How many times have you started reading an article, and after the very first paragraph you were thinking: ‘Ohh, come on! This is advertisement!’ As for me, when I feel that an author is trying too hard to sell me something, I usually lose all the trust and close the page. And I will tell you more, I will hardly ever visit this blog again. So what should you do to make your audience believe you? Here is quick guide to credible content marketing and building a reliable brand.
STRUCTURE, STRUCTURE AND AGAIN STRUCTURE!
Let me quote Y. Lotman, a renowned Russian- Jewish semiotician, who believed that ‘The structure is the key to meaning’. Well, in other words, your content is useless if it’s not well organized. Structure is a powerful tool you use to guide your reader through your thoughts, your logical chain, leading to conclusion you expect the reader to have after reading content. That’s why it’s a great idea to prepare a plan before you start writing. Define your audience, set your goals (what do you want the customer to do after reading); think about emotions you want to trigger, and make a plan.
MAKE IT READABLE
Pretty much any content is a conversation between an author and a reader. And by default, any content is created with an eye on the reader. In marketing terms, we call them buyer persona. So, while creating your content, you should imagine that you are having a conversation with this person. Persuade your buyer persona, prepare arguments…and keep it readable. What’s the point of the smartest content if your audience can’t even understand it? Great tool for testing readability is a Gunning’s Fog Index; measuring how complex is the language you use. By determining ‘empty’ parts, you can easily get rid of it. The main idea is to lead the reader to the conclusion you have planned. If the text is not clear, there is a high possibility, that your reader will have a wrong impression.
KEEP IT RATIONAL
As in any conversation, you would want to provide your companion with clear facts and logic to reinforce your position. Logic is a skeleton of the credibility that will be later dressed with emotional component. Without logical facts, persuasion is exactly the worst type of advertising content, which is easily detected by a 'naked eye'. Your reader shouldn’t feel tricked, that’s why I strongly recommend including trustworthy information, such as dates, numbers and quotes.
Another great way is adding statistics to your content. This type of information stands out even visually. Everyone knows a famous saying of British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics`, yet we all still trust statistics and that says a lot about its power. Properly applied statistics can significantly enhance any text, and add more value to your statements.
READ MORE: 4 EFFORTLESS WAYS TO USE EMOTIONAL MARKETING
THE POWER OF PERSUASION
1. INFLUENTIAL RESOURCES
Did you notice this beautiful quotation of Y. Lotman in the very beginning of the blog? Did you feel how the information instantly became much more credible? This is exactly how one of the types of content persuasion works. We subconsciously trust the information coming from the reputable sources, from someone you can hardly argue with. By the way, another little trick I used was inserting a term – ‘semiotician’. Using this kind of buzzwords together with the friendly tone makes you look like a well-informed and interesting person to have a conversation with – and that’s certainly the kind of impression we are expecting our customers to have.
2. THE DEVIL IS IN DETAILS
Needless to say, but content rich with details automatically looks more reliable. But let’s think what kind of details should we provide our customer with? Absolute majority of the businesses are using standard cliché like highly-professional, customer-oriented, experienced, effective, we can go on and on with this list. Do all these definitions make any sense to you? Instead of using these ‘empty’ words, a customer won’t even notice, we can use clear explanation. Have a look how much better text can become:
- Experienced – 20 years in construction business; multiple industry awards.
- Effective – 98% improvement in ROI within a month.
- Customer-oriented – no customer complains for the last 5 years.
3. WHAT’S THEIR OPINION?
This is tricky part; you should, at least approximately, know the opinion of your audience on the question you are writing about. If your readers are positive about the topic, they are very informed, you can go straight to the point. But in case you suspect that your audience is far from being favorable, or the knowledge they have is different from what you propose, then it’s a good idea to start from beginning and explain your position with a little bit more details.
Read more about improving your online customer engagement.
As you read, writing a credible content is not a rocket science, especially when you know your goals and understand well your audience.
Do you have your own secret key to the hearts and minds of the customers? Share with us your best practices!