Consistent empathy is not so natural for humans because we’re selfish by default to protect ourselves.
And speaking about empathy in content marketing一 is still an alien concept for B2B brands. Because most of them are still focused on one thing, and one thing alone – selling their feature set.
But what is it about your feature set that will make one want to subscribe to your product?
The reason behind why you built it, and that can only be portrayed best when you use empathy in your content marketing instead of keeping your focus only on ‘creating content around your features.’
Why use Empathy In B2B Content Marketing?
A study conducted by PwC found that “64% of U.S. consumers and 59% of all consumers feel companies have lost touch with the human element of customer experience.
And that’s a state of concern for brands because everyone is creating content on blogs and social media, but to shine you need a star ingredient to this recipe—empathy.
And such an issue demands your attention towards understanding what it truly means. Now that might require taking a few more steps to understand your customers, or your audience better, and analyse their sentiments while interacting with businesses such as yours.
But if you ask us, in times when people seek people when making bigger decisions, empathy is no longer a good-to-have; it’s a must-have that everyone needs to focus on!
The same holds true for content marketing.
If you’re investing in content marketing, then ignoring your audience’s pain points will convince them not to embrace your content in totality; and that’s exactly what will result in them feeling disengaged with what you have to offer.
Think about it this way – as a B2B business, your buyer is someone who isn’t really making impulse purchases. They’re those who are looking for targeted solutions to their problems – they engage with businesses that they feel a chord strikes with.
Simple steps to use empathy in B2B content marketing
Empathy is not something you’ll master on your first try. It’ll take time, and you can improve by listening to your audience and closely monitoring how they respond to your content.
But here are a few steps we do recommend following:
1. Identify who you’re talking to
The very first step to doing anything in marketing is to know who you’re targeting. Just as how specific you get when running ad campaigns, your content marketing efforts need to narrow down its audience too.
If you don’t have a buyer persona ready, you can use Make My Persona from HubSpot to get started. This will help you put more definition to your ‘target market’ and define an ‘individual’ for you; the person who is going to read your content in the first place!
2. Find topics that your audience wants to read
It’s easy to create content on trending topics or stuff you can speak about as a leader—but that shouldn’t be your only parameter for deciding what content you should be creating. The very first step of creating content keeping empathy is to take into account what your audience wants to consume.
Here is a simple trick that’ll help you recognize that sweet spot with the audience:
- Draw a Venn diagram
- In the first circle—list the pain points of your audience and the industry they are thinking most about
- In the second circle— enlist your brand’s strong points
- Now at the intersection, match a few of your points where your audience and brand needs meet
Voila, you have the center area to focus on topics you should create for your blog, social media, or an eBook.
3. Understand the emotions of readers
Empathy means paying attention to the emotions of your target audience. But to be able to do so, you need to understand what these emotions are and how they impact the content you present to the potential buyers.
Here’s what you can do – Grab your notepad and make four quadrants; dedicate each of the sections to the following questions:
- What does your audience see?
- What does your audience hear?
- What does your audience say?
- How does your audience act?
Now below the quadrants, create two columns mentioning the pain points of your target audience; and notes on what value you add to them by solving those pain points.
Now you have some additional information to help you create better blog posts in terms of the ‘flow’ or ‘structure’.
4. Conduct a content audit to discover hidden ideas
This is a highly under-rated way of creating and ideating new content pieces. A content audit will aid you in finding the existing content pieces that you can recreate with a fresh outlook or more updated information.
It also helps you identify the content gaps that you can leverage to write fresh posts. With results from the Venn diagram and the empathy map—you should think about the previously written topics you can repurpose today.
Here’s how you can do this right:
- Look into your Google Analytics to see content that has been garnering attention
- Go into BuzzSumo and look at topics/ content around the same theme that the ‘internet’ is engaging with
- Take note of ideas and reference links of those that are highly relevant to your business, marketing strategy goals, and your audience
- Add these ideas to your list of topic ideas along with reference links
- Identify how you can improve upon these ideas
- List down the content formats preferred by your audience as well
- Do not forget to check the ‘sentiment’ behind the topics trending with a tool like Radarr
5. Evaluate your ideas with a trustworthy person
Now that you have an exhaustive list of ideas to create content on, it’s time to validate their actual value.
You need to run your ideas with someone that can provide you with raw and honest feedback about them. This can save you loads of time by helping you prioritize topics that are more relevant to your audience, instead of experimenting with those that have a lower chance to see success.
A good tip here for B2B businesses is to loop in their sales and support team managers; they’re the front-facing people at the organization and will always have insights to add to your ideas. And if you want to go one step further, start surveying or interviewing your existing customers!
6. Add a human touch to your content
Empathy without any human touch is like telling someone to eat pizza but without cheese. The human touch in the buyer’s journey acts as that extra cheese. B2B buyers are not very specific about the path they need to go through to make a purchase—instead; you need to provide them with the content that aligns with their current position in the customer journey.
You’re creating content for different stages of the funnel – TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU; so make sure that you’re trying to understand each segment’s audience with every content you publish. The goal is to trigger a conversation – even if that translates to them dropping a comment on your blog or social media post, instead of signing up for your product!
Some more ways to create human content here include:
- Create case studies around success stories with your product/ service
- Don’t be afraid to publish raw video testimonials from your customers
- Reshare user-generated content on social media and your website to let your existing customers vouch for you
- Show behind the scenes of your product; a quick interview with your product development team or for that matter, a growth hacking session they did to build out a new feature
Do you ‘really’ need empathy?
Ultimately we humans don’t connect with robotic salesy content because we’re wired to think about ourselves first. If something does not instantly resonate with us, we tend to ‘skip’ it and move on to the next, and that’s where most B2B businesses fall short with their content marketing.
But can you really be empathetic in your content?