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Engage Your Customers with Aspirational Content

Engage Your Customers with Aspirational Content

[By Karen Geier]

Content marketing isn’t just about providing service-based information to your clients or potential customers. It’s about expressing your brand values and your brand’s essence in every post. Now that content marketing is growing up, it’s time to look at how brands are winning engagement, and it’s not always by delivering solely informational content on demand. Enter Aspirational Content.

Aspirational Content looks beyond the area that content marketers have traditionally focused on – informational content that answers customer questions – and moves one step further toward making the lifestyle of the product a more prominent theme.

All Brands Can Be Aspirational

It might seem like some brands might not be able to make their product into a sexy lifestyle offering, but you might not be thinking hard enough. Even if you sell toilets, there is an aspirational market for you. Currently, there are tens of thousands of pins on Pinterest under “bathroom ideas.” Sell auto parts? I bet those parts go into some pretty nice looking cars sometimes. Look for ways to make your offering a sexier version of what you do now.

How to Find Your Aspiration

Two questions need to be answered when planning for aspirational content: What are your goals? And what would you sell to someone with an unlimited budget? Finding your goals in this case doesn’t mean tying your content to a sale, but it could. Aspirational content works by igniting the imagination, the way having a really evocative story read to you as a child used to.

Once you’ve identified the parts of your brand that would most appeal to your most discerning customers, you should make a list of the reasons why they appeal and work with high-tier buyers. This will help inform the way you write your content to motivate a wider audience.

Aspiration Should Still Appear Within Reach

Aspiration doesn’t refer to the feeling people have when they look at something and think “if I win the lottery someday.” The feeling you want to amplify is “when my bonus comes in…” or something similar. Don’t plan your aspirational content around things that are too far from an experience your base customers can see themselves having. Think Architectural Digest, not Robb Report.

How to Write Aspirationally

Think about writing that sets up a mood and expectation. Often this writing is descriptive and evocative. When writing aspirationally, it’s important to set up the moment and the mood of what you’re trying to convey.

If you’re trying to sell the lifestyle of your patio furniture, don’t just sell the comfort and design. Make sure you sell the idea of sitting in your own backyard enjoying a leisurely day of eating and drinking in the sun, perhaps with friends and family, or possibly evoking the beauty in the solitude of having the entire place to yourself to enjoy reading a good book. Think about the expression of enjoyment or serenity. Don’t stick to the facts. Set a stage. Set up the expectation in the mind of a reader that a chair isn’t just a chair. It’s a miniature vacation from the world.  A good place to look for examples of this type of writing is cookbooks. Cookbooks often employ these literary devices because they need to entice you to try the recipe before you can taste it. Consider your aspirational writing as an enticement for someone to want to try your product.

What to Avoid in Aspirational Writing

Aspirational writing does require some experience, or at the very least some practice and a good editor. All the main rules of writing apply, but the rule about avoiding clichés and idioms is very important in this type of writing. Nothing will put your writing over the line into cheesy territory quite like describing your product in this way.

You should also not lose sight of the length of your writing. While evocative language is going to naturally be longer than strictly descriptive language, it’s important to make sure that you don’t write a romance novel about your chair. Keep sight of the fact that length does still determine whether someone will engage with your content and be economical with your words. Remember, radio ads can set up entire stories in 30 seconds. You can be evocative and to-the-point with practice.

Aspirational content can open up your product or service to an entirely new group of customers. What you should be looking to do is use evocative language to describe the effects or experience of your product in a way that people find irresistible. Look to the emotions and experiences that make people feel good, and find ways to amplify how your product can be instrumental in that feeling. Make sure you keep the words descriptive, yet short, and you could increase your sales.

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