Over the past five years, content marketing has taken centre stage in Australia and New Zealand.
Creating, publishing and sharing content used to happen on the periphery, but now it is at the heart of how local brands connect with their target audience.
Brands are using their own content as the primary tool for finding potential customers and beginning to build a relationship with them.
Content marketing can hook people in and provide regular touch points to keep them interested. When they’re ready to buy, it can provide the detailed information about products and services that modern consumers now expect.
Providing genuinely useful and helpful content that offers more value than simply plugging their own products is helping brands in Australia, New Zealand and around the world to build trust with their existing and potential customers.
The trust dividend
Research has shown a strong link between trust and purchase behaviour. People are more likely, for example, to buy from brands they follow on social media.
A recent example of this trust dividend came in the form of a study that looked at how people interacted with personalised online ads.
The practice of serving up ads based on the websites you’ve visited previously is well-established. Most people will be quite used to seeing ads from familiar brands as they navigate around the web.
Research published in the Journal of Retailing revealed that response to these ads was heavily influenced by trust levels. If users already knew and trusted a brand, they would respond more favourably to a personalised ad promoting that brand’s products or services.
“For the more trusted retailer in our field study, we find banner clickthrough rates to increase by 27 percent,” the study’s authors said.
The study also revealed that personalised ads risks freaking people out if they were too detailed, as they prompted concerns about privacy. Participants in the study said they preferred ads that showed just one product they had looked at rather than all of them.
Separate research has shown that when brands fail to address trust and confidence they pay the price with lower conversion rates. Simple issues such as a checkout process that takes too long or a form that asks for too much information can scare off potential customers.
How content marketing builds trust
Brands can use content marketing to build trust with their audience in a number of ways, such as blogging or creating dedicated content for social media.
A blog is the starting point for most content marketing strategies. It provides a platform for you to talk about yourself, but also create the kind of content that will reach out to a broader pool of potential customers, including people who don’t yet know they need what you sell.
Your blog content can touch these people through search, social media, email and paid promotion to establish familiarity with your brand and develop that familiarity into trust.
Dedicated content for your social media profiles is another excellent way to build trust. While most online journeys start with a search, social media is accounting for an increasingly large share of eyeball time.
Facebook, for example, is second only to Google in both Australia and New Zealand, according to Alexa.com, which tracks the popularity of websites. Globally, Facebook has 936 million users who access the site every day.
And while Facebook won’t be the best social platform for every brand, its popularity highlights the powerful reach of social media sites. Creating social content either for organic campaigns or paid promotion is a great tactic for connecting with more of the right people.