Finding Common Ground: How Empathy Can Drive Powerful Content With Enduring Appeal
Empathy is one of the most often overlooked resources in a content writer’s arsenal, but it is essential to effective, enduring content written for an increasingly customer-centric marketing climate—in fact, studies show that writing to evoke empathy can be up to three times more effective. Empathetic writing identifies a problem, focuses on a common value or thread, and establishes a relationship with the buyer. Empathy is often lacking in content and marketing writing, however; especially when the writing is targeted for industries that aren’t inherently associated with complex or sentimental human emotions.
Writing With Empathy Means Putting Your Audience First—Not Your Brand
Not being “brand-centric” may seem counterintuitive; after all, for business owners and marketers, your brand is your business’ identity. You’ve worked hard to develop a brand so it accurately reflects your product or service and your unique selling proposition. It’s not easy to think outside the branded box.
But that’s the whole point…when writing to evoke empathy, it isn’t about business. Enlightened content writing should be laser-focused on your target audience, their experiences, and their values—not your brand. Empathetic writing won’t send your audience running for the hills to get away from the salesman hiding behind the pen. It causes a buyer to slow down, to feel they are being heard, and contemplate the choices being presented. It’s the kind of writing that makes buyers feel like a priority, not a consumer.
By identifying a problem or conveying a specific value that resonates with your buyers and then offering up a solution, you can effectively engage your readers with your brand without aggressively overwhelming them with the old-school brand-centric, egocentric marketing tactics of yesterday.
This is where enlightened, empathetic content writing comes in—and according to industry experts, it is here to stay.
Empathetic Content Writing is the Future of Conversions
Carefully crafted, organic, empathetic content will nudge your buyers closer to the holy grail of content marketing: the conversion. Creating a conversion is what most content writers and marketers are ultimately after, as it moves buyers further down the sales funnel toward an information or revenue-generating buyer commitment. But to get there, you have to write with empathy to generate a strong emotional reaction in your audience—you want them to be “sold” without feeling like they’ve been sold. You want your content to be irresistible to your buyer and your brand to be indispensable to the current situation they’re in.
Content With Endurance is the Ultimate Goal
Take popular sports outfitter Under Armour–they’re known for ads that operate on shared pain and mutual struggle. They attract brand trust and loyalty by relating to customers’ failures, triumphs, and the quest for motivation to get out there and “Rule Yourself.” Their ads run under the tagline “It’s what you do in the dark that puts you in the light.” Under Armour’s marketing isn’t brand-forward or egocentric, it’s audience-centric—and it forges a deep emotional connection with a very specific subset of the athletic market: the endurance athlete.
Under Armour’s most recent Michael Phelps ad operates on empathy from every angle–
essentially selling more by selling less, or not “selling” at all. By coming on the heels of the very public story of Phelps’ fall from grace—an Olympic medalist with multiple DUI’s, a stint in rehab, and professional swimming career on the brink of falling apart—Under Armour depicts an athlete who pulls himself up from rock bottom by the sheer force of dedication to his athletic ability.
The ad expertly hones in on their target audience’s fear of weakness and failure—the inevitable missing of a workout, the guilt, the pain of getting back into it after a hiatus—and it presents them with a solution: go train, get back into it. “It’s what you do in the dark that puts you in the light.” Under Armour is suggesting that an athlete’s innate ability and dedication to sport can save them from total life catastrophe.
The Under-Armour ad offers up hope and resilience—the hallmarks of endurance sport—on a silver platter, and reassures its audience that everyone, even the most downtrodden, struggling athlete who is having trouble getting out of bed in the morning—can reinvent and save themselves by relying on their core value: the relentless endurance athlete within.
Powerful Content Will Bring Value Into Buyers’ Lives and Inspire Brand Loyalty
Effective, compelling, empathetic content should inspire a powerful emotional reaction in its target audience. You may feel that your product or service isn’t one that typically generates strong emotions in its advertising—for example, I often write for technical and industrial clients, and their products and services are not easily romanticized or known for inciting a particularly emotional reaction on either side of the transaction. That doesn’t mean that the content for these industries can’t deeply resonate with the audience, elicit an emotional response, and bring value to their lives.
Meaningful, empathetic content focuses on finding common ground, identifying a problem, and offering up a solution—and then neatly delivers it in carefully crafted copy that is neither brand-centric nor egocentric. Powerful, audience-focused writing on any topic for any industry requires the writer to effect change in the buyer’s mind by relating to their struggles and creating a valuable proposition.
When content focuses on the important core values that exist between the brand and its buyer, it creates a high level of engagement and trust—one that inspires brand loyalty and keeps your target audience in it for the long haul.
5-Star writer Kristen R effortlessly turns dense, complex technical information into engaging, accessible content for a wide variety of clients on both the B2B and B2C platforms.
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