12 Apr 2013

Building Trust and Credibility Through Content Marketing

Article on - Building Trust and Credibility Through Content Marketing

If someone has provided you with information that you are looking for to help you make better decisions in life on a consistent basis, it is only natural that you regard this person in good light.
Now what if this person was a brand? Would you come to trust the brand? I bet you would. This is what content marketing aims to do.
You want to give your consumers high quality and relevant information long before they do business with you, and long after they have done business with you. No pushy sales messages here, just pure content. In the cluttered and noisy marketplace of today, content marketing has become the new way of building trust and authority with consumers and establishing brand credibility.
But you would think that in an age of information overload people would tend to reject any more information served to them. Actually, quite the contrary. It is because of information overload that makes content marketing more relevant than ever before. People now have to sift through massive amount of content just to get to the data they need. So they would be grateful to anyone (or any business) that can package and serve them the relevant information in the right size, through the right medium and at the right frequency.
But what is this right combination, anyway?
Naturally, this differs between industry, niche, target age groups, psychographics and any of the myriads of factors. But don’t let this stop your business from tapping into the power influence of content marketing.

“It is because of information overload that makes content marketing more relevant than ever before.”
Here are a few initial considerations to help you kickstart a content marketing campaign:
Know Yourself
As a business owner or marketer you must have put in a lot of effort in creating distinctive visuals for your brand through your logo, colour schemes, websites, brochure, etc. But unfortunately, it just stops there. The visual personality is not carried through to the style of communication, i.e. your brand voice. Ask, if your brand was a person, how would he/she be communicating with others? What would his/her tone of voice be?
Know What You Want to Achieve
Be clear right from the start why you are doing this. Is it for lead generation, to raise brand awareness or to keep the relationship with your customers warm? Knowing this will help you assess the progress of your content marketing campaign and tweak it as you go along.
Who are You Going to Talk to?
Be sure to understand your target audience. Match your content sophistication with their demography and psychography. It’s good to note here that if you are trying to reach out to everyone, you will be reaching out to no one. You must segment your market.
Where do they Gather and How do they Feed on
Social media has given people so many ‘places’ to congregate. Just because you want your business to be social media savvy doesn’t mean you must be on all platforms. Use only those that most effectively and efficiently engage your target audience.
And then again, why be on social media at all, if your target audience is mostly getting information from traditional mediums? Here you need to consider publishing your content in the form of magazines and newsletters.
What to Talk About?
Business owners always ponder too hard on this and try to conjure up some grand scheme. But you don’t have to. Just ask yourself these:
• What are my customers really concerned about?
• What do they need education on in my area?
• What can I share with them that will help them make smarter buying decisions?
Then comes the problem of putting together the content. For this, I say, you already have more than enough information at your disposal.
First off, think of all the technical knowledge that you have that keeps you in business. I am not talking about proprietary information that gives you your competitive edge. Surely you don’t want to share this. What about all the industry knowledge that you have been taking for granted? Business owners tend to discount this thinking that their customers will find these too basic. Most times, it is this information that your customers need.
Spend some time to mine interesting and useful stuff from online and offline resources. Then aggregate and recreate. Put them together in your own way into a how-to article, best practices review, white paper, etc.

 "Focus more on developing great content and less on feeling important."
How to Say it?
Speak easy, people. It is very common for businesses to fall in line and churn out content filled with corporate babble like most others. Words like silos, pain points, leverage, drill-down may make you think that you sound professional. They may even make you feel important. But in reality, it does nothing more than to bore and/or alienate your audience.
Keep your tone human and conversational without unnecessary jargon or difficult words. Focus more on developing great content and less on feeling important.
The mode of content delivery really depends on what your consumers want. Are they looking to be educated, entertained or inspired? Each purpose deserves differing modes of delivery such as videos, games, slide shows, podcasts, etc.
When to Say it?
The frequency of communication really depends on the platform you have chosen and the resources you have. If Twitter is your choice platform, then you have to ensure that you have the resources to maintain multiple daily updates.
As a start you may want to work with an email campaign that lets you serve knowledge on a monthly basis. Once you are comfortable with aggregating content, you can go on to repurpose your content into weekly blogs, then quarterly webinars and on to biannual white papers.
The way to your consumers’ heart is through their minds. Keep delivering valuable information. Your consumers will soon come to love you and want to do business with you.
By Dean Shams
Dean Shams is the Principal Consultant at KinetiqBuzz, a PR agency that helps SMEs build their visibility and credibility. He is also an active member of the Marketing Institute of Singapore.

Contributed by Marketing Institute of Singapore