I was involved in a somewhat heated Facebook debate (eyerolls, I know) and was asked to prove a certain person in authority said a certain thing. I posted a link to a Reuters article with a direct quote.
Not good enough. Can’t trust the media. Fake news. Have to see the actual video.
That’s just one example of the serious deficit of trust in our country.
As for the media, don’t take my word for it. A 2016 Gallup poll found that just 32 percent of Americans have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media. If they don’t trust the media, how do you think they feel about the ads?
Another example is food manufacturers, who fight any efforts to make labeling more transparent and less confusing. For example, did you know a whole grain product isn’t actually whole grain unless “whole” appears in the first ingredient on the label?
If “whole” is in the second ingredient, that product could be as little as 1 percent whole grain! Shouldn’t we be able to trust food manufacturers to tell us what’s in their products before we eat them?
Salespeople are widely distrusted. A 2015 Gallup poll about honesty and ethics found that, other than members of Congress, the least trusted professions are car salespeople, insurance salespeople, and advertising practitioners, who are basically salespeople.
The lack of trust also applies to brands and businesses. Lack of trust leads to missed sales and little or no loyalty. That makes it tough to survive, much less grow.
The overall trust deficit might seem demoralizing, but it’s also an opportunity. People want to be able to trust businesses. They just feel like they can’t. That’s because most businesses aren’t doing enough to earn their trust.
Instead, they sell. Aggressively. They self-promote. Shamelessly. They cold call and mass email. Endlessly.
And they wonder why they’re not closing as many sales as they would like.
Do More than Get Noticed
Too many businesses focus their efforts on getting the attention of customers and “building awareness.” So you got people to recognize your name. Maybe they even went to your website.
Anybody can get found on Google by paying for the privilege. Anybody can use mass media to increase brand awareness. And I’m not saying you shouldn’t. There’s value in getting noticed.
But if you expect someone to recognize the value of your product or service, choose you over your competitors, and meet your price, you have to earn their trust when they open your email, go to your website or read your blog post.
The Role of Content Marketing in Earning Trust
I talk a lot about the benefits of content marketing – consistently sharing relevant, valuable content with your target audience to support a specific business goal.
- Positioning yourself as an authority in your field
- Educating your clients and prospects about issues related to what you do
- Establishing your credibility
- Improving your search ranking
- Addressing common client pain points and questions
- Previewing the ideal outcome
- Overcoming objections to the sale
- Differentiating your business from the competition
- Illustrating who you are as a company and what you represent
- Sharing success stories
These are all important, and they all contribute to perhaps the biggest benefit of content marketing – building trust.
Of all the things you could be to a client or prospect, wouldn’t you want to be “most trusted”?
Content marketing works because there’s little if any hard selling involved. You’re consistently providing people with information that’re relevant, valuable and engaging.
You’re connecting. Helping. Building a relationship. Earning their trust.
Your website is where you hit the prospect’s common problems, explain your solutions and process for solving those problems, and show people what it’s like to experience the results of doing business with you. This is typically done on a high level.
Content marketing digs deeper. It gets under the hood. It allows you to deal with one specific topic, concern, pain point, objection or success story at a time.
As you continue to provide clients and prospects with deeper information on a regular basis, trust runs deeper.
When someone has a need for your product or service or knows someone who does, your content will have done much of the heavy lifting for you. The educating. The overcoming of obstacles. The answering of questions. All of which have earned their trust.
The conversation then focuses less on how much it costs and more on how soon we can get started.
Once someone pays you for a product or service, they’re more forgiving and less likely to jump ship if something goes wrong. They trust you to make it right.
Trust doesn’t just help you close the sale. It helps you manage the relationship in the long-term.
We live in a world where trust is scarce. One of the most important goals a business can have – and perhaps the most valuable benefit of content marketing – is establishing trust with clients and prospects.
Before you hit “publish”, “post”, “share” or “send”, ask yourself a simple question. Does this content contribute to a deeper trust with the people who will see it?