How to Win Hearts with Trust Content
“Always be selling” is now “Always be helping.” Companies trying to educate people rather than selling to them are more successful than companies that merely market their products. The key to sales is now trust. This shift has given rise to the phenomenon of trust content.
In this blog, I give a few statistics that emphasize the importance of trustworthy inbound marketing, explain what trust content is, highlight shared content, list 12 musts of creating trustworthy content as well as 9 ways to optimize an “About Us” page for trust.
This way, you can see what types of content your company needs in order to build and maintain your customers’ trust.
Inbound marketing stats you need to know about buyer trust
A recent survey from Hubspot reveals that the key driver to making a sale is trust. However, only 3% of people consider marketers and salespersons to be trustworthy. As you can see below, we are trusted less than professional athletes and baristas…
Inbound marketing done well allows companies to establish themselves as thought leaders and educators, or trusted advisors who help buyers to make the right purchasing decisions, rather than as marketers or salespeople. Instead of pushing a product, successful inbound methodology earns buyers’ trust by providing helpful content that educates and delights.
In fact, according to a survey performed by Kentico, 74% of the general public trusts content from businesses that aim to educate readers about a particular topic. The key is value and objectivity:
- Customer trust goes down by 46% when content cannot be corroborated with third-party sources
- 17% of customers do not trust content that fails to address alternate perspectives
- 15% discard materials when it is not clear which company is sponsoring them
- The tone is also important: 12% of respondents do not care for content that “talks down” to them
- No sales allowed: a full 29% of respondents do not trust anything that ends with a product pitch.
The rise of trust content
Jason Keath of Social Fresh has dubbed the term trust content and describes it as media that allows you to spend more time and more meaningful moments with an audience.
Trust content is a response to the consumer’s lack of time and also the lack of trust in advertising and content. This is the time of content saturation, as people now consume 11 hours of content a day. In addition, 84% of millennials do not trust advertising, which leads to a trust gap.
The solution is trust content. Businesses are now investing in the following digital marketing trends: podcasting, live streaming, Snapchat, Facebook videos, and long-form content. According to Keath, these are perfect vehicles for spending more and more meaningful time with your audience.
Shared content is trusted content
More as well as more meaningful time with your audience directly increases the trust people have in your brand, but there is also another type of content that does this: shared content. While only 15% of consumers trust social-media posts from brands, 70% of people trust brand or product recommendations from their network. Here are a few tips from Will Kerschbaum at The Whole Brain Group to make your content easy to share:
- Adding share icons on your blog posts and landing pages
- Asking influencers to help get your content out
- Creating content that elicits high-arousal emotions
- Creating multimedia content: videos, images, gifs, etc.
- Incentivize sharing by recognizing sharers or entering them in drawings
12 musts of creating trustworthy content
You cannot just slap your logo in the corner of your content piece or throw in a quote from a reputable source. According to Insights in Marketing, your content has to follow certain guidelines for people to trust it and be willing to share it. I share these guidelines below and complement them with a few points from Joshua Nite at TopRank Marketing.
Your content has to reflect your brand.
This does not mean just following your brand’s design guidelines. It means that your content needs to address your customers’ interests and values in an authentic way. Also be consistent with your brand voice. Your audience needs to get to know your brand in order to build trust. If your messaging sounds or feels different across pieces of content, it is harder to make a connection. It is important to have a solid set of brand guidelines to keep your content from developing a split personality.
Your content should also be inspirational and educational in order to be trusted and shared
In fact, 58% of consumers report trusting editorial content, but 74% trusts it when the content is considered to be educational without explicitly pushing a product or service.
Originality is also key
Many, many blog posts are published every minute. What makes yours stand out?
An easy way to display credibility is simply by showing your sources
Most media outlets will ignore your content if you do not. More importantly, almost half of customers say that a brand’s credibility is lost when the content cannot be verified by external sources. Make sure your stats come from a cited source—one that would pass muster with your 10th grade Social Studies teacher. Avoid citing a source name in parentheses with no hyperlink, a link to the source’s home page, which has no mention of the stat in question, or a link to a reference post that fails to source the stat.
Your content also earns credibility when your consumers share it naturally
After all, it is a word-of-mouth referral that implicitly expresses trust in your brand. Earned media, such as organic shares, is far and away the most trusted media form.
Your customers will be more likely to share your content if it is interesting, funny, and/or unique
In general, people also prefer to share good news rather than depressing news.
Avoid making an explicit sales pitch in your content
Even being too aggressive about including a branded campaign hashtag with every content piece or attaching a promotion to every social media post can turn off readers. Mentioning a product or service, even just as an aside, lessens trust for 29% of your readers.
Keep a schedule
Set a posting cadence and keep to it. This helps readers make an appointment with your content: it sets an expectation you can continue to meet. If you usually post daily but you go dark for three days, your credibility will suffer. Nevertheless, if you consistently deliver content, each post boosts your reputation.
Influencers boost your credibility with their audience. Pursue influencers who are recognized and respected as a thought leader in their field—not just the ones with the most Twitter followers. Content co-created with a true influencer can give you a massive credibility boost.
Encourage employee participation
Transparency and authenticity are key. Let your audience see the people behind your brand. Activate your employees to be brand ambassadors, relating to your audience person to person.
Show instead of tell
Storytelling means providing proof with a narrative. Use real-world examples of customers you have helped whenever you can. When you cannot do this, engage your audience’s imagination with the story of how their lives will change with your solution.
Make your content flawless
As a translator, this is my favorite. Make sure you polish your content before setting it loose. Check your grammar and spelling!
9 ways to optimize an “About Us” page for trust
As shown, the stories of the people behind the brand build trust. When you read a blog, it is nice to see a little piece of text about the author. You want to check the author’s credibility. When visiting a company website, you want the same thing. You want to know whether this company is the perfect solution to your problem. An “About Us” page helps. Matt Mansfield at Small Business Trends lists ways to optimize this page so that it builds trust.
Organize the page
If you have a lot of information to include on your “About Us” page, it is important to organize it into relevant sections. It helps your visitors find the information they are looking for more quickly and easily, both of which engender goodwill and trust. In addition, you can present the “trust” content apart from the other, often more dry, information.
Use appropriate tone and language
The tone and language used on your “About Us” page need to match those of your industry and the sensibilities of your potential customers and clients.
Decide between first and third-person voice
Both are acceptable, but you need to know to whom you are talking. In other words, who is the target reader of your “About Us” page?
Use an engaging writing style
Nothing will drive away your “About Us” page visitors more than bone-dry, factual writing. Your “About Us” page probably is the first introduction to you for many people and if it is dry and boring, they are going to think you and your company are. Nobody wants to work with a boring person!
This page is where people learn about you and what you do. At the start, they may not know the jargon and industry-specific words that you use, so do not confuse them by including those words here.
Tell your story
This page is where potential customers and clients get to know you and your business. Telling them your story, what led you and your business to this point, can be a very effective way of introducing yourself.
Include images and video
Another way for people to get to know you is via images and videos. Give them a peek into your life at work and outside of work, so they know more about who you are. One important note here: be careful about only using video on your About Us page. Not everyone likes to watch videos, so make sure you give them some text to read as well.
Use an approprite call to action
All your content needs to drive action. Your “About Us” page is no different, but it is not the place to make a sale. This is where they get to know you, so they can trust you – nothing kills that process faster than a hard sell. Instead, create an opt-in for more information, for instance.
Include credentials and social proof
Potential customers want to know why they should trust you with their business. Share your experience, any awards you have won, people and associations you have worked with, industry causes you support, etc. Add a few testimonials as well as links to all of your social media profiles, so they can see how much love you get and how to connect with you.
What can I do to help you with trust content?
This is no hard sell. My talent is communication with people and companies abroad. I am the owner of translation agency BudgetVertalingOnline, which offers affordable translations into Dutch and English. If you need any help with translations, just let me know! My email is email@example.com and you can find me on Twitter (@GdenHolder).
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