Four yellow balls with different facial expressions

This Is How to Change Minds in Content and Digital Marketing

Someone tagged me in a post that contained a video showing how to caption with an app.​

As a caption pusher, it excited me. It takes a village to educate folks about why and how to caption videos. That and to spread the word to follow and use #Captioned when posting captioned videos.

#Captioned is a unique hashtag. Instead of telling you the topic of the post, it usually lets you know the video has captions. Many of us skip videos that don’t have captions. The hashtag makes it easier to find the ones that do. Check out bit.ly/captioned. This takes you to all LinkedIn posts with #Captioned sorted by posting date.

Back to the video. I played it. My smile instantly disappeared. Rarely do posts make me feel angry. This one did.

Can you guess why?

The video wasn’t captioned! A how-to video on using a captioning tool and it’s not captioned?

Talk about irony and hypocritical.

​I bit my tongue.

Hard.

I replied to the comment from the person who tagged me. I thanked her for tagging me and let her know that the video wasn’t captioned. I left it at that.

A Pattern Emerges

I follow people who support accessibility. This includes fellow deaf and hard of hearing individuals. I learn from them. I support them. Remember, it takes a village. I can only reach so many people in my network.

From reading many articles and posts written by people who are deaf or hard of hearing, I noticed a pattern. They sound angry, bossy, or finger-pointy.

Now, you know I support their goal to get more videos captioned (no autocraptions please), more businesses using clear masks, and more barriers dropped. I’m in the same boat. Nonetheless, their wording makes it hard to support them.

I don’t love this cliche, but it rings true in this case: You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

A friend posted that he was going to write a scathing email to a representative. This was about an issue that we agreed on. I suggested taking an educational approach. Don’t yell at the representative. State why you’re contacting him, explain why you disagree with him, and back it up with facts.

I saw the email he sent. It was a mile long and scathing. I shook my head in frustration. Whoever (representative or staff) reads the long email — if they read it — is more likely to gloss over it rather than read it word for word.

Add to that the angry tone and you have the makings of an ignored email.

Using Negative Tactics in Digital Marketing

Some companies use a similar negative approach in digital marketing. I get emails from companies saying my website or its SEO could be better. In short, they insult my website.

Maybe you’ve come across a pop-up box on a website where you choose to request a free download on a guide to getting more traffic or click: “No, I don’t want more traffic.”

A trainer sent me a message on Instagram: “… in case you need my help getting back on track or kick-starting your fitness journey.”

I work out daily. This isn’t a message you want to send out point-blank.

It’s not a good way to start a relationship.

Start by being a valuable resource. Someone who shares useful information that doesn’t promote anything. Educate … don’t berate.

This may be obvious to y’all, but the messages I get say otherwise.

Change Minds by Giving the Why

Do you want to increase your chances of changing people’s minds?

The trick: Explain why.

Here’s an example. I’ve iced my back for years. Doctors have told me to ice it for 20 minutes on and 20 off. Repeat.

For years, I didn’t pay attention to how long I kept the ice on until a doctor shared the why.

He said if you leave it on for more than 20 minutes, it causes frostbite and may damage the tissue. That’s all it took to change my mind.

From then on, I set the timer on my watch and never left it on for more than 20 minutes.

Here’s another example. Someone told the story of getting three drastically different quotes for a big outdoor project. He went with the cheapest one. Why? Because no one differentiated themselves or gave him why.

So, if you want to change minds or convince someone to say yes, give the why.

When talking to a prospect about his digital marketing strategy, I differentiated myself by giving honest advice. In talking with a startup, I advised that Google Ads may be the way way to go. But I’m not the person to do it. Typically, I do email marketing, social media, and content marketing projects. But these were not the best approach to achieve the startup’s current goals.

Prospects ask about captioning their videos or web design. I tell them they don’t want me for that. It’s cheaper to work with a captioning service. I can manage a website and tweak it, but creating, designing, and branding — no.

Would You Listen to Angry Messages?

Where am I going with this? Negative messages are less likely to change people’s minds.

You won’t see me sharing or responding to tweets, posts, articles, and comments from other deaf people that sound cross. And I support the cause. Anyone who doesn’t support the cause is going to ignore those messages.

It’s understandable that these messages about inaccessibility and barriers come across angry. That’s because many of us have run into barriers and constantly deal with folks who make things harder. It’s tiring.

Would such a message convince you to change your mind? Or will the tone turn you away?

Educate Instead of Berate in Content Marketing

That’s why I work diligently to educate whenever writing about accessibility, captioning videos, and deafness. An educational approach boosts the chances people will listen and reconsider.

And it’s working. In convincing someone to caption their videos, I don’t give the most common two reasons for captioning: accessibility and second language learners. Most everyone provides those two reasons. It’s not enough.

Of course, it should be. Accessibility is the right thing to do. But many businesses don’t think that way. And they’re not all required to follow accessibility laws. They think about their budgets first.

What do people want to do with their videos? Reach as many of their target audience as possible.

Appealing to this requires sharing facts such as captioning statistics that show more people watch videos with the sound off. And that most of the folks who use captions are not deaf or hard of hearing. This changes more minds than accessibility and second language learners.

If you want folks to listen and change their minds, use a positive and educational approach in your marketing. Back it up with facts. Tell stories.

People respond to educational and positive content marketing or when the content provides a why.

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Image credit: Gino Crescoli from Pixabay

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