November 14, 2022 Content Chat Recap: How Content Marketers Can Build Trust With Their Content

A Content Chat header image that says today's topic is How Content Marketers Can Build Trust With Their Content with guest Melanie Deziel, who is @MDeziel on Twitter.

What’s the one marketing KPI that every team should track? According to Melanie Deziel, international keynote speaker and author of Prove It, the answer is trust.

If your brand cannot earn the trust of your community, then it will be significantly harder—if not impossible—to get them to purchase from you. Every message you send or post you write is an opportunity to prove your claims and show that you are trustworthy, and we want to teach you how.

In this #ContentChat recap, Melanie, founder of StoryFuel and co-founder and VP of marketing at The Convoy, and the community discuss how content marketers can build trust with their content. Read the full recap below to learn:

  • What type of content can help to earn and nurture your community’s trust
  • Common business or marketing claims that need to be proven
  • How to audit your content for opportunities to build trust

Q1: Why is it important for content marketing teams to build trust with their brand communities?

According to Melanie, trust is the precursor to every KPI you track.

A1: We optimize for lots of different KPIs but the reality is, Trust is a precursor to all of them!

People don’t click, subscribe, follow, download, buy, etc, without trust!#ContentChat

— Melanie Deziel (she/her) (@mdeziel) November 14, 2022

If your brand doesn’t seem trustworthy, then people will hesitate to purchase from you.

A1: Trust is a big factor when it comes to making purchase decisions—whether you are B2B or B2C. If you don’t seem trustworthy, why should someone purchase your product or services?#ContentChat pic.twitter.com/iviiMJSc1T

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) November 14, 2022

A1. Trust is absolutely crucial to be able to sell anything. Content marketing needs to develop trust, nurture the interest and only then get folks to convert #ContentChat #contentmarketing

— Shruti Deshpande 🇮🇳🇬🇧 (@shruti12d) November 15, 2022

And without trust, you can’t build relationships.

A1 Without trust, you can’t build relationships. People may/will hear what you have to say, but they won’t *listen*. They won’t connect. And they almost certainly won’t buy. They’ll remain an “audience,” not a “community.” #contentchat

— Martin Lieberman (@martinlieberman) November 14, 2022

Agreed. In a nutshell, trust is the difference between a community and an audience. And an audience is one and done, while a community stays with you (and your brand) over time.#ContentChat https://t.co/zYyEmnvF5p

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) November 14, 2022

A1 What’s the point of saying anything if no one believes you? Who’s going to come back to a source they don’t trust? #ContentChat

— Dan Goldberg (@Jonas419) November 14, 2022

When customers trust you, they will be honest with you and help you create a better experience for them.

A1: Trust fosters conversations. By building a brand community based on trust, you can personalize your products and services to your customers needs. Why? Bc they will be honest with you!#ContentChat

— Sweepsify 🎈 (@Sweepsify_) November 14, 2022

A community that trusts your brand is so much more likely to come to you directly when there is a product or service delivery issue, too, instead of just venting on social. Trust is critical for maintaining your reputation. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) November 14, 2022

Treat your community with respect to earn their trust. Take their questions and needs seriously, and help them overcome their challenges.

A1: Customers build trust by answering specific questions in their heads. Businesses build a different trust unique to their business.

Building trust means answering those questions and proving that you take them seriously.

It’s key for moving customers up the decision funnel

— Vahag Aydinyan (@vahaging) November 14, 2022

Trust is easily broken. Be genuine. Stay consistent. And use content to prove that you are trustworthy.

And just as trust takes longer to build it can be broken quickly. So the key is to be genuine, persistent and helpful all the way #Contentchat

— Shruti Deshpande 🇮🇳🇬🇧 (@shruti12d) November 14, 2022

Q2: What type of content can help you to earn and nurture your community’s trust?

There are plenty of types of content that can build credibility for your brand. First up from Melanie: Content that corroborates, in which you’ll use experts to back up your claims and witnesses to provide social proof.

A2: In “Prove It” I break down the 3 types of content that work best to help build credibility and provide proof of your claims.

1. Content that corroborates
– Use experts to back up your claims
– Use witnesses to provide social proof

…#ContentChat

— Melanie Deziel (she/her) (@mdeziel) November 14, 2022

A2 – Social proof is probably the best type of content to build trust #ContentChat

— Chris Tweten 🍁 | SaaS SEO (@ctwtn) November 14, 2022

Yes! This is what I call “corroboration” in the book. It’s all about getting other people to repeat and reinforce your claims so they don’t have to just take your word for it! #ContentChat

— Melanie Deziel (she/her) (@mdeziel) November 14, 2022

I’d love an example of a brand producing great social proof content, so we can include it with your Tweet in the recap.#ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) November 14, 2022

I would check out @Workello’s homepagehttps://t.co/05vbhLgtHW

— Chris Tweten 🍁 | SaaS SEO (@ctwtn) November 14, 2022

Content that demonstrates, where you’ll tell stories so your community can see what you mean and you’ll document the proof of the claims you make.

And content that educates, which includes facts (with sources) and will help your reader overcome their challenges or learn core concepts.

2. Content that demonstrates
– Tell stories so they can see what you mean
– Document the proof of the claims you make

3. Content that educates
– Inform your audience about the facts so they understand
– Coach them through the processes they need to complete#ContentChat

— Melanie Deziel (she/her) (@mdeziel) November 14, 2022

A2: To earn your community’s trust, your content needs to be relentlessly helpful and non-promotional. Think proprietary research that provides them with value, how-to’s, frameworks, inspiration, etc.#ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) November 14, 2022

A2: A few types:

Brand building –> Be transparent in how you are achieving your brand awareness goals
FAQs –> Don’t make it complicated. Answer to any potential objections to using your product or service
Authoritative –> Explain your positioning in the market #ContentChat

— Sweepsify 🎈 (@Sweepsify_) November 14, 2022

Balance these three content buckets to steadily earn trust.

When you corroborate your claims, demonstrate their proof, and educate your audience on what those claims matter, you go a long way toward earning trust and proving credibility.

And content is one of the best ways to do all of that! (Lucky us!)#ContentChat

— Melanie Deziel (she/her) (@mdeziel) November 14, 2022

Don’t be arrogant (unless that’s part of your brand identity). Be realistic about the value you provide and don’t badmouth your competitors. Your community will appreciate honest and transparent discussions about their challenges and potential solutions.

Q2 Talk honestly about your community’s challenges and solutions, don’t badmouth your competition, and don’t pretend your sh!t doesn’t stink. #ContentChat

— Dan Goldberg (@Jonas419) November 14, 2022

Excellent point! And to do this well, you have to talk with your community and truly understand their challenges. #ContentChat https://t.co/SfqBydiTVU

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) November 14, 2022

If you know your audience truly well you will know those challenges, this will go a long way in allowing you to help your very people #ContentChat

— Shruti Deshpande 🇮🇳🇬🇧 (@shruti12d) November 14, 2022

Q3: What types of marketing and business claims need evidence? What examples can you share?

Melanie’s book Prove It explains the following five types of claims that need evidence:

A3: tbh, all of them!

But they usually fall into a few buckets:
1. Convenience (speed, simplicity, ease)
2. Comparability (more durable, reliable, etc.)
3. Connection (humanness)
4. Commitment (to values, customers, etc.)
5. Competence (experience)#ContentChat

— Melanie Deziel (she/her) (@mdeziel) November 14, 2022

Examples:

Convenience: 15 mins could save you 15% or more
Comparability: The best a man can get
Connection: When you’re here, you’re family
Commitment: On a mission to save our home planet
Competence: Since 1909#ContentChat

— Melanie Deziel (she/her) (@mdeziel) November 14, 2022

If I see a claim without a citation or evidence in the content, I definitely don’t trust the rest of the piece (if I even finish it).#ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) November 14, 2022

If you’re making an ROI-based claim, you need to back it up.

A3: Anything ROI-based. Let’s see the data!#ContentChat

— Sweepsify 🎈 (@Sweepsify_) November 14, 2022

Provide your team with a list of claims/stats and citations/proof points that they can use when creating content.

Many times, the lack of citation is an oversight of being rushed. Or not knowing where to find the internal data. That’s why I create info repository sheets with claims/stats and citations/proof points for clients to use in content creation. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) November 14, 2022

LOVE a good fact sheet we can pull from. Makes writers’ lives so much easier when you work with freelancers too! #ContentChat

— Melanie Deziel (she/her) (@mdeziel) November 14, 2022

This is especially critical if you are working with a company that has VC backing or is public. You have to be consistent in your claims, or there can be disastrous consequences. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) November 14, 2022

+1 for heavily regulated or highly technical industries/products. #ContentChat

— Melanie Deziel (she/her) (@mdeziel) November 14, 2022

Q4: How can content marketing teams conduct an audit to identify claims they’ve made that they need to back up?

Melanie recommends you review your content and look for promises, guarantees, or expectation-setting. Start with your website, then any digital comms like email, social media, and online ads, and then your print and other materials.

Review your materials & look for any promises, guarantees, or expectation-setting. Start with your website, & include all your digital comms (email, social, ads) as well as print and other materials. Claims are hidden everywhere!

See which ones don’t have proof!#ContentChat

— Melanie Deziel (she/her) (@mdeziel) November 14, 2022

Prioritize content based on its prominence. What does your community see most? Audit that first.

Do you typically manage this by searching for specific keywords/phrases? Or do you prioritize most-viewed content? #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) November 14, 2022

I’d start with prominence. What do your community/audience see most? Those are the highest priority imo.

But look for numbers (15m, 30 days), superlatives (best, most, etc.), adjectives (friendly, helpful) , and limitations (never, always)#ContentChat

— Melanie Deziel (she/her) (@mdeziel) November 14, 2022

Explain to all writers in your content strategy guidelines how to identify claims that need proof.

A4: I feel like this is something that should be handled by the content strategy guidelines, not clean up work.

But if it happened, start with the generalizations. #ContentChat

— Sweepsify 🎈 (@Sweepsify_) November 14, 2022

Q5: How can teams prioritize building trust throughout their content creation process?

Adopt a “how can we prove this?” mindset, and empower your editors to call out claims that need proof.

A5: I encourage marketers to adopt a “how can we prove this?” mindset from start to finish, to keep this in mind with all creation going forward.

Editors or anyone doing approvals can be a great gatekeeper for this too, calling out opportunities to provide proof.#ContentChat

— Melanie Deziel (she/her) (@mdeziel) November 14, 2022

Yes! As an editor, I am always commenting “source? or citation?”. Second only to “WIIFM?”#ContentChat https://t.co/1xVxzvGWHJ

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) November 14, 2022

And if it’s not something that can be quantified, you can tweak your approach. If you can’t prove “we’re the best” you can “strive to be the best” or “commit to providing the best”.#ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) November 14, 2022

Subjective claims often have to rely more on corroboration (testimonials, case studies, expert opinions, etc.) to help give credibility! #ContentChat

— Melanie Deziel (she/her) (@mdeziel) November 14, 2022

Yes! Great point. Our biggest fans and best customers can say these things, which we can then amplify.#ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) November 14, 2022

Train your team on how to source information, and provide them with a culture where they can openly ask questions and get help if they need it.

A5 Start by having trustworthy people create your content. Folks you know will source information properly. Who will write or speak in a way that will earn trust. Etc. If you don’t trust your creators, why should your community/audience? #contentchat

— Martin Lieberman (@martinlieberman) November 14, 2022

See also why you shouldn’t look for the least expensive authors/agencies for your content creation. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) November 14, 2022

Great ideas shared here 👏

I’d add: instilling a culture of trustworthiness and transparency.

Take care of your employees (and earn their trust) and they’ll take care of your customers.

If you go above & beyond for them, they’ll do so throughout the content creation process

— Masooma | Content Writer (@inkandcopy) November 15, 2022

A5 I do think by being open and honest about the challenges in the content creation process teams can support one another and build trust. #ContentChat

— Shruti Deshpande 🇮🇳🇬🇧 (@shruti12d) November 14, 2022

And listen to your audience. Seek to understand their needs and let them ask you questions.

A5: Give your audience a chance to ask questions. Don’t tell, discuss!#ContentChat

— Sweepsify 🎈 (@Sweepsify_) November 14, 2022

Q6: What brands do you consider to be trustworthy? How have they earned your trust?

The community shares the brands that they trust below. Which brands do you consider trustworthy, and why? Tweet us using #ContentChat.

A6: Interested to hear which companies people trust! I’ve spent too much time studying this to have an objective opinion at this point, but I do love the honesty I get from Patagonia and Ben & Jerry’s. #ContentChat

— Melanie Deziel (she/her) (@mdeziel) November 14, 2022

A6a: I’m a huge fan of @MarthaStewart. Her brands have earned my trust by being high-quality, and consistent. If I follow one of their recipes, I know it’s going to turn out every time. And I cannot say that for any other magazine or recipe author.#ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) November 14, 2022

Reliability is huge! (Especially for recipes!) #ContentChat

— Melanie Deziel (she/her) (@mdeziel) November 14, 2022

A6b: I trust @Apple with my personal entertainment and my business through using their tech exclusively. I know they stand behind their products, and if something goes wrong, they’ll make it right. And their content inspires me.#ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Content Marketing Consultant (@SFerika) November 14, 2022

A6. Jumping in since you said it’s okay to drop our thoughts outside the chat hour.

It’s Intercom, Zapier, ConvertKit, and Podia for me. Reason being: their teams are active and always quickly responding to queries that (even) non-users have.

Fan of this approach #ContentChat

— Masooma | Content Writer (@inkandcopy) November 15, 2022

Have to think harder about who didn’t raise prices this year! I’ll tell you one… @CMIContent 💙💚💛#ContentChat

— Sweepsify 🎈 (@Sweepsify_) November 14, 2022

Q7: How can you use UX to build trust through content?

Your user experience should mirror your brand’s convenience claims. If you claim that your brand is easy to use or simple to adopt, then the site and product experience should meet that expectation.

A7: In what ways do you utilize UX to build trust through content, personally for your brand(s)?

Thanks in advance 🙏#ContentChat

— Sweepsify 🎈 (@Sweepsify_) November 14, 2022

Interesting question!

Content UX can be a great lever to pull for earning trust, particularly around convenience claims. So many brands claim to be easy to use, simple to adopt, etc. and then have complicated onboarding, unsubscribe, etc. processes! #contentchat

— Melanie Deziel (she/her) (@mdeziel) November 14, 2022

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