Content marketing doesn’t just happen. In many ways, it’s an art.
Being an effective content marketer requires you to have a thorough understanding of your audience, their needs, their thought processes, their preferences, their backgrounds, and so on. When you know these things about your audience, you’re better able to establish relationships with them.
But knowing your audience is only half the battle. Once you have identified your audience, the next step is to create a content marketing strategy. Specifically, you want to answer the following question: How should you communicate with your audience?
In other words, how do you establish relatability with your readers? That’s what we’re going to talk about today.
Rethink Your Content Strategy
Marketing is a very complex formula with a number of variables. As we mentioned above, a major part of effective content marketing is learning who your audience is. Identifying your audience should be one of the first steps because your target demographic will influence many of the additional components of your marketing mix.
It’s important to know what message or messages you want to communicate to your audience, too. Obviously, you’ll want to design your content around whatever product or service you have to offer, and being in the addiction treatment industry gives you a diverse spectrum of material to work with. The question becomes how exactly to communicate addiction-related content with your audience.
Remember this: Your mode of delivery is as important – possibly even more important – as the message that you’re delivering. It comes down to choosing the right way to convey information. Specifically, you want to choose a mode of delivery that makes the greatest and most lasting impression with your audience possible. The means by which you communicate with your audience should help to build your credibility and help you to establish trust and a relationship with your reader. This may sound obvious, but it’s not actually that easy to do.
For one thing, the average consumer is much more savvy today than in previous years. The internet has made much more information available, much of which is never more than a search engine query away. By default, the average consumer is skeptical and untrusting of content that they perceive as being for marketing purposes. In most cases, readers will read your marketing content and disregard much of what you’re trying to communicate because they assume you’re merely trying to sell them on your product or service. This makes it extremely difficult to establish trust and build a relationship with your reader.
Fear not. There’s a simple way to communicate your addiction-related marketing content without inspiring hesitation and skepticism. It’s simple, really. All you need to do is make your addiction-related content more personal.
That Personal Touch
We are exposed to content from dozens, if not hundreds, of businesses and corporations each day. Whether it’s web ads, television commercials, radio interviews, or some other type of media, companies use these types of media to enhance consumer awareness of the products or services they have to offer. As we discussed above, the average consumer is pretty savvy nowadays and tends to “tune out” content that consists explicitly of advertisements. This is something that we don’t want. Instead, we want to make impressions and connections, and build relationships with consumers. The only way to do this is with content that’s personal and appeals to the audience on a personal level.
You and I happen to have an advantage compared to most other industries because, whether your audience consists of current addicts, recovering addicts, or the loved ones of addicts, addiction is a highly personal experience. We’re in an industry that’s designed to help people heal from a very destructive disease. But here’s the drawback: It’s estimated that there are over 14,000 addiction treatment facilities in the U.S., so it’s crucial that we’re making strong connections with our audience. Otherwise, they’ll choose to enroll in the program of the facility that they feel is best equipped to help them become healthy.
Personal content is what helps you to establish credibility with your audience, too. If you or your team members have a personal history with addiction – either you suffered and overcame the disease yourselves, or perhaps you supported a loved one through his or her addiction – you should make that known to your audience in your content. This helps you in a couple of important ways: For one thing, it proves that you’ve not just learned about addiction from a textbook, but you have actual firsthand experience confronting the disease. It shows your audience that you really know what you’re talking about because you learned about the disease by getting your hands dirty. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, it makes you, your facility, and your team more relatable.
Consider the perspective of a gentleman who’s looking for an addiction treatment program to overcome his alcoholism. He’s browsing your website and is reading lots of intelligently-written, informative content that sounds like someone’s term paper for a Psychology of Addiction college course. As he peruses the content, he’s imagining being treated at your facility by “labcoats”, those who started treating addicts with no practical knowledge of addiction other than what they learned in college. These academic types inadvertently use lots of jargon and medical terminology that might make your prospective patient feel unintelligent or like your staff is talking down to him. This is very uncomfortable for him and will likely make him look elsewhere for treatment.
Obviously, patients want to be treated by professionals who are knowledgeable in what they do. Your facility might employ some of the most talented addiction treatment professionals in the industry, but if they lack relatability and empathy, they could very easily make patients feel uncomfortable. Instead, you want prospective patients to feel like their treatment providers can sympathize with what they’re going through, and not just because they got a degree in addictions counseling. Patients want to know they’re in the hands of professionals who really know what they’re going through, and you can convey this sense of empathy and relatability in your addiction-related content.
How to Make Personal Connections Through Content
The first and most important way to make your addiction-related content more personal is to be open and honest. It’s not necessary to tell your entire life story or to reveal any skeletons in your closet, but being honest is something that your audience will respect. Plus, the personal details you provide will go a long way in establishing your credibility as a treatment provider.
For instance, you could write a blog post about how your experiences in addiction recovery became integral to your work as an addiction treatment provider. In such a piece, you could write about how being in the position of a recovering addict gives you a greater sense of empathy and it allows you to have a really strong understanding of a recovering addict’s needs. You might consider writing about how you’ve incorporated things you learned during your own recovery into your facility’s treatment methods. And these are just a couple ways this can be done. Again, you don’t have to get too personal; obviously, only divulge what you’re comfortable divulging. However, appealing to your audience as a person rather than a business or an academic will go a long way in establishing relationships with prospective patients.
Similarly, you might consider writing profiles for the members of your staff, or perhaps having them write brief autobiographies themselves. Since your staff members are people a patient will likely meet and communicate with during treatment, publishing profiles helps to further personify your facility and show your audience that they’ll receive treatment from authentic, experienced, and caring individuals who are each personally invested in addiction treatment.
The best content anticipates the needs of the audience, so it’s important to be aware of the most important information prospective patients might need. Remember, the main difference between you and your audience is your formal knowledge and education, so use it to provide the information that you needed before getting treatment for addiction. And explain how you know that information and why it’s important. A prime example would be differentiating between the different types of treatment programs that you provide, including specific examples that illustrate when or why a person would need one type of treatment over the others. The idea is to be an essential resource to your audience before they ever step foot on your facility grounds.
It’s important to invite your audience to respond to your content, offering their feedback and opinions. This is extremely helpful when it comes to building lasting relationships with your audience and allows you to establish lines of communication with your prospective patients long before they ever decide to enroll in one of your addiction treatment programs. However, it’s equally important that you – or a member of your team – respond to audience feedback. Engaging your audience to give them one-on-one attention is an important part of building trust and relationships, which will put you at a major advantage compared to your competitors.
Making addiction-related content personal is a strategy that is often overlooked but it offers major benefits. When it comes down to it, our goal in the addiction treatment industry is to help those suffering from addiction to regain their health and independence. You might offer cutting-edge treatments and a staff of industry-leading professionals, but if prospective patients don’t feel like you don’t know what they’re experiencing or can’t understand their needs, there’s little chance that they’re going to entrust your facility with their well-being.