Media content defines and affects culture. It’s one of the reasons why we, marketers, have a huge responsibility. The content we create and the stories we share can influence the way people see themselves. A 2019 study by survey by Google and The Female Quotient, cited by the Content Marketing Institute has shown that creating inclusive content has a positive effect on consumer behaviour. 64% of the people surveyed said that they took some action after seeing an ad that was diverse or inclusive.
So, what can you do to show your brand’s commitment to creating more inclusive and diverse content? How can you adapt and improve your marketing strategies without straying away from your core mission?
Here’s what you need to know.
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What Is Inclusive Content?
A lot of businesses can’t grasp the concept of “inclusivity” in content creation. They often assume that all it takes is a major statement on social media regarding a pressing social issue to be seen as inclusive. But, that’s just scratching the surface.
To create content that is truly diverse or inclusive means expressing in a way that resonates with people with various characteristics. It means that not only that you understand the makeup of your target audience – their gender, race, age, needs, desires, etc. – but also the value of their contribution. The purpose of your content should be not only to advertise your products or services, but also to promote diverse voices, reduce cultural bias, and lead positive social change.
How can you do all that?
How to Make Your Content More Inclusive
It All Starts with Your Audience
You’re probably already looking at varying characteristics of your target audience when creating your marketing campaigns. You may have defined your buyer persona based on:
- Demographics: age, gender, ethnicity, etc.
- Experiential: education, income, etc.
- Psychographics: values, beliefs, interests, attitudes, lifestyles, etc.
While these traits can give you a general idea of who your audience is, it doesn’t reveal much about their behaviour, needs, and desires. You need to dig deeper and uncover the characteristics that are not tracked that easily, such as the language they use, their cultural cues, needs, and values. Conduct one-on-one interviews or focus groups that can help steer your marketing efforts in the right direction.
Work from the Inside Out
It’s easier to create content that is inclusive and truly resonates with your audience when your content marketing team reflects the diversity of your target customers. We’re not saying that you should start firing people to create more diversity within your team. But, next time you need to hire someone, you should also think about the characteristics that are missing from your team and the value that person can bring. For example, if you need to hire a content creator, look for someone who can bring a fresh perspective and has a different voice.
Use Inclusive Language
Language has a prominent impact on our sense of belonging. A sentence as simple as “A doctor needs to educate himself all the time to keep up with the developments in the medical world” reveals our implicit bias and leaves out doctors who are females or who identify as other gender or no gender at all.
Inclusive language helps us to avoid such biases or expressions that discriminate against groups of people based on race, gender, or their socioeconomic status.
That’s why most major publications today are using the gender-neutral pronoun “they” instead of “he” or “she.”
Pay Attention to the Adjectives You Are Using
IInclusive language goes beyond the pronouns you are using in your blog posts.You should also pay more attention to the words you use to describe groups of people. Words like “black” of “dark” have a negative connotation attached to them. There are plenty of alternatives with a more neutral symbolism that you can use, such as “people of colour.”
You should also think about representation when creating your content and try to your best of your abilities to show that you understand very well that your target audience is not unidimensional. Not all families consist of a man and woman, not every single mom is struggling and not all monoparental families are the result of a divorce.
Choose More Diverse Images
Our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text and 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual. That means that the images that accompany your content or marketing campaigns have a big impact on how your target audience perceived them and the steps they will take next.
The right image can attract more clicks and engagement. Moreover, when written content is paired with a high-quality, relevant image, people will retain 65% more of the information shared three days later.
So, how can you make sure your images are inclusive? By showing your audience pictures of people who look like them. Instead of using generic photos of “business people,” try to include more inclusive language in your search, such as “African American,” “LGTBQ,” or “disabled.”
Over to You
Inclusive content isn’t just a buzzword. It’s how we drive positive social change. Of course, you need to align it with your brand’s goals and mission to make it authentic and truly reach the diverse audience you want to embrace.