Have you ever presented your potential customers with a slam-dunk offer and not gotten the results you were expecting?
You may have thought your offer was going to be a surefire way to generate additional business, but you found it considerably less effective than you would have hoped.
Moments like that leave you with one simple question: why isn’t it working?
The truth to selling is that there are more factors to consider when trying to convert potential buyers into customers. There are many reasons why your offer might not be living up to your expectations, but one of the most common contributing factors is lack of trust.
But how exactly do you build trust?
Sure, you can flood your potential customers with a tsunami of positive reviews. Yes, you can also boldly present your BBB Accreditation. Both of which are great ways to generate trust. But there is another way, and that is through content creation.
Creating content will allow you to present a problem that your audience may have and provide a solution. By creating content you are showing your credibility in two ways, the first, you display knowledge and expertise, and the second is that you are deemed trustworthy by helping to solve an issue.
A recent poll conducted at Marketo discovered that
96 percent of the most successful content marketers agree that their audience views their organization as a trusted resource.
So the question remains, what exactly is content and can you fit that into your busy schedule?
What is (and what isn’t) content?
The obvious question after hearing all of that is “what is content?” The good news is that almost anyone can be a content marketer because there are so many different types of content you can tap into.
Still, for someone new to marketing, it may be a little daunting. You may think you are already offering effective content.
The fact is that almost anything can be used in content marketing, but not just anything you create will provide effective content marketing. Yeah, it’s one of those weird, “a square is a rectangle, but a rectangle technically isn’t a square” kind of situations.
So, for example, say you have a blog. The posts you are creating there is content, but unless they are answering questions or providing valuable information for those who may come across it, it’s likely not generating any content marketing return on investment.
Content marketing can take many varied forms, but it’s not likely to be effective unless it’s a type of content your potential customers are likely to want to consume.
Example types of content
As mentioned previously, the beauty of content marketing is that there is no shortage of types of content you can create. No matter what kind of business you own, there are avenues and ways for you to establish your brand and build trust. Listed below are a few popular forms of content:
In a previous blog, we refuted claims of email marketing being dead. The same claims have been made about blogging, and they’re just as false here, too. Blogs are far and away the most widespread medium for content marketing, and for good reason: they’re adaptable, very cheap to produce, and the easiest to refresh and renew over time.
You don’t even need to be a great writer to have a great blog, though it helps a lot. With blog content, you’ll want to inject your headlines with pain points and common questions, then use your knowledge and expertise to answer them.
Typically given away for free, or for a very small fee, ebooks generally go much deeper than a blog would, focusing on one central theme or idea. For the person or business that has a lot of knowledge across several different topics within their field or industry, an ebook might be the best entry point for content marketing.
They’re typically a little bit tougher to produce than a blog, as with the increased amount of writing, you’ll also need to source imagery or potentially create graphics and visuals to aid in your storytelling.
You probably don’t need us to tell you that podcasts have become hugely popular in recent years. You likely have several that you enjoy listening to, and tune into regularly.
What you might not know is that the bar to entry to create, edit, and host a podcast has significantly lowered with that meteoric rise. A basic audio setup can be had rather cheaply, and some websites even offer free hosting.
Be sure to plan out what you’re talking about, and bring on guests from within your industry whenever you can. Podcasts are a forum for you to share your knowledge with others in a conversational format.
A little bit of a step up in terms of production from the others listed so far, infographics are exactly what they sound like: graphics conveying information. To create compelling and visually appealing graphics, you will likely need some command over programs like Photoshop or Illustrator. But there are free tools, like Canva, that can produce beautiful graphics as well, albeit with a little more finesse.
A little more on infographics from SEMRush: “The key reason behind the growing popularity of infographics is that people these days are more interested in the content with visual elements as compared to a plain piece of information. Therefore, online business owners and digital marketers can use infographics as a useful marketing tool for reaching out to a large number of targeted audiences.”
Like podcasts, video content has become ever more accessible with smartphone cameras being as good as they are. However, there is a lot more pre-and post-production involved with videos that make them a bit harder for a growing business to master.
If you can create a video, it is a huge opportunity to gain a foothold organically. Video views make up a large majority of all internet traffic, and the figures continue to grow, year over year. And, if you choose to upload to YouTube, you’ll be uploading to the second largest search engine on the internet.
In terms of content creation, it doesn’t get any easier than social media. From writing blog-style content on Facebook to posting videos on Instagram stories, social media allows you to create content quickly and efficiently.
Any form of content can be used on social media. If you are struggling to find time to write a blog, write a post on Facebook. Additionally, if video production seems too time-consuming, doing a simple Q&A on Instagram.
Why does content marketing matter?
We touched on this briefly above, but plain and simple: content marketing generates organic traffic. Your content should boost your brand and its credibility by helping your discoverability through higher search rankings and recommendations.
As opposed to you making a great offer, and reaching out to your potential customers directly, content marketing provides them with a road directly to your brand and, eventually, your product or service. They are searching for information related to your business, and they are discovering you.
This subtle shift represents a change in mindset. Rather than being the one to interrupt their feed or inbox with an offer, your content will convince them to actively navigate to your page and help them discover you on their own. Another added benefit of this is that, when done well, it’s not only substantially cheaper than paid ad campaigns on platforms like Facebook or YouTube but also likely much more successful.
So how do you know what to create to generate organic traffic? Well, the easiest way to do that is by answering questions your customers have.
By creating content based on topics and pain points your customers are facing, you are placing your brand in searching results and positioning yourself as a resource. This, in turn, builds credibility and trust in your brand, which is one of the things people look to the most when they are making a purchase decision.
Play to emotions, rather than logic
The power of content marketing is in its ability to play to emotions, rather than logic. This is exactly the play you want to be making, as people are more likely to base their purchase decisions on emotions felt, rather than logic.
This may sound familiar, as just recently we wrote about social proof, and how the act of building trust and authority help to generate more positive reviews and, in turn, more business. By creating helpful, powerful, and sometimes transformative content, you are positioning yourself and your business as a resource.
The goal of content marketing is to make the customer decide on their own. When content is done well, it should produce results that generate brand value. And when you have a valuable brand, people will want to invest with you.
Utilizing content in all of your marketing endeavors
Content marketing offers you a unique opportunity to meet your potential customers at their biggest pain points. Plus, with a wide breadth of potential media, you can reach this audience in ways that are specifically catered to them.
This means, just like with selling, before starting with anything, you will want to have buyer personas to tailor your content marketing towards. A content marketing strategy for one campaign or one persona may look different than any other strategy. You’ll want to keep your buyer personas updated to ensure you’re delivering the best results possible.
Once you’ve got the buyer personas and strategies down, then you’ll just want to plan the content. The use of a shared editorial calendar is extremely beneficial here, as it will allow you to see an overview of every campaign, as well as give your team a chance to brainstorm and contribute wherever they can. Keeping an editorial calendar ensures that you’re releasing your content at the best possible moment and that your whole team is aligned around the release dates.
Putting it all together
As you can see, content is an incredible tool to build credibility and earn business.
If you’re looking to create quality content BBB recently launched THRIVe, an all-in-one business software to help you grow your business.
Whether you are looking for ways to connect through blogging, posting to social media, or tracking your web analytics, THRIVe is an all-in-one marketing solution that can help you get there.
To get more information on THRIVe, simply head over to our website HERE. Be sure to use the chat feature to get all of the answers you need to make this next year your best yet.