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Rarely has the topic of trust been more in the spotlight, and not only because of our currently febrile political arena. CPL director Sophie Hewitt-Jones offers three tips on how to take your content from trite to trusted
One simple definition of ‘content’ I like is: “The stories you tell that help build relationships.” The stronger those relationships, the more people are likely to trust you – and to buy from you, recommend you and work with, and for, you.
Being trusted and building loyalty as a result is, therefore, a key indicator that your content is effective.
So, what can you do to make sure the content you’re putting out there is trusted by those with whom you want to connect, and that you are nurturing those relationships?
This was one of the questions debated by a group of Cambridge marketers at a workshop I facilitated on this topic last week, together with CPL’s managing director, Mike Sewell.
Reassuringly, everyone in the room agreed on a lot of things, so I thought I’d share three that could help move your content from trite to trusted.
Keep your messages simple and aligned with your values – and then reiterate them little and often.
It can be hard to keep your storytelling consistent across all your channels and geographies, especially if you have partners or a network of sales people working remotely.
Have a tone of voice and a visual identity you stick with and make it easy for everyone to apply both these to the content they’re creating.
The execution can vary – and should, according to your audience – but, in essence, everyone who comes into contact with your content should be receiving the same core messages so that you convey confidence.
Staying true to your purpose and communicating that consistently, both internally and externally, goes a long way towards reinforcing trust.
Be open and honest
Share more and reveal your vulnerability. If something has gone wrong, consider how you can confront it and explain what you’re doing so that you can rebuild trust.
Do this and your audiences will be reassured that if you are honest when things go bad you are certainly likely to be trustworthy in the good times too.
Use the experts in your organisation, as well as others from outside your business, to tell your stories.
These could be in the form of, among other things, case studies, blogs, interviews or testimonials.
Consider facilitating a roundtable discussion on a topic affecting your sector, in which you bring together external and internal subject specialists. This can be a confident and powerful way of creating content and positioning your brand as respected and knowledgeable in your field.
But beware; your external voices may not always have the same point of view as your own. However, allowing them to have their say is a positive move in your bid to become more trusted.
The 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer survey found that three-quarters of those questioned believe that how a business treats its employees is a key indicator of trustworthiness. So, don’t forget that your employees are experts too. After all, no-one knows your organisation better than they do. Encourage them to share their experiences and they may prove to be some of your strongest advocates.
The ability to build lasting, valuable relationships with your customers, partners and employees is a vital characteristic of a resilient and trusted business. Successful brands will be those that maximise the power of their content to nurture these relationships.