To get noticed in this content-heavy world, your brand and messaging need to appeal to people on a personal level. With customer experiences defined by meaningful, personal connections, anchoring your business in the values you care about can be key to connecting with audiences and further drive success.¹
For content creators, your messaging is one of the best ways for people to learn about the values that drive you. A values-steeped organization also makes a content creator’s job much easier by helping them to create honest vulnerability in your messaging, and thereby, engaging content. Vulnerable content is transparent and personal; it isn’t afraid to say, “This is what we believe, and here’s the difference our beliefs make for us,” or, “Whoops! Sorry for the bad link in our newsletter. Here’s one that works!”
Here’s the catch: To find success with values-based messaging, you’ll need to show you mean it. Your content should reflect those values openly and vulnerably.
Boosting Vulnerability Through Your Values
If you want your audience to connect on the values that guide your business, let them know. No matter what product or service your organization offers, your content creators want engagement — and same for your audiences. For your business, that may mean you want people to comment on and share social posts, purchase a product or service, or simply spend time clicking around your site.
Whatever engagement means to you, here are a few tips to help you infuse your values into your brand messaging:
- Share your values publicly.
If you’re creating online content, people will find your pages in all sorts of ways. Point them back to your values as a starting point for how to understand the work you do. Be open and honest by providing your audience with information that’s helpful and creative, like a compelling video where employees talk about your values. Linking to your values should also help you hold yourself — and your content — accountable. Your audience is smart and will catch on if you’re pandering or serving them empty words.
Example: “Are you new? We’re happy you’re here. Learn a little bit about who we are and what we believe.”
- Practice what you preach.
Whichever core values you choose, make sure you see that principle reflected back in your messaging. If you value integrity, demonstrate that principle through your content and messaging decisions: use personal guarantees, quotes from leadership, and always own up to mistakes.Don’t shy away from your values in tough times — they can lead to deeper trust and engagement by supporting honest vulnerability.
Example: “We believe that companies should be transparent about how they do business. For that reason, we’ve decided to make our yearly revenue available to all our readers.”
- Connect the dots.
Take advantage of opportunities to illustrate your values in action. For example, write and share a case study on how your integrity helped a client through a challenging time. Use that value as a storytelling theme for the details you share. By doing so, you let your audience know how success and core values go hand in hand. If you’re celebrating achievements and milestones, describe how your values empowered your outcomes and influence.
Example: “We’re a company that’s driven by integrity — one of our core values! So, we’re grateful that our customers and neighbors ranked us as “most trustworthy local business” this year.”
- Show, don’t tell.
Finally, while you should point your readers toward your values, don’t beat them over the head by constantly talking about them conceptually. Instead, look for ways to use real-world examples and visual elements that demonstrate your values, like images and videos. You can also bring your values to life without stating them by how you create tone in your brand voice. If caring is a core value of yours, you can show that value by bringing warmth and friendliness to your voice. When audiences feel your values in action, rather than just reading or hearing about them, you’ll immerse them into your culture and brand. And this experience will help them live that culture with you.
Example: “In this video, hear from real people who’ve used our services to improve their lives. Our goal is to help uplift and inspire each person — and are the reasons we love what we do.”
When you root your messaging and content in your core values, you tell existing and potential customers (and employees) that you’re motivated by real people and real relationships. Strengthen your content with honest vulnerability — and stand out from the crowd by sharing the values that drive you.