What's critical to digital strategy and benefits SEO, social engagement, site traffic, sales and more? Content. Content can serve all of these purposes and more — but for companies to leverage its best attributes, they must first use it to build trust with their consumers.
Even in traditional marketing, the importance of trust is obvious: Consumers don't want to get scammed or ripped off, and they want to be able to believe in a company's products or services. Yet, trust carries even greater implications on the content front. Entrepreneur notes that the average Internet user sees five thousand ads per day, and with all of that noise, the best way to stand out is to create content that builds trust with your audience. A lack of trust among an audience can stifle not just conversions and engagement, but even the reach and impact of that content.
Authority and Visibility Build Trust
The traditional rules of marketing apply here: Brand visibility naturally builds trust in consumers. The more consumers see a brand online, the more likely they are to associate that brand with trust. Much of this is due to simple familiarity, so content is a great way to push this forward.
By producing a range of blogs, white papers, visuals and other content that's published online and shared through social media, your brand can quickly saturate a consumer's online experience. The very presence of your brand can help foster trust, even before the consumer directly engages with your company.
Effective Content Depends on Perception
Of course, the flip side can be a bit tricky. Branded content can't fulfill its potential unless it becomes a well-regarded source of information. Think of the people or brands you currently trust the most: The content or information they offer instantly carries more clout than what another person or organization might say simply because you have a relationship with them and trust their perspective.
It's no different with content marketing. As Forbes notes, the greatest value of content comes when a large audience fully trusts the branded outlet. Without trust, the content will fail — but only taking the time to build this trust while simultaneously creating great content can help you reach this point.
Both Trust and Content Are Relational Assets
Trust and content marketing serve the same long-term goals: They are both essential to maintaining a relationship with digital consumers. Without content, brand visibility diminishes and consumers drift toward other companies that seem more worthy of their time and energy. And if there's any crack in the veneer of trust, consumers will be reluctant to engage — there are too many options online to take risks with a brand they aren't sure about.
Maintaining a consumer relationship is vital on digital media, and the competition is loud. When trust and content are deployed properly, they work together keep the brand-consumer dynamic healthy.
In the results-driven marketing world, some analytical minds may struggle to consider amorphous qualities such as trust. But all brands have data and optimization tools at their disposal. The difference going forward will be how brands manage their intangible qualities.