Working in content marketing, all day everyday, can mess with your head.
It can cause you to lose sight of why we do this in the first place. From time-to-time, it can be helpful to just stop, take a breath and realign ourselves with what content marketing is all about.
And here’s a hint: It’s not about reach. At least, not entirely.
An Easy Target?
Content marketers can fall into the easy trap of thinking that we all do this to reach as many people as possible — that content marketing success is measured by how much awareness you raise, or how many new folks are brought into the fold. That’s an easy temptation to give into, because it makes it easy to determine who’s a winner and who’s a loser; to condense the entire content marketing endeavor to a numbers game. Hit a reach of X many people this month and you’ve done all right.
To be sure, reach is not an unimportant metric. One of the great things about content marketing is how it can amplify a company’s voice, how it can boost visibility. Sending a thousand people to a company blog, website or Facebook page is not an insignificant task.
It’s also not an end unto itself, though. A thousand people may visit a business website, and every one of them might come away wholly unimpressed. If the company does nothing to build consumer confidence — to engender trust — then the whole thing has been sort of a waste. Yes, it might have made the company more of a name, but that in itself doesn’t make money.
Trust is the important concept in content marketing — at least as important as reach, and in many ways more meaningful, if also harder to gauge. There’s not really a way to assign numeric value to trust — yet when your content cultivates trust, you’ve definitely got something: Trusting customers are loyal customers. They tend to also be enthusiastic customers. They’re customers who will think of the brand in question as the solution to their problems — now and in the future.
So while you’re going after reach, you’ve got to do it in a way that encourages trust, too. That means no tricks, no SEO sneaks, no false promises and no naked self-promotion. Expand your reach by offering actual value. Give it away. That’s what builds trust — and if the value is sufficient, it’s also what gets clicks and eyeballs on a page.
Maybe this is a needless reminder — but then again, maybe not: It’s probably fair to say that we all get swept along in changing Facebook paid post strategies and the like, from time to time — and we need to remind ourselves that this isn’t first and foremost a numbers game. It’s about establishing human connection.