How to Build Trust Through Efficient Content Marketing
Trust is the key to positive sales results and can be achieved through content creation.
Why should we care about trust? Because trust is basically a short cut that ensures your brand's standing out. A solid relationship, patiently built on trust guarantees that when they need the products or services your business offers, your customers will rapidly choose you over your competitors.
Gaining your audiences' trust implies
The first step towards building trust is the offering of impeccable products, services and customer assistance.
Yet, this has never been enough in itself.
In the fast growing online business space, traditional marketing is not a solution, especially when aiming to build a trust relationship. Users are extremely selective and know how to shut their eyes and ears to all the noise and find the information they need.
Then why not help them?
This is where Content Marketing enters the ring. Content Marketing does just that: it actively supports your business' effort to gain your customers' trust by helping them find the relevant information they were looking for.
One possible definition for Content Marketing is the following: Content Marketing is a set of actions through which a brand pervasively communicates to its audiences quality, useful, and inspiring content, offering viable solutions in accessible ways, ultimately aiming at building trust and, consequently, brand loyalty.
Constantly offering such content proves your expertise and your readiness to generously share valuable solutions, thus laying the foundation for a long time brand-audience relationship based on trust.
Your (potential) customers and partners will see your brand as a trusted authority in its area of expertise and probably choose it over competition.
- may include materials such as news, blog articles, photographs, videos, ebooks, white papers, infographs, case studies, and more.
- is a integrative part of the overall marketing effort: great content supports PR, SEO, PPC, SMM campaigns
- differs from, but works in close connection with content strategy
You can focus on building trust during all three main phases of efficient content marketing: ideas, development and distribution.
Here are a few suggestions:
Original ideas are not created ex nihilo, but usually spring out of unexpected associations of known elements. The time we devote to research, careful observation and thinking is crucial. When you need to provide your audience with a quality material that offers a possible solution to their problem, you surely need to take your time, observe and understand.
Studying, observing and understanding audiences are not cold, “scientific” processes exclusively.
The keyword here is empathy, probably one of the most important moments in creating trust.
If the original ideas in your content marketing campaign come from a thorough research, from a sincere effort to know your audience and genuinely identify the things that will probably help and inspire them, your audience will be more likely to reward you by being ready to invest your brand with trust.
You have caught their attention and they are ready to evaluate what you are giving them.
* A simple example of empathy at work: a luxury real estate agency that prints a magazine, not to promote their listings, but to offer information on the local market, prices and trends, with an emphasis on lifestyle as a plus. Customers interested in the topic, that are not yet determined to purchase, will get used to a quality content they will probably not forget when deciding to act.
Of course, using empathy to find fresh ideas is just the beginning. What comes next is equally vital
Always bring a plus: not just fresh ideas, but new perspectives
Besides organising, phrasing and formatting the content according to your audience behaviour (usability is a well known requirement upon which it is needles to insist), you can also bring relevant novelty through means of structure. Focusing on just one element (as we are focusing here on building trust as one of the main functions of content marketing), the clear structure of the material may be revealing in itself and your audiences will most likely trust that you have invested consistent resources into the creation of valuable material.
Be up to date
Evergreen topics are of course more likely to be shared for a longer time, as opposed to content dealing with very urgent matters. But there should be a balance between the two, as showing you are constantly up-to-date reassures the audience. You are indeed not just using and rephrasing your long time ago acquired knowledge, but permanently improving and expanding it according to newest trends.
Be an Authority. Not Authoritarian
Most truly useful and informative content pieces imply a somewhat savvy and intrinsically superior position: after all, content marketing is about establishing your brand as expert and getting others to reference your content. Yet, in so far as building trust is concerned, it may be wise to show not just confidence, but the honest expert's readiness to listen and if necessary, rethink their statements.
Content is not just text. When using videos and images, it is definitely better to respect the same quality standards. A great text might easily be disqualified by poor imagery, and all the bridges of trust it created might fall.
Make sure your content is easy to find
Fresh content is not easy to create, and is definitely not to be created every day. Good ideas can be collected and distributed in various ways, organised as materials destined for different communication channels (white-papers can be transformed into power point presentations to be used at a conference, or synthetic articles to be published on your blog).
The more ways of distribution you find to get your quality material to your audience, the more they will reward you, because you made it easy for them to find the information they needed.
Being easy to find is something we have come to associate with notoriety, power and authority. Customers will give their trust to a brand that offers easy to find quality content.
Publish constantly and predictably
It is important for your audience to regularly find relevant content offered by your brand. A magazine is maybe the best example, as it implies a ritual, and implicitly creates habits. But whether it is about blog posts, infographics or white-papers, publishing in a predictable way ensures your audience you are actively present and constantly investing into finding viable solutions.
Give Quality Content for Free
Free distribution means you really, really don't ask anything in return. In our emerging collaborative culture, being ready to share valuable solutions for free is probably the best proof you mean well. And that your activity is not just about profit, but also about contributing to positive change. If you would like to go further, I invite you to read how to build an efficient content strategy to attract customers' trust.