Do you trust me? That’s a big question. But it’s one that businesses ask indirectly on a regular basis. When you ask someone to sign up for your mailing list, click on your latest blog post, or sign up for a free trial, you’re asking for someone’s trust. You’re asking for their attention, their time or a sacred spot in their cluttered inboxes.
At a time when trust is elusive, defining what you stand for allows people to identify with you. It can be the first step to building a strong relationship. But inevitably, it exposes you to scrutiny and potential criticism too.
Causes count for consumers
A courageous approach can enable brands to differentiate themselves by staking out their place in society.
Recent research has found that two in three respondents now buy or boycott products more often because of their connection with causes. And one in three is doing this far more frequently than they did only a couple of years ago.
Consumers desire to be in deeper, more committed relationships with brands. And when they find this kind of relationship, they buy more, will pay a premium, and will act as a loyal advocate of the brand in question.
The trust equation
There’s a framework for building trust that might improve your ROI on content. By applying the trust equation in your approach to content, you can establish trust with your audience and generate more leads.
According to it, there are four components of trustworthiness. The formula boils down to credibility (the words you say), reliability (the actions you take), intimacy (the way you make people feel), and self-orientation (the motives you are driven by).
Credibility: Do I believe what you’re saying?
The element of credibility relates to the words you say, the content you put out into the world: blog posts, sales pages, emails, and infographics. We use our content to position ourselves as experts and make an appeal to rationality.
Highly credible content is well researched and objectively sourced. Claims are supported by data or business results. To enhance your content’s credibility: anticipating needs, and speaking about needs that are not commonly articulated.
Reliability: Can I count on you?
Reliability is about whether clients think you are dependable and can be trusted to behave in consistent ways, it boils down to what readers can expect from you.
Consider your editorial calendar, content distribution plan, and your messaging strategy. Do you deliver consistently? Does your audience know what to expect? Are your quality standards unwavering?
By showing up on a regular basis, your audience can begin to rely on your council and your content. Moreover, regularly updating your website increases your chances of ranking higher in search engines. After all, your reputation is a made up of the repeated experience someone has with you or hears about you.
Intimacy: Do I feel comfortable sharing this with you?
In the context of building trust, intimacy is about emotional closeness, it’s about deepening the connection with your customers. How does what you’re creating understand and work to solve the challenges they face?
Learn directly from the people you’re creating content for. Talk with them. Observe them in forums and comment threads of places they visit online. Listen to uncover their hopes and dreams and the obstacles slowing them down.
Once you identify opportunities to provide the most value, create story-based content that your audience will appreciate. But why tell stories? Because stories help to create an emotional connection with your audience.
Self-Orientation: What are your motives?
Self-orientation is the last piece of the puzzle. It’s concerned with your intentions, it asks the essential question: “Who do you serve?”
For marketers, it’s important to focus on serving the clients needs first and always. By creating content that informs, educates and entertains, you can attract qualified leads. In fact, consumers are 131% more likely to buy from a brand immediately after they consume early-stage, educational content.