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Baird Media Blog Article 5 ways to use empathy in content marketing

5 Ways of Using Empathy in Content Marketing

What is empathy and how you use it in your content marketing campaigns? Why do you even need to come across as empathetic? This article shines some light on the subject.

It’s the age old question: Are you feeling sorry for somebody or do you understand what they are going through? 

Using sympathy in your content marketing may possibly only alienate the person you are hoping to reach with your message.

What if you tried being empathetic instead?


What is Empathy?

There is a difference between sympathy and empathy.

Sympathy is when you feel sorry for somebody, perhaps such as when they have lost a loved one.

Empathy is when you understand what somebody is feeling, therefore you are feeling with them.

The moment you can put yourself in somebody else’s shoes is the moment you have empathy with them.

When you do this, you acknowledge their struggles and experience the same emotions as they do.

To have empathy is not only feeling with them, it is also when you have the ability to employ critical thinking to find the best  solutions to those problems. 

Empathy is therefore having the ability to understand what other people feel on an emotional level and not be able to see things from their point of view.

When you can imagine yourself in their place, you are being truly empathetic.

This requires a high level of emotional intelligence (EQ), which means that you are in tune with your own emotions and feelings.

When you are indifferent to the pain of others or even hostile, you are not showing empathy but you are being apathetic.

Apathy is the direct opposite of empathy, as it displays a lack of interest, concern, or enthusiasm for another.


What is Empathetic Content?

In short, empathetic content is content that elicits a sense of human connection. It is content that connects with people and that has the power to influence them.

It is the type of content that brings a client back again and again.

To understand what it is, we first have to understand what empathetic content is not.

Empathic content is not opinion pieces. It was in his commencement speech at San Francisco University High School that educator Bill Bullard dissected the relationship between opinion and empathy.

He wrote, “Opinion is really the lowest form of human knowledge; it requires no accountability, no understanding.

The highest form of knowledge, according to George Eliot, is empathy, for it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another’s world.

It requires profound, purpose‐larger‐than‐the‐self kind of understanding.” 

Opinions are easy to express and need foundation in fact; they are divisive and judgmental. Opinions are looking to win. 

Empathy, on the other hand, requires humility and understanding. It builds bridges and are heavily reliant on curiosity.

Ultimately, empathy does not want to take, instead it wants to give.

Content that is empathetic is therefore infused with a “magnetic human element”, conveying much more than information.

Content that has empathy has the ability to create an emotional  connection in that it establishes trust and rapport, developing a relationship between a brand and its customers.

It requires the creator of the content to first listen so as to be guided by human insight and not their own opinion of what needs to be said.

Social listening is one of the ways of doing this, as is reviewing website analytics. 

When a customer feels that a brand understands them, then the content creator is at the core of empathetic content.

As a customer navigates their buyer journey, the decisions they make will be guided mostly by their emotions.

It is only when the content can speak to those emotions that the content will be on the path to success.

So, how does one create content that is loaded with empathy?


5 Ways to Use Empathy in Content

1. Make It Less About You and More About Them

We all know that one person who can never stop talking about themselves.

They are not much different from the person pushing their products or services onto you and before you know it, you have their business card in your hand or your inbox is flooded with spam messages.

It’s like the person whom you meet who, two meets after you have introduced yourself, cannot remember your name.

Does this impress you?

Probably not.

Marketers tend to be very skilled at explaining their products or services, treating their audience like a lot of dumb people sitting in the dark waiting to slurp up whatever is served up to them.

It is only when the audience is treated as a participant in the interaction that empathy becomes part of the content process.

Content that resonates with the intended audience member will be engaging because the experience is centered around their motivations and needs.

It becomes less about your desire to promote your brand and more about serving their intent.

Put your customer first. Create content that will provide solutions to their problems.

Help them expand their knowledge.


2. Create Value and Not Volume

One piece of content that provides value will outperform 10 pieces of content that don’t say much.

You know the saying “less is more”, don’t you?

Content that is created intentionally and that has a clear focus will be much more engaging than fluff pieces created because you think you need a lot to impress.

Make your website easy to navigate.

Rather have one high quality download than a great many of lesser value.

Keep product descriptions precise, clear, and to the point.

Run effective promotions.

Apply this mindset across all of your content and you will soon see results.


3. Be as Inclusive as Possible

Tailoring your messaging to the individual is the key to developing content that creates the impression that you are speaking directly to the wants and needs of your intended audience.

The more you know about the people who visit your website or interact with you on social media, the more specifically you can speak to what is important to them.

The moment you start humanizing your content by using a conversational tone and you start to use language and imagery that is diverse enough to create a collective experience for similar individuals, is the moment your content will come across as human and not something created by AI.


4. KISS – Keep It Short and Simple

When your priority is the experience of the user, you will find the KISS principle will work to your advantage.

People have to deal with a huge amount of information every day and they tend to filter what they consume.

The more complicated you make it, the more difficult (and frustrating) it becomes to navigate it.

Keep the calls to action to the minimum, but ensure they are clear.

People are lazy to click and cannot be bothered to read long blocks of text.

Keep it short, simple, and to the point, and see the results in your conversion rates.


5. Take Action on Customer Feedback

Nobody is perfect and there is always room to learn, grow, and improve.

Keep your finger on the pulse by asking for feedback.

This shows your customers that you are listening and reinforces the trust that you are building with them through your content. 

Use the feedback you receive when planning your content going forward. 



There is so much content available to potential customers today that you are going to have to go the extra mile to evoke feelings and emotions from your audience by being in tune with who they are and what they need and want.

Start to think like your customer and prioritize their needs over your sales messages.

Use the content to build trust and loyalty.

Tell a story that strikes a chord and show your customer that you not only care about them, but you understand them.

When what matters to them starts mattering to you, is the moment your content will become filled with empathy. 


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