The damn point in 10 words max: The battle for audience engagement is won through human connection.
A whopping 97% of companies utilize content marketing.
Why…because it works!
In today’s busy world, consumers prefer to engage and learn about businesses through content. It is the number one strategy used to build trust, develop relationships, and improve conversions.
The ever-growing popularity of content marketing has created a boom in new technologies and channels designed to enhance connection with consumers. But businesses can quickly become overwhelmed and lose sight of what’s important.
And in the world of content marketing, nothing is more important than human connection.
People crave authentic, meaningful interactions. They want to feel seen, understood and valued. So, when it comes to the battle of consumer engagement, businesses that cultivate human connection through their content will win every time.
Why human connection will ALWAYS drive engagement
One of the definitions in Webster’s Dictionary of the word engagement is…
“Emotional involvement or commitment.”
Let’s break that down in the context of content marketing.
- For a consumer to engage with your business, there needs to be a level of emotion involved.
- The words involvement and commitment suggest that a sense of attachment and belonging is necessary for engagement.
The very essence of what drives engagement is deeply rooted in the human experience. We are emotional beings with an evolutionary need to seek belonging and connection.
Technology and trends may come and go, but our biological desire for human connection will always be the key to engagement.
How to cultivate human connection through content
Spoiler alert… it’s not through ChatGPT or keyword stuffing!
Generic and auto-generated content does not engage consumers.
In fact, just for fun, I asked ChatGPT to write an empathetic sentence about human connection. The answer was…
“As a language model, I don’t have feelings and emotions.”
As an actual human being with feelings and emotions, I recommend following these four guidelines to create content that connects with the human on the other side of the screen.
Understand your audience
Marketers talk a lot about knowing your audience but in the great words of Charles Kettering…
“There is a great difference between knowing and understanding: you can know a lot about something and not really understand it.”
Human connection requires you to dig beneath the demographics and learn about your audiences’:
- Pain points
Empathy is one of the pillars of human connection. By truly understanding your audience, you can empathize, see the world through their eyes and create content that makes them feel seen, heard, and valued.
Craft content that fills a need
Consumers are contending with a lot of digital noise. They want to read content that resonates with their unique experience. So, this is where businesses that understand their audience really shine.
When you have a deeper emotional understanding of your consumers, you are able to provide content that serves their needs, desires, and challenges.
Harnessing the power of empathy through content establishes a sense of trust that a business genuinely cares about the consumer and is invested in helping them.
Use your humanity
Our stories are the key to connection. If businesses want to break through the digital noise and cultivate engagement, they have to speak and sound like a human instead of a business.
Voice and tone in the context of marketing are often used interchangeably. But they are, in fact, two different concepts that work together to humanize your brand.
Voice is like your business’s personality. It’s a consistent representation of who you are and what you stand for. Whereas tone is how you express and communicate that personality, it’s less about what you say and more about how you say it. Tone is nuanced and needs to be adjusted to suit the content you’re creating and the people reading it.
Think about your audience and how they want to be spoken to.
What do you want them to feel when they read your content?
Tap into your own stories to evoke those feelings and create an emotional connection.
In a world full of paid influencers, sponsored posts, and viral marketing strategies, consumers are craving authenticity more than ever. Your audience can spot a blatant sales pitch a mile away.
Have you ever heard of the “show, don’t tell” writing technique?
The technique is credited to Russian playwright Anton Chekhov, who once said…
“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
It’s thought that the concept alludes to the importance of respecting the reader and allowing them to connect through experience rather than being told explicitly.
But what does this have to do with authenticity and content marketing?
Content that shows the value of what you do and the benefits of your product or service encourages a more authentic connection than focusing on the hard sell. Consumers do not like being told what to do and prefer to make decisions through their own evaluations.
Respecting the reader and providing quality content that allows them to connect through experience can infuse authenticity into your content and build trust and loyalty.
Human beings first, consumers second
At the end of the day, regardless of the technology and channels you use to reach your audience, your content strategy should pivot on one fact…
You are a human seeking a connection and engagement with other humans.
It’s easy to get swept up in the figures and lose sight of the fact that consumers are human beings first. We are driven by human connection, and businesses that choose to harness the power of connection through content will set themselves apart from the crowd.
After all, the digital noise is real, and competition between companies is fierce. The product or service you offer may not be unique, but what you say and how you say it can absolutely differentiate your business.
In the battle for audience engagement, content that cultivates human connection wins hands down!