18 Jun How to Bring a Human Approach to Content Marketing
A human approach to content marketing begins and ends with being vulnerable. No, it is not the same thing as being weak. As Brene Brown says:
“Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center of meaningful human experiences…. What most of us fail to understand…is that vulnerability is also the cradle of the emotions and experiences that we crave. Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity.”
This is why being vulnerable is important to your content marketing: it helps create a connection. (If this stupid pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we need to be connected to other people. And we need to wash our hands more.)
If the thought of being vulnerable totally freaks you out, remember that no one is perfect. No one.
Here’s how to weave that human approach into your content marketing:
Share your struggles
People who don’t know me well probably think I float through life on rainbows and sprinkles. If only.
When I graduated from college, I had zero resilience and was already struggling with severe anxiety – and I had no idea about either. My first “real” job was with a truly wonderful company. Of course, I reported to the dragon-lady-boss-from-hell. I lasted five miserable months, during which time my anxiety went through the roof and I developed bulimia.
It took me four years to recover from bulimia, but I didn’t get my anxiety under control until I fell down a hole into depression when I was 37 years old. Here’s how bad my anxiety was: If I was out running errands and noticed my car needed gas, I could not stop at a gas station unless I had already planned on it. Spontaneously changing the “plan” was mission impossible. Didn’t matter if I drove past six gas stations. I couldn’t do it.
Eight years later, I am still on anti-depressants. I doubt I’ll ever go off, because it makes life manageable. (If I hadn’t been medicated during the early days of the pandemic, I probably would have ended up in the looney bin.)
Anyway, my point is that we grow the most as humans when we survive and overcome challenging times. My struggles have certainly helped me become the person I was meant to be.
Sharing our personal stories – especially the thorny, dark ones – make us human and relatable. If you are on anti-depressants, you and I are now connected by that shared experience.
Own your failures
I have failed as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and business owner. I am sure I have failed complete strangers as well.
Here’s a short list of my failures as a business owner:
- Doing work for free
- Not charging enough
- Failing to fire bad clients quickly
- Ignoring the financials (profit and loss, balance sheet, expenses, etc.)
- Hiring the wrong people
- Working without a contract
- Not getting a security deposit
I own every single failure, which is easy to do when you use the experience to learn and grow.
A few years ago, we created a social media marketing strategy for a small clothing brand, even though we didn’t have a contract in place. When I sent the invoice, they refused to pay it. Without a contract, we were SOL. I was furious at myself, but I am weirdly comforted knowing that karma is a total bitch.
But I learned my lesson! Just this morning, I had a discovery call scheduled with someone who had not yet signed the contract. When I called her, I simply said, “We can’t proceed until you sign the contract.” She apologized profusely. We jumped off the phone, she read through it, signed it and called me when she was done.
No muss, no fuss.
An authentic, human approach to content marketing is being you.
True story: A client once fired us because I sent an email that was “too direct.” He said he found it offensive. My response? Bye Felicia.
When you use a human approach, you have no choice but to be you. And the loveliest part of being you is that only the people who get you will want to work with you. Would you have it any other way?