But, wait. Stop.
Why should you expend all this time and effort to create content?
Is it because everyone else is doing it? Is it because you like to write? Is it because your tween daughter loves to watch videos on Youtube, so you think that you can appeal to the kids by creating a series of videos?
If those are the reasons you’re considering launching a content marketing effort, stop.
Because the only reason to embrace content marketing is that you are looking to build trust with your audience. Because you’ve realized that the audience is looking for someone – anyone! – to help them better navigate their job or their life. Because you now understand that your prospective customers can buy from anyone, and you need to give them a reason to believe in you.
Trust is what it’s all about.
And here’s some good news: Despite the wailing and gnashing of teeth from traditionalists and Luddites, people trust content from brands. The latest data to support this comes from a survey conducted this summer by Vibrant Media. The survey of 1,000 Americans showed that consumers trust content from brands almost as much as they do from existing media publications – 33% said they trust branded content, while 35% said they trust content from well-known media.
So, if you’re looking to build trust with the audience, content marketing works.
But of course, not all content is created equal. Some content is audience-focused, and some content is inward-focused. If all of your content is centered about how awesome your brand is, the audience will hate it. And they’ll ignore it. But if your content is intended to be truly helpful to your prospects and customers, then they’ll appreciate it. If it’s good enough, they’ll devour it. And they’ll trust you.
Admittedly, this is really easy to say, and pretty doggone hard to do for most organizations. Many C-level decision-makers can’t understand how content that isn’t about the organization will actually help the organization, and they view the budget spent on content with a cynical eye.
However, the evidence is mounting for both B2B and B2C businesses – Coca Cola, Red Bull, SAP, Adobe, Xerox – the list goes on and on. These brands have staked a significant bet on the power of content to draw the audience closer. They’re convinced that audience-focused content will build trust and create a much tighter bond with the customer than the purely transactional relationship of days gone by.
And they’re winning.