Authentic Versus Aspirational Content

Camera taking a photo of a flat layout of items. Text reads Authentic versus Aspirational content.

Authentic Versus Aspirational Content

Every scroll, every like, and every follow holds the potential to shape your business and drive purchasing decisions. But to get that engagement, you need to have good content. To put it simply, content is king. But not all content wears the same crown. There are two paths to choose between when presenting yourself in the digital world; you can either share authentic or aspirational content. 

What is authentic content?

The word ‘authentic’ gets thrown around a lot when we talk about social media. However, as far as authentic content goes, authentic is not just a buzzword; authentic content is a photo, blog, newsletter, or anything that offers an unfiltered look at your business.  

Authentic content focuses on genuine experiences and aims to connect to customers on a personal level. Very few things build trust and credibility for your business like authentic content. When brands draw back the curtain, they invite their customers in with their transparency. The customer in turn responds with genuine engagement, enabling your business to grow and for you to build your community. When customers can see the people behind the brand, they’re more likely to support the inevitable misfires and mess-ups that come with running a business. 

But authenticity isn’t without its drawbacks. Authentic content might lack the “wow” factor of aspirational content, which can limit reach on some platforms. Opening up to authenticity means exposing oneself to criticism and backlash. After all, there are plenty of people out there ready to Monday quarterback your business.

Quilters watch a demonstration at a quilt show booth

What is aspirational content?

If authentic content puts your business on the same level as your customer, then aspirational content puts your business on a pedestal. Aspirational content is all about crafting the idealized narrative, painting a picture of the life your audience aspires to lead.

Aspirational content aims to inspire and motivate your customer with its idealized scenarios and outcomes. By projecting an aspirational brand image, you position your business as the tool that your customer needs to achieve such perfection. And don’t forget the aesthetic appeal – aspirational content’s polish performs well on social media for a reason.  

Aspirational content can also harm your image by alienating your audience. If your content sets unrealistic standards, your customer might detach and you’ll lose engagement. After all, nobody likes to feel like they’re being sold an unattainable dream.

Three project ideas for machine embroidery in shades of purples: a floral rope bowl, a zipper pouch and a soap pouch.

Striking a Balance

The best approach to your digital brand presence is to utilize authentic and aspirational elements together to create your brand narrative. Start by balancing your aspirational content with authentic storytelling. Use your brand voice to add personalization to your more polished graphics and photos. If you’re not comfortable with showing too much behind the scenes, find some user generated content (UGC) to inject authenticity into your feed. Whatever your approach, make sure that your content strategy has the ability to genuinely inspire your customers.

If you need help with content strategy or any other part of your digital presence, Stitchcraft Marketing is a full service marketing agency for the craft industry ready to make magic for your brand. If you’d like more help strategizing authentic or aspirational content for your business, contact us today!


Anneliese Johnson
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