Find content marketing success with an injection of personality and that oh-so-important human connection.
In his new book, Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect, scientist Matthew Lieberman, professor of psychology, psychiatry and biobehavioural sciences at UCLA, contends that the human need to connect is as fundamental as our need for food, water and shelter. To countless users of social media and the most successful content marketers out there, Lieberman’s topic is not news, merely validation. “At its heart,” Sonja Jefferson writes in a September post, “[content marketing] is a very human way of marketing and doing business.”
And the best in the business – the Joe Pulizzis, the Jay Baers, the Heidi Cohens – understand that this human factor starts with them. These success stories all have one thing in common: these individuals aren’t afraid to inject personality into their content to really connect with their audiences as people. For these pros, this means sharing their own thoughts, their own personalities and their own experience through their content. They are accessible, shun the corporate or dry, don’t condescend and often incorporate fun, humour and great storytelling. They’re human.
As its name suggests, marketing-communications company keepingithuman has actually built an entire business around this premise.
But too often, content marketers forget this human factor. Jefferson writes, “When you read about content marketing, you’ll hear a lot about automation, big data, SEO… At the end of the day, it’s people who make content marketing work.”
Heidi Cohen maintains that it’s the human stories at the core of content marketing that make it memorable in today’s message-rich world. So here are some key takeaways from the experts in Connecting with People 101:
Show up, listen and be helpful: So says Matt Ragland, freelance content strategist and developer evangelist at Gun.io. Pay attention. Look people in the eye. Ask (and answer) questions.
Take a page from the Seth Godins out there: Reveal some of your personal feelings on a subject. It gives your audience a reason to care about your content, says Cohen.
Another gem from Cohen: Speak the language of your customers. Avoid corporate speak and jargon. “Instead, use a conversational voice by speaking directly to your readers in the second person. Use their words and phrasing to sound like a real person that your audience might know. This relates to your content style and voice.”
Don’t be afraid of humour: Laughter feels good. People like it. And laughing leads to lasting impressions. But you should follow some ground rules. The InboundWriter Blog offers four great tips on making laughter work for your brand.
Use video to tell your stories: People connect with them, and social media users are eating them up!
Content marketing is ultimately about developing connections with the consumer, and the only way to connect with humans is to be human.
Kasey Clark – Editor