From purpose-driven content and customer-first approaches to gaining a better understanding of how content resonates, anyone who attended Insight 2021 heard loud and clear that brands are leaning into the human side of content creation. And while that’s not to say that artificial intelligence and the highest of high-tech tools don’t have a role in creating content, the best content strategies put people first.

At AmerisourceBergen, one of our guiding principles is to put people first; the rest will follow. When we apply this principle to the work our content team does every day, it’s very easy for us to prioritize creating content that meets many of our customers’ and partners’ human needs. These are a few of those needs, along with some tips for catering to them with content.

The Need to Belong

Understand the need
As humans, our need for a sense of belonging is so fundamental that it drives our behaviors. We seek out relationships with other people and participate in social activities and groups because of this need. Wouldn’t it also make sense, then, that we would seek out other people who understand our challenges ⎯ those who empathize with us? Wouldn’t we also explore groups we aspire to be a part of?

Meet the need

As a content marketer, you can satisfy the human need for belonging with “day in the life” and “behind-the-scenes” stories that pull back the curtain on our business and show people what it’s like to be a part of your tribe. You can also use content to demonstrate deep understanding of a customer’s pain points. That’s why it’s so important for a content marketer to be more than a reporter or copywriter. The content marketer must also have deep empathy for the customer experience.

Stand out

Belonging can be especially important in the workplace, where content that helps your customers do their jobs better can help them build connections at work while wiring their brains to trust your brand. For these pieces, think beyond blogging. Use content intelligence to discover white space your brand can occupy with formats like checklists, tip sheets, and guides. Make your brand indispensable to how people in your industry work and live. Educate instead of selling.

The Need to Make Authentic Connections

Understand the need

We, the people, like to buy things from other people. Real people. People we trust. In fact, 86% of people say authenticity matters when deciding what brands they support. That means we like to see the real faces of the people who work at brands, we like to read stories about them, and we want those stories to be in a brand voice that is free of jargon and corporate speak.

Meet the need
When you’re creating content that needs to be authentic, don’t cheat. Whether your model is an agency, freelance, or hybrid one, use professional writers and a consistent brand voice. Think about how the various voice tools on the market can help you measure and monitor tone of voice.

Stand out

Take your content strategy one step further by incorporating stories that show off your people, processes, and human innovations. Think about whether working with subject matter experts and executives to add their bylines to stories is a good strategy to humanize your blog or content hub by adding a face to your stories.

The Need to Know our Needs are Being Met

Understand the need

As humans, we respond best to any “ask” when we feel like our own needs are being met. And in today’s content marketing environment, your customers are being asked for a lot before they’re ever offered anything of value. Before you ask them to put their contact info into a lead form, think about whether you’ve given them anything they need.

Meet the need
These days, a teaser for your ebook or case study may not be enough. But could you give them the first two pages of a guide to using your product in a unique way? Maybe a checklist that’s part of your ebook? If you’re not offering gated content, consider when you’re asking a reader to click on a CTA in an ungated piece. This “ask” should feel organic, and it should never interrupt content that is actually meeting the customer’s current need.

Stand out

No matter how you’re working to humanize your content, you should always be reading the (virtual) room. Use analytics to tell you what content types are resonating with your audience, which stories and types are helping you build an audience, and whether/how your content is driving results (i.e., how are those CTAs working? Are you getting content-driven leads?).

At AmerisourceBergen, we leave room in our editorial calendars to pivot on topics when search traffic shows us something different than we expected or change a format when engagement with certain content types is low. That way, we’re nimble enough to respond to how our very human audiences respond to content. When we’re putting people first, it’s not about us.

Motivated to get innovative with your content? Read our piece on 4 Brands That Are Doing Content Right in 2021 to learn how content can help you better connect with your audience to drive growth and engagement.