Report: How content marketing builds trust

A new study from the Content Marketing Institute details how organizations can use their original offerings to bolster consumer confidence. Consider these insights.

Trust is a scarce commodity for companies and other organizations in 2018.

Modern market forces have resulted in an unprecedented loss of trust for institutions and businesses. News organizations have experienced a rebound, with new journalism seeing an increase in influence—but PR pros are having a harder time than ever securing earned media coverage.

The press release is an outdated tactic, some say. Others contend social media is a poor substitute for trusted news outlets. Influencer marketing isn’t going to replace earned media’s place, either.

The good news is that content marketing might help fill the void.

A new study from the Content Marketing Institute asserts that owned media might be the answer to your organization’s trust concerns. The key to building a relationship with a consumer is to provide value—including delivering valuable information.

The study writes:

When you put your audience’s needs first – and create your content based on THOSE needs – what are you really trying to do? Of course, you want your content to get found, consumed, discussed, and/or shared, to generate action by your audience. You want the right people to find value in your content and subscribe to it.

But what’s happening on a deeper level when you help someone by providing valuable information? Our research indicates you’re creating a bond: 96% of the most successful content marketers agree their audience views their organization as a credible and trusted resource.

How can you apply this insight in your efforts? CMI’s chief strategy advisor, Robert Rose, says, “Every digital experience we create should not only reflect our focus on winning a moment of truth—where the customer is paying attention—but in deepening the trust gained (or regained) in every step that precedes or follows it.”

Know your audience

A good grasp of your audience is essential for providing value with your content marketing. In order to create content your audience will find useful, you must first know who they are.

CMI’s report says relatively few content marketers are researching their audience by talking directly with consumers. Only 42 percent say they have a direct dialogue with their audience. More likely avenues for feedback are keyword research and reports from the sales team.

The report suggests marketers should make every effort to contact real consumers—either by jumping on calls with sales reps or interacting at in-person events.

Be prepared to spend

Budgets are going up for content marketers, according to CMI—and most of the money is going to creation efforts. Fifty-six percent report increased spending on creation. Staff increases are reported by just 37 percent, and distribution efforts garner 36 percent.

Content creation costs align with the increase in video content, per CMI’s report.

Sixty-four percent of marketers report an increase in audio/visual content, whereas only 4 percent note a decrease. Audio-only content (such as podcasts) was increased by 38 percent of respondents.

The written word shouldn’t be ignored. While print content, such as magazines and brochures, has seen the highest drop in use (17 percent), digital content have seen major gains. Sixty-one percent report an increase in blogging and e-books, and 33 percent report keeping their efforts at the same level for digital writing content.

Looking ahead

What are content marketers concerned about for the future? The biggest worry for most is changing SEO algorithms. Sixty-one percent rank changes to Google and other search giants as a concern; social media changes come in second, at 45 percent.

Data and privacy concerns continue to be at the bottom of marketers’ priority lists, despite the dangers posed to reputation—and the legal penalties attached to new laws like the GDPR. Only 34 percent rank data and privacy as their main concern. However, they are more worried about security than about voice search or artificial intelligence, those elements registering with just 13 and 14 percent of respondents, respectively.

Marketers who are worried about data security can learn more about the simple steps they can take to protect their operations.

How are you going to change your content marketing operations in the new year, PR Daily readers?

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One Response to “Report: How content marketing builds trust”

    Charles H Green says:

    Not that there’s anything wrong here, but…

    There is a constant risk that “content marketing” mimics the shift from “writing” to “typing.”

    While it’s absolutely true that customer-relevant content that adds value is the key, that is not how most “content marketers” view it. As the report notes, most of them don’t talk to customers to determine value; instead, they focus on things like SEO algorithms and media types. This is like knitting with mittens on.

    To me, the most telling stat in this article is the claim that “96% of the most successful content marketers agree their audience views their organization as a credible and trusted resource.” Never mind how we define “success;’ this is apparently a statistic about how content marketers think their customers trust them.

    I do not believe that customers would answer the same. This is akin to bosses saying their employees trust them, when every survey of employees say the number is much lower.

    Content marketing is a valuable tool, constantly suffering abuse at the hand of content marketers, who insist on looking not at content itself, but at pale behavioral reflections of those who “consume” it.

    As owner of a 12-year old blog, I get several requests per week from content marketers who want to provide me ostensibly bespoke material supposedly of value to my audience.

    I have never yet once – not ever – seen a piece of material from these ‘marketers’ that is sufficiently insightful to offer value. Every single time, it has been mere clickbait.

    Content marketers need to spend a whole lot more time looking at “content” before jumping off into “marketing.”

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