BUILDING TRUST THROUGH CONTENT MARKETING
How to establish a relationship with your audience where they want to pay you.
Traditional Advertising – Playing the Weak, Short Game
The problem with marketing this way is that it’s a short-term, hard-sale approach. You’re saying “Buy my thing!” You’re asking your audience for the favor of them giving you their money for something you’re trying to sell. You’re betting on the audience to immediately take action from this experience. Just think about how many commercials come on when you’re watching your favorite show. How many of those are you going to remember when your show resumes after the break? How about once the show is over? Most likely very few. Being repetitively hit by one commercial right after the other creates a confusion and it’s very unlikely you’ll remember any of them. Obviously, you’re just waiting for your show to come back on. Alright, maybe there was one commercial that caught your attention because it was funny, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to go to out and buy the product immediately and that means you’ll forget about it. Yes, there is a time for the hard sell, but it isn’t the best option for bringing new customers to your door. “Buy my thing!” isn’t going to grab many people’s attention. Even when you add in the worth of your product whether it helps your customer live a better life or it solves a necessity (food, clothing, etc.), your audience isn’t going to remember you the first few times they see your ad. It takes repetition and consistency. Yes, you could hit them hard by placing your advertisements in every place your target audience is. It will catch their attention and they’ll ask each other, “Have you seen that ad? It’s everywhere.” It will entice some of those people to do some research into you company and your product, but there’s a better way to get their attention. So how do you get them to come asking you for your product? How do you get your target audience to come banging at your door for more? How do you get people to want to throw money at you for doing what you do? Content marketing.
The Case for Content Marketing
I am talking about a much longer-term mindset here. Content marketing isn’t about making a sale off of the first interaction your target audience has with you. Yes, you might be able still make a few sales off the bat, but I’m talking about having consistent content output and so much of it that your target audience will keep coming back to you for the valuable information you’re giving them. Content marketing is providing valuable information relevant to your field that establishes trust with your target audience and they will in turn, pay for your product. You can create helpful videos, write a blog or a free ebook, do a podcast, or create tutorials to list a few. Start with one media output, then move out from there. You don’t have to hit every outlet at once. Focus on creating content at a high quality, then when you are able to, move onto the next one.
For you to build and maintain trust in your audience, you need to show up and produce content on a regular basis. It isn’t enough to simply have a handful of helpful posts and let it stagnate. The more content you share, the more you’re going to be trusted and seen as a professional in your field. By teaching what you know and publishing that content regularly, your audience will see you as a knowledgable professional in your field. Pick a day in the week or time each day when you can publish a post, then make it a habit. This will allow your audience to know when they can check back with you to learn something new each week or day. If you only create content irregularly, your audience won’t know when to come to you to learn. They’ll forget about you because it’s too difficult to know if you have shared any new content. They’ll get to the point where they’ve checked for new content a few times and since nothing has been published for a while, they’ll move on and forget about you. The point of content marketing is to keep your audience coming back. The only way to do this is by continually producing content on a regular basis to maintain a relationship with your audience.
Teaching Them What You Know Won’t Kill Your Business
By teaching what you know in your field, you might be afraid that people will be able to take care of their problems themselves. They will no longer need your help. Not so fast. Even if your audience is able to use your helpful information to solve their own problems now, they’re going to come back to you for other help because they trust you. Not everyone is going to watch all of your videos or read your tutorials. They’re going to see you’re a professional in your field and want you to solve their problem or want to experience your expertise firsthand. Since you’re the professional, they’re going to trust you to do it the best because of the amount of content you have provided over the years.
The Rule of Reciprocity
This is where you’re going to make the money. As you create more valuable information and have a consistent output, you’ll gain a loyal following in your target audience. They will trust you and recognize that you have helped them in their own lives. You have provided so much helpful information that they’re going to feel in debt to you and want to pay you back. Maybe that’s by purchasing a shirt with your brand on it, or paying you for your services, or paying for the pro version of your smart phone app.
Don’t Forget You Have Something to Sell
After all, it is called content marketing. Whether it’s a product or a service, you have something you want people to pay you for. Even though you’re providing valuable information for your target audience, you can have ways to make that hard sell in your content. If you’re a car mechanic with tutorial videos on YouTube, make sure you mention that if they have a problem that’s beyond their expertise, contact you because you can take care of them. If you’re a coffee shop with tutorials on how to make the best cup of coffee at home, let them know they can purchase your own in-house roasted coffee beans at your shop and try your new coffee flavor while they’re there. Don’t be afraid to sell your product, but make sure you are providing valuable content first because that’s what will keep your target audience coming back.
Provide Value and People Will Buy into What You are Selling
Content marketing isn’t a short game. I’m not talking about standing at the corner asking everyone that walks by to purchase your product.