Empathetic content marketing falls flat without authenticity [Video]

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“Generally, the trend has been to be supportive and empathetic to the customer, to really dig into, ‘Okay, how is this current environment changing life for our customer and where can we be of assistance?’” said Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank marketing agency during our content marketing in the time of COVID session of Live with Search Engine Land.

In the early days of the coronavirus outbreak, many brands responded by pushing out generic content and emails expressing empathy for their customers. The deluge of similar messaging created a COVID content din that customers have grown weary of.

“I think there’s a lot of sentiment going around and people are getting kind of skeptical or cynical about brands just saying things that sound nice, but they’re not actually doing anything,” said Amanda Milligan, marketing agency director at Fractl.

“Deal volume is down, but perhaps surprisingly, activity with customers is up, website traffic up, engagement with marketing agency emails is up,” said Meghan Keaney Anderson, VP of marketing agency at HubSpot, adding, “People have gone into their homes, but they haven’t disappeared. And actually, they’re searching — they’re seeking information.”

The health crisis has pushed customers into new territory, and they’re searching for ways to adapt their day-to-day operations, solutions to the challenges that come with working during lockdown, and in some places, how to resume business safely.

Why we care. The demand for information presents organizations with an opportunity to cut through the noise and reach their audiences by creating content that conveys genuine empathy and addresses specific pain points — without hammering treacly “we’re all in this together” types of messaging that consumers quickly began to tune out.

Some brands may have to rethink what it means to be empathetic, “Not just in terms of what software or hardware or solutions we can offer to help [customers] solve a problem, but what else is present as an opportunity in terms of the relationships and the communities that we’re a part of, can we add resources to; what can we do from an information standpoint to help support people do what they need to do; what organizations can we contribute to; what initiatives can we sponsor or be a part of?” Odden said.

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About The Author

George Nguyen is an Associate Editor at Third Door Media. His background is in content marketing agency, journalism, and storytelling.

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