Posted at Dec 17, 2019 2:28:00 PM by THAT Agency | Share
Authenticity and transparency are more prized than ever before. Customers want to feel as if they know what they're buying. They want to know the product or service will last. How do brands build trust like this? Service and quality prove trust once it already exists. Content marketing builds trust in the first place:
1. Accurate Narrative
Your brand has a story. Is it accurate? Remember that Millennials and Gen Z can research information and comparison shop at the touch of a button. They aren't just aware of how to do this; it's actually second nature to them.
If you claim your prices are competitive when they aren't, that breaks trust. If you claim you'll provide a service and your online reviews are swamped with customers saying you never provided that service, that breaks trust.
Your brand narrative needs to be based on fact and follow-through. Customers need to see consistent qualities that are backed up by multiple other sources.
2. Information Meets Passion
Content creation is the core of any inbound marketing strategy. This can take the form of blogs, articles, gated white papers and eBooks, video, apps, infographs, games, you name it.
Content creation should be approached as a conversation with your audience. It's not just a sales piece. It should contain thoughts and themes that are important to the brand.
Let's say you sell luxury watches. A quality blog might be about the history of luxury watch making, or a type of luxury watch that isn't made anymore. Perhaps it's about how diamonds are used in luxury watches, or why Switzerland is the watch-making center of the world.
None of those examples focus on directly selling your product. They sell your knowledge about luxury watches, your passion for them, their history and values. Once a visitor trusts that you have knowledge, passion, and can teach them about history and value, the visitor trusts you.
They're sold on the brand. They're sold on returning and learning more. They're sold on sharing your knowledge with friends on social media. Your brand isn't just a sales medium now. It's a thought leader.
3. Value for Free
Customers appreciate content because it's free. A blog about wine pairing helps them put on a successful dinner party for friends. If they're looking at your suggestions, they'll click through to your wines. The easiest way to follow your pairing advice is to do it with the wines you based it on.
An auto mechanic's video that shows you a maintenance technique you can save money by doing yourself makes you more knowledgeable and feel more accomplished. When that same brand says a specific problem means to bring the car in and get a professional repair, you'll listen.
This content is easily accessible, given at no cost, and yet it provides them value. Visitors are already ahead of the game because they've received something of value from you at no cost. There's less question about whether your product or service is worth it's value, because your visitors have already received an immense amount of value from your brand. Imagine the value they must get when they actually spend some money with you.
4. People are Accountable
Brands are perceived as more human this way. A better way of putting it is that the humanity behind the brand becomes more real to visitors. The idea that they're interacting not with a monolith, but with knowledgeable content creators helps them see the brand as accountable.
A corporation can't be held accountable by the average customer in today's world. People can. Seeing your brand as backed by real people with real opinions helps customers identify with and trust the brand.
5. Keeping Your Voice
Keep your attitude and voice true to your strengths. Some brands make the mistake of having “fellow kids” moments where they try to make their brand seem cool by capitalizing on a meme. This backfires as often as it works.
Most brands can't copy the snark of fast food chain Wendy's Twitter account for instance. This is because most brands aren't in the fast food industry, where value is built on convenience and accessibility. If a Tweet backfires for them, they haven't ruined the perception that their meals are convenient and accessible. They can even double down on a failure and make fun of themselves for it.
That same snark that works so well to build awareness and accumulate followers for Wendy's isn't going to work for a luxury brand. If a luxury car maker is regularly that snarky in their social media and content, it will be perceived as a weakness.
Luxury conveys that the brand is above the fray. Snark and sarcasm that's similar to Wendy's won't ruin your convenience and accessibility, but a luxury car maker doesn't build their value in customers' eyes through those traits. They build their value by conveying knowledge, talking about luxury taste, racing and design history, teaching about new technologies. Snark and sarcasm will undermine that.
A luxury brand needs to be more serious in tone and where they do take a shot at a competitor, it needs to be rare, buried within informative content that builds trust, and the wit needs to be a dry, sharp aside. People need to accept it at face value before quickly moving on to more information.
You can see in these examples how consistent voice capitalizes on the strengths that make your audience seek you out in the first place. Never undermine that voice, even for a short-term gain, because that voice is what builds long-term trust and that has greater value.
6. Long-Term Investments
Content marketing builds trust over time, and it also builds value. It's an investment. Your first few pieces of content likely won't see a major response. As you build more and more content, you start to rank higher in SEO response in search engines. You give customers a reason not just to visit your one article, but to dive into related ones. Content should chiefly be evergreen. It should hold value a year or two from now in terms of people's searches.
This isn't to say you can't respond to major topical events. If you're selling managed IT services, content that taught managers and executives about the WannaCry ransomware attack could get your site a lot of hits very quickly. That same ransomware attack won't be looked up much a few years from now because it won't have been an issue.
They key to balancing these elements is that the more timely and topical content shouldn't displace or delay your regular, evergreen content.
Think of it this way. When you invest, there may be a short-term investment you want to jump on. It will give you a high return. This doesn't mean you torpedo your long-term investments that are building value consistently in order to do it. You find a balance where you can do both, where you rely on those long-term investments and keep re-investing in them.
7. Social Confirmation
Provide social proof as to the quality of your brand, products, and services. This includes testimonials, online review sites, influencer tie-ins, endorsements, and awards.
Be proud of your success. For customers, this is more information that helps them make a decision. The more others trust you, the safer they'll feel in doing the same. Make a press release about every award or good ranking, and put it on your site. Post it on linked-in. It's not regular content, but it will effectively serve as content that search engines will hit upon when people are looking for certain awards or rankings.
8. Brand Trust Builds Brand Community
You have to back up your narrative, your transparency, the awards, and the values. If you provide good customer service, that will create more testimonials and good online reviews. If your product does what you say it will, that will create more social media sharing of your content.
How to build brand trust isn't the complete goal. Trust leads to a brand community: repeat customers who will share your content, help it go viral, give testimonials and provide good online reviews, tell their friends and family to consider your brand, who will gift your products, and who will most excitedly buy the new ones as soon as they come out.
Content marketing builds trust. Trust in a brand builds community. Community around a brand is an invaluable asset.