All presidents were still a trumpet while I learned the strings of research reporting and dreamed of being Bernstein’s next Woodward with a twist that would get POTUS to the point.
20 years too early.
Today, our politicians are doing their best to get involved in social media; they no longer need our help. And according to the Edelman Trust Barometer, 61% of the world considers journalists to be non-objective, even supporters. “False news” is so widespread that our schools need to teach children to recognize them.
Despite this sad state of affairs, your business has a positive side. The same survey found that 61% of the world entrusts its business to non-governmental organizations (57%), the government of their country (53%), and the media (51%).
Your customers, consumers, and the general public are ready to trust you. How then can your company have the confidence of the masses?
The answer: create a customer-centric content marketing program.
You can use innovative leadership to show customers what your company stands for and, most importantly, you can trust that you can help them alleviate their organizational problems and challenges.
Six elements to build brand confidence with content marketing
1. Act with empathy
Start your content with the customer’s weaknesses. Let your audience know immediately that you understand why an issue keeps them up and running overnight. Do not give them the answer to their problem until they prove that you “feel their pain”.
Case in point: here are excerpts from a blog post I recently wrote about unemployment insurance fraud. The company’s public consists of small and medium-sized employers:
Unemployment insurance fraud has skyrocketed since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States and Canada.
Using phishing attacks and database leaks, criminals directed billions of dollars in unemployment benefits …
Unemployment fraud does not require the victim to be unemployed. Instead, identity thieves obtain personally identifiable information, such as date of birth, social security number, or driver’s license information, and sell or use the information to complete unemployment insurance.
Many victims are not aware of the fraud until they receive a letter or benefits card from a government agency. Others may find out when their current or previous employer asks for confirmation that they have applied for unemployment benefits.
If you are an employer reading this article, you will probably be concerned with the rest of the article, which details how employers can prevent this type of fraud.
2. Recruit your subject matter experts (SMEs)
In the Edelman study cited earlier, respondents were also asked which leaders they trust most in companies. The greatest confidence (59%) is given to technical experts in the field and academics; CEOs are 44% behind.
Do you want to take food? Convince your SMEs to create your content. Let your knowledge of the subject, best practices, and lessons learned take center stage.
3. Show up even if you’re not selling
Teach your target audience what to know, even if it doesn’t reach a direct selling point. You can do this by creating tangential content.
For example, in 2010, a company that created educational materials for qualified nursing staff published a series of white papers on the Accessible Care Act. Training modules are never mentioned in white papers, but the content provides a great ROI for the company.
Why? Because the company gained the trust of its customers’ brand overnight.
Nursing homeowners were desperate for information about the ACA’s impact on them, and the company quickly became an authority in the field. Although white papers had nothing to do with your product, it was just about solving the biggest problems for customers.
4. Tell your stories
Write case studies about your company that show them and don’t disclose them. Describe how you set up your company’s DEI program as an example to help other companies. Publish a case study on your company’s wellness initiative or employee incentive program. Announce the day when you will give your employees the chance to vote or volunteer for a cause your supporters have. These stories are proof of your industry leadership.
TIP: also do it internally. Publish an internal weekly or monthly newsletter, even if it is just a page of company wins and employee success. According to the Edelman survey, 76% of their employers respect it. You can also turn employees into brand champions by introducing them to the brand message.
5. Apply statistics and resources correctly
Nothing makes me close a browser or magazine faster than the wrong metric – or nothing. This can seriously undermine brand confidence and the common practice of making broad and comprehensive statements that may not be true.
Example: When writing to a subject matter expert (PMI), it is easy to interpret your information at a glance, but what if a cited statistic or source is incorrect? Check before posting!
Otherwise, letters to the editor complaining about a recording based on something really incorrect or false claims about the product, leading to horrible social media criticism, are the quickest way to damage the reputation of any company.
6. Don’t forget the distribution
Your industry already has reliable distribution channels, so take advantage of this. Today it is easier to get a free seat on these channels, as news organizations and companies increase the production of content, but do not have the capacity to do everything internally. Look for industry stocks and professional organizations of which your clients are members. When a reputable publication or organization in your industry publishes your article, you also gain the trust of your brand readers.