7 Questions Your Content Marketing Must Answer
When visitors find your content, are you doing all you can to make them feel special so they invest time consuming it?
Understand that the majority of your content’s visitors are new and you’ve got seconds to convince them to stay and read your content, or even better to sign up for your emails. To this end, your content marketing must instill trust in your visitors.
Here are seven questions you must answer in order for your content marketing to build trust with prospects and customers. Together with strong design and compelling visuals, they set the basis for business interactions.
1. Who are you? This is where you need to establish your credentials. What experience and education do you bring to the topic?
- Provide proof that you know what you’re talking about. Include your education, background and work experience.
- Incorporate some unusual, personal facts. The goal is to show that you’re a real person.
- Have a human voice. People like dealing with other people. They want to see the person behind the curtain.
2. What makes your firm special? Whether you represent yourself, a media entity or a corporation, you need to define what sets you apart from the crowd. To this end, it’s useful to know your prospects and customers to better understand their needs and how you can fulfill them. (Creating a marketing persona can be helpful for this purpose.)
3. Why should I buy from you? Regardless of whether it’s a physical product or a service you need to clarify what value you’re offering to prospects.
- Provide prospects with the information that shows the value they get from purchasing from your firm. This content can be in the form of how-to’s, styling or product information.
- Answer customer questions. Until you answer all of your prospect’s questions, you won’t be able to close the sale. Marcus Sheridan refers to this as the secret sauce.
4. Where’s the proof? You can’t expect strangers to take your word without checking the veracity of what you’re saying. To this end, you must provide evidence that what you say is reliable.
- Include photographs for show and tell. Display images of you and your employees as well as of your product and location.
- Add customer reviews and commentary. This means allowing prospects to see the good and the bad about your offering. (Understand that if you don’t include this information, they’ll leave your site to find it elsewhere.)
5. Can we talk? You don’t need to be Joan Rivers. Just make it easy for visitors to contact you across a variety of means.
- Offer prospects a variety of options to engage with you. Include social media, email, phone and location.
- Post your business hours (including the time zone) and maps, where relevant.
6. Are you on social media? Show that you’re not only active on various social media venues, but that you engage with visitors on these networks.
- Have a social media presence on the major social media entities where it makes sense. Among those to consider are a blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest.
- Ensure you have a way of forwarding these messages to the appropriate departments or employees since prospects will use any means possible to engage with your firm, especially if they have customer service questions.
7. What are your house rules? Specifically, what is the small print. This is an area where you may want to check with your legal department or advisor. Among the elements to post are:
- Disclaimers. The goal is to limit your liability in the event something goes wrong as a result of using your information.
- Disclosures. This is important to mention your affiliate relationships so that visitors know that you’re making money from the deal.
- Privacy. This is particularly important when you collect information from readers for an email list or purchase.
- Copyright. Don’t forget to include a copyright notice.
- Comment guidelines. These are your rules for commenting. While comments are nirvana for most bloggers, understand that, especially if you’ve got a business blog, it’s important to outline the type of content that can be included in a comment. Do comments get approved automatically or are they approved by your staff? Do you allow links in comments? When will you edit or delete comments?
- Guest post guidelines. Do you accept guest bloggers (Note: This blog doesn’t)? What type of content do you seek? In what format must it be submitted? Can the blogger include a link back to his blog? A headshot and/or bio? Do you expect bloggers to respond to comments? It’s reasonable to expect guest bloggers to engage in the conversation around their post for three days and to respond as quickly as possible.
Bear in mind that people unconsciously decide whether or not to consume your content marketing in a matter of seconds. To help persuade them, it’s critical to ensure that you provide answers to these seven content marketing questions to instill them with trust.
Are there any other content marketing elements that are important to building trust with your prospects and customers?
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Even though Content Marketing World is finished until next September, you can still get all the content from 2014's exciting conference. The CMWorld On Demand package includes: Audio and video from the 2014 keynote sessions, audio and PowerPoint presentations of all the breakout sessions, over 40 audio sessions from the leading B2B and B2C brands, as well as keynote video performances.
According to research by Nielsen, 70 percent of global consumers trust online consumer reviews and rate reviews as the second most trusted form of advertising. And according to BazaarVoice, when it comes to trust, marketers may as well eliminate their own brand websites as a fountain of customer trust as only 16 percent of US consumers said they trust the content on a brand's website compared to the 51 percent who trust content generated by other users.
Today's digital currency is arguably authenticity, and what attracts customers - especially the digitally dependent, savvy millennial - is not just content. It is the delivery of authentic, unvarnished content from their peers.
Join the CMO Council on Wednesday, October 29, at 10am PST/ 1pm EST for a one-hour webcast that will invite industry experts in content marketing and user-generated content who are effectively leveraging authentic storytelling as part of their content marketing strategies. We will also feature an interactive Q&A session at the conclusion of the speaker presentations.
- Social Media and Content Marketing: 5 Trust Elements (Edelman Trust Barometer Analyzed)
- The One Reason You Need Content Marketing
- How to Market When the Trust is Gone.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/westmidlandspolice/8573497293/