To Meme or Not to Meme: How to Read the Room When Content Marketing

Apr 2022

Language evolves. Thanks to the digital communication space, many of us are seeing language evolve in real time. Words, phrases, or methods of communication that were once considered niche or informal are quickly moving into the mainstream. Since marketing has always thrived in the subliminal space between industry-specific language and mainstream language, the digital content marketing space is ripe for businesses wanting to strike the right balance.

All businesses interacting in the digital space want to have their noses to the ground and be able to respond to the concerns and desires of their customers in real time, whether this means responding to news relevant to their industry, interacting with current trends, or even increasing interactions by making their customers laugh.

The trouble with evolving language is that it is not always read the same way by the same people. A joke or brand voice that proves to be highly effective in one area might be tasteless or boring in another, and it’s not always obvious which tone will be best in which rooms. Writers and content creators must rely on their own aptitude, and can use several methods to sharpen those instincts.

How To Read the Digital Room When Content Marketing

Consider Your Audience

Deeply consider your audience when partaking in internet culture for your business. These considerations are aided by hard data, rather than assumptions. Audience factors like age and industry are important to consider, but don’t assume that just because your audience is made up of older, business-minded people that they will not appreciate satirical or light-hearted content. Attitudes about language and humor can vary greatly between cultures, even between East and West coasts. Whether your business is business-to-business or business-to-consumer plays a large role in your brand voice, and therefore should play a role in your content’s voice, style and tone.

Avoid Confirmation Bias

If you have ever experienced being inundated with a single point of view on a certain topic, it’s not entirely your fault. Confirmation bias is the psychological tendency to interpret all new information as supporting already existing beliefs. The digital sphere is designed to create biases or confirm biases by only delivering information that best aligns with our beliefs or perspectives. This is true concerning hot button issues, but sometimes the digital cycle can create confirmation biases for smaller issues. A matter that might be trivial or okay to tease within one group of people might seem tasteless to another. Some ways to avoid digital bias are to research topics in a private browser, or to ask someone on your team what they see people saying about a topic in their digital space.

Watch Your Benchmarks

Sometimes, a little peer pressure is good. If companies similar to yours are taking part in a digital trend and their customers respond positively, it’s probably okay to do it too. This is why brands will congregate under certain posts on TikTok or crowd a Twitter thread. Find out who your digital benchmarks are and take inspiration from them.

When in Doubt, Choose Kindness

You’ll never regret being kind, so always err on the side of kindness. Potential customers are just people, and at the end of the day, marketers are people too, and your customers know this. People value messaging that lets them know that not only are you paying attention to the world around you, but are experiencing the same struggles and joy. If you can use humor to bridge gaps, do it!

Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads.

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