Behind every brand is a human being that is passionate about the industry they work in and is driven by their area of expertise.
But how do we make the human side of a brand come across? Being authentic in your content marketing efforts is key.
If your audience doesn’t feel like they are talking to and engaging with a real human being, they will likely lose any connection they have with your brand and start to look elsewhere for a brand they can relate to.
If your social media accounts look robotic, and the content you post becomes repetitive, you will start to lose your fans and followers and may even drive customers away.
Content marketing provides the perfect way to humanise your brand, so here are a few ways to get you started:
1. Use buyer personas
A humanised approach to content marketing means focusing on the behaviours, goals, and needs of your target audience first and foremost.
Content marketing that is solely focused on sales and conversions takes any human connection away, resulting in corporate-based processes and communication.
You need to know who your audience is in order to create content that meets their goals and needs.
YouGov’s Profiler and Google Analytics are great places to discover more about your audience.
For more on this, read:
2. Write for people, not bots
The easiest way to humanise your brand is to talk to your audience whenever you get the chance.
Remember that you are writing for people, not search engines, and while optimising your content for search is important, you don’t want to detract from your brand’s personality with keyword stuffing, misleading headlines, and bland topics.
Make sure your readers’ interests and requirements are always at the front of your mind when you publish content.
You are writing for another human and therefore their experience of your content and site is important.
You want them to see your content as helpful and informative, and come back to your site time and time again, with the end goal of a conversion.
3. Tell a story
With so many forms of communication available online, it’s important for brands to tell a meaningful story through a clearly thought-out content marketing strategy.
What started out in TV and print adverts has now evolved online to include a wealth of social media marketing, with brands focusing on the people who use their products, rather than simply the products themselves.
Dove has a really good example of this with its ‘Real Beauty’ sketches video.
Using blog posts, pictures, videos and live engagement, brands can tell a story and show their human side through the content that they produce.
The stories that are the most successful are those that generate emotion and social engagement and help the audience to feel closer and more connected to the brand.
4. Keep up Your Engagement
Many brands see social media as a platform on which they can promote their products and services to a relevant audience.
While this can be a good place for self-promotion, it’s best to keep the 80/20 rule in mind and try not to drive followers away with constant promotional noise.
Social media should be used to build relationships with your target audience, and the easiest way to do that is to show them your brand’s human side by connecting with them in a real, meaningful way.
Different customers will engage with your brand through different social media channels, so it is important to remain consistent with how and when you interact with your audience.
5. Think like a journalist
The best thing about content marketing is that it allows thought-leaders within different industries to demonstrate their expertise by communicating directly with readers.
This gives the reader more value than a traditional news outlet, as content comes from a more authoritative source and is therefore more likely to provide detailed insight into a specific area or topic.
By writing about current trends and news that relate to your brand, you are automatically encouraging natural engagement from a large audience and presenting yourself as a personable, knowledgeable business that people can turn to for advice.
6. Create experiences
It’s good to provide your audience with information that is of use to them, but it’s even better to entertain your audience, connect with them, and keep them coming back for more.
Use videos and pictures to keep them up to date and share funny, serious, and interesting moments with them as they happen.
By creating an experience around your brand, you are showing your customers that you want to involve them in your business and increasing your brand awareness.
By using the human aspects of your brand and showing your humorous/emotional/personable side, you are drawing in your audience and providing them with entertaining or interactive content.
This encourages them to connect with the people behind the business, not just the external face of the brand.
For inspiration, check out these posts:
- 19 tasty examples of content marketing from the fast food industry
- Six examples of interesting content from ‘boring’ businesses
- 10 inspiring content marketing examples from charities
7. Listen & respond
One of the best things about online marketing is that your audience has a platform on which they can comment, reply to, and share your content.
It’s one thing to listen to what they have to say, and a whole other ball game to actually show you have listened by responding to them with an action.
When you take what someone has said on board, you gain their trust and respect, and, most importantly, build brand loyalty.
You could be responding to them by answering questions as quickly as possible or fully reacting to customer feedback by introducing a new loyalty scheme.
Just the fact that you have taken on board what your customers have said to you on a human level will make them like you, stay with you, and tell all their friends and family about you.
In a busy world of digital marketing, you need to stand out from your competitors, and shouting the loudest isn’t always the best way to do that.
It’s not about what you say, it’s about how you say it and who’s listening.
Think about who your audience is and talk to them as you would a friend.
A little can go a long way when it comes to human interaction and regular engagement – just keep your tone and content consistent, and try to be reactive online.