70 percent of adults said their purchasing decision is affected by the content they share on the web in a recent study by New York Times. Your audience is more likely to trust a review or a comment by a stranger more than they will trust an ad from your company.

So that brings us to the question how do you build trust using content marketing?

Content Marketing to Build Trust

Do Things for Free

Customers have become wary about entering their e-mail address for an e-book, checklist or guide. They know that if they enter their e-mail address, they’re going to become part of a drip feed or even worse a sales call queue for a product they never intended to buy.

Drift, a business messaging app made headlines a few years back when they announced that they would stop using e-mail forms for all their premium content. Dave Gerhardt, Director of Marketing at Drift mentions in his blog post that by using forms, marketing ends up treating people like leads and email addresses instead of treating people like people. By not using forms you also end up removing additional hoops and hurdles that user has to tackle before reaching the actual content.

HackerRank, a technology company that focuses on competitive programming challenges for both consumers and businesses last year published its Annual Developers Skills ReportThe report shared already has 10,800 shares across social media. Buzzsumo analyzed one million blog posts and found that 50 percent of content gets eight shares or less. There’s way too much content out there for people to sort through and figure out what’s actually worth their time to read.

Trust and Reciprocity

Reciprocity involves treating your customers fairly. In a business setting, this means people feel trust when they believe the actual value of the product is equal to or higher than the perceived value they paid for. Reciprocity hinges on predictability. If business commits that something will occur if certain expectations are met, then they have to adhere to the deal—otherwise, it will set off a chain reaction of distrust.

iD Fresh, a packed foods brand that deals in Idli and Dosa Batter set-up unmanned kiosks at 40 apartment complexes in 2016. The unmanned kiosks didn’t have any hidden cameras, salespersons or technology. Customers could simply walk-in into the kiosk pick-up a packet of Idli or Dosa batter from the chiller and drop the money in the money box next to the chiller and walk away.

“We wanted customers to trust us. So we decided to trust them so that they, in turn, start trusting us.”

– PC Mustafa, Founder, iD Fresh

When the brand discussed the idea with the apartment associations, they simply ridiculed the idea however the brand still went ahead with the idea. The brand called the kiosks ‘Trust Shops’. The campaign was a resounding success with the recorded per-store revenue of ‘iD Trust Shops’ was much higher than traditional shops. The campaign won the Best Food Marketing Idea for 2016.

Sell a Story

How consistent is your brand story across channels? For instance, Google’s vision is organizing world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful for everyone. The brand’s services are designed to serve this vision hence they are freely available to everyone.

Your brand story has to be consistent across platforms and should not have any contradictions or inconsistencies. Consistency in the brand story will you in building trust and enhance your reputation.

Feedback Loop

Tesla adopted a new approach to customer service last year. The brand allowed customers to escalate issues to company executives. Tesla took the radical step after customers complained that they had to wait for several weeks for repairs after the release of the new Model X.

On Twitter the brand’s CEO, Elon Musk is actively seeking feedback and using them to solve problems. Elon Musk asked his 17.1 million Twitter followers for feedback December last year, saying he wants to know how the auto and power company “can improve further.” The tweet has received 140k replies so far.

Responding to feedback or a complaint shows that the customer that there is a genuine desire to provide a value-driven product or service, rather than to just sell something.

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