In an environment in which consumers are less and less receptive to traditional advertising and ‘old-fashioned’ advertising messages, marketers have found alternatives in other formats of marketing and advertising actions. One of those new emerging environments is that of content marketing, which is not exactly new as a concept but has been refined in recent times achieving a more positive impact and a more valuable relationship with consumers.
Content marketing is not now a remake of the infomercial of yesteryear. You could almost say that it is in the antipodes. To do good content marketing, in fact, you have to apply similar rules to those of journalistic texts. The content must be of quality, well written, have a clear structure and provide something of value to the people who are reading it.
Nobody is going to read the longform that a company has launched on its corporate website or the content that they have published in a medium simply because it is there. They do so only when they believe that they will receive something of value in return: the content will inform them, entertain them or allow them to understand relevant issues.
The value of content marketing is, therefore, in these areas. Good content positions companies as experts in certain areas, helps them convey information on issues that are relevant to their business environment (for example, it is what the companies that promoted big data did a few years ago as a B2B service) or they serve to give consumers certain tools.
For users, the contents are not annoying or irrelevant, such as the umpteenth advertising break, for all those reasons. Possibly, the relevance and interest that content marketing can have can be clearly seen in how many companies use it as a hook to obtain leads. It is such interesting information that you are even willing to give your basic contact information in order to download that information.
But content marketing not only has value in that area and from that perspective. It also does it as a way to improve the reputation of the brand and the trust that the consumer places in it.
Content as a lever for trust
This is what a study carried out by German researchers just published in the International Journal of Electronic Business has just shown.
The researchers used the information generated by 247 brand communities on Facebook and analyzed the subsequent links that were established between consumers and the brand based on this content strategy developed. The analysts wanted to measure engagement, but also what impact the content had on purchase intention and on the trust aroused by the brand among potential consumers.
Their conclusions were clear. Of course, quality content had an impact on engagement. The response and engagement data were more positive. But, in addition, a final effect on the trust that the brand aroused among its community could also be measured. This positive effect had an indirect impact on the final purchase intention, but also on the trust placed in the brand.
And, in a way, you could say that the study makes a lot of logic. After all, the reference media have managed to establish a relationship of trust with their readers and have done so with a continuous series of quality content. They are references because their contents are very good. Obviously, companies are not media, but that lesson can be learned from them.