Content marketing may feel like the biggest trend next to fidget spinners, but it’s been around for a lot longer. Unless, of course, in all the excitement surrounding the release of his publication The Furrow back in ‘95 (that’s 1895), John Deere accidentally plowed his fidget spinners into the soil and then completely forgot about his other extremely notable contribution to society.
While the definition of content marketing may not have been as widely known back then, Deere knew the practice was worth his time and effort. But what is content marketing and why do we need it?
Content marketing is when brands create and market “valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience.”
Like most marketing efforts, the goal is to help drive profits, but content marketing also serves a greater purpose. I know what you’re thinking: Why should consumers trust a blog when it’s run by a brand? Isn’t content marketing just another way for brands to push their agenda on us and stick it where it doesn’t belong? In short: nope.
Content marketing is actually an effective way to build trust by:
#1 Giving Us Customers Some Value
Good content marketing provides the following:
- Tips and tricks
Good content marketing practices focus more on the value than pushing a product into the arms of an unwilling consumer. While the brand should use content as a means to promote their brand, it’s a fine line between education and another annoying ad.
Makeup brand, Glossier’s blog, Into the Gloss has it all (textually speaking). They post international shipping updates and product spotlights (Glossier Invisible Shield: A Sunscreen That Doesn’t Suck, anyone?), alongside educational pieces that detail how to exfoliate with acid.
And why wouldn’t we trust reputable makeup brand Glossier for skincare and makeup advice? They’ve diligently built their brand around creating the best line of products they can.
Into the Gloss is a platform for them to show off their knowledge of all things beauty, and because they’re dedicated to their niche, we trust what they have to say, and dare I say, the value they’re providing.
I can’t speak for all consumers, but I can guess that at least some of the population feels we don’t need any more sales pitches. When brands commit themselves to offering value, they earn our trust, because it’s less about what they’re selling and more about their customer’s true needs.
#2 Humanizing Themselves as a Brand
Brands: stop with the facade. Consumers want transparency. They want to see who you really are.
Brands are here to help guide readers and consumers (read: help), not just cajole us into buying your stuff. A brand with a good content market strategy is like that talented, stylish cousin who graciously shares what helped her, why she uses the products she uses, and tells us her secrets without us having to beg for it.
The company who uses their blog as another advertisement is the sleazy car salesman, or the vendor in the mall who shoves their products on you. Pass.
Customers want to interact and get to know a brand. A company’s blog (or social accounts) can help show consumers who they really are. Take Snoop Dogg and his youtube channel GNN Hood News.
Snoop isn’t just a music artist. He has his own brand and produces his own content to remind fans of who he is beyond his music and form relationships with them. GNN has the same format– he invites guests on his show to chat and um, partake in some recreational activities.
The format is consistent, but still remains fresh. Why? Because Snoop is true to himself, my connection to him feels stronger, and when that happens, I’m more likely to trust his products, and see him as a reliable and trustworthy brand.
#3 Giving Us a Voice
During print ads and commercials, brands do all the talking. Even social media posts (aside from UGC and influencer posts) all contain the brand’s voice.
Contenting marketing via blogs is different. On a blog, companies can regularly feature other writers, industry leaders, experts, and even consumers to contribute towards their platform. A blog is an open forum where everyone’s opinion counts.
With more voices and greater diversity comes a greater sense of trust in a business. A blog can still look and feel polished, but it lacks the rigidness and impersonal nature of an ad. Content marketing should feel more like a conversation.
A conversation like this:
Brands: Hello. Can you hear me? I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet
Consumer: Hello from the other side
…just joking. But this is where the customer can directly reach the brand and share what they love/don’t love about products and share their opinion on the content. Consumers want authenticity, an insider’s look at what the company is talking about, creating, or discovering.
#4 The Good Thing About Content is that it Creates Sustainable Trust
Audiences crave more personal interactions with brands. Content marketing should feel as if you’re having an intimate conversation with a trustworthy friend.
When brands provide value and educate, humanize themselves, and let us consumers over here have a voice, they reinforce who they are and build a relationship based on trust. We can’t stay loyal to someone who hasn’t earned or kept our trust can we?
So brands, stop selling products and start showing us who you really are… alongside the BTS sneak peeks, company news, and useful lifestyle tips.