Content marketing is all about building trust and loyalty by delivering helpful information to your audience. While we've only just been calling this strategy "content marketing" over the last decade or so, brands have been building these relationships for a long time.
- Harley Davidson's The Enthusiast was first published by the motorcycle legend in 1916 and is still the longest-running motorcycle publication in the world.
- John Deere's The Furrow was first published in 1895 to help farmers be more successful. Today, the publication has more than 1.5 million readers in 40 countries and is published in 12 languages.
These content visionaries saw the value of publishing "free" information that helped educate their audiences, tell their stories and make real connections with their customers.
Your brand can also give away knowledge in creative ways:
Speak through your Website
Your website is your handshake. It's your first impression; your opportunity to connect one-on-one; your 24/7 sales team that works even when you aren't.
Make sure it includes:
- Information that connects to users.
- Links that keep users engaged.
- A voice that users remember.
Ditch the Jargon
Just today, I stumbled upon a site called TalkLikeTheBoss.com, a website devoted to defining and mocking some of the more egrigious business buzzwords out there. Steele Champion, who runs the site, recently told Inc. Magazine the buzzword "opportunity" makes his blood boil. That's because the meaning of the word has been changed from "something we should be grateful for" to "something that needs to be improved upon". So instead of saying things like, "Your on-boarding process is weak in these areas," I should say, "Your on-boarding process has a few opportunity areas," said Champion.
Twisting words around to make you look better is no way to connect with your customers. No one wants to read about your company's "bottom line" and "optimal performance" on your website. Speak to your audience as if you are a person, not a robot.
Be a Giver
A relationship is a two-way street, so don't just talk about yourself to your customers. And don't be shy. Being afraid to share your secret sauce will prevent you from revealing the heart and soul of your company.
Here are some ways to share information that lets your expertise shine, without using sales tactics:
- Create a "resources" e-book answering frequently asked questions about your business or service.
- Share quotes from your favorite industry experts or authors, celebrities, historical figures and cultural icons.
- Review a product, service, or book that other people in your community or industry will care about.
- Create a blog to share your expertise and educate consumers. Blogs also have the added benefit of driving traffic to your website and converting leads.
By being honest in the information you share, losing your fear of being too transparent and recognizing opportunities to educate your audience, you will be rewarded with their business.
Learn more about being transparent to build trust in our book, Brands in Glass Houses: How to Embrace Transparency and Grow your Business through Content Marketing.