Noise, noise everywhere.
That’s what the Internet feels like these days. People cannot open their home page without seeing ads. They cannot access their social media accounts without seeing ads in their feeds, based on whatever products and services they may have looked at. And what’s on the side rails of those pages? More ads from more companies whose sites they may have visited only once.
Add to all of this noise a stuffed inbox, filled with advertisements for sales and specials because you are so special, and you have people who are just so “done.” They aren’t listening anymore.
So, is content dead? Not by any means. But the content that cuts through the noise is content that humanizes companies and their brands. Because what people want are human relationships with the companies they do business with.
Creating Relationships through Humanized Content
Businesses don’t humanize their brands by advertising and offering customers discounts and sale prices. These are impersonal sales tactics – nothing more. To humanize yourself as a business, you have to develop relationships with your customers, and they need to see you and your team as real human beings who want these relationships and are willing to build upon them, in the context of online content.
Here is How You Do That with These Strategies
Reconsider Your Purposes
Most website owners and content writers think of a blog as a place to educate people and to get them to “convert” in some way – to subscribe to an email list, to link to the business website, to look at the products or services being offered. The ultimate goal is to get customers, of course.
When business owners and content marketers can make a paradigm shift to a goal of establishing relationships, how much more fun would their blogs be? They can entertain; they can introduce readers to their teams, and share personal aspects of those team members’ lives.
This doesn’t mean that some of your posts will not be educational – they will be. But, by focusing on engaging your customers and potential customers in ways totally unrelated to your product or service can keep them coming back.
Dollar Shave Club does a great job with its blog. The products are pretty boring – razor blades and other personal grooming products, like shaving butter. These are not “shiny new toys,” so there has to be a way to bring people in and keep them coming back. The blog does the trick.
There are themed weekly posts – “Potty Talk,” for example. There is also a weekly podcast about some interesting, humorous, or strange topics.
This one, for example, is on all of the garbage floating around in space.
None of this content has anything to do with razor blades, but readers come weekly to read and hear the new stuff.
And what this does is promote the brand – not the product but the “personality” of the company and the people who run it. It appeals to Gen X’ers and millennials specifically – two large consumer groups.
And if you have not viewed the owner’s explainer video on the landing page, you have missed a true gem. It’s hysterical and immediately promotes the same humorous, entertaining “face” of the company.
Your product or service itself may not be inspirational at all. You may sell clothing, hardware, or furniture. But you can still be inspirational – you can inspire customers and potential customers to do good, and you can do good yourself.
What do you or your team do to make your community a better place? Do you support a cause? Where are the pictures of you and your team participating in the activities of this cause? These should be posted on your website, on your blog, and on your social media pages.
A key motivator for today’s consumers, especially millennials, is that the companies they do business with have a sense of social responsibility. This may mean supporting a specific cause or charity, being environmentally responsible, or establishing a unique cause and asking customers to participate.
One of the most popular models for social responsibility is what is called the “one-for-one.” For every purchase you make, something is donated to a cause. Toms Shoes was one of the early developers of this model, with its campaign to supply shoes to children in third world countries. For every pair of shoes that a customer buys, one is donated to a child in need.
The response on part of the customers was amazing, and the company got international publicity because of what it was doing. The founder has moved into other areas of need, including eye health, clean water, and prenatal care. Its name has become synonymous with social responsibility, and its profits still continue to grow.
This model establishes an emotional connection between the brand and consumer that is both strong and powerful. You have a founder who is committed and inspires others to commit too.
Social Means Social
The whole point of social media is about making connections, whether that is a celebrity with a huge following on Twitter or Facebook with thousands of (or even more) “friends and followers.” Your brand needs to have a presence on social media, and here are some tips that will get you out there and humanize you in the process:
- Identify your target market demographic and find out where that demographic hangs out on social media.
- Choose maybe two platforms for your presence based on your demographic.
- Research what your demographic likes. What kind of humor do they appreciate? What problems or issues do they have that your product can address?
- Do not sell anything on social media. Instead, promote your brand with fun, human interest, and even with crazy uses for your product.
- Be consistent and regular with your posts. Use social calendar templates to keep track of what you post and when. Followers come to expect your posts – don’t disappoint.
WD-40 does an amazing job of this. It solicits user contributions of unique uses of the product and has hundreds of them already. It’s fu, and followers really get into this kind of interaction with the brand. And those contributions are shared all over the place – solving problems with unique solutions.
Run contests. Ask for users to contribute. Feature customers. Create funny memes. The goal here is to connect with your target audience and to have them share you with their communities. It’s called “brand reach” and it's very powerful.
Crafting That Custom Content
Every brand is unique and every customer demographic is as well. When you create content, no matter what type it is, it must be customized for that demographic in terms of reading level, vocabulary, and specific terms that they relate to. And if you have segmented customers of different demographics, you have to appeal to each wing based upon their “lingo.” A senior citizen might not understand or appreciate the term “WTF,” but a millennial would.
There are a number of content creation tools that you can use as well. These are tools that will help you craft creative titles and headlines, just to give you one example.
If you are not a creative content writer and you cannot afford the staff to pull off this function well, then get some professional writing help from an outfit like SmartPaperHelp – a company that has creative copywriters on staff. If nothing else, you can craft your content and get some professional proofreading that can polish what you write and make it more engaging.
Be consistent with your content presentation. There is an amazing number of website and blog themes. You should use awesome templates for your online presence and keep them consistent. People will recognize these as an important part of your brand.
But the most important thing to remember is that we are all just human beings who are doing everything possible to create comfortable living conditions for themselves and their loved ones. With this thought in mind, do your business: as a human, for humans.
P.S. Just to make you sure you will get marketing themes in the right place.