5 Tips to Empower Your Readers

March 2017

Source: Thinkstock

One of the biggest benefits of content marketing is providing information consumers can use. Too often, though, such content is written from the vendor’s point of view with few reader takeaways (other than the features and benefits a vendor wants to promote). A better approach to improve readership may be to focus on reader empowerment.

For someone to feel more confident in their decision-making, they need information to clarify choices. Well-chosen words and imagery, along with an eye-popping design, can help them better prepare to purchase certain goods or services that improves some facet of their work or life. Here are five ways to help accomplish that mission with content marketing.

1. Write from the reader’s point of view.
Instead of thinking “what’s in it for me,” reframe your approach to “what’s in it for the reader.” You can write about the same data, but the shift in WIIFMs can have a big impact on how far someone is willing to read into the content. This also means using the second-person pronouns “you” and “we” generously.

2. Take a positive and affirming tone.
Marketers understand pain points and write from that point of view, but all too often they focus more on those negative feelings (“the pain”) instead of the positive in potential solutions (“the point”). Consider words and imagery choices carefully. Think of words that exude strength, passion, fearlessness so that a reader feels ready to improve their situation. And make calls to action inspirational.

3. Make it personal.
Opening with a narrative is powerful. A reader is immediately drawn into a story of a person or plight they can relate to on some level. Some may be cautionary tales, others survival stories. Be sure to infuse your content marketing with success stories based on real people and real situations. Use data points to back up what others say or experience, rather than letting figures stand alone. People want to read about other people, especially those who’ve overcome obstacles. They will read on to find out how they triumphed.

4. Include anecdotes and interviews with real people, experts or otherwise.
This is an extension of the previous tip, but every piece of content — be it a blog post, a white paper or sponsored article — should include stories based on interviews with people and subject matter experts. Not only does it lend interest, it also boosts credibility. On a practical note, be sure to gain permission and properly cite third-party sources when you use them.

5. Incorporate uplifting visuals to complement text.
To get as many eyeballs as possible, be sure to include photos, illustrations and designs that draw in people while remaining true to the brand. This sounds like common sense, and yet too often the visuals are an after-thought and end up being headshots or haphazard stock art not truly aligned with the content.

The goal of content marketing and thought leadership is to share wisdom that brings in customers, particularly those big on self-education. Even if your product or service is eventually not chosen, pieces that empower are remembered and shared. This expands outreach, builds branding and may eventually land in the hands of a decision-maker who does want to buy from you.

–Anne