You’ve probably heard the myth: B2B audiences don’t appreciate emotional content in marketing messages. If you’re in a B2B company, perhaps your CEO has even cautioned you against messaging that pulls on your customers’ heartstrings.
But she’d be wrong.
The same myth also still exists among the C-suite’s denizens in “serious” B2C companies. You know, the usual suspects: legacy medical facilities, law firms, insurance companies, etc.
They’d be wrong, too.
Whether You’re B2B or B2B, Emotional Content Rules
Just look at your TV. Or at Google. Or at a few other examples from both well-known and lesser known brands.
Progressive, among other insurance upstarts, is killing it with their comical messaging. Even in their commercial division, humor rules.
The prestigious Cleveland Clinic injects even the images in its blog posts with emotion. For a post about healthy eating, their team chose a photo of a spoon ready to take a bite of a steaming bowl of oatmeal topped with plum blueberries as opposed to a picture of the oatmeal by itself.
Sokolove Law leads with the heart, billing itself as “A Law Firm that Cares.”
If your content marketing team hasn’t factored emotion into its work, you’re missing out on the one factor that drives your customers’ decisions. That factor remains constant, whether you sell to businesses or consumers.
Content Needs to Touch Its Audiences’ Hearts as Well as Their Minds
The Content Marketing Institute’s Jodi Harris put it best. She writes, “The best way for content marketers to build…trust is by demonstrating deeper awareness and understanding of [the experiences] our audience wants to achieve.”
The stats bear that advice out. Studies show that campaigns that used emotional content to convey their message outperformed those with “just the facts, ma’am” content by a factor of two, according to HubSpot.
When you put yourself in your target audience’s shoes with empathy, it’s a game-changer. Double the results? We’re definitely in.
But as Harris also points out, empathy goes well beyond researching data about your customers’ pain points. Nor is it inserting touchy-feely bromides into your copy, such as the Ad Council’s “We’re all #AloneTogether.”
Rather, it’s taking your audience along on a “shared journey” with you. When that journey turns into a story that positions your audience as the hero, it’s marketing magic.
Your role in that hero’s journey is that of the wise guide. Think Yoda. Think Morpheus.
You’re the encourager who knows what your audience wants to accomplish and connects them with the information and tools to get there. Here are several tips to help you forge those connections with effective content.
Add Psychographics to Your Audience Profiles
Psychographics, as Kato Nkhoma defines them, are “the factors behind the reason[s] why people do things.” A powerful combination of the rational and emotional domains, this data depends on each person in your audience’s interests, opinions, and activities.
Because they impact the emotional domain, using them in content planning provides your audience with an intimate, personalized experience. Like in any hero’s journey, they’ll feel you walking with them as they use your advice to solve their problems.
Use these strategies to collect psychographic data from your audience:
- Analytics: Look at your content analytics to see which blog posts your audience engages with the most. Look at what these pieces of content have in common. Those points of convergence can give you a good idea about what motivates them to act.
- Listening: Social media is where people and brands go to brag, complain, ask questions, and mourn. As such, it’s a fertile source of psychographic data. Use listening tools to delve into what they’re asking, what they complain about, what makes them sad, and what sparks joy in their lives. Then, create content that answers their questions, solves their problems, and brings them happiness. Blog post comments, too, can give you a sense of how your audience thinks.
- Surveys: Asking your audience directly about various issues can help you get to know their needs. Learn about what problems they face, what brings them joy, and the goals they dream about achieving. Use their answers as a springboard for content planning.
Once you have the psychographic data you need, create content around their pain points, sources of joy, and goals. Use language that they’ll understand and relate to.
Use a Step-by-Step Approach in Problem-Solving Content
As Harris pointed out, people have an easier time implementing a new solution if they can put it into action in small steps. If the process is complex or expensive, break it down into easy-to-digest parts that are specific and achievable, and will produce verifiable results.
For example, telling a cash-strapped startup company to pay a high-end content marketing agency to create their content isn’t realistic. However, teaching them to use a combination of their own subject matter expertise and outsourced freelancers to get their content strategy off the ground would fit into their budget.
As their revenue grows, then you can advise them to outsource their content creation to an outside agency. That approach helps them solve their immediate challenge (lack of a content marketing strategy and execution) while they work toward their eventual goal: focusing on their work and delegating their marketing elsewhere.
Creating customer-focused content shouldn’t strip your brand of its unique identity. Nor should your brand abandon its core values to sell stuff.
Staying true to your values and brand voice is the best way to build long-term trust in your company. Authenticity will mark yours as a brand that’s in business for the long run.
Blend Facts with Vivid Words and Images
What makes one documentary film a yawnfest while another becomes a mainstream hit? It’s the vivid language and images that allow the audience to feel like they’re part of the action.
Indeed, a documentary presents facts. Yet cloaked in vivid images and evocative language, the film comes alive.
Use the same strategy on your content marketing pieces.
Finally, Venture Outside of the Marketing Silo
Don’t limit your strategy and ideation to your marketing team. Your sales teams, for instance, can be a rich source of information about the kinds of questions prospects ask and the objections they raise. Use their insights to collaborate on content that answers their prospects’ questions and meets their objections.
Subject matter experts, too, can lend their technical knowhow to help you ease your audience’s worries and build trust. For example, if your company makes protective masks, the scientists who tested the masks can provide information about what qualities make one mask more virus-resistant than another.
With a content marketing platform that encourages collaboration, you can invite people from other teams to contribute their expertise without taking up too much of their valuable time. It simplifies your workflow and allows you to spend more time on the creation process itself.
Here’s the good news. You can give our content platform a free test drive for 14 days with no obligation on your part. Streamline your content production and add a little emotion to your content. Try DivvyHQ today!