When it comes to publishing content for your website, you don’t want to trial-and-error it. A much...
Do You Really Need to Be Authentic in Content Marketing?
The value of having a blog, optimizing conversion rates, and nailing down the right calls to action—when we think about content marketing today, we often think of it in an almost scientific way. We do keyword research, we define buyer personas, and we pick and choose what kinds of language best mesh with our brands—but how often do we stop to think about the real people in the real world who will ultimately encounter all our hard work? Authentic content marketing is no longer optional; authenticity has become the cornerstone of success online today.
Reducing the entire digital marketing process to a series of target numbers removes too much of the human element from the equation. There is no grand formula that automatically produces the outcomes you want just because you tweaked and tinkered with it long enough—there are only real people trying to navigate their lives.
Think about yourself and the way you use the web. You're not an unthinking drone, right? Neither are the members of your audience. So how can you market your brand in a way that resonates with those real readers?
What Even is Authenticity? Does It Matter in Your Marketing?
Readers recognize when you're trying to sell them on something. They may not even mind that fact, so long as you're presenting information in an entertaining or engaging way. When your focus is entirely on hitting search engine KPIs and nailing down the perfect keyword density, you're writing for machines, not people. That fact comes through, and it makes your content sound inauthentic. You aren't interested in who's reading—you just want their attention to drive them to act.
It's true, that's the goal of marketing, but it doesn't mean advertising should be soulless. Authenticity in writing means that readers can imagine a real person behind the content with real experiences that inform what you're saying. It means content feels relatable, personal, and relevant to the day. It does more than push a product or demand a sale.
Now, how do you distill that understanding into authentic content marketing?
Making Your Content More Authentic: Tips and Tricks
There are many ways to add more personality to your content, but we've found there are four core concepts that serve as the best framework for creating posts that people respond to the most.
Speak to real people, not robots or algorithms. SEO techniques are critical to building successful content, but you can't let them dominate the writing process. Write content that makes it simple to include your target keywords naturally by thinking about the individuals who will encounter your post. The algorithm wants to determine relevance, but the reader wants to learn.
Try to imagine real people in your life who might search for your post. When you write, speak to those people, not just a vague persona. Just as importantly, write with the authority and experience you have. You've got something to say, so say it loud and clear. Readers appreciate a direct, understandable point.
Improved consumer data lets you target the best audiences. Though drawing on a personal connection is an excellent way to write more authentically, you may not always market to the kind of people you know or understand well. When you collect quality data about who consumes your content, uses your services, or buys your product, you can zero in on what those types of readers want to see. Staying relevant and "in touch" with the trends relevant to your business—and avoiding the ones that aren't—makes your brand more approachable.
Know where your brand belongs—and where it doesn't. Despite the big fuss everyone makes over social media marketing, not every brand should be on every platform. Does a budding Gen Z entrepreneur trying to succeed in apparel design really need to publish a 3,000-word white paper on LinkedIn? Should the insurance agency targeting an aging population invest time into making dances about term life policies on TikTok? When only 2.8% of its users are aged 55 or older, probably not.
Audiences recognize when your brand is speaking in a space or on a topic that doesn't make sense—and that's a big red flag about your authenticity. Know your domains and master them; you don't have to be a jack of all trades.
Readers Notice Authenticity—So Don't Miss Out
When nearly 90% of web users today say that authenticity matters to them in their brand interactions, marketers can't afford to ignore such an incredible consensus. By putting real people back at the heart of your marketing, it's possible to produce authentic content marketing that reaches more people, resonates more strongly, and ultimately drives the results you want.
Embracing authenticity doesn't mean abandoning the science of SEO—it means thriving at the intersection of data-driven strategies and people-forward thinking.