Content marketing is more than a mere buzzword – many companies now embrace some level of online content. Whether it’s blogs, videos, infographics or podcasts, the content you are putting out there needs to position you as a reliable source; and people don’t just trust anybody – especially online!
Fostering feelings of trust within your audience is of paramount importance. If you’re a trustworthy source, then people will come back for more. The more you’re on their radar and the more the trust builds the more likely they are to buy with you. But trust is a hard thing to nurture, and is even easier lost. Here are 12 great tips for using content to help nurture trust in your brand…
1. Show your willingness to interact
Even though the web is more social than ever, it can still seem like a very impersonal place a lot of the time. Anything you can do to telegraph that there is a willing and able human on the other end of your online communications makes things more personable. Reply to comments on your blog, respond to mentions on social media and encourage people to reply to email campaigns so you can respond to them directly. Think of all of the ways you can encourage a customer to continue a conversation, and do it!
2. Use video featuring you and/or your team
Allowing your online audience to “meet” your team through video and having them show their faces adds an undeniable human touch. It’s always nice to put a face to a name, and nothing does this better online than through video. Having them present their knowledge and expertise also shows off your team’s genuine strengths. Remember that not everyone is comfortable in front of a camera, so don’t force the issue if someone isn’t keen.
3. Care about the look and feel of your content
If your blog is full of spelling errors and changing linguistic styles; and your videos have poor audio quality and dingy lighting; it doesn’t exactly scream trustworthy source. I know there’s nothing inherently untrustworthy about these things, but it all comes down to creating a good impression. And when that content may be the first thing someone sees from your brand – it becomes an all-important first impression. Make sure you’re doing things presentably.
4. Keep to a set publishing schedule
Publishing content regularly sets an expectation in your audience’s mind. If people know that you put out regular content every other Tuesday come rain or shine, it paints you as reliable and timely. As most content is date-stamped, it’s easy for people to see if you have a patchy content calendar. If it helps, you may want to produce content in advance and schedule it out over the coming weeks to avoid missed publishing deadlines.
5. Proofread and polish
Always make sure that the content you are putting out is as error-free and high-quality as possible. Taking a last thorough read/watch/listen of your post only takes a few minutes, and can save embarrassment later down the line. If there’s anything that you think could be done better – do it better! Never whack content together haphazardly, always strive for the best possible quality.
6. Don’t be afraid to show your personality
One epithet that is bandied around a lot is that “people do business with people.” Businesses – in and of themselves – do not have personalities, but the people that run them do. When you let your guard down and show some quirky (yet at all times professional) sides to you and your team, you show that you are all interesting and talented people, not just cardboard cutouts. You never know, you may even share some unexpected element of common ground in your quirks or sense of humour, so as long as it’s appropriate and professional, don’t shy away from letting the good sides of your personality take centre-stage.
7. Use cited statistics from credible sources
Statistics, facts and figures can be great to prove a point. But unfortunately, they can be easily fabricated. If you ever find a useful statistic to share in your content, always judge the credibility of the source before you go sharing. It’s also important to cite your sources too – mention the site’s name, provide a link to the source, and also provide the author’s name if possible. It proves that you only provide backed up facts and figures and that you aren’t looking to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes.
8. Don’t make your content overly promotional
If your content is peppered with a “we’re great, buy from us, nobody else” attitude, people will immediately switch off. That kind of outlook is hardly ever successful in content circles. The reason content marketing is so successful is down to sharing useful advice and ideas – a breath of fresh air compared to the “sell, sell, sell” of some other marketing methods. Focus on providing valuable content that will have people coming back for more.
9. Keep your advice realistic
It’s nice to think that people may have fancy, highfalutin reasons to work with you, but you need to remember the real, grounded reasons that customers stay on your radar. Chances are it’s the humdrum and everyday things that people need assistance with. If you keep your feet on the ground with regards to the content you provide, it’s evidence that you’re keeping up to date with the practical side of what you offer.
10. Choose the right social media platforms
If you’re signing up to the next new social platform every other week only to drop it once something new comes around, you risk your ability to keep abreast of things on platforms that could really move the needle for you. Properly research the platforms you’re on and only use the ones that have an established presence within your niche or where you have had proven success.
11. Accept criticism graciously
Always listen to criticism, respond politely, thank the person for sharing their opinion and take it on board. This is especially important on public platforms like social media and blog comments sections. Wherever possible, try and put things in place to avoid those issues in future. It’s nice to listen to positive feedback, but constructive criticism can give you some great insight into what things are like from the customer’s perspective.
12. Ask for reviews on public review sites
As well as welcoming constructive criticism, you may want to put yourself out there on public review sites. These sites are neutral territory, and offer the company little control over what reviews get displayed. If you’re leaving a review directly on someone’s website, chances are they have to approve it before it goes live. If it’s on a neutral review site, it paints more of an honest picture of that company. And if that honest picture is full of positive feedback, then it looks even more impressive.“If you’re a trustworthy source, then people will come back for more...” Click To Tweet
Could trust possibly be the most important part of content marketing? If not, then what is? How do you build trust with your content? Think there are any tips I’ve left out? Let’s continue the conversation (à la Tip #1) down in the comments!