What the 2016 Election Teaches Us About Values-Based Content Marketing

What the 2016 Election Teaches Us About Values-Based Content Marketing. If so, that was most likely content that resonated with your core values. What are core values, anyway? It’s a lot like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs — other values get your attention only after your core values have been satisfied. What were chosen values for some were core values for others, and that made a big difference at the voting booth. What’s that got to do with content marketing? Because content that talks to people’s values works. As powerful as values-based content is, content that does a great job of tapping into a certain value isn’t going to do you any good if that’s not a value that’s important to your target customer. Their core values — which they passed on to me — included hard work, self-reliance, accountability, personal responsibility, honesty, etc. But credible research can provide valuable insights to fuel a discussion with your team.

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values-based content

Did you ever read something that made you look around to see if there were hidden microphones or cameras nearby? Something that so perfectly encapsulated who you are and what goes on inside your heart and your head that you felt like it was written just for you? Something so insightful that you’re convinced you and the author are BFFs who simply haven’t met yet? If so, that was most likely content that resonated with your core values. That’s some powerful content indeed…and marketers know it.

But if there’s one thing this election taught us, it’s that values can vary dramatically from person to person. And that people are often shocked and disoriented when they discover that the values they hold most dear just don’t resonate with somebody else. Or, if they do resonate, that they hold a very different spot on their list of priorities.

What are core values, anyway?

The psychological definition of a value is, “the goals and beliefs that guide our actions and behavior. Values motivate how each of us thinks, feels, reacts, and communicates….values tend to stay constant over time, even through major life changes. Values are the non-negotiables.”

But, while we choose to align ourselves with certain values, we don’t consciously choose core values. They’re part of us….so innate that we don’t think about them. But they affect everything from what we buy and where we work, to whom we marry and how we vote. Our core values are the lens through which we view everything else.

It’s a lot like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs — other values get your attention only after your core values have been satisfied. That’s what we saw with the 2016 election: It really wasn’t a matter of opposing values; it was a matter of shared values being prioritized differently. What were chosen values for some were core values for others, and that made a big difference at the voting booth.

What’s that got to do with content marketing?

Because content that talks to people’s values works.

Values-based marketing has been around for a while, but the explosion of content marketing has given us exponentially more opportunities to practice it — from blog posts to LinkedIn updates to Tweets. All of that content can be designed to tweak certain core values. Not only does that strengthen your connection with your customers, it helps you spread the word, because people share, like, and comment on things that tell people who they are…things that reaffirm and validate their identity. It’s really the whole point of social media.

Need some proof? In a study conducted by Zenzi and reported in Psychology Today, customers who made purchases that reinforced their core values were more likely to:

  • Share information about the purpose
  • Write an online review of the product or service
  • Invest more time researching the purpose and involve more people in that research

So a values-based marketing campaign extends far beyond the original customer to include their friends, family, etc. In fact, values-based marketing campaigns garner 6% more social shares than traditional marketing campaigns.

But…

You knew there was a “but,” right?

As powerful as values-based content is, content that does a great job of tapping into a…

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