Customers are increasingly savvy – they demand greater online buying efficiency, a wider range of products or services to choose from, a slick and flexible payment gateway that gives them multiple options, reward for their purchase in the form of loyalty schemes and more.
Simultaneously they’re increasingly less inclined to receive ‘in your face’ marketing – ad banners, pop-ups, bulk emails and the like have caused a consumer backlash in which ad blockers, GDPR and other consumer rights protections make it ever-more difficult for brands to reach their target audiences.
Add into the mix the increasing cost of digital marketing, and the net result for businesses who do most of their transactions online is that you have to work harder and harder to convert a potential customer into a paying one.
But that’s where content marketing plays a huge role…
If you can back through our previous articles on content marketing, you’ll get the fuller picture of what content marketing entails, but in a nutshell, it’s creating useful, relevant and freely accessible content designed to help your target customer gain value, generally in the form of new or improved knowledge about something that interests them, and helps them make better choices that serve their interests.
Content marketing, though, isn’t a ‘hard sell’ – potential customers will spot an all-to-obvious agenda a mile away, so the challenge is to create content with the express intention of helping your customer with no intent other than to upskill their understanding of something, rather than prodding or trying to convince them to buy your product or service.
The key word in the above statement is ‘intention’ – whilst your aim is, in the long term, to gain that customer’s trust, you have to start out by building trust through genuine, no-frills-attached value.
To help you set up your content marketing framework in an honest, ethical way, here are some key pillars to use as a foundation:
#1 Transparency is key
Honesty is the most vital aspect of creating valuable content – your insights and opinions on whatever it is that you’re putting out there have to come from a base of actual knowledge and experience, and you also cannot hide behind a nondescript persona.
Let people know who you are, what you stand for, why your insights are valuable, what your experience is, and most importantly what it is that you want them to gain from your insights.
#2 Use research and multiple sources to stay up to date
There is little or no point in putting out information that is out of date, vague, ambiguous, one-sided or factually inaccurate.
To ensure that your piece of content marketing is of maximum benefit to your customer, do your research, know the facts, know the latest developments and check your sources for relevance and veracity.
The skill you bring in stitching that together into useful, valuable insights is what your customer will appreciate.
3# Use appropriate language
You’ll know your target audience and what language resonates with them – putting your piece of content marketing together in a voice that’s authentic, relevant to your target audience and conversational brings you closer to them in every aspect and creates that familiarity that leads to trust.
#4 Maintain credibility at all times
There may be times when your piece of content receives negative feedback or people question aspects of it.
The trick here is to engage in an open, transparent and public way with measured, polite and relevant responses. If you’re wrong, say so and apologise. If you’re right, back it up with source-based research and politely demonstrate how you arrived at your conclusions.
Invite discussion and debate – the more engaging you are in an open and honest way, the faster your trust relationships will be built.
#5 Be diverse and creative
One of the most challenging aspects of an effective content marketing strategy is creating content that engages at multiple levels. One of the ways to achieve this is to use different types of content across a range of channels.
Written articles or blogs, short videos, infographics, podcasts and more all make up the mix of a content marketing strategy, and your audience will grow faster and more organically if you’re generating different types of content for different platforms.
This also helps to grow your visibility – if your potential customers are seeing your content on Facebook, Google, Instagram and LinkedIn, for example, they’re far more likely to develop an opinion of trust than if you’re constantly limiting your content to just one platform or type.
Developing a comprehensive, insightful content strategy is an exciting but challenging activity. If you need help with planning, audience insights or any other aspect of content and digital marketing, we’re here to help!
Speak to one of our team today on 01223 550800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, we’ll be happy to hear from you!