How to Build Trust and Enhance Your Influence with Content Marketing

“Know, like, trust.

At its essence, those three things are why we do content marketing. And if you’re not hitting all three, you’re likely not enjoying success with your content.

Traditional marketing is big on the know — it’s all about creating awareness in the marketplace. Add in some clever messaging to prompt some level of liking, and mission accomplished, right?

It’s as if awareness of a brand is enough to spark trust. And it’s true — we do tend to prefer brands that we know, even if there’s no true difference between one product and a generic one.

But when it comes down to choosing between two or more brands, trust becomes critical. This is one of the benefits that content marketers have over competitors who don’t create and freely share valuable information — and it can be substantial if done correctly.

Trust works on many levels:

  • Do you do what you say you’re going to do?
  • Are your products and services solid?
  • Do you treat customers fairly?
  • Will you be in business next year?
  • Do you abide by the core values you claim?

Content marketing allows you to tell stories that touch on each of these over time. Even more, your brand can be viewed as not only trustworthy, but generous. Even selfless.

The art of disinterested goodwill

In terms of persuasion techniques dating back to the time of Aristotle, ethos is an appeal to the authority, honesty, and credibility of the person speaking or writing.

And that’s exactly what builds trust and influence when content marketing is done well.

Aristotle also thought that a key component of effective ethos was a combination of likability and selflessness, which he characterized as ‘disinterested goodwill.’

Disinterest here doesn’t mean you don’t care if you get a beneficial outcome — it means you serve your audience whether or not you get that benefit from any particular person.

When you give away quality content that’s so good you could have charged money for it, you’re acting with ‘disinterested goodwill.’ That means your audience received value regardless of whether they ever pay you a dime.

It’s this very aspect of content marketing that makes it unacceptable to some business people. The thought of providing something valuable to ‘freeloaders’ just drives them nuts.

I’ve been giving away free, valuable content for 19 years, and all eight successful businesses I’ve started were powered by it. I have complete faith that I’m going to get benefits back — and the know, like, and trust I earn is the entire reason.

Just the act of performing content marketing triggers the power of disinterested goodwill. Lacking that, there are techniques that persuaders use to achieve the same goal.”

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