Content Marketing Diversity Check-Up
Diversity, inclusion, and representation are hot topics all around the country this summer. In my last post, How Diverse Is Your Content Marketing Strategy?, I shared my thoughts on how marketing professionals are well-positioned to drive brand conversation around diversity and why it’s important to do so.
In this post, I want to share some areas of focus where businesses can check-up on their content marketing diversity efforts.
5 Areas To Check For Content Diversity
Marketers live in a world of constant change. What was a no-fail marketing strategy even 2 years ago can be ineffective and dated today. We’re used to adapting to new technologies and patterns of audience consumption. Diversity efforts should be no different. As awareness and understanding have grown, inroads have been made, but there is always more to do. Keep in mind that diversity isn’t just about race. It includes age, gender, sexual orientation, abilities, and even socioeconomic status.
Where does your content stand in terms of today’s standards of diversity?
As a starting point, check your current content in the following 5 areas. You will get an idea for how inclusive and representative it is and be able to pinpoint gaps in representation or even flag content that is outdated, inappropriate, or off-brand.
- Images. “A picture is worth a thousand words”. This has always been true and remains one of the most visible measures of content diversity. Who is physically represented in your content and do they reflect your target audience? Look beyond the people in your images to the settings as well. If your target market is urban dwellers, are you representing cities in a positive or negative light or a stereotypical manner?
- Wording. Words matter. Pay special attention to word choice and phrases to make sure they align with your brand but also promote inclusion and diversity. Avoid overtly racist terms and know the history of any older terms you might choose to use in case they can be taken the wrong way or represent an outdated and inappropriate way of thinking. Some terms are so ingrained in our culture that it takes someone pointing out their harmful history for us to realize what they truly represent.
- Platforms and Channels. Where is your content published? Different audience subgroups will have different preferred methods of content consumption. Don’t assume everyone accesses content in the same way and on the same platforms. We’ve seen this most clearly in mobile vs. desktop consumption patterns by age, but there are clear differences among gender and socioeconomic status as well.
- Audience Profiles. Do you have audience profiles yet? If not, you should. This information will allow you to dig deep and really understand who your audience is and what they want, which will in turn allow you to create content that meets them where they are and gives them what they want.
- Know Your History. Are the images, words, or stories shared by your brand still relevant and acceptable in this day and age? As diversity and stereotyping awareness has grown we’ve seen a number of big brands, including Land o’ Lakes and Quaker, revamp their brand to eliminate stereotypes.
As you examine your content for diversity, remember you don’t have to be all things to all people and you don’t have to address consumers who would have no interest in your products. Keep your content on brand and designed for your target audience.
An Evolving Process
Diversity and inclusion aren’t a “one and done” deal. They are an evolving process that changes and adapts with the times. We’ve all seen examples of content that was socially acceptable in the past that no longer passes that test. As with all of your marketing strategies, you need to check up on your diversity and inclusion efforts to make sure the content remains relevant and acceptable. Audiences and their preferences evolve and so should your content.