What do you think of when you hear the term ‘inclusive content marketing’? It may be that you imagine content taking a stance on social justice issues or content that makes a major statement on a burning issue. However, that’s not quite right. We’re here to explain what exactly inclusive content marketing is and how to achieve it.
Understanding inclusive content marketing
Inclusive content, put simply, is a form of media that is relevant and relatable to people from varying backgrounds with assorted characteristics. Creating content in this way ensures that everyone has access to your brand, products and services.
Content marketing as a whole is used to generate and retain an audience in the hope that this will lead to returns. By creating content that’s diverse and valuable to a wider audience, your customer base grows as a result.
One of the ways a business can build trust with their audience is through inclusive content marketing. According to the Institute of Customer Service, 81% of customers hold trust as a very important factor in deciding which company to choose and 95% are more likely to return if they trust the business.
Strategies for implementing inclusive content marketing
- Audience research and understanding
Let’s go back to the drawing board – creating inclusive content requires a fresh perspective. Think about who your content is currently being made for and which areas you feel require improvement to make it more inclusive.
This may seem counterintuitive as other marketing practices such as PPC require you to narrow your focus and target a specific audience. However, when it comes to content, broadening your horizons is a must. Revising your content carefully and frequently will help to highlight any blind spots for inclusivity.
- Authentic representation and diverse storytelling
Customer personas are common for brands to utilise – a fictional person that fits with your target audience due to sharing the characteristics that are most common among your customer base. However, these personas are rarely inclusive of every potential customer.
The language and imagery used in content creation is important when it comes to appealing to a wider demographic. Not making these things inclusive can put your brand at risk of alienating potential new customers.
- Inclusive language and communication
Words hold a lot of power and with great power comes great responsibility. The language you use could inspire and motivate, but it could also exclude without you even realising it. So, being careful about the language you use is key to creating inclusive content.
This stretches far beyond using gender-neutral language (which is a must). When creating a style guide consider language, phrases and idioms to avoid which may have a harmful impact on your audience. Here are a few examples of things to avoid:
- Language that has derogatory connotations e.g. crazy, lame, blind.
- Use second person. Directly addressing the reader as “you” helps to engage users and avoids confusion.
- Stay clear of assumptions, especially when it comes to technical competence e.g. “It’s so easy, even your dog could do it.”
Idioms and phrases are great for personalising and making your content relatable, so you shouldn’t avoid them altogether. Successful inclusive language and communication simply involves considerate when creating content and looking at it through a new lens.
- Collaboration and partnerships
Don’t be afraid to connect with your audience and keep an honest open dialogue with them. Everyone looks at and experiences the world differently, so their input could be eye-opening for your approach to content.
Consider collaborating with experts or audience members from different backgrounds to help create content that is not only inclusive but also authentic. Surprisingly, the secret to creating inclusive content is often just simply including people from all walks of life in your content creation process.
- Accessibility and user experience
In order for your content to be accessible, your website needs to be accessible as well. WebAIM found that 14% of users rely on some form of screen reader to navigate the web. Screen readers should be able to interact with all pages on your site, particularly your blog page.
Another element to consider is alt text, which is used to describe the visual content on your site. These should be used for their intended purpose as opposed to keyword stuffing or using the file name.
For video content, captions should be available. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean sitting and transcribing every word yourself, there are plenty of tools out there available to make this process easier such as Kapwing.
Other accessibility features to consider include:
- Minimise the motion used on site and content design elements
- Improve the colour contrast on your website
- Make sure your site can be navigated using the keyboard only
- Ensure your site can be accessed on all browsers
These steps are just the beginning and creating successfully inclusive content doesn’t involve checking off a few boxes. It’s a process that involves continuous revision and improvement. Creating inclusive content demonstrates your brand’s commitment to improvement and change. By not doing so, it could look like your brand is unable or unwilling to grow. The only way to improve is to create with purpose!