The world is made up of a diverse group of human beings, and we all have talents to bring to the table. And every day, companies around the globe are harnessing the power of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) to empower their employees and foster innovation that sets them apart from the competition.
Diversity is beautiful, and it is everywhere that you look—in your employees, in your customers, and in your neighborhoods. But as a society, we haven’t always been able to see the good in diversity. Human beings are a little hardwired to seek out sameness in an effort to fit in. It’s an evolutionary need that we once relied on for survival. But evolution brings change, and today we are growing as a society, but we are still learning, and that is why DEI initiatives are gaining momentum.
But what does DEI mean for your content? Let’s take a look.
Start with Strategy
Begin by taking a hard look at your content strategy and asking the hard questions. Who are you really going after? Is your ideal customer profile someone who looks like you? Is that shortsighted in the grand scheme of the world? Is your strategy conscious of the gains we have made in diversity, equity, and inclusion? Think about all the ways we are different:
· Sexual Orientation
· Political Views
It’s time to update your strategy. While the world has been changing, your approach to content marketing may have gone a bit stale. According to Salesforce, a staggering 90% of modern consumers believe that businesses have a responsibility to change the world for the better. That means recognizing the diversity in your own backyard and promoting the values that are important to all your customers and not just the ones who look like you or who share your affinities.
Use Content to Change the Conversation
Our world is full of bias, and for a long time, we have allowed that bias to tell us who our ideal customers are and who we should be doing business with. Our bias has often perpetuated marketing cycles that limit our potential reach because we assume that our customers are only in familiar demographics. We have allowed bias to shape our businesses as much as we have perpetuated a culture of sameness.
The first step to change is opening the door to having new conversations. One of the best tools at your disposal for changing the narratives that your company pushes is the type of content that you publish. If DEI initiatives are important to your company, use your content to tell meaningful stories about what you are doing every single day to foster diversity and inclusion in your company.
Other great ideas include:
· Plan content for a variety of audiences that include diverse populations.
· Avoid using stereotypes and harmful rhetoric in your content.
· Invite input from a diverse group of customers or team members.
· Update your style guide with an eye for DEI-appropriate language.
Curate Diversity in your Customer Profiles
For years marketing has been niching down to define the ideal target customer for a specific business. And while understanding your customer base has undeniable advantages for marketing efforts, it often puts us in the boat of over-reliance on a small network of people to create and curate content. And what that means is that we are perpetually taking one viewpoint and projecting it to the world.
But do you know how important it is for people to resonate with your content? One marketing study found that 83% of people are influenced to do business with a brand if they see themselves represented in the marketing. That means going beyond the typical demographics when creating your customer profiles—thinking of them as more than a gender, ethnicity, or age. By adding layers to your customer profiles, you can create content based on lifestyle preferences and not demographics.
And instead of repetitively featuring your go-to customer persona in every piece of content, be intentional about representing diversity. Each post can feature a story or interview from your customers across all walks of life—be intentional about curating diversity with real stories told by real people, highlighting how they interact with your brand.
The Bottom Line on DEI in Your Content Marketing Strategy
It’s wonderful if your business has adopted a diversity, equity, and inclusion initiative. But it’s only a piece of paper or a clever mouthpiece unless you put it into practice in the content that you put out into the world every day. Don’t overlook opportunities to create real change in the world by living your values through your content marketing strategy. It’s time to update your strategy and become more conscious of who you are creating content for and who is featured in that content. We’re pretty sure you’ll find a whole lot of customers you didn’t even realize you had.