The role of trust in content marketing

Life these days can be so complex, we don’t make the time to stop and reflect*.

In a recent piece in The Observer, Why the modern world is bad for your brainDaniel J Levitin opens with

“Our brains are busier than ever before. We’re assaulted with facts, pseudo facts, jibber-jabber, and rumour, all posing as information. Trying to figure out what you need to know and what you can ignore is exhausting.”

Two words immediately sprang to mind as I read this. Content marketing.

In this increasingly content-rich, multi-media, everyone-is-a-publisher world we live in, the rate of increase in additional information available to B2B buyers has exponentially outpaced the increase in the amount of time available to digest and process it.

Maybe it’s because I’m a marketer that I notice the ever-increasing tsunami of lead generation bait-disguised-as-content. You’ve all seen them – “3 reasons why these 7 killer tips will transform your business in 10 ways. Download this white paper today!” I exaggerate for effect. A bit.

Often, the content is flimsy and doesn’t live up to the hype of the headline. Yes, you’ve got my attention but is what you have to say worth hearing? Will it add real value to my day-to-day life? Does it address a common issue or problem faced by people like me? No? Then you’ve lost me and you’ve lost my trust. And if I don’t trust you I’m certainly not going to buy from you.

shutterstock_134893019 (2)

Worse still, your actions may have made me a little less trusting of content I see from other brands. So poorly conceived content marketing has the potential to undermine the trust  in (and thereby the effectiveness of) the technique for everyone.

Insights from the excellent Edelman Trust Barometer 2015** suggests trust may already be a barrier to overcome for brands seeking to acquire new customers – with over 2/3 of respondents distrusting content created by brands they do not currently use:

Edelman trust barometer - content creators

So what can marketers do to build trust into their content marketing efforts?

Here’s 3 thoughts to get the ball rolling:

  1. Make sure the content truly lives up to the promise of the headline – think more broadsheet, less tabloid.
  2. Make sure the headline addresses a known, real customer issue or pain point – not only will this help achieve cut through, this will also help your target audience to find it online (search engines were the most trusted source of general information and news in the Edelman survey)
  3. Make sure you understand the buyer’s landscape – do you know what trade publications or academics are relevant to your target audience? Can you partner with them to co-create content? Such a third-party endorsement from a trusted source will help provide validation of your content (and keep you honest in generating truly excellent work to boot)

How is your organisation using content marketing to build trust with your prospect base? Have you seen any particularly good examples of content marketing in practice? I’d love to hear from anyone with experiences and best practice to share.

**Here’s the Edelman Trust Barometer 2015

*with thanks to the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy

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One thought on “The role of trust in content marketing

  1. Andy Routledge

    3 reasons why the A-Team’s Mr T is a marketing guru

    The most famous exponent of the phrase: “Stop your jibber-jabber fool”, was Mr T. We now know 3 things:
    1. He was ahead of his time
    2. The T in his name may have stood for Trust
    3. His use of the phrase: “I ain’t drinkin no milk sucker”, was a social commentary on the the declining dairy industry.

    Reply

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