Aaron Agius is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of the award-winning global marketing agency Louder.Online.
Building trust with your customers is one of the most important things you can do for your business. In addition to potentially boosting revenue, trust can be a great barometer of growth.
While the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the way companies operate, it has also created new opportunities to develop trust. According to the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer, businesses are now trusted more than nongovernmental organizations, the government and media outlets.
The upside is clear: Companies are in a position to develop stronger relationships with their customers than they’ve had in the past. The key to doing it well is to have the right strategy. Below are four tips to help you build trust through content marketing.
1. Create Relevant Content
Few things are as powerful as content when connecting with customers. From blog posts to infographics, different types of content can explain your mission, highlight your services and provide meaningful information.
As a digital marketer and managing director of Louder.Online, I’ve seen companies of all sizes leverage content to build their brands and engage their customers. One of the things that has worked well for all of them is content that’s both timely and relevant.
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If you’re just starting to develop your content plan, asking yourself a few questions can ensure that you address your audience’s needs:
• What are your customers’ pain points, and how can you help resolve them?
• What is your audience’s intent when reading your content?
• How can you offer value beyond your products and services?
By answering these questions, you can determine who your readers are and why they’re engaging with your brand. This can help you create high-impact content that can serve your readers’ needs.
2. Focus On Value, Not Promotion
While boosting your brand presence should be one of the goals of your content strategy, it shouldn’t be the only goal. To truly develop trust with your audience, aim to provide value.
A great way to do this is by educating your readers. If you’re a B2B company, this can mean offering insights related to your industry or doing a deep dive into a specific topic. If you’re a B2C company, providing expert advice related to customer pain points can help them think of your brand holistically and encourage them to turn to you for guidance.
If you’re unsure of the best way to add value, consider surveying your audience. This is a great way to identify their concerns and what they need help with. Ask thoughtful questions to get to the root of their challenges and find a way to meet them where they are.
3. Prioritize Authenticity
Over the past decade, consumers have become increasingly interested in engaging with authentic brands. In fact, a recent survey found that 90% of consumers value authenticity when deciding which brands they want to support.
What’s more, failure to be authentic can hurt companies more than they realize. This is especially true when it comes to consumer engagement, though it’s worth noting that a lack of authenticity may also hurt your bottom line.
Although this may seem discouraging, it’s important to look at it as an opportunity. If you make authenticity a part of your brand’s DNA, your content marketing efforts will reflect that.
Here are a few ways to bring authenticity to the forefront of your content.
• Develop your brand voice. A strong brand voice is the key to a compelling narrative. To establish yours, focus on highlighting the attributes that describe your brand. As you develop your editorial plan, be sure that your brand voice aligns with your content. If something doesn’t match up, it’s best to leave it out.
• Engage with your customers. Great customer service is crucial in almost any business, but to truly build relationships with your customers, you may need to go a step further. This includes being responsive across all of your owned and operated content channels and taking a close look at how you can personalize the customer experience.
• Address negative feedback. Dealing with negative feedback can be challenging, but it’s also a great way to let your customers know you care. If you make a mistake, don’t be afraid to own it. Your customers will appreciate your honesty and the fact that you’re actively working to make it right.
4. Share Customer Stories
Another great way to build brand trust is to let your customers act as brand ambassadors. After all, who better to help highlight your value than consumers who use your services every day?
There are a variety of ways to do this, but I’ve found that the most powerful way is through social proof points. These can include reviews, social media comments and even testimonials. The key is to find ways to integrate them into your content strategy. Newsletters and social posts are both good starting points, and they can highlight the benefits of the services you offer.
Developing a strong presence is one of the best ways to build brand trust, and content marketing can be a driving factor. Research shows that 61% of consumers’ buying decisions are directly influenced by custom content. To use content marketing most effectively, focus on relationships rather than conversions.
By prioritizing your customers’ needs and offering them valuable content, you can move beyond transactions and create lasting brand loyalty.
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Author: Aaron Agius, Forbes Councils Member