For marketers, trust can be hard to obtain. Articles, images, ads – marketing content is often held under serious scrutiny. For example, in 2015, half the people surveyed in a Nielsen study (Global Trust in Advertising, Neilsen.com) didn’t trust online advertisements.
Marketing Outlook Is Improving
It’s not all bad news. The outlook for trust in advertising is better than it was a few years ago. A recent study by YouGov shows Americans believe advertising is becoming more honest. The same study says not only are the ads seen as being more honest, but they’re more trustworthy, too.
So where does that leave us? Trust in advertising is going up, which is good, right? What’s left to worry about?
As it turns out, a few things. For example, performance statistics show pop-up ads do really well, but a recent MarketingSherpa study reveals they’re one of the most hated forms of advertising.
And that’s not the worst of it…
Trust The Ad, Not The Advertiser
For online marketers reaching out to people through a blog, as we do, there’s a big twist to the numbers. A Gallup poll reveals only 11% of adults consider advertising professionals to be honest and trustworthy. Only 11%! And they’re as likely to feel hostile about the industry as a whole than they are to be positive about it.
How does that compute? It sounds like people are starting to trust the advertisement, but not the advertiser!
In short, advertisers and online marketers are working hard to make their content appear trustworthy. We have to, because we aren’t in only in competition with our direct product competitors. We’re also in competition with our customers’ friends, favorite social influences and random flukes of the cosmos. In other words, if we’re going to get a reaction from our marketing efforts, we should make sure our content – whether it’s ads or articles – is trustworthy.
Check Your Content For Trust Issues
We need to build a trusting, loyal audience if we’re going to push passed that distrust of the marketer. While content marketing isn’t as hated as pop-up ads, it still has a long way to go to get where we want it to be.
How do we do that? How do you turn an already suspicious audience into an audience that listens and acts? It isn’t easy, but it can be done. Look at these four areas of trust disintegration:
Is your content useful?
Useful content is paramount to building a trusting audience. Sometimes you have to stop worrying about whether you’ll succeed in your business goals and get to work on helping your audience. Content marketing isn’t writing 1,000-word advertisements.
If you look over your content and see more “you” than “them,” you might have a trust issue.
Are you writing opinions or facts?
Facts hold a lot more weight than opinions to your audience (unless those opinions are their BFF’s). When you share a fact or statistic, always cite the original source. If you came across that fact through a website different from the source, do your due diligence and fact check.
Do your articles cite sources? Do you use examples to prove your point? If not, you might want to start doing that. Remember, facts without sources are still just opinions.
Do you share both sides?
It’s easy to share your own opinion. It is, after all, your own opinion. However, if there’s more than one way to do something, share it. Give your audience a wider perspective. Rather than focusing on being right, focus on being thorough on occasion.
Don’t be afraid to showcase another opinion.
Do you sound professional?
From the moment that the first misspelling is caught, perceptions of a person’s writing ability plummets. As writing ability plummets, so does (drumroll, please) trust. It’s amazing, but true; many, many people are Grammar Nazis and they just don’t know it.
What does your writing really sound like?
Test it with a program like the Hemingway App. Hemingway can help you clarify your writing before you put it online and are judged as being “less than.”
Sometimes you can’t help what people think about you. Not everyone is going to like you all of the time, right? But when it comes to your business and your content, you can’t afford to miss the boat.
Make sure you follow the rules of trustworthy content. You’ll be glad you did!