This year I was able to attend the Content Marketing Institute’s Content Marketing World Conference (shout out to hybrid events!). It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the practice, nerd out with a deep dive or two into content marketing topics, and get insights from some of the smartest people in the industry.
There was so much knowledge dropped that I’m still processing it and figuring out how to integrate some of the strategies into the work we do for our clients. But I can share the biggest takeaway of the conference:
Successful marketing is driven by empathy.
Now, if you’re a little bit of a cynic like me, I know you’re rolling your eyes. I did too at first. But as speaker after speaker landed there — whether they were talking about developing a content strategy for B2B clients, offering stats on the benefit of hiring content writers, proving content’s ROI, or getting deep into the details of creating a great content calendar, empathy was the thread that was woven throughout nearly everything.
Why? (Get ready to say “Oh yeah, duh!”)
Because everything we as marketers create is made for another person to consume. Someone who’s tired of searching for answers and getting no useful results. Someone who’s looking for a user experience that isn’t complicated. Someone who needs to show their boss they really do need that marketing budget increased. Someone who’s just plain tired of sitting through another dull-as-dirt webinar.
Oh yeah. Duh.
It’s so simple, but it can be so easy for both clients and practitioners to lose sight of when we’re in the weeds just trying to get a campaign or piece of content out the door.
Fortunately, the CID approach to marketing already starts with understanding the audience and their needs. But after attending this conference I’m challenging myself as a content creator to take it further by imagining what it’s really like to be on the receiving end of any pieces we create by asking myself three-ish (really basic, IMO) questions:
- Does this article/infographic/post/video/whatever answer a real question our audience has? In other words, is this content helpful, or is it just more noise to sift through?
- Are the calls to action in ads and other content pieces meaningful and clear, or are they generic and easily glossed over?
- Would anyone read/engage with this content if it wasn’t their job to read it?
(Does it sound like a robot with access to a thesaurus wrote it, or does it sound like it came from a person?)
There were, of course, so many more takeaways and tactics to consider and put into practice. Like anyone just coming off of an inspirational few days at a conference, I’m excited to freshen up some of our processes and try a few new things. Keeping the focus on empathy for our clients, our audiences, and our colleagues seems like a perfect place to start.
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