• Warren Leppik

The importance of establishing trust in today’s business world

We are bombarded with a tsunami of content nowadays. This is the dark side of content marketing. While some would say they are curating and sharing VALUABLE content, I would argue that greater than 80% of this content is nothing more than “cats on a piano

Some are now even using BOTS to scrape the internet for keywords relevant to their business, which are then automatically posted to their feed without the supposed “curator” having seen it at all! Really!?!?! What’s the point of posting something you haven’t read, let alone made some kind of meaningful commentary on it? Isn’t the point of posting content to give others a sense of who you are and what you believe in? Isn’t the purpose to show that you’ve CONFIRMED what you’re posting is of HIGH VALUE to your connections/network?

At a Toronto Board of Trade breakfast last month, “The Trust Tipping Point: Who Trusts? Who Doesn’t? And Why it Matters,” a discussion surrounding The Edelman Trust Barometer, presenters revealed many insights:

  • “Social media is the least trusted source of info”

  • “71% of Canadians are concerned about fake news”

  • “People want the truth”

  • “The importance of credentialed journalism in this country, especially as an important tool for democracy, has never been higher”

It validated my choice to only share articles from credentialed sources: Harvard Business Review, Forbes, the Globe & Mail, and others. I do not share from the likes of “Bob’s Blog.” First, I don’t know who Bob is. Second, how do I know that he has his facts straight, is unbiased, and—frankly—isn’t a crack pot? As busy as life is, and with so many credible sources of information available, I don’t see the value in finding out—unless he is RECOMMENDED by someone I trust. Seems I am on the right track because, according to the Trust Barometer, PAID media still shows higher due diligence, thanks to the risk of liability.

The report reinforces the predominant belief that by sharing “more substantial content”, that’s relevant to your audience, the people whose attention I want will be drawn to posts in my feed, because I actually have something to say that is supported by credentialed and validated information.

A web site today is like the fax machine number of yesterday. In the past, even if you didn’t need a fax, not having a fax number on your card didn’t reflect well on your company. But the same “set it and forget it” approach doesn’t work with a web site. A web site does not automatically establish credibility or trust. It’s the thought leadership content in the web site that will determine credibility. More than a showcase for your work, a web site should be an expression of the beliefs around WHY you do what you do. Beyond features and benefits, you have to give people a feel for the outcome prospects will achieve through the purchase of your product or service.

The best way to do this is through customer experience stories in the form of video testimonials from clients praising the experience you provided them. For example, if you are considering an accountant, can you really determine what a great tax return is by looking at it? Probably not. Excellence is generally assumed. But you do value whether your phone calls will be returned in a timely manner, how going through the process will make you feel, and whether the overall experience would make you want to do your taxes with this accountant on a long-term basis.

Businesses need to enable their raving fans to authentically share the experience they received. It gives prospects something to relate to. People that had the same pain that YOU successfully relieved—very important because, according to the Trust Barometer, people trust others who are like them. From this comes social approval, and then social imitation. It’s been said that a testimonial, done properly, gives your prospect the privilege of going second.

Another key thought from yesterday’s breakfast: “Trust is focused on relationships with people you know and with people who are like you.” So whatever you do, it is critical that your content marketing is helping people get to know the real you. But keep in mind, talking about yourself is bragging. Deeds speak. Ditch the features and benefits and help people understand why an experience with you will leave them better off by letting your customers sing your praises in their own words.

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