Creating authentic content is potentially one of the most valuable skills for marketers to learn in 2019. Consumer trust in brands and advertising is at an all-time low. Earning back that trust is one surefire way to win more business in an increasingly skeptical world.
According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, globally only 56% of people trust businesses and 47% trust the media to do what’s right. On the positive side, individual trust in their employer has increased dramatically. 75% of those surveyed said they trust their employer. Engagement in news and content has also increased, with 72% of people consuming news weekly and sharing content several times a month.
Brands can use these trends to their advantage not only by creating and sharing more content, but also by involving their employees in content marketing efforts for better authenticity and improved trust.
- Authenticity is essential for building trust with your audience and creating better content.
- You can be personable and relatable without getting personal or giving away your trade secrets.
- Put your audience first and the rest will follow.
Content marketing has its roots in authenticity as consumers are losing trust in traditional advertising and marketing methods. More businesses are starting to use content as a major marketing channel. But consumer fatigue for superficial content marketing increasing; the trust is starting to wane here as well.
So how can you improve your content marketing in this atmosphere of skepticism and distrust? Is it really possible to create truly authentic content without giving away your business secrets and losing your personal privacy?
1. Develop a Clear Brand Voice
The key to authentic content marketing is not only about what you say — but also about how you say it.
Finding your brand voice adds personality to your content and helps people to feel as if they’re engaging with a human when they consume your content. This is much different from just reading a dull article produced by a faceless corporation.
Think about your brand mission and values, as well as your audience, and what kind of voice would work best for your content. Are you informative and authoritative? Likeable and humorous? Fun and quirky?
Developing a clear brand voice not only helps you to be more consistent in your marketing, but also makes your content feel more authentic to the reader.
2. Create Original Content
Resist the temptation to churn out content cheaply and quickly by recycling content from other brands.
Mark Twain famously said, “There’s no such thing as a new idea!”
This is true in many respects (of course, all generalizations are false). It’s certainly challenging to come up with completely new concepts and ideas that haven’t already been explored and published by someone else.
It’s certainly okay to be inspired by a piece of content you’ve read elsewhere. But it will be obvious if you’ve simply re-written it without adding your own spin or any ideas of your own.
Base your content on original research, wherever possible, and make sure to use your own unique voice, thoughts, and opinions. A regurgitated piece of content will never feel authentic. And people will lose trust in your brand if you can’t demonstrate originality.
3. Write for People, Not Search Engines
One of the biggest benefits of content marketing is how powerful it is for boosting SEO. But beware of falling into the trap of producing content for SEO purposes only.
It’s painfully obvious when you’ve written an article purely as a vehicle to add keywords to your website. While this may result in a temporary boost in search engine rankings, the damage it does to your brand reputation. The relationship you have with your audience can be significantly damaged.
Keyword research can be a useful tool when used carefully. Finding out what questions your audience are asking can help you to create content that meets their needs. But never forget that you’re writing for a person, not a machine.
Your primary aim should be to provide value for your audience, and this will be rewarded with higher levels of trust. For the same reason you should avoid ‘clickbait” titles and too many sales messages. 90% of top-performing B2B content marketers prioritize their audience’s needs over their promotional messages.
4. Build Your Content Around Stories
Life coach Lisa Nichols is one of the world’s most-requested motivational speakers. What makes her so successful? While her speaking style is certainly motivational, it’s her compelling story about escaping poverty that makes her so relatable and inspiring to others.
In fact, Nichols now teaches others how to use the power of storytelling to capture hearts and minds. She helps to make people “fall in love” with your products, ideas, and services.
Incorporating your own personal experiences and anecdotes into content is a tried and tested way to make it more authentic and compelling. Humans love stories, and we’ve used them for thousands of years to educate, inform and inspire.
We’ve all grown up hearing stories from childhood. And a juicy story told at the water cooler or bar can have a group hanging off every word. Humans are naturally curious creatures, and stories trigger this innate curiosity as well as helping us feel connected to others.
For a real-life example of how effective storytelling can be, just take a look at the book The Richest Man in Babylon – one of the most popular personal finance books of all time. Rather than setting out the advice simply as a series of steps, they’re interwoven into a series of stories and characters set in the ancient kingdom of Babylon.
Your stories don’t have to be personal ones. If you don’t want to give away your darkest secrets, it’s certainly not compulsory. But developing your writing technique to incorporate some storytelling into your content can make it more compelling to read and give it a more authentic tone. Be creative, and see what you can come up with!
If you are ready to get more traffic to your site with quality content that’s consistently published, check out our Content Builder Service. Set up a quick consultation, and I’ll send you a free PDF version of my books. Get started today and generate more traffic and leads for your business.