In the final analysis, content marketing isn’t really about content—it’s about trust. OK, it’s about content too, but in order for your inbound marketing program to be effective, you’ve got to earn the confidence and respect of your target personas. They have to believe you are who you say you are and that you can deliver what you say you can deliver. So, while we talk a lot at 30dps about creating content that is “engaging” and “informative,” it’s also critical that your content “generates trust.”
Here are four tactics you can use to create content that reassures your target market that their interaction with your company will be a positive one:
- Be honest. Both as companies and individuals, everyone in business has, on occasion, written email subject lines or document headers and subheaders that stretch the truth a little bit about what the reader will find within. If you’re serious about establishing your company as a trusted source of marketing content, that practice has to stop. Mislead a reader even once and you may not see them again. Now, don’t take that as finger wagging. We’re right there with you. We’ve all got to find that sweet spot where we are engaging prospects’ curiosity without betraying their trust. Here are some tips on how to engage and not alienate your prospects.
- Get independent confirmation. Over the decades, people have become wary of what marketers have to say. So, the truth is, your company is no longer the most trusted source of information on your products and services. Your audience wants to hear from people who don’t have a vested interest in your success. You need to continually be looking to get honest feedback on your offerings from customers, the trade press, bloggers, and industry experts.
- Take an interest in your target audience. When people engage with you, first, be sure you reply. And second, make sure that your reply is more than just, “Thanks for your interest. Here’s some product info.” Use the opportunity to find out more about the prospect’s “pain points” and how you can address them.
- Share your successes and failures. This tip can be the most frightening for companies. It’s been the standard approach since farmers first turned the best side of their produce outward on their table at the market that you emphasize the positive and minimize the negative. While I’m not encouraging you to boast about your mistakes, you should be willing to acknowledge them—and what you learned from them. The people who are interested in your offerings are humans; they are happy to know that the people at your company are humans too.
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