand's areas of expertise. Choose topics that intersect—get a topic that you know a lot about and interests your audience.

For example, suppose you are in the retail industry, specifically in e-commerce. As an online retailer, you are probably knowledgeable in digital distribution, supply chain management, and electronic funds transfer. Find out what your audiences care about the most—is it ease of transaction, convenience, having plenty of choices, or some other thing?

Identify intersections between your expertise and their concerns. For instance, you can write a blog post on the quickest or most affordable funds transfer options. How to's are also popular; if you sell digital products, you can write about choosing the best phone for reading PDFs and e-books. You could also talk about developments in your industry.

Understand Your Audience Through An Empathy Map

An empathy map helps you visualize how your audience would react to certain things. You can make this by dividing a sheet of paper into four and assign a label to each quadrant. Write down under each section what your audience 1) sees, 2) hears, 3) thinks and feels, and 4) says or does. Below the chart, you can list pains and gains as well. Having an empathy map can help you get unstuck when creating SEO content. It also allows you to put yourself in the shoes of a new target market. You can learn about these things by browsing comments sections, looking at social media posts, and reading reviews by your target market.

Run A Content Audit And Repurpose Old Content

Content audits allow you to consolidate, rewrite, or update your existing blog posts, which helps remove the strain of coming up with entirely new topics or identifying themes. You can also use your empathy map or your Venn diagram when conducting a content audit; they can help you identify out-of-touch blog posts in your archive.

Having an audit allows you to be more intentional in your content updates as well. You can identify which of your published content you can repurpose and make into something your audience will appreciate at present. Auditing also allows you to note gaps in your content that you can address with new articles.

Seek Feedback From Someone You Trust

Once you have articles to repurpose or new content ideas, ask for feedback from trusted sources. People who are not directly involved in your industry and long-time clients are excellent sources of insights; they are a few steps removed from the content creation process. They will better grasp whether your content responds to your audience or is leaning more towards being self-serving.

Audit Content Outside Your Blog As Well

Email automation can help you nurture relationships with your audience. However, it too can hurt your brand, especially if your emails are out of touch with your audience. Aside from empathy in your posts, you should also ensure the same for your email campaigns.

Regularly cleaning up your email automation will help the long-term health of your marketing efforts. Check for messages that might be inappropriate; for instance, encouraging people to relax by traveling or going to live events will demonstrate your lack of initiative in keeping your brand's messaging updated. Don't waste the effort you put into your blog posts and social media by having a tone-deaf email sequence.

View Your Product As If You Were A Customer

Empathy in marketing boils down to the golden rule: treat others how you want them to treat you. Mentally step away from your product and treat it as if you were a customer. What do you first see when you land on your website? Is it something that evokes the brand, or do you have to dig for an association? What are the most prominent features on your site, and what types of topics do you have on your blog? Is it friendly to first-timers and beginners, or do you need insider knowledge to appreciate the topics you write about? Knowing these things will help you not just in content creation but also in web design.

In Conclusion

You should take care when weaving empathy into your messaging. From the first glance of an ad to the post-purchase journey, you should have the customers' concerns and wants in mind. Companies that can market themselves during times of uncertainty fare better and survive into prosperous times. However, not knowing how to talk to your audience can be just as detrimental as not reaching out at all. Teaming up with experts in creating SEO content will surely help.

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