By now, you’re probably sick of hearing about content marketing.

Won’t this trend ever end?

Haven’t we done enough already?

The truth is that content marketing is no trend. In fact, if it’s not a staple pillar of your employer branding strategy, it’s time to not only put two feet firmly on the bandwagon, but prepare yourself for a bumpy and exciting journey. Content marketing is here to stay, and with mind-numbing amounts of content produced and consumed every day, it can be a struggle to be a unique voice in the crowd.

The rapid growth of AI is one way many companies are trying to manage the constant hunger for quality content. From machine learning, to chat bots and digital assistants, there are significant changes on the horizon for how we interact with our target audiences. By 2020, it is estimated that up to 85% of your customer interactions may be managed by AI. This means that more often than not, your customers won’t interact with a human, and despite the amazing advances in technology in recent years, AI still has a long way to go to truly provide that empathetic connection through its content creation or even instant interaction.   

We can’t deny that AI is set to change the world. The way we interact digitally and beyond is evolving rapidly.  We’ve entered an era of paradox, one where we use machines to be more efficient – to talk to more people and respond faster than ever before – and one where we’re desperate for that “personal human touch”. We see this everyday. Take for instance hot global trends like Hygge (the Danish concept for cosiness), transparency, and personalisation. Or look at the top global Google searches for 2017 – “Hurricane Irma”, “how to help”, “how to make a protest sign” – and you’ll start to see a link. We simply want brands to, “Listen, Empathise, Help, and most importantly, Know me!”  

Right now, the one thing bots can’t do is be human (obviously). This means that authentic, personalised content that shows the human side of your business is key to resonating with an audience used to dealing with impersonal machines. Show that you are listening, that you are empathising, helping, and most importantly showing your audience understanding with content that answers the questions they’re asking.

So, where do you start? How do you make content authentic, personalised and relevant to your audience, while being true to your employer brand?

Know your audience

Knowing your audience is a critical first step to delivering authentic content, and personas are an excellent way to do this. After all, if you don’t know who your audience is, how do you know what they want and what to say to them?

Channel surf

When it comes to personalised, authentic content, not all channels are created equally. Not all audiences use the same channels. So, in understanding where your target audience will be, you take one step closer to creating a personalised experience for them. For example, you’re much more likely to find a graduate on YouTube or Snapchat than you are on LinkedIn or Glassdoor.

Mix it up

Once you have your ‘who’ and ‘where’ sorted, you can start considering the content mix and formats your audience will respond to. This could mean moving away from more traditional formats and considering more unique content styles that deliver authentic ways for your audience to interact with your business.

Tell people stories

Run a tech company? Who’s the engineer behind the product? Work in a bank? What’s the culture there like? Nothing shows more personality and authenticity than showing off your culture and people. Creating content around your employees and showing the face of the business in a relatable way develops trust with our audiences, and nothing is more personal than trust.

The use of AI and bots to interact with our audience makes us more responsive and efficient, delivering a positive experience for our audience. But don’t get caught up in the efficiency gains and forget that while bots are a gateway to interacting with your audience, they’re only as good as the content strategy behind them. 

If you haven’t already, now is the perfect time to build a personal, authentic content style that balances the need for bot-assisted speed and the desire from audiences to be empathised with.

For more information on developing your audience persona, we’ve created this handy persona creation guide to help you along.

Digital Strategist

Meagan is a bookworm and word lover from way back, and enjoys nothing more than a good story. Her role as Digital Strategist at AIA allows her to help clients find their own passion for words – in the form of content strategies and social media. Whether telling a story through social content or metrics and data, Meagan’s hunger for figuring out the who, what, when, where and why is almost as insatiable as her enthusiasm for brunch.

Chat books, breakfast and social strategies with Meagan on Twitter.