At the 2022 Content Marketing World Conference in Cleveland, Ohio, the innovation and incredible thought put into the work of so many SEOs, content marketers, and other marketers at the event inspired new ways to think about content strategy. The importance of trust was a theme in numerous conference sessions. Sure, writing trustworthy content seems like a given. But like all things content strategy, earning trust is not so simple.
Much like SEO and the principles of E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness), content marketing thrives when a relationship between user and brand is built on trust. With so many boxes to check as part of your content strategy, you may be wondering how you could possibly add something else, like building trust, to the to-do list. Trust is, however, already at the heart of most elements you’re planning and working on in your content strategy. Recognizing trust’s value and optimizing for it is key.
WHY TRUST MATTERS
When a resource is trustworthy, users will return to that resource in the future. When a brand is trustworthy, consumers may be more inclined to purchase. When creating content, users will want to feel confident that your content is backed by some level of expertise and is honest or authentic. In a survey by Edelman, 88% of respondents rated trust as critical or important when deciding which brands to buy or use, and 61% indicated they would advocate for a brand they fully trust.
If trust is so important to consumers, earning trust should be important to you. Earning trust should be part of your content strategy from day one. Optimizing your content to foster strong, meaningful relationships built on trust between your brand and consumers will drive lasting results and inspire invaluable loyalty.
CONSUMERS HAVE QUESTIONS, BRANDS HAVE ANSWERS
Though it may seem like a basic concept, writing content that is trustworthy is not that simple. Establishing trust between you and your audience starts with relevancy. Your audience has questions: questions about your brand, questions about your products or services, and questions about a variety of related topics. Developing content that answers these questions will offer an immense amount of value to the consumer.
Let’s use an e-commerce shoe store as an example. Your brand sells shoes to consumers online. Even when selling an essential like shoes—something the majority of people reading this already own and have probably worn since they learned to walk—generates questions in the mind of consumers. What style of shoe is best for flat feet? How do you make shoes more comfortable for walking? Do I need wide or narrow-fit shoes? Why do shoelaces have a little piece of plastic at the end? What is the little plastic piece at the end of a shoelace called?
Show your audience you’re listening to them. Show them you know the answers to these questions. In doing so, they’ll begin to identify you as a trustworthy source of support.
WHAT YOU NEED TO CREATE GREAT CONTENT
Well-written, engaging blog posts, visually interesting infographics, and captivating video content are all examples of digital content. The higher quality the content, the better. To achieve this goal of publishing high-quality content, you’ll need the following elements to serve as the foundation for your content production:
- Keyword Research: Developing content around what really interests your consumers is the first step in building trust. Finding the questions they’re asking and the topics they’re talking about is all about research. Keyword research and search trend analyses can help you locate topics of interest to your consumers and help you determine how to create content about these topics. Consumer insights using marketing research tools may also help you learn a bit more about your consumers and what they might like to see from your brand in terms of content.
- Established Brand Guidelines: Identify what makes your brand unique and detail how that can be communicated through content in your brand guidelines. The brand guidelines should consist of all the essential brand information needed to recommend, write, optimize, and publish a piece of content. This includes your brand voice, which will literally set the tone for your content on every channel. The brand voice is how you want your brand to be represented to all those that interact with it, so it should be consistent. Legal guidelines and/or restrictions should be incorporated here as well, but a final review of a finished piece of content is always recommended before publication.
- SEO-Friendly Content Brief: A content brief and outline help guide the writer or designer in the exact direction you want to take your content in. A content outline for a blog post, for example, would include information like target keywords, length and structure recommendations, and more. You’ll also want your brand voice to shine through, so carefully documenting everything that is and isn’t right for your brand and communicating that to the writer is a must.
Who writes your blog posts or designs your infographics will determine just how strong the content you develop for your brand is. Whether you’ve hired an in-house writer or seek content creation support from an agency, you’ll want to ensure the content you are developing is of the highest quality and follows all the essential content marketing and SEO best practices from start to finish.
High-quality content is content that your audience wants to read. Answer their questions effectively, deliver expertise, and offer your brand’s unique perspective. Invest in providing your consumers with helpful content, and they will invest in you.
USER-GENERATED CONTENT: CONTENT FROM YOUR BIGGEST FANS
A blog post carefully developed to promote a new product in your line might be perfectly structured, expertly optimized, and engaging to the reader, but your audience may still want to hear from regular people just like them. In a study from Bazaarvoice, 56% of consumers stated that user-generated content would be a deciding factor for purchasing decisions in the future, indicating that written reviews from customers were most influential. Consumers trust other consumers to tell them what works and whether a product or service is worthwhile. Back up your claims with positive reviews from your loyal consumers—social media posts that speak positively about your products can add a much-needed layer of trust and humanize a piece of content.
CONTENT STRATEGY AT STELLA RISING
With these insights, you can begin to think about exploring a content strategy that not only drives results but also builds strong relationships with your audience and consumers. At Stella Rising, our team of content experts is prioritizing building trust through content strategy.
Find out more about how our SEO and content services can help your brand earn consumers’ trust and loyalty.