Have you ever stopped to think about what content marketing is really all about?
Sure it is about telling the story of your brand and answering questions that your customers have about your products and services in a “non-salesly” fashion but deep down brands that do content marketing well, do it for something more than those things.
The brands that do content marketing better than their competition are the the companies that realize at the end of the day content marketing is about building trust.
Whether you are creating content for new prospects, current customers, industry analysts or someone else entirely, the real purpose behind those efforts should be to build a higher level of trust between the consumer of the content and the brand creating it.
How to ensure content marketing gets through the online noise.
If you stop to consider the fact that there are 347 blog posts created every minute, you will probably come to the conclusion that we have entered the age of information overload. Beyond blogs, there are videos, Facebook and Twitter posts and of course all of the information that comes our way over email.
Beyond the new content being created and shared online everyday, we are exposed to a massive amount of advertisements. Indeed, the average internet user will see about five thousand advertisements a day.
With so much information being created for us and thrown at us every day, it is important to remember what will make us stand out.
Some companies will argue that it is the frequency of content or the quality of the content. I believe that both of those things play a role but would tell you that they are less important than you may think.
For most brands, especially those that don’t have endless financial wherewithal to spend on their marketing efforts it comes down to creating content that builds trust between the brand and the consumer.
If you are a brand looking to increase trust between your company and those you are creating content for, then I believe the following five steps are the key to building greater levels of trust with your audience:
1. Define your audience and outcomes. Brands must always be thinking about who they are writing for and why they are writing. It is much easier to build trust (and sales) when the right reader is given the right content. Then brands must think about why they are writing: What is the goal of our content-marketing campaign. If trust is the object, then make sure not to push too hard, too soon.
2. Determine content type, frequency and location. While the type, frequency and placement won’t in itself build trust, it helps. Trust starts by putting the information they want in places where they can benefit from it. So, if your audience primarily seeks content via email then make sure you make it available to them. Great content marketing that isn’t seen, will not build trust or anything for that matter.
3. Share, promote and engage. Part of the process of building trust is making sure that the word is out that your content is available. Having said that, there is a fine line between helpful awareness and spammy promotion. Make sure that sharing is done on the platforms where your audience is active. Further, curate content carefully and help the reader quickly see why they may want to consume the content. Finally, if a reader takes the time to engage with the content, reach out to them to let them and let them know you appreciate their support.
4. Make connecting with your brand simple. If you do all the work to create great content, then you should be highly motivated to make it easy for someone to connect with your brand. Make sure it is easy for interested readers to become more meaningfully connected to your brand through email, phone, RSS or other means.
5. Analyze response, optimize and pivot. Brands must look at the content to see what is being viewed, shared and engaged with. If certain content is drawing a great response while some is largely being ignored then brands should pivot to create more of what their audience is connecting with. This doesn’t only drive more readers but also more opportunities to build trust with an audience.
Keep in mind, these five steps, like any process worth doing, take time. Once informed it comes down to being active, connected and available for the customer to learn and find out more. Then brands must continue to self-actualize and ask themselves, "Are we providing the content our audience wants"? And pivot when necessary.
This article first appeared in Millenial CEO.