Using empathy to connect with your audience

When developing a content strategy, many people try to think about what will help them sell more, yet it’s more important to connect with your audience. This is often stressed in content marketing literature, but how can your writers achieve this in practice? The notion of empathy may help here.

Empathy is defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. When you apply this to marketing, it means putting the needs of your audience ahead of promoting your message, but how does this help your bottom line?

When you use empathy, you can intrinsically feel what’s hurting or frustrating your audience. Once you know this, you can provide content to relieve their suffering. For example, let’s say someone is struggling to cope with a large credit card debt. On your news feed, you could talk about how great your refinancing packages are, or you could provide some impartial advice about how to reduce credit card debt. If you choose the latter path, you may save someone from a potentially disastrous situation. You’re basically the good guy, and this can make people more likely to approach you if they do decide to refinance their debt.

Start the process by creating personas for your audience, so you can understand how they think. What keeps them awake at night? What do they look forward to in life? You can start by getting feedback from your current customers, possibly through a survey, interview, or other technique. This knowledge can then guide your choice of content. It’s worth noting that not all your content needs to solve a problem—sometimes people just want a distraction from the daily routine.

Most importantly, however, it should be the personas driving your content strategy. Many people make the mistake of first creating a team with a particular content mix in mind, but this may turn out to be unsuitable for the audience.

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