(Estimated Reading Time: 3 Minutes)
Kentico, an integrated marketing solution, has released the results of it’s content marketing survey, the 6th installment in an ongoing digital experience study.
The objective of content marketing is to build trust with an audience with the payoff of sales and revenue as a result. The survey honed in on the trust element, looking to establish which content marketing methods bolster trust, and those that harm.
Based on their findings, there are some clear guidelines for content marketers to follow.
6 Content Marketing Must-Haves to Build Trust
Aim To Teach, Not Sell
Effective content marketing educates and informs readers about a particular topic. 74% of the survey responders agree that they trust organisational content that is educational in nature.
But close that otherwise objective and informative blog post with a pushy sales pitch or overt product punt and you slash your credibility level down by 29%.
Address your readers' immediate challenges, interests and needs by providing practical advice and helpful information. Regular engagement with objective content translates in product sales in the medium- or long-term. Don't push it.
Mind Your Tone
In years gone by, companies may have held the power in the brand-customer relationship, but that has changed. These days, however, people are accustomed to – demand even – their voice being heard and their opinions taken into consideration.
This shift requires businesses to shed the top-down mentality to communications and address consumers on an even footing. 12% of responders claimed that trust is broken the minute they feel they are being spoken ‘down’ to in corporate-related content.
Reference Corroborating Sources
People will, for the most part, give a company the benefit of the doubt on information presented, but almost half - 49% - of the survey responders claim will go on to seek substantiation from an outside source to verify information.
This insight highlights the need for you to:
1)Ensure your information can be corroborated by external sources
2)Link to trusted 3rd party sources directly from your content
Address Opposing Perspectives
“Those who do not know their opponent’s arguments do not completely understand their own.” – Unattributed
While we may not necessarily be dealing with ‘opponents’ and ‘arguments’ in a business context, the principle remains.
In order to have an established perspective on a particular subject, it is helpful to acknowledge alternative viewpoints and dissect differences. Tackle these opposing views within your content. This gives you an opportunity to build credibility with your readers, showing you have researched the matter and your stance is not without thorough consideration.
Encourage Social Sharing
People inherently trust information shared with them by someone within their ‘inner circles’. According to the report’s findings, 94% of people share educational information from a company with their networks and 69% claim they find this shared information more credible.
The takeaway here is to make it easy for your readers to distribute your content by including social sharing buttons and email options.
Optimise for Search Engines Too
People trust search engines. It is, after all, the place they turn to when searching for information. Only 27% of the respondents claimed that relevant material comes up ‘often’, while the majority of 57% remarked they ‘sometimes’ found what they were looking for.
Search engines can’t deliver results if they aren’t able to flag the content as relevant to the search query. Take a moment to apply basic search engine optimisation techniques to your content in order to rank well in search engines – and therefore be deemed as credible.
If the guidelines that have emerged point to one thing I think it is the absolute need for transparency in content marketing. If you interact with your audience in an authentic manner and place their objectives (not yours) at the heart of your content marketing, you are sure to establish and build on their trust in your integrity and expertise.