When customers trust you, they’re more likely to advocate for you. Through social media, online reviews, or even word of mouth, social proof has become the most powerful marketing tool in a business’s arsenal, and brands are catching on.
If you exist in the digital market, customer advocacy is worth its weight in gold. But how can you build trust in your audience if you don’t have a large marketing budget or years of experience? Is it possible to build a loyal, excited audience that’s bursting to tell their friends, family, and colleagues about your next product launch?
Short answer: yes!
With one of the most effective ways to build trust in your clientele: serving thoughtful, helpful, informative, and, most importantly, relatable content. Let's dive in.
How content marketing builds customer trust
First, what exactly is it about content marketing that instils brand loyalty?
Providing valuable information without asking for anything in return positions your brand as genuine and helpful. It shows you care about your customer's problems and you’re willing to help without pushing them to make a purchase
Consistent sharing of content gets your customers in a rhythm where they know what to expect from you and when
You become a voice of authority
You can use content to address negative feedback
Content marketing helps you become more accessible to your customers
Here are ten methods to start building customer trust through blogging:
1. Create story-driven content
Telling stories is how we create connections with each other, and we humans have been doing it since the beginning. And because it’s the most natural and relatable way to connect with people, brands that tell more sell more.
UK-based chocolate brand Maltesers is a fantastic example of a brand that has mastered content-based storytelling. If you look through their marketing and advertising history, you’ll find tons of emotion-grabbing content that resonates deeply with their customers.
In the UK, Maltesers’ campaigns have always been talking points—in the office, at home or school (Brits will remember trying to gobble up a Malteser chocolate using a straw while their boss/teacher/parent wasn’t looking).
In 2016, for example, the brand went viral for an advert that got everyone talking. The hilarious ad centred around a sexually active person with cerebral palsy, talking to her friends about a recent night with her new boyfriend. I won't spoil the best part for you - here's the video.
The message behind the ads was to show viewers that we can break down universal barriers and normalise change by acknowledging and embracing those awkward yet funny moments.
57% of customers said Maltesers changed the way they saw disability.
2. Take a stance on social issues
Topics that have been considered too taboo for businesses are becoming talking points at the water cooler. There’s no shortage of global ethical, cultural, or societal injustices, and your customers want to know where you stand.
Climate change, immigration, racism, healthcare, homophobia—people are talking about it and expect you to do the same.
This new territory means that customers lean towards brands that share similar values. So if you care about a social issue, talk to your audience about it.
Taking a stance on important issues makes you human, as long as you’re thoughtful and respectful with your message. Just remember: timing and place can be just as (if not more) important as the message itself. So don’t jump on a social justice bandwagon simply because it’s trending—it’s dishonest, and you’ll get called out.
Instead, support relevant causes related to your brand’s mission and values. Take a stand, speak on it, act on it where you can and show your audience that your values extend beyond your company’s revenue.
3. Write like a real human
“If your team doesn’t have the bandwidth to take on extra deliverables, incentivise them to leverage a new tool to enable them to win low-hanging fruit.”
Nobody speaks like that. You don’t, I don’t, and your audience certainly don’t.
The first rule of creating content that real people actually like to read?
Write like a human!
That means writing how you speak. If you wouldn’t use “traction” in a verbal sentence, it has no place in your content. Use contractions. Most people wouldn’t say “We are so happy you have chosen us” in real life. But they probably would say, “We’re so happy you’ve chosen us!”
See the difference?
Use shorter sentences. Get to your point quickly. Don’t be afraid to use your real voice, and leave out the convoluted jargon.
Whether you’re crafting blog posts, writing advertising copy or sending newsletters, think of one person in your audience (your perfect customer) who really wants to hear what you have to say, and write to that person. Keep these questions in mind:
Who are you talking to?
How are you helping them right now?
Why is this topic so important to them?
What do you need them to do next?
4. Be upfront with your sales intention
When was the last time you read a blog post you thought would be super informative and solve all your problems, only to get halfway through and realise it was just a thinly-veiled sales pitch?
Nobody wants to feel duped. Make sure your readers never feel that way by simply being upfront about why you’re writing that blog post.
If you have an action you want the reader to take, the biggest mistake you can make is assuming they don’t want to take it. They’re reading your content, aren’t they?
Let’s say you’re a furniture brand selling memory-foam mattresses. You want to kick off your blog with an article highlighting the difference between regular mattresses and your superior memory foam mattresses.
Rather than just listing all the reasons why you think regular mattresses suck, you could try something like:
“Our customers often tell us how much their sleep has improved since they bought our memory-foam mattress. We love them too, but we know memory foam isn’t for everyone. So to help choose the right mattress for you and make the best decision, we’ve rounded up six of our favourite mattress brands.”
Be upfront with your interest early on, and when you eventually ask them to take that step, whether signing up for a newsletter or making a purchase, they won’t be caught off-guard.
5. Give your content creators a voice
Every business blog should have some basic style guidelines. But if you have several people crafting your content, give them room to shine.
You can do this by encouraging contributors to use their natural voices. For example, anecdotes are a great way to inject humour into a blog post and remind the reader that there’s a real person behind the words, not a faceless corporation.
Finding the right voice may be tricky if you want to write your own content and you’re new to writing. But the more you practice, the more you’ll realise that it’s easier to simply write like yourself rather than how you think you should come across.
6. Repurpose your best performing content
Sometimes, a detailed, step-by-step article is what you’re looking for; other times, an infographic or short video might be more helpful.
The written word isn’t the only way people want to access their content anymore, so if you’re only ever writing 2,000+ word blog posts, you risk losing customer interest.
Some learn better with visuals, and others with sound or first-hand experience. With content, you can tap into all of those.
That means you can resonate with almost every type of learner with original content and a well-planned strategy. Because while high-quality long-form content tends to perform better than shorter articles, you still need to offer your customers variety.
For example, infographics or video clips are great ways to break up the copy in a long article and add visual interest. Canva is an easy and free tool anyone can use to whip up an eye-catching graphic for your blog.
And if there’s a topic you want to revisit or expand on, repurposing is your best friend. Simply take a long-form blog post and turn it into a snazzy infographic, or whip it into an easy-to-read graph or chart to share the key takeaways in your newsletter.
By offering your audience multiple ways to access your content, you can cater to more customers and extend your reach.
7. Create a two-way conversation
Some of the best pieces of content I’ve ever read have had me nodding my head and banging my desk like, “YES, I know, right?!”
Content that makes you forget you’re reading from a screen and not talking to a real person happens when you create a back-and-forth conversation with the reader.
A blog post can easily resemble a one-way speech, but you can change that by asking questions. As you’re telling your story, ask your reader a few questions.
Your goal isn’t to dump information onto your reader but create a dialogue with them. You can achieve that by giving them moments here to stop, think and internally answer your question as they would if they were talking to you in real life.
Bring the reader into a conversation by creating a two-way exchange. You can even ask a question with an answer that you know your reader will agree with, as a way to say, ‘hey, there’s more of that coming right up if you keep on reading’.
8. Make sure your CTAs make sense
Until recently, marketers thought that if you didn’t jump at your reader at the end of an article and push them to buy, they’d just go elsewhere.
Thankfully, we now know that’s just not true. Instead, there are different stages of a person’s sales cycle called a sales funnel, and it’s your job to nurture them through that process. A sales funnel ranks your prospects in order of how ready they are to become customers.
Depending on where your prospect is on the sales funnel, you’ll want different CTAs to suit them.
For example, let’s say you sell coffee makers and shared a blog post titled “12 Tips To Make A Better Coffee Every Morning”. Chances are, someone reading that just wants to know how to make better coffee, which would make a CTA like “Compare Top Restaurant-Style Coffee Presses Now” irrelevant and inappropriate.
If, on the other hand, you’ve shared a post titled “RoundUp: 10 Most Affordable High-Scale French Presses Right Now”, it’s safe to say that reader is looking to buy a french press coffee maker. Your CTA can directly ask for the sale.
HubSpot shared an excellent overview of the different types of CTA you should try on your blog that goes into lots of detail with clear examples.
9. Bring on a journalist (or start thinking like one)
Remember when we spoke about taking a stance on social issues? One of the best things about content marketing is that it allows you to share your knowledge and expertise on a subject and become a thought leader.
For many people, news in the form of content feels more valuable than when it comes from a news outlet. Why? Mainly because a lot of people simply don’t trust the news.
But also because brands that comment on current trends or societal issues tend to go into much more personal and invested detail. They might be an authoritative source on a particular topic because it relates to their brand. LEGO on the plastic debate, for example.
Create content about topical news related to your brand or values and share your expertise with an even wider audience. It’s how people start turning to you for advice or regularly checking your newsletters to see what you’ve commented on last.
10. Share user-generated content
Did you know that 92% of customers are more likely to trust non-paid recommendations than any other type of marketing? Social proof is one of the most compelling ways to instil trust in your community because it shows three valuable things:
You have a product/service worth talking about
You have dedicated fans who care about your brand
You’ve built an enthusiastic community through social media
A prominent example of how powerful user-generated content can be is Airbnb. Just take a quick look at their Instagram account to see that they’ve practically stopped creating their own content. Instead, almost everything they share is user generated and focuses on creating emotional connections.
User-generated content gives your customers a chance to hear about your brand in an uncensored, raw way, and that automatically puts you in a good light, as it shows you’re not afraid to share customer stories. Not sure how to encourage user-generated content? Check out these 14 User-Generated Content Examples.
Win a loyal clientele with relatable, authentic content
Creating content your audience will connect with is tough, and even the most seasoned copywriters and marketing experts struggle sometimes.
But if you want to build a dedicated and engaged community, creating relatable content is a surefire way to get there, as long as you’re authentic and consistent.
Are you ready to take the next step but unsure what kind of content you should create? Here's a free "how to" blog post template you can use for your first blog post.