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Good content marketing develops trust, which is an important cornerstone to any business’s foundation. In order to successfully gain credibility, public relations firms and advertising agencies want to present their clients not only in the best light. In the process, they want to position them as solution providers. This can effectively be established through developing and distributing strong content.

Establish the company’s identity

To start, the client’s website and social media profiles should always list contact information. Consumers should be able to easily find a phone number, email contact and physical address for a company. Not listing these will appear shady and many web visitors will bounce right off the page. People are less likely to buy from companies that appear to be anonymous. Companies should be visible and show they are “real,” not appear as an anonymous Internet entity.

Provide valuable information

A common phrase suggests “Content is King,” and as content strategies become more vital to marketing plans, this saying perhaps has even deeper value. Poor quality or inconsistent content is not attractive to customers or potential buyers. Therefore, it is essential that you provide information of value, such as:

• Helpful and relevant tips.
• Useful information.
• Links to interesting statistics or expert reports.
• Easily digested infographics.

These are only a few examples; videos and other types of content can also augment a content strategy. The key is to provide something of value that helps to increase brand awareness and give the web visitor some good takeaways. This will all contribute to building trust.

Show documentation and be honest

Well-documented content is also important. While the company will want to be portrayed as an expert, no one is proficient in everything. When using statistics or other facts, back these up with outside sources if needed. A study conducted by the marketing firm Kentico found 46 percent of consumers were less likely to trust content not supported with outside sources, and 57 percent said they viewed content as more credible when expert opinions were linked.

Additionally, content should always be honest. Own up to blunders and apologize. Give opinions that are genuine and do not appear to be just what an audience wants to hear. This can appear insincere. Objectivity is another factor to consider. In some cases it is best to keep opinions out of content, but this will vary depending on the industry and type of content being distributed.

Develop a strong social media presence

Statistics highlight that referrals are one of a company’s strongest assets. In 2013 Nielsen reported a whopping 77 percent of survey respondents said the advice of family and friends was the most persuasive when seeking information about new products. In 2015, statistics suggest this number is now at 91 percent.

While traditional word-of-mouth is still vital, social media is increasingly becoming an important source of referrals. Yet, many businesses still do not leverage this power effectively. A company blog post that garners attention and loyal social media followers share can go a long way in gaining endorsements. A strong social media following can contribute to that coveted goal of being perceived as trustworthy.

Ask for testimonials

As already noted, word-of-mouth referrals are some of the best advertising — and they are free. Getting testimonials from satisfied customers also establishes credibility. If buyers are unsure, reading the words of happy customers can help them overcome any apprehensiveness of buying. As Forbes notes, testimonials help build trust, eliminate skepticism and are not “salesy.” Dedicating a page to testimonials is a good addition to a content strategy and helps round out a business website.

Always keep the customer’s best interest in mind

Selfish, one-way marketing does not work in today’s markets. With the advent of the internet came plenty of choice, and consumers and businesses will quickly turn to a competitor if not satisfied with their interaction with a company. Hence it is OK to try selling a product or service via content and social media, but if your client cannot effectively meet a customer’s needs, give a referral. As Salesforce notes, honesty is the best policy. Never propose something that will not deliver what the customer seeks.

In conclusion, building trust and credibility takes time, but it will come naturally and more quickly to companies that display sincerity and engage with their audiences. As an agent you can help build that trust.

Tempesta Media, a managed services provider, assists digital agencies with their content development needs. Contact TempestaMedia.com for more information on what we can do for you and your clients.

If you have a content marketing program, or are planning one, download our ebook:  100 mistakes businesses make when starting, optimizing and scaling content marketing programs.  Learn from the mistakes of hundreds of other companies.  100 mistakes walks you through common and uncommon challenges that they faced with their content marketing programs.

Get more information on what Tempesta Media can do for you.

Michael Marchese is the founder and CEO of Tempesta Media. He is responsible for corporate strategy, executive team leadership and overall business operations across all the company’s segments.

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