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Empathy: #CMWorld’s main idea

Big Ideas for Content Marketers from #CMWorld

Empathy was the big recurring theme at this year’s Content Marketing World. Basically, this is the new to-do for content marketers:

Show up as a person *and* a marketer, because when we care about people, they care about us. We’re making a lot of content that never gets used, lacks a clear purpose and – as such – doesn’t serve customers’ and prospects’ needs.

A few key quotes on the subject from session leaders:

Ahava Leibtag on the elements of empathy

Keynote speaker Tina Fey on humanityTina Fey: “You have to keep going back to your humanity to connect with your audience.”

BrainTrust Partners' Scott Monty's helpful reminderScott Monty reminded us that empathy, personalization and authenticity are not new ideas.

Monster's Margaret Magnarelli had the most to say about empathy in her session which focused on ROE (return on empathy) entire session was devoted to return on empathy.

“If we don’t combine facts with feelings, we sacrifice relationships.” - Margaret Magnarelli Two key insights from her session:

Two slides from Margaret Magnarelli's presentation at #CMWorld

Finally, Amanda Todorovich of the Cleveland Clinic left us with this challenge:We must be brave about advocating for our audience - Amanda Todorovich

A Real-World Application of the Call for Empathy

The consistent drum beat about empathy resonated with me and was immediately operationalized in a project we're doing for a large healthcare client. We're creating micro content for their new consumer app, and our charge was to present data and insights in a caring voice that left users feeling supported.

I'd been approaching this as a technical problem of choosing the right words and creating a pleasing sentence fluency -- the two core elements of voice -- that matched longer form content we'd already produced. (We'd gotten direct feedback from audience members that our tone was friendlier and more approachable, the blog metrics show that our work performed well). That technical focus had gotten us a long way.

Before I did a revision pass to improve concision and conversational tone, I did an "empathy pass". I thought made sure each tiny package of content acknowledged that we had listened to and validated our audience's concerns and problems before delivering the solution or call to action. I even tweaked the CTAs to make them a little more empathic, too.

When I read over the revised content, I was surprised that I did, in fact, feel more supported and heard. (And the teammates and client who read without knowing my new approach reported the same feelings.)

If you're like us, and your process includes an intentional step to understand audience questions/ concerns/objections and consider thoughts and feelings before you start researching and writing, the empathy angle is easy to infuse. If these considerations aren't a part of your prep, you'll have more work to do to make your content empathic.

Email me if you want to learn more about how we're putting more empathy in our content.

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