In the era of Big Data, there are millions of articles about the importance of implementing data-driven strategy and marketing programs. I have read 25 articles this week alone on using data to fine-tune personalization and messaging. I’ve even written on the topic before. Yes, these things are important. No, data alone will not drive success. Successful marketing — and content marketing, especially — hinges on the ability to tune into what your target audience is feeling and to create content that is aligned with those feelings and will resonate with the audience.
If you’re wondering “how the hell do I do that?” read on.
What’s All the Ado About EQ?
First of all, what is EQ? Emotional Intelligence or emotional quotient (EQ) is one’s ability to understand other people and their motivations as well as how adept a person is at cooperating with others. As you can imagine, the ability to read the signals that people are giving off and react appropriately is very, very important.
There are actually five different categories of EQ:
- Self-awareness: your ability to recognize emotions in real-time along with their effects — and to manage them.
- Self-regulation: the ability to manage disruptive impulses, display self-control, honesty, and integrity, and to be conscientious.
- Motivation: the ability to motivate yourself and direct thinking into the positive realm, contributing to traits like drive, commitment, initiative, and optimism.
- Empathy: the ability to tune into how other people feel and discern the feeling behind the actions of others.
- Social skills: the ability to enact good interpersonal skills and behave in a way that fosters cooperation, communication, collaboration, and conflict management.
So what does this have to do with content marketing? Glad you asked.
Doing the Math on EQ and Success
Researchers have done the math for us and determined that success depends greatly on emotional intelligence above intellect. In fact, it is roughly 80% dependent on EQ and only 20% dependent on intellect.
If we translate everything we’ve covered into the application for content marketing, it all makes sense. Leveraging a strong EQ and utilizing that understanding to create content that resonates with an audience can be powerful. Let’s look at some of the most applicable qualities that accompany a high EQ:
- Influence. Strong ability to leverage effective persuasion tactics.
- Communication. Ability to send direct and clear messages.
- Collaboration. Can work with others to achieve common goals.
- Teamwork. Capable of fostering group synergy in pursuing common goals.
- Change catalyst. Can successfully initiative and manage change.
- Conflict management. Ability to understand, empathize, negotiate, and resolve conflict and disagreements.
- Leadership. Able to inspire, guide, and advocate for groups and people.
Now let’s look at some of the primary goals of content marketing:
- Awareness. Positioning a company as a helpful, knowledgeable subject matter expert.
- Engagement. Humanizing a company and offering helpful opinions, expertise, and feedback.
- Education. Answer your audience’s pressing questions and add value to their research.
- Identifying a pain point. Helping your audience wrap their heads around a problem they face, now or in the future.
- Offering a solution. Aiding an audience in finding an appropriate solution that meets their needs.
- Loyalty. Using content to increase likability, credibility, and to foster trust.
Hopefully, you’re starting to see where this is going…
In order to be an effective content marketer, you must possess the characteristics of a high-EQ person. One cannot drive awareness if they are unable to communicate effectively. One cannot increase engagement without the ability to empathize with an audience. One cannot educate people without possessing some leadership qualities that make you worth listening to in the first place. Identifying pain points and offering solutions to those pain points require the ability to be a change catalyst to help people identify and understand problems and solutions they may not be attuned to yet. They also require the ability to understand another person’s motivations. Boosting loyalty requires a little bit of everything — from leadership and influence to conflict resolution for customers and clients that may have been disappointed — to be effective.
In looking at some other elements of content marketing, the connection is clear. Storytelling requires the teller to tap into the human experience and empathize. Creating effective triggers and calls-to-action means understanding what motivates people to take action and possessing the ability to anticipate people’s needs. Even evaluating analytics and data effectively requires the ability to take raw information about behavior and translate it into what makes people tick — and to create content around that understanding.
While a business may not have an EQ, the people on your marketing team do. It’s important to foster those characteristics and to use them when creating content marketing strategies. People buy from people they like and people tend to like other people who have a finger on the pulse of human behavior…and who act accordingly.
Learn about the role of Emotional Intelligence in fintech customer acquisition: Download the FREE Fintech Customer Acquisition Playbook.