Why Content Marketing Should Build Trust Instead of Pitching
In theory, much of content marketing is a breeze.
You string words together, complement your texts with stunning images, and share them with followers and fans. If you have the resources, you add in videos, podcasts, comics, and infographics. You post, tweet, and holler like a madman until your content goes viral!
Now if only it were that easy.
Build Customer Trust Through Content Marketing
The lure to create, curate, and distribute content is strong for brands and markets because it obviously works. Marketers who prioritized blogging are 13 times more likely to enjoy positive ROI. Notwithstanding the fact that content marketing generates three times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing, but costs 62 percent less.
But how come only 30 percent of content strategists consider their efforts as effective? There's also a large chunk of B2B marketers who are lost in translation between their content marketing efforts and actual business results.
What's the missing link here?
Is content marketing really the golden standard that everyone's gushing and tweeting about?
The short answer: Yes.
The long answer: Content marketing works if you care enough to delve into the nitty-gritty of gaining your audience's trust.
At Lean Labs, we consider content marketing as more than just a tactic. It's a tool to help build meaningful relationships with prospects and customers.
Forging Relationships Rooted on Trust
The swiftly evolving digital marketing landscape has made it possible for brands to overcome barriers to reaching out to their target demographics. Markets get to seek and segment prospects, solicit information, and readily respond through various platforms. What's more, feedback arrives in mere seconds.
While all of these sound great on paper, you can't simply force your products and services once you've found your tribe. You have to work your way in building relationships, one solid piece of content after the other.
For each content, gaining trust should be the goal.
Garnering Trust: Logic vs. Emotions
Data, statistics, and charts are cool. They're the geek squad who never fails to support your brand's claim or argument on why you're the best thing ever to happen in insert-your-niche-here.
However, have you thought about how your prospects and customers go through the whole gamut of emotions every day? One moment they're stoked; the next hour they're disappointed. The ability to feel and empathize, after all, is what makes us humans.
Whether you're selling software or promoting plastic surgery, it's extremely important to craft content that makes your readers feel.
Whip out content that will make them chuckle, nod in agreement, lean in closely to their screens, and drive them to share what they just read. In due time, it can potentially lead to a newsletter subscription, free trial signup, and ultimately, a sale.
Roger Dooley of Neuromarketingrevealed that campaigns with purely emotional content performed about twice as well than most rational content. Meanwhile, emotional content did a little better (31 vs. 26 percent) than mixed emotional and rational posts.
Furthermore, the more positive emotions felt by readers with your content, the more likely your brand gets talked about.
In a nutshell, emotions drive buying decisions. Data, on the other hand, rationalizes these decisions.
Aunt Mary and Botox
Consider your Aunt Mary who's been looking to have Botox but just can't seem to get over the idea of cheating in the natural process of aging. She thinks it's not acceptable. One evening, she came across a piece of content that talks about how women with deep forehead wrinkles (the exact problem Aunt Mary has) are perceived as perpetually upset by the majority.
"I'm not always upset! This is not true," exclaims Aunt Mary. In frustration, she googled forehead wrinkles solution, and lo and behold, Botox pops up in the top search results. Aunt Mary further learns that Botox is the most popular injectable to date, with data indicating that millions of middle-aged adults like her are aging well with Botox.
Aunt Mary went the extra mile with her googling skills and typed safe Botox in her area. She stumbles upon a plastic surgeon's blog post that did not just mechanically list down the benefits of Botox and its FDA approval, but also took the time to write about common fears and misconceptions of first-time Botox patients.
After going through the plastic surgeon's blog on-and-off for weeks, Aunt Mary is now convinced that Botox is not a bad idea after all. She feels less afraid and more comfortable about getting an injection! She has even seen a video on the procedure itself and downloaded an eBook from the plastic surgeon's site on Botox aftercare.
Days later, Aunt Mary is in the plastic surgeons' clinic for her first Botox session. Her informed decision brought her there.
On closer look, Aunt Mary's decision to have Botox was driven by her fear that she would be perceived by family and friends as Mrs. Grumpy. This fear was addressed by the helpful, informative content she found through the plastic surgeon's blog. She further rationalized the decision with the data she earlier found that millions of middle-aged women like her are having Botox and are happy with their decisions.
Aunt Mary isn't alone. People want to look for information themselves because they feel more in control. A whopping 73 percent of consumers prefer to get information about a brand through a series of articles or blog posts instead of a traditional advertisement.
What Your Audiences Want You to Know to Gain Their Trust
Without face-to-face interaction, gaining your audience's trust can be quite intimidating. Nevertheless, it can be accomplished with content marketing if you take the following statements and questions by your target demographic to heart:
I don't want you to explain why your product or service is the best in the world. I want you to tell me how it adds value to my life, relationship, or business.
I am at lost for what you're trying to tell me. What's the single most important point you want me to know? (Unique Value Proposition, anyone?)
Who are you? Why should I listen to you? What have you done in the past for you to be an authority on this subject?
Tell me a good story. (Stories make people experience, rather than see, things. It elicits emotions. So you're struggling to blog about your HVAC contractor business? Stop thinking about the hard sell and focus on communicating your brand's story instead).
Did I learn something new from you today? Can I use this information to improve an aspect of my life, relationships, or business that I've always struggled with?
You don't have to tell me you're perfect. I adore brands who show vulnerability and admit that they're wrong. Being perfect sounds suspicious to me. (The Buffer crew recently did the same thing in this blog post).
Do not rush me into taking action. I will decide at my own pace. (Rand Fishkin of Moz reminds marketers that substantial results from content marketing takes time. According to Fishkin, it takes an average of seven-and-a-half visits to Moz' website before someone takes a free trial. Four or five of these visits go to content, not to the sales pages, pricing page, or anything that's in the marketing funnel.)
Draw on Trust as Your Core Content Writing Objective
The success of content creation and strategy takes time to accomplish. Other aspects of marketing aside, authenticity and the genuine goal to help as reflected in your content will definitely get your brand noticed and raved about.
Many marketers though would rather take shortcuts between Points A to B. Others create content wastelands instead of tending evergreen content gardens. Which camp are you in?
Kyjean Tomboc finished nursing school but found joy in plucking and stringing words to create value-driven content for brands in the health, life sciences, and lean startup niches. She loves everything strategic in creating content -- from CRO to SEO to SMM to UX (the Internet sure loves acronyms!). Her current obsessions include the human gut microbiome, A/B testing, and Benedict Cumberbatch. Kyjean is also a seasoned trekker.