People don’t distinguish a company by content or status; they look for consistency and authenticity. Content marketing bridges a client from dilemma to decision by anchoring credibility and trust.
In today’s climate of radical transparency where everything a company says and does is subjected to scrutiny, the most valuable way to attract and engage clients is through content marketing.
Content marketing builds trust by delivering value.
True value is manifested for both the company and its clients through the content marketing process:
- Informative, helpful content that educates helps the buyer decide on their purchase.
- Informed clients make better decisions.
- Better decisions make happy, loyal clients.
- Happy, loyal clients are inspired to tell others.
Quality content drives search ranking/visibility, demonstrates integrity and credibility, and engages people who buy your products.
Consumers expect to find all the details about any product, service, company, individual, cause or challenge they face by simply turning to the search engine of their choice. If they don’t find content you’ve published that provides them with that information, even if someone referred them directly to you, there’s a good chance you won’t be worthy of their trust.
Think about all the information readily available with a product on Amazon: detailed description, buyer reviews, comparable products, and additional products bought concurrently. Even questions asked and answered by the seller and, in some cases, other customers. It’s what you expect when you buy, right? Your clients expect the same.
Fact: If you don’t educate and build trust with quality content, someone else will.
Now, something this valuable of course requires a solid commitment. Content marketing begins with the development and implementation of a written content strategy. Always think “Strategy before tactics” if you want your hard work to pay off.
Content strategy is the infrastructure of content marketing. Without answers to ‘why’ and ‘how’ the result is chaos.
The 4 Anchors of Content Marketing That Build Trust
Trust, education, integrity and engagement must be delivered through the creation of very specific forms of content and not simply through sheer volume. In a world where content drives business, every company is a publisher.
The following 4 anchors are the basis from which to publish content that educates buyers and builds trust. These platforms are the environments you’ll use for content marketing.
Your company blog is the launchpad for your content action plan. It’s the place to organize your “editorial” thinking; where you’ll plan out the information that’s important to your buyers, who will create it and how you’ll publish it.
Your blog is a major player in SEO now that Google has made it clear that quality content ranks higher and initiates organic traffic to your website.
Websites contain blog platforms (ie: WordPress) to make content production, employee participation, publishing and sharing simple and workable.
Email is still one of the very best ways to educate and build trust.
Leverage tools like Thrive Leads to grow your list via your website. If you’re publishing blog posts, offer a “no-charge” subscription. This will enter the subscriber into your funnel for future content marketing campaigns.
3. Social Media
It’s been 10+ years since the beginning of the Social era. Today, it’s nearly impossible to go a day without hearing some mention of social media and its value. It’s no longer an optional afterthought but an integral part of any digital marketing plan.
Social Media is a valuable channel to publish your quality content. Promoting your content through Facebook ads increases engagement exponentially.
If you’re new to social media, or stuck without much results, follow these 10 best practices:
- Set up goals.
- Clarify your message.
- Know your audience.
- Establish a budget.
- Utilize a content calendar.
- Plan out your content mix.
- Schedule engagement into your day.
- Plan how you’ll promote your content.
- Measure and analyze results.
- Take it easy (don’t get frustrated).
4. Online Reviews
Review sites like Yelp and Google have become mainstream user-generated content hubs. These sites all allow folks to rate and review businesses thereby making them an important anchor of content that you must participate in.
It’s difficult to have total control over this channel, but if you ignore it, it will come back to bite you. Monitor this channel aggressively and be proactive (instead of reactive).
Build a review funnel. Ask, remind and guide happy clients through the funnel and recover unhappy clients before they vent online.
People influence people. Trust is solidified when good information leads to a delightful customer experience.
No matter how tall the box you stand on or how loud you shout about the virtues of your product, there is no substitute for someone else (customer-turned-spokesperson) singing your praises. It’s the power of “social proof” – people trust people more than they do companies and their advertisements.
Seek out your “Raving Fans.” These are your passionate, repeat buyers. They will most likely be happy to help with a good word and their enthusiasm always translates well, whether in video or written word.
Provide a script for your interviewer with no more than 4-5 leading questions:
- How did you first hear about us?
- What do you like best about your ________ (item they bought from you)
- What’s the one thing that keeps you coming back to us?
- How likely are you to recommend us to your friends and family?
- Is there anything else you’d like us to know? (some people like to riff when they get inspired and it can make for awesome video).
These 4 anchors are your foundation from which to build your content marketing kingdom. When the things we do are of real value to our clients, our purpose becomes clear and profit follows.