There are a number of shifting components when it comes to running a successful marketing campaign, and the online element continues to increase in importance everyday. Much of what occurs online now involves content. It’s how you get discovered, why people pay attention to your business and how you begin to develop value. Without an established content platform to use as a base, a lot of effort placed elsewhere will be wasted.
Consumers today have come to expect that information regarding any company product, service, challenge or cause will be readily available online. If consumers can’t find the content you’re producing, there’s a pretty good chance you won’t gain their trust. This brings us to two of the most important categories when it comes to content strategy: educating the customer and building trust.
Here are a few ways you can build trust online.
Blog. Blogging makes a great starting point for any content creation strategy because it makes sharing and syndicating the content you produce so simple. Search engines like Google love blogs full of useful content, as well. Blog content also makes a great place to organize your editorial thinking and brand marketing. Ideas you have about your business’ online identity can easily become the subject for articles, tutorials and ebooks.
Social media. You need to take advantage of all the free opportunities available to create social media profiles on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+, but also in the online communities for publications like Inc., Entrepreneur and BusinessWeek. Building comprehensive profiles and optimizing images, links and videos that lead back to your main site rank as vital parts of any content marketing strategy.
Reviews. Review and rating sites like CitySearch, MerchantCircle and Yelp have become paramount for helping businesses earn customer trust online. Couple the impact a positive Yelp or CitySearch rating can have on a business with the fact that Bing, Yahoo and Google all allow users to rate businesses and suddenly you have a very important type of content that every business needs to participate in using.
Customer testimonials. Customer testimonials rank as a powerful form of content. Every business today should seek out a variety of customer testimonials, including video, audio and written examples. This type of content creates vital trust-building endorsements and makes for fantastic brand-building assets you can highlight on YouTube and Google.
Now that you have a better understanding of how to build trust with customers, here are a few tips on how to create content that educates.
White paper. Every business needs a well-crafted core story that’s documented in the form of an ebook or white paper. This content needs to dive deeply into what separates your company from the competition, your approach to customer service, why a client should select your business and why you started your business to begin with.
Seminars. Both on and offline seminars, workshops and presentations make great ways to provide customer education with the added punch of engagement. Transforming your white paper into a comprehensive, value driven session is one of the best and most effective ways of generating, nurturing and converting leads.
FAQs. The value of the information packaged in this type of format seems pretty self-explanatory. However, when creating a FAQs section on your company’s website, go past the questions that usually get asked and include those that should get asked more frequently but don’t, especially the ones that better position you more favorably when compared to the competition.
Success stories. Developing rich examples of real clients succeeding through the use of your products or services offers a great deal of value in helping potential customers understand how your business can help them. When potential customers see themselves reflected in the success story of others, they’re far more likely to try a tactic that’s proven to work.
With the amount of noise found online today, it can be difficult for any business to stand out from the din. However, by creating a knowledgeable and trustworthy brand, you can help differentiate your business from the competition and attract new clients.