Clare Morin is deeply aware of the bond of humanity that unites us all — and it’s her empathy that makes her such a powerful content marketing professional. She knows the value of talking (and listening) to people as people, not just as potential clients or customers.

Clare’s journey to content marketing wasn’t linear, but that’s another strength. She began her career as an art journalist in Hong Kong, changed her life by discovering the power of meditation and ultimately landed at Unum as a content marketing manager.  

We caught up with Clare to find out how she serves the needs of the business without losing sight of the person on the other side of her content.

Practice Deep Listening to Understand Your Audience’s Real Needs

Clare was born in England but grew up in Hong Kong, where her love for writing first blossomed. She worked there in the early 2000s as a journalist and editor for an arts magazine. That stint came during the region’s transition of power from colonial to Chinese rule, which affected how residents understood themselves and their cultural identity.

To better serve her readers as a journalist — especially in such a politically charged environment — Clare made it a point to listen.

“You have to be so close to your audience,” Clare says. “They’re the center of your work, and by listening to them, finding your experts who understand the audience’s pain points and amplifying their voices, you can get empathy.”

She spoke to hundreds of art critics and artists who were monitoring these changes and could interpret what was occurring through the lens of art and culture. “It was all about the readers, and then meeting the experts, who are these cultural voices and transmitting their insights to the audience,” Clare says.

Now, in her content role, she’s found new sources for listening to audience needs.

When she began working in the HR industry, Clare followed leading industry voices on LinkedIn. “It’s a way to network and listen at scale and be very targeted,” she says. “Once you follow enough thought leaders, the magic of the algorithm kicks in.” After you learn your industry’s influential voices, you can cultivate them as sources.

One of Clare’s strongest resources for understanding her audience is the content their team produces — and webinars in particular. During each webinar, they use polls to strategically probe what their target audience of HR professionals are going through.

Every live event presents an opportunity to learn about your audience and the questions they really want to ask. “We’ve created some great webinars based on polls we’ve done where we noticed, ‘Oh, not many people know how to do that,’” Clare says.

Finding ways to stay attuned to audience needs helps Clare deliver content with real value.

Keep Humans at the Heart of the Conversation

During her time as a journalist in Hong Kong, Clare suffered from severe stress caused by an overload of assignments and tight deadlines. That led her to become a student of Buddhist meditation — and 20 years later, her ongoing study and practice help her as a content marketer to understand her audience and their needs.

“Our whole practice is about being other-centric and serving others, cherishing others,” Clare says of her meditation practice, where she’s learned at a deep level how to put others first.

Clare applies meditation to her audience outreach and engagement at Unum. “Everything we’re doing at work,” she says, “you’re practicing cherishing others, putting others first wherever you can — and I think what that helps you do is listen to others.”

Listening is essential for understanding consumers’ needs, she says, and you need multiple internal and external channels to accomplish this.

For example, the Unum team recently produced a webinar on intermittent leave for the company’s target audience of HR and benefit administrators via the publisher platform the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM). The topic struck a chord, as Unum collected more than 4,000 registrations. Clare also actively listens to thought leaders and customers as host of the HR Trends podcast, which Unum launched in spring 2020.

Invest in Human Touch Points

Clare’s meditation practice informs her thoughtful approach to content development. Delivering content that genuinely benefits her audience requires creating human touch points. “That’s the guiding principle for me,” Clare says.

Clare finds that humor is a powerful way to create connection. Smart, quippy headlines, for example, can attract attention and add a dash of joy for your audience. When headlines and subject lines are paired with content that drives solutions and makes people’s lives easier, you have a powerful formula for providing content that strikes a chord.

Your content should never lose sight of your audience. “There’s a human on the other side of this content,” Clare says. “If you can uplift them and take something off their plate and give them some brilliant ideas, if you can lift them up and inspire them, that’s the genuine goodness that comes out of this work.”

Register for our Managing Editor Live Fall Summit to learn more from Clare and other change-makers in the industry.