In the ongoing conversation around generative AI’s role in content creation, we’ve heard a lot about “humanizing content” and “writing content for humans.” These phrases, which are rooted in plain ol’ common sense, are repeated so often that they risk becoming marketing jargon.

While the meaning can get lost in the discussion, we think this phrase has noble intent. It’s about understanding that there is a real person on the other side of the computer screen, reading your website, newsletter, or social media posts. They are not just faceless B2B buyers but individuals with their own goals, challenges, and sense of humour.

Why do we care so much?

The discussion around humanizing content is a natural response to the advent of generative AI. There’s a real fear that AI will take over, draining the meaning from our words and sucking the life out of our creative processes.

By now, many of us agree that there’s no need for fear. AI still has a lot of limitations, and real people are necessary to craft stories and communicate ideas that will resonate with audiences.

So, how do you make sure your brand stands out in a sea of content, both human and AI-generated? We have three pieces of practical advice to follow: understand your audience, use clear language, and find the story in your content.

What we DON’T mean by humanizing content

Some sources say humanizing content means generating content with AI and editing it to sound less robotic. We want to be clear: that’s not what we mean here. Content still needs a human touch to ideate, research, plan, and structure pieces before they’re written. You know your audience best, and you (or a trusted copywriter) are best equipped to create content that they will care about.

Tip 1: Understand your audience

Research and buyer personas are useful, and you can use them to nail down some of your customers’ objectives and challenges. But if your goal is to create human-led content, the people on your sales team are your best resource. They’re the ones dealing with your customers on a daily basis, and they can help you better understand what your audience wants to see and read.

What questions do your customers typically ask before committing to a purchase? Do they share specific feedback, concerns, or points of confusion? Do they ever bring up any broader industry-related topics? You can use this information to inspire content like blogs, webinars, and FAQs that will address what’s on your audience’s mind.

As a bonus, you may find that the content you generate from this exercise helps the sales team in the future by answering questions in advance or giving them resources they can share with customers to learn more.

You can also approach this research from a social media angle to find out which platforms your audience prefers, what types of posts they engage with, and what issues they’re passionate about.

Tip 2: Use clear language

To make your content sound more human, we don’t necessarily mean using more casual or friendly language. You can always try it out, but it may not be appropriate depending on your brand voice. There’s no need to be something you’re not.

Instead, focus on clarity and readability. B2B buyers often want to read technical content, but blogs, articles, and social media posts shouldn’t read like manuals. Reading manuals is work. There’s a way to balance technical terminology with sentences that sound straightforward, flow naturally, and are ultimately easier to read. (If you’re not sure how to do this, consider working with a professional copywriter. It’s hard, we know.)

The other side of this stems from how well you understand your audience. For example, SEO keyword research can reveal the kind of terminology your audience uses to search for products and services related to yours. Sometimes these can surprise you — maybe you thought customers used similar language to what you use internally, but they may be searching for terms you hadn’t even thought to include in your SEO strategy. The same can be true for key hashtags uncovered in social media research.

Try swapping your internal vocabulary and technical jargon for words your audience uses themselves. It’ll make your content more authentic, clearer, and easier to find.

Tip 3: Find your story

Every piece of content has a story. Even if your particular B2B niche is drier than the Sahara, you can still find a way to inject emotional resonance into your content.

We tend to think of B2B marketing as one business talking to another, but those businesses are made up of people who affect each others’ lives, whether it’s by bringing a friendly conversation into a sales transaction, helping them troubleshoot a problem, or making a product recommendation that makes their day a little bit easier.

People want to see themselves in a story. Your product or service may be an example of outstanding technical innovation, but saying that isn’t the same as telling a story.

Instead, position the piece to demonstrate how the product makes a difference in the working life of your customers. How does it help them save time, keep workers safe, comply with regulations, meet sustainability goals, or make the most out of tight budgets? Can you use real examples? If you can, your customer becomes the hero of your story – and your product is more like their trusty steed. Everyone wants to be a hero. That’s where the emotional side starts to resonate.

Bonus tip: Use actual people

One of the best ways to humanize content is to bring actual people into the fold. Sit down for an interview with one of your subject matter experts, then turn their best quotes into a blog, a social post, or a Q&A video, to name a few ideas. Showing off your awesome people is a great way to build trust, showcase expertise, and make connections with an audience.

Bonus-bonus tip: social media posts with people in them tend to get more engagement, so if you’re able, snap some pictures at your next staff event and share away.

Need help from some creative humans?

We promise we’ll stop saying “human.” Call us to craft content your readers care about.