Learn how to use psychology to create empathetic content.
Businesses today are creating many pieces of content to share with their audiences. These range from social media posts to email newsletters to in-depth articles and more. In fact, according to eMarketer, a whopping 60% of marketers create at least one content piece each day, if not more.
Over time, content that started out as a means of educating the masses has now become dull, robotic, and monotonous. To add to it, everything feels like a sales pitch with no real value for the audience.
As a result, businesses are now seeing lower engagement rates across all channels.
By understanding ways to create empathy in content and creating an empathetic content marketing strategy, businesses can improve their performance numbers.
In this article, we will look at how you can create empathetic content and empathy marketing examples to help you improve your marketing plan.
What is empathy in content, and why do you need it?
Content and emotion go hand in hand to be termed as successful. In line with this sentiment, we can define empathy in content as the ability to create content that addresses audience pain points and provides the best solutions on their journey.
Research conducted by Salesforce spoke about how 90% of a buyer’s journey is done before they get in touch with a company’s sales representative. So, the onus of inducing empathy in the pieces being put out is on the marketers.
But why do you need to create empathetic content?
To put it simply, instilling empathy in content minimizes monotony and makes it more readable. It improves your brand’s storytelling, which allows passive visitors to develop an emotional connection with the brand.
A greater connection can also lead to the content’s increased shareability and it will greatly impact the brand’s recall value.
How to add and create empathetic content?
Below is a detailed step-by-step guide to how you can add empathy to your content across all marketing channels.
1. Identify the key formats of content you need to create for your audience
When you segment content formats according to the interests of your audience, it is easier to create content that drives results. However, when you have multiple formats to produce, it can be difficult to keep track of your work and identify opportunities to improve.
To instill empathy into your content, identify the content formats you need first. These include social media posts, articles and blog posts, case studies, infographics, videos, carousels, e-books, whitepapers and more.
The next step is to segment them based on audience preference. For example, if your audience prefers infographics on LinkedIn and Reels on Instagram, you will have to create and repurpose the content to cater to your interested audience. The key to success is to make your content formats flexible and scalable, as well as to keep your eyes peeled for new opportunities.
One of the top empathy marketing examples is LinkedIn. They create empathetic content not only in the form of posts on their platform but also have e-books that teach people to create content for their platform to get higher engagement and create a stronger impact.
2. Understand the intention behind a topic of interest
Before creating a content strategy, a fundamental step is to consider the intent behind your audience’s interest. If you do not know what your audience wants, it is difficult to know what content to create and in what format.
You can accomplish this by looking at things like use cases, retention and customer service metrics, and other performance indicators. Of course, referring to multiple metrics simultaneously can be overwhelming. So, it is best to narrow down on a few key metrics that seem workable to manage and important to address and develop your strategy based on that.
Further, savvy players know better than to write on only trending topics. They understand the importance of sentiment analysis in marketing and use it to gauge why their audience is interested in one topic over the other. Sentiment analysis also allows marketers to gauge what emotions they associate with each topic.
Knowing these intricate details, regardless of your industry, can help you address user intent and get a leg up on your competitors.
A well-executed example of this is Headspace’s social media. They are so in tune with their audience’s wants and needs that they cater to their requirements in different content formats in a carefully crafted manner.
3. Understand your consumer’s psychology
Robert Plutchik, an American psychologist suggested 8 primary emotions that he called the ‘Plutchik wheel of emotions’. These include:
While you do not want your potential customers to feel this emotion for your brand, you can use it effectively to get a conversation going. Some helpful use cases for anger are breaking stereotypes or sharing thought-provoking messages.
The industry that uses this judiciously is the tech industry when sharing features or teasers of their upcoming gadgets. Work on hyping up any approaching releases or events you may have by stirring up anticipation in your audience.
Spark joy in your audience by creating campaigns that highlight the benefits of using your products or services. You can achieve this by sharing offers and discounts with them for their continued patronage or for signing up for your services.
You can evoke this emotion by building trust with your buyers. Businesses that stress on data security, charitable affiliations and more tend to build a sense of admiration in their audience and generally receive a positive response to their marketing campaigns. An example of a beauty brand that does it well is LUSH. Their YouTube series called “How It’s Made” gives their consumers an insight into their values of ethical sourcing and the use of organic products.
Synonymous with fear, marketers can bring out this emotion in consumers by running limited-time deals for visitors. A proven example of this is sharing your e-books for free for a limited time to build your customer base and then turn them into gated content pieces.
When was the last time you rewarded your audience for their patronage? Use surprise as a trigger by running contests, giveaways or even a shoutout on your social media accounts.
Avoid trying to evoke this emotion in your audience since you do not want your brand to be associated with any negative emotion. An exception to this could be when your content is related to bringing awareness to social causes.
This is an emotion you absolutely want to stay away from since it can have damaging effects on your brand. Take Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi ad as an example. It has been 5 years but people have not forgotten how repulsive and tone-deaf the commercial was. Even Dove missed the mark with their glaringly obvious racist campaign.
Source: The Guardian
Alternatively, you can use this emotion in your content pieces when trying to highlight the current situation of the industry and how your business can mitigate the effects. Still, it is a very tricky emotion to navigate, so it is best to steer clear of it.
4. Create a narrative with an end goal
While writing content, you often want to draw in emotional responses from your readers. This can be a challenge, especially when you are writing a content piece that is meant to be educational.
It is a non-negotiable that you understand your target audience so you can connect with them. But you should not forget about the goal behind your content. You want to get people to a certain place, whether it is to convert them to a customer or simply create brand awareness.
Try writing content that is straight to the point and thorough. You can also tweak the content in a way that makes it sound more like a story and less like a tutorial. This will make it easier for people to read and it will help them remember the information. While it is important to not just copy what other companies are saying, try to model your content pieces on their most effective pieces of content.
Test different ideas and formats, but do not stray too far from what you originally wanted to accomplish.
5. Make use of smart tools
When you are drafting your content strategy, your goal is to reach your target audience, regardless of the industry you are catering to. It is important to understand their situation so that you can better relate to them and instill empathy in your content.
One of the best ways to do this is to make use of smart tools that will help you understand your audience. These tools include apps and software that can help you gain more insights about your customers.
One such tool is Radarr’s sentiment analysis platform that uses AI and machine learning to process the content and conversations online, to uncover hidden insights such as emotions – whether the netizens feel positively or negatively about a topic, or do they feel too neutral to take a desired action.
6. Design visuals that add to your narrative
Using visuals is an important part of any content you create. Whether it is a quote you want to include, relevant pictures, or videos, this will help your narrative stand out. This can be a great way to improve how people perceive your piece. Visuals are also a great way to enhance user experience and will greatly improve the effectiveness of your piece.
As a result, visitors will remain on your pages for a longer duration. This can serve you well when it comes to session duration and engagement.
By using an image analytics tool, you can gauge if your chosen visuals are evoking the intended emotions in your audience.
When it comes to creating stellar yet empathetic visuals, Nike is one of the top players. Their visual content strategy is almost unbeatable. From using regular people to athletes and celebrities, their content comprises social proof in all forms, with a visual aid to support their cause.
7. Develop new opportunities to engage with your audience
Establishing a healthy relationship between you and your audience is an important piece of the puzzle when building a community around your brand. By keeping lines of communication open and by creating opportunities to engage with your audience across platforms, you are increasing the chances of your community growing.
If you are worried about algorithms messing with your marketing plan, email newsletters are still one of the most effective ways to reach your audience. These newsletters should be short, educational and entertaining. Additionally, they should have a call-to-action at the end to get people to engage with you.
Other splendid avenues to communicate with your audience include:
- Social media platforms, such as Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn
- Blogs and articles
- Webinars and offline meets
A perk of actively interacting with them on these platforms helps you get privy to their pain points and requirements.
Marketing and advertising that tugs at the heartstrings is an excellent way to garner attention from your target demographic, as well as get them to act on your message.
You can think of empathetic content marketing as a secret tool — one that, when used correctly, can be powerful. When used effectively, it can be a potent means of increasing sales and encouraging consumer loyalty.
If you want to use emotion successfully in your marketing, you first need to understand your audience and know which emotions will resonate most with them. Once you have this information, align it with your overarching marketing goals and you will be on your way to using empathetic content marketing effectively.
Get to know your audience in depth with Radarr’s sentiment analysis.