Marketers are churning out more content than ever, but statistics show that most of this content is not being consumed. That’s right! Up to 70 percent of content created by B2B marketers is collecting dust and not making an impact. But why? The answer is simple: lack of engagement.

Sixty-six percent of B2B marketers claim that keeping people engaged is one of their top challenges. The digital noise is loud. As a result, marketers are having a difficult time competing. So how can you turn things around?

The fastest and easiest way to boost engagement is to infuse each piece of content that you write with personality. But where should you start? Here are five tips to try today.

1. Create a story … real or fake.

Storytelling works because it has a direct impact on the brain. In fact, researchers found that being told a story actually changes the way the brain works. Language-processing parts of the brain light up when reading any content. But when reading a story, the parts of the brain that would activate if you were actually experiencing the event light up as well. You’re captivated, engaged, and feeling like you are part of the story.

Google used this strategy when it was creating a branded YouTube story. It evoked emotion through the memorable tale of an Indian man sharing details with his granddaughter about a special childhood friend. In the story, he explained that when Pakistan became two separate countries, the close friends were forced to part ways.

Moved by the story, the granddaughter turned to Google for help. She not only found the childhood friend but coordinated an emotional reunion for the two friends.

This is a screenshot of a video from Google, which uses storytelling to showcase their products. The article has more tips for creating engaging content.

After viewing the video, you’ll remember the story. But you’ll also remember Google’s role in making the reunion possible.

Not all brands have an amazing real-life story to tell. And that’s all right, because stories don’t need to be real to have impact. You can make one up.

For example, Zendesk is a provider of platforms that enable stronger customer relationships. The brand wanted to use the power of storytelling to communicate why its brand is different from others. They wanted to say, “Our brand is second to none. In fact, the company is so great that the only group that is good enough to be labeled an alternative to Zendesk is the fading rock band called “ZenDesk Alternative.”

This is a screenshot of a video from Zendesk, which uses fictitious storytelling to create an experience where they show their is no real alternative to ZenDesk.

The story is fictional, humorous, and created to communicate the company’s unique selling proposition, but also to infuse personality into its story.

Not ready to create a fictional story line? That’s all right, because there are other creative ways to infuse personality into your content. Tap into some of your most powerful storytellers: your customers.

For example, Airbnb features a page that is devoted to “stories from the Airbnb community.” The content is focused on the people who use Airbnb and their travel stories.

This is a video from Airbnb and is a perfect example of how they use storytelling to create engaging content where they showcase the travels of their customers.

For example, Michael is a busy New Yorker working as a marketing manager for Carnegie Hall. To pay tribute to his late father who died of cancer in 2003, Michael runs marathons. He also rents his spare bedroom in his Queens home to tourists, becoming their guide to seeing the city that he knows so well.

Key takeaway: Fictional or real – marketers capture attention instantly when they tell a good story. The audience feels a deeper and more authentic connection with your brand.

2. Use data to infuse emotion into your content.

Forging a connection with customers requires you to say, “Hey, we understand your pain points – and we’re here to fix them.” Customers must feel like they relate to your content. Accomplish this by fusing emotional content with compelling facts.

For example, a Dove study revealed something shocking about its target market’s pain point. Only 2 percent of women interviewed considered themselves beautiful. They also discovered that seven in 10 women believe they get more compliments about how they look than on their professional achievements.

The company wanted to leverage these statistics into something powerful to connect with its target audience. As a result, the “Beauty on your own terms” campaign was launched, which capitalizes on these facts to stand against judgments that overshadow women’s accomplishments.

Dove Beauty uses compelling statistics to create engaging content that their customers can relate to.

Key takeaway: Learn about your audience’s paint points. Then use that data to create content that builds a stronger connection in understanding these challenges.

3. Write like your customers talk.

Some content is painful to consume. And if you read this content carefully, you might discover something interesting. People simply don’t talk the way the piece of content was written. It’s dry; has no personality; and doesn’t feel relatable.

Write content that is delightful to read. Write like you speak. As a result, your audience will see themselves in your content and feel a stronger connection. But how can you accomplish this? Here are a few tips.

  • Use social listening to find out what words customers are using to describe their challenges.
  • Talk to your customer service people and ask how customers are describing their problems. What words do they use?
  • Find out what digital publications your audience is reading. Then read comments on popular posts to find out what customers are saying.

Once you have all this valuable information, start writing like you’re speaking with a trusted friend. If you were talking with a trusted friend who fit into your buyer’s persona, what words would you use? What would you say to help them understand the topic? If you approach your content this way, you won’t be able to help but infuse it with personality.

Key takeaway: Jay Baer recently said that “if it sounds like writing, then rewrite it.” Take his advice and make sure that your writing sounds more human – matching the personality of your target audience.

4. Build suspense.

There is a reason that Steven King has sold over 250 million copies of his novels and these stories have been adopted into feature films, television shows and comic books. He knows how to keep readers on the edge of their seats. Check out these tips to create more personality through adding suspense to your content.

  • Create an element of mystery. Hit on your audience’s pain points right away, and then develop mystery around the solution. You plan to reveal the answer to their largest problems, but what is it? Keep them hooked.
  • Create conflict. Every great suspense story has some element of conflict. For example, in the Dove example above, that conflict is that women are fighting against the fact that their accomplishments are too often overshadowed by physical appearance. Create more suspense by building up the conflict at the beginning of the piece.
  • Resist the urge to reveal the end right away. Don’t give up all your secrets in the very first paragraph. Lead your readers through the content and keep them on the edge of their seats until the very end.

Key takeaway: When you create suspense, readers can’t help but continue to stay engaged with your content. Try building some cliffhangers, twists and turns into your content, and then measure the results.

5. Use a “behind the curtains” approach.

Worried that customers aren’t relating to your brand? If so, try the behind-the-curtains approach. With this strategy, you reveal bits of information that customers don’t typically get to see about your brand.

Some brands are using social media apps such as Snapchat to achieve this. CISCO posts coverage of events such as the annual employee Crawfish Boil in Texas, office location tours and other behind-the-scenes footage. When customers feel like they’re getting an inside view of the company, they will naturally feel more engaged with your brand. And you just might attract new employees who are a great fit with your company culture.

Key takeaway: Build rapport with customers by providing them inside access to pieces of your company. When they view raw footage of employees having fun in their day-to-day routines, viewers can’t help but feel that the brand is more human and relatable.

Keeping readers engaged

Marketers are creating content to drive brand awareness, generate leads, and, ultimately, generate results. Achieving those successful results, however, starts by relating to customers in ways that make them feel like you’re a trusted friend. They must feel personality in everything you produce. Before publishing any new piece of content, ask yourself a few quick questions:

  • Does this content read like a specific person with a unique voice wrote it?
  • If your audience could read anything, would they choose this piece of content?
  • Would they sign up to receive more content from you based on this piece alone?
  • Does this piece of content relate to the audience and invoke some type of emotion?

Asking these questions before publishing any piece of content will ensure each item you produce has personality. As a result, it won’t end up in your customer’s slush pile, which is what happens to almost 70 percent of the content your competitors produce. Readers will truly be engaged.

How do you infuse personality into your content? Please share your best tips for creating stronger connections with your audience.