Is it reasonable to take salient marketing tips from a hook-up app?
In a word, absolutely.
The way people interact with dating sites such as Tinder and OkCupid can provide all sorts of clues about how to write for — and market to — people interested in relationships.
Whether you’re marketing for this niche or a writer who aspires to break into the dating and marriage industry, this article explores key points to help you on your way. Learn how marketing has recently changed for relationship experts, what types of content are popular in this niche, and how to effectively find subjects that resonate with your audience.
Relationship Content Marketing News
Romance may be as old as time, yet writers and marketers who want to stay relevant keep finding new ways to create and package the content.
Take, for example, Match.com’s annual “Singles in America” study, a look into the habits of single and married people throughout the United States. While the results are not exactly earth-shattering (89 percent of single women want a partner who is independent), the dating site has figured out ways to make the content fresh and exciting. They develop videos, blog posts, infographics, and social media graphics to reach their audience. They parade pop culture as a selling point for their research (aka: “The Clooney Effect” stepped in as a not-so-subtle reference to George Clooney and wife Amal Clooney). And they build a huge bubble of anticipation prior to the release of their yearly results.
For writers, there is one commandment that stands above all others: Ask the right questions.
While dating and weddings can become, well, boring, it’s your role to make the subjects enthralling by asking the right questions.
Think that’s impossible in a saturated market? Think again. Just ask Malcolm Gladwell. He garnered over two million views of a video about spaghetti sauce by asking one interesting question: Why do brands sell so many styles of spaghetti sauce when they used to sell only one?
If you’re writing about relationships, take a hint from Gladwell’s playbook. Find the questions that few people are answering — and answer them yourself.
Bottom line: These tactics work.
So other than the need to find new ways to package old concepts, what is happening in the relationship sector?
Content marketing matters more than ever.
Common lore suggests that online dating is a cutthroat, shallow landscape. Tinder reports an average 1.4 billion swipes per day, or 16,000 per second, implying that plenty of users are making broad-based assumptions about compatibility based solely on attractiveness. Yet the app’s own research suggests something far less superficial is going on — and the lesson is one marketing pros and writers should hear.
According to Tinder’s Modern Dating Myths survey, age and education are the top two factors when users choose to swipe left or right. The takeaway is this: While excellent website design (looks) is helpful, on-site content is increasingly the most important factor in getting people to stick around. Not only is content imperative, but the quality of content matters tremendously. After all, what is the marketing equivalent to age and education? Good content. And to nail this aspect, website content must have timely, authoritative, and reputable resources cited.
Give more than you take.
When I look at trending stories, one thing becomes painfully obvious: Readers want to feel like they have a connection with writers. Headlines such as “Why Strong Relationships Produce Better Content Marketing” and “Build Relationships With Content Marketing” duke it out for first place on Buzzsumo.
Yet for writers to build that relationship with readers, it’s imperative to know who will be reading the content. In other words, take the sub-niche you’re writing in and conduct some research. What age group and gender tend to gravitate toward your type of content? Who is the most likely to click “share” for that subject? Are they typically married, divorced, single? The more specific you can get, the more you’ll be able to shift the tone and content written appropriately.
To determine where your content falls on the continuum of “Does nothing for me” to “Aha, this is just what I want!” ask yourself whether readers will feel connected to you after reading the content. If the answer is yes, you’re on to something great. If not, it may be time to hire relationship writers for your content.
What’s New With Relationship Writing
Americans may not be flocking to marriage with as much zeal as they used to, but that doesn’t mean they’re tossing in the white flag on relationships. From online dating to cohabitation, from polyamory to asexuality, there are a lot of relationship models to pull from and generate interest about when writing for the relationship sector.
The first challenge is to find topics that spark interest without regurgitating the same tired cliches. Fortunately, there are countless tools to choose from that can help. It’s also helpful to look for influencers in the relationship industry — authors, such as Alison Armstrong, John Gray, and John Gottman come to mind. Remember, the niche of relationships isn’t exclusive to romance either. Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People has sold over 30 million copies. and it deals primarily with work relationships and friendships.
Relationship Writing Insights
To be an effective relationship writer, you need to nail the basics of dating: pique someone’s interest in a few words, avoid cheesy and overused pickup lines, and whatever you do, don’t be a catfish. Yet in my years as a “relationship expert” I have gleaned a few other relationship writing tips worth noting.
For one, upsetting people is par for the course. Just ask relationship writer Dan Savage, who has made a career out of being belligerent. Though at times he is brash, he is also insightful, educated, honest, and (arguably) almost always right. He didn’t acquire an approximate net worth of $3 million by singing Kumbaya. Follow suit, when appropriate.
Secondly, it’s okay not to be an “expert.” There’s a good reason freelance writers have become so popular: We scribe what you are either too busy or not quite prepared to write yourself. Yet if you do want to be the face behind the pen, you don’t need to have a Ph.D. in marital counseling or count yourself a member of the happily-ever-after club to succeed as a relationship writer. Instead, you should know how to listen, observe, and humanize topics. If you really want people to pick up what you put down, it’s also helpful to know how to tell a damn good story.
Whether you want a piece of the relationship niche or want to become the next Dear Abby, there has never been a better time to make your mark in the relationship sector. After all, relationships affect all of us — from familial to partnerships — and play an integral role in our health and well-being. Swipe right if you agree.
Sylvia L is a regular blog contributor, research professional and social media connoisseur who supports herself through freelance writing and running a small business. She holds an advanced degree in educational leadership and an undergraduate degree in English. In addition to being a writer, she recently served as a secondary teacher and the Director of Education & Special Needs at a large Head Start preschool program.