Content marketing is perhaps the most popular and most effective marketing technique in use today. Sharing content with other webmasters in your niche and promoting authoritative articles on social media can build you up as an expert in your niche and help you to become a brand that people recognise and turn to when they need your specific type of expertise.
Good content is supposed to entertain and inform, but the goal of brand owners is to sell products. Striking the balance between selling and providing great content is important, because otherwise your readers will lose trust in you and assume that all you want to do is sell.
The idea of trust-based marketing was pioneered by Dr Glen L. Urban from the MIT Sloan School of Management. Dr Urban conducted a study on content marketing, where he offered unbiased reviews of trucks made by an imaginary brand, and compared those trucks to other competing brands. These unbiased reviews were incredibly effective for building trust, and 75% of the website visitors reported trusting this test website more than they trusted their previous truck dealer.
Trust is Fragile
The very nature of marketing means that you are trying to sell something. Trust is a very fragile thing whenever marketing is involved, but there are things that you can do to build trust. Social media can be helpful here – especially if you are aiming at women. Around 69% of web users are more likely to trust content that is shared through social media, and women are 20% more likely than men to trust content if it was shared by a friend or family member. Encouraging organic, not incentivised shares is a good way to appeal to that kind of consumer and break down the barriers that we naturally put up when we feel we are being advertised to.
It also helps if you provide verified sources for as many facts as you can, and share quality content written by other people. Promoting the services of a company that you trust and that is relevant to your customers, but not a direct competitor of yours, is a win-win move. For example, polarwebpeople.co.uk offers web design in Huntingdon. If they promoted a graphic designer or a printer then they would be offering a valuable service to their B2B customers.
Google Adopting Trust and Knowledge
Trust based marketing in the context used by Dr Urban is all about making your human visitors trust you, but the ideas he had showed incredible foresight. Google is always looking for ways to stop marketers manipulating the ranking system, and trustworthiness is one of the latest metrics that they are experimenting with. They are looking at ways to improve the knowledge graph and prioritise websites that are known to publish publish high quality content that is backed up by reputable research. No matter what your motivation, trust is going to be an important part of your future.