In the TV adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, belief is everything. Funnily enough, the same could be said of content marketing.
Whether we’re talking about ensuring your whole company has belief in the power of your content strategy (and are singing from the same hymn-sheet when it comes to its implementation), or the fact that your content needs to inspire customers to believe in your brand, products and services, it’s apparent that a little bit of faith goes a long way.
This is the problem that the old guard of American Gods face. The traditional gods, documented in mythology from all over the world, are shadows of their former selves in the modern age, due to the fact that nobody believes in them anymore. Instead, the world has turned to the new gods, the gods of technology and media that absorb all its attention and grow steadily more powerful every day as a result.
But the world can be fickle and, just like the characters in Neil Gaiman’s surreal universe, brands on the road to success should be aware that without taking steps to stay relevant to their customers, add value to their lives and develop a two-way relationship that’s solid enough to last, they can expect to be swept away by the competition.
In the words of Jacquel (American Gods incarnation of the Ancient Egyptian god, Anubis): “One day every soldier in the empire has to shower in the blood of your sacrificial bull; the next day they don’t even remember your birthday.” Here’s why belief matters in content marketing and how you can ignite it amongst your audience…
Belief in your brand
Your brand matters as much, if not more so, than your product. Boosting belief in your brand should be a key factor that runs throughout your content marketing – it helps your products or services become the winning choice in a more effective way than pushing your products with a hard sell.
When customers believe in you, they trust you; belief is the biggest influencer around. It will persuade people to purchase from you, boost brand loyalty, and encourage people to pass on positive reviews to their networks. And while it may initially seem a trifle presumptuous to compare brands to the gods of the series, that’s before you see where the true power lies – in the hands of the people that believe in you and help your business rise to success. Forget that at your peril.
How to foster belief
In the age of social media, brands that don’t make themselves accessible to their customer base will be given short shrift. Make sure your customers know they can talk to you and you are ready to listen and respond to their grievances, suggestions and questions. Use your content to target common questions and the interests of your audience and engage with those who like, share or express interest in what you have to say.
Remember too, that working on your personal branding is essential – showcase the personalities of the team. Customers don’t want to address ‘the powers that be’ aka some faceless corporation. They want to engage with Joe Bloggs, marketing manager: likes long walks on the beach and watching videos of people slipping on ice. Well, maybe not that guy exactly, but you get the gist.
Cut the advertising
The days of blind faith are long behind us, now customers are highly savvy to any attempts of manipulation and highly suspicious of the advertising they are bombarded with day in, day out. While once upon a time all you had to do was turn a little water into wine and anyone would call you the messiah, these days you’d simply face a lot of people questioning your agenda – especially if you only had 12 followers to speak of. Instead of overt displays of what you can offer, use content marketing to attract an audience based on positive brand experiences and the value you can add to their lives. It will build trust more reliably than the in-your-face sale.
Having said that, let’s make no bones about the fact that the audience knows you are ultimately trying to sell them something. So, there’s no point being too indirect – you’ll just come off as being inauthentic. Be straightforward about what you can offer, but try using real life testimonials to show, not tell, prospective customers why you’re so great. Let others blow your trumpet for you – it sends a much more powerful message. And above all, do what you say you will. Nothing smashes belief faster than empty promises.
For a little (or a lot) extra help using content marketing to boost belief in your brand, give M2 Bespoke a call.