There are various kinds of content creators and marketers. Some emphasize numbers and statistics, while others prefer to draw from their own experiences. While there is a case to be made for both approaches, we take a stand that any content will benefit immensely from an infusion of honest emotions and storytelling.
Take a quick look at the most popular Instagram or YouTube accounts (barring those owned by big media houses/publications). Whether it’s lifestyle or technology, the accounts that generate the greatest engagement tend to lean heavily on the personal side.
Assess your own presence on social media. Audit the content you have created thus far. Is it all very crisp, business-like? Do you put a lot of stock into research and shy away from the thought of creating content based on something other than numbers or hard facts?
Here are some points to consider.
Feelings make you look human
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This is especially pertinent in the B2C segment. People love pouring their hearts out on social. YouTube is proof plenty of that. The most popular YouTubers also tend to have highly personal conversation styles.
Their videos are professionally made and carefully edited, but at the same time they know they are talking to human beings, who are influenced by their videos. Sure enough, the subscribers love these personalities back and thank them for opening up. It’s not just entertainment, though that is a big part of it. It’s the fact that each and every viewer feels the YouTuber is talking to them, and helping them personally.
While the idea behind a successful channel might be to inform the audience and present them with actionable advice, one stands a greater chance of achieving this goal when comfortable talking to their legions of followers about their own vulnerabilities, mistakes, flaws, challenges faced an overcome – the entire learning curve.
Pro tip: It’s not narcissistic to talk about yourself. Well, it doesn’t have to be. It depends on what you want to achieve. When you choose a perfectly legitimate topic and give it a personal twist by presenting your take on it, it can be very instructive for your audience. People love to read about other people’s experiences, and this goes for business owners as much as consumers. We are all human, after all, learning from each other.
Feelings generate engagement. And that is what drives social media.
Type in the number ’50’ in the YouTube search bar, and among the top suggestions to pop up is ’50 random facts about me.’
This is basically successful YouTubers giving out 50 random facts about themselves.
Now why would anyone want to know 50 random things about some random people on a social media channel?
Because, clearly, it’s fun, human and very engaging. Followers love finding out more about the people whose content they love to devour.
The moral of the story is – your personality is a big part of what drives your content and engages people. Indeed, you cannot divorce the two. Social is almost entirely personality-driven.
Pro Tip: Work on cultivating a brand voice, a voice that is distinctly yours. Let your human side shine through. Professional and robotic are not synonymous. (Neither are human and sappy.)
Content is basically communication, and feelings help you communicate
Emotions are the oldest language in the world. They cut through cultural barriers. With the internet, the audience is mostly global. Even those who may not be able to speak English very well are still able to understand the emotions (or lack thereof) behind any given content, whether written or visual. This is part of what make emoji so popular!
You know you have created quality content when someone (not a bot) comments in broken English how inspiring and helpful your article has been for them.
Feelings help people relate to you. That can translate into you being looked at as an authority. Life credibility is the ultimate credibility. The trillion-dollar industry of wellness is living proof of that. Look at the biggest business best-sellers, they all draw from the experiences of the authors.
Demand never dries up for real-life stories
Everyone loves a good rags-to-riches story. Everyone vouches for the underdog. Everyone wants the hero to win in the end.
This is not just the American Dream or Hollywood formula for making popular movies. You will find these themes present in cultures throughout the world. That is why someone who barely understands English is able to enjoy a Hollywood movie. Because just like music, emotions are able to transcend the language. The bottom line is that everyone loves a good story.
As a business owner, you must make an excellent case yourself. You must have a story to tell. No one is able to set up a business and get it running without experiencing the entire gamut of human emotions. There’s passion, motivation, vision, resourcefulness, hard work, and then – failure or success. Heartbreak is always around the corner. Starting a business is more brutal than a real-world Game of Thrones.
Being able to articulate this roller-coaster ride in an honest manner is a skill that can be learned. As you create relatable content, you will find it’s the emotions and personal experiences that impart a richness to it.
So where does research fit into this?
We are not saying that numbers should be ditched. That would be foolhardy. In fact, the numbers themselves are pointing to the soundness of our argument. Look around you. Everything that is popular evokes a certain emotion in its target audience.
By all means consult the numbers, but bring your own unique flavour to the content as well as social media. Don’t just be a voice, be a voice that people can relate to, be a voice that touches people.
Over to you
The idea behind content marketing is to bridge the gap between businesses and their audiences. Heartfelt communication is the best way to achieve that. What are your thoughts on this? Do you tap into the power of emotions in your content? Why or why not? Please share your reasons in the comments!