Whether you're a marketer at a fast-growing SaaS startup or a small business owner looking to carve out space as a thought leader, the seven steps that follow are excellent ways to fill your readers with confidence and unleash untapped levels of interaction.
1. Be your own newsroom
The Trust Index found that 55% of decision-makers actively engage with B2B news publications, sending a clear message: The journalistic approach to storytelling affects how buyers might receive and trust your content. It's a tutorial in trustworthiness and an opportunity ready for you to tap.
Imagine you're the COO at a fintech startup. You’re facing new regulatory changes that could affect your business. You stumble upon a brand that covers the changes with the depth, scrutiny, and balanced viewpoints you'd expect from a reputable news source. You see interviews with policymakers, insights from industry watchdogs, and even op-eds from other business leaders in the same boat as you. You're both educated and equipped with a panoramic understanding. And that brand? It just became a vital resource instead of a potential vendor.
Borrow a page from the journalistic playbook. Think of your content as an ongoing narrative, a story that evolves and expands. Use formats like interviews, opinion pieces, and feature stories to add layers to your content. Invite guest contributors to offer fresh perspectives. And above all, uphold the journalistic principles of accuracy, fairness, and thoroughness.
Being your own newsroom isn’t about mimicking a format. It’s about embodying a philosophy and recognizing that your audience wants more than information; they crave understanding, depth, and, above all, trust. By adopting a journalistic approach, you can show and tell your audience that you understand their world.
2. Atomize your content
According to the Trust Index survey, 52% of decision-makers regularly scroll, like, and share on social media. Shouldn’t you be there as well, serving up content in bite-sized, social-friendly formats? Welcome to the world of content atomization. Atomizing content means breaking up a more significant piece—like a pillar blog post or a gated white paper—into smaller morsels.
Imagine you’re a busy HR director responsible for launching a new employee wellness program. You’re scrolling LinkedIn and see an offer for a white paper covering the latest research in employee wellness programs. Although you’re too swamped to read a 30-page document in one go, you can spare a few minutes for a two-minute video or a LinkedIn post. You’re interested, so you click on the brand’s business page and find what you’d hoped for—atomized content from the white paper: a series of short blog posts, two infographics, and even a podcast episode. Each piece is a manageable morsel. Collectively, the content tells the whole story. In your eyes, this brand is now a reliable source for easy-to-digest insights.
Be like that brand! If you’re wondering what content to create next, look for new ways to present what you already have. Break down your extensive research report into a series of blog posts. Transform the highlights into infographics. Discuss insights on a podcast. In essence, deconstruct your cornerstone content into smaller, more digestible pieces readers can easily consume.
3. Publish in industry magazines
In the digital age, it might seem counterintuitive to add traditional platforms like industry magazines to your content strategy. But the numbers don't lie: 33% of decision-makers in the Trust Index survey still actively engage with these publications because they offer a unique blend of credibility and focus that’s hard to find elsewhere.
Suppose you’re a CTO on the hunt for a scalable cloud solution. You’re neck-deep in vendor websites and spec sheets, but it’s an article in a reputable tech magazine that catches your eye. The piece dives deep into the challenges of cloud scalability, offering wisdom gleaned from real-world applications. It doesn't read like a sales pitch; it reads like a story, a conversation among experts. The article answers your immediate questions and positions the authoring brand as a thought leader.
Wouldn’t you like your brand to be among the experts in such conversations? Aim for a byline in an industry magazine for invaluable prestige and authority. It's third-party validation, an endorsement that says your insights are worth paying attention to. It's also a signal to your audience that you're not just an observer in your field; you're a participant, actively contributing to the conversations shaping the industry.
Also note that most industry magazines publish on digital platforms, each with a loyal following, an active social media presence, and a potential new audience you haven’t tapped into yet. In essence, contributing to industry magazines is like getting an 'all-access pass' to a whole new layer of trust-building opportunities.
4. Stay trendy
You can’t stand still when times are changing as fast as they are. Stagnation is not an option. In the Trust Index survey, 67% of decision-makers said they engage with content primarily to stay up-to-date on industry trends. Ignoring this crucial trust driver could mean falling off the radar of the people who matter most to your business.
Imagine you’re a research-hungry supply chain manager whose inbox holds gigabytes of articles, whitepapers, and newsletters. One piece—on the revolutionary impact of blockchain technology on the supply chain—grabs your attention. It’s current and filled with forward-thinking insights you hadn't considered before. It makes you see your challenges in a new light. In your eyes, the brand responsible for the article went from just another name in the inbox to a go-to source for great information.
The key to staying trendy is to be discerning. Use reliable data and insights to differentiate between what's a fad and what could be a game-changer for your industry. Keep an ear to the ground by participating in relevant forums, webinars, and conferences. Engage with thought leaders, and become one yourself by sharing your observations and predictions.
Being on trend is about more than just being current. It’s about being relevant. It's about showing your audience that you understand the challenges and opportunities shaping their worlds right now. And when you can provide peeks into what's around the corner, your voice becomes a signal decision-makers want to tune into, especially in a world filled with noise.
5. Commission research
We content creators have all been there: Sifting through articles and reports, trying to unearth a gem—a statistic, an insight, anything—that will make our content stand out. But what if you didn't have to rely on the same recycled data everyone else is using? What if you could be the source of fresh, compelling insights? Enter the strategy of commissioning research.
Imagine you’re a seasoned CFO with decades of experience. You’ve read every piece of conventional wisdom on financial risk management published in the last 10 years. You don’t want a refresher; you want fresh perspectives. And then you stumble upon a brand’s new report, an original research piece exploring uncharted dimensions of risk in the post-pandemic world. In your eyes, that brand just became a thought leader, offering something new and valuable, something you can’t find anywhere else.
Commissioning research isn't a vanity project; it's an investment in your brand's intellectual capital. You're creating a resource that serves your current audience and attracts new ones. It's your ticket out of the “same old content” trap, offering a fresh narrative backed by data. Original research positions you as a thought leader, not just a thought follower.
Of course, quality matters. Research here doesn’t mean quick-and-dirty surveys. The research you commission should be rigorous, relevant, and designed to provide insights readers can act on. It should answer questions your audience didn't even know they had and provoke discussions that elevate your brand to the center of industry conversations.
6. Create a content series for the buyer’s journey
Imagine you walk into a bookstore, but instead of organized sections and a clear path through genres and topics, you find a chaotic jumble of books scattered all over the floor. Overwhelming, right? The same sense of overwhelm also happens in the cluttered world of B2B content. And it’s where a well-designed content series comes into play, like a curated bookshelf that guides your audience through a coherent narrative.
Imagine you’re an IT director evaluating cybersecurity solutions. Your inbox and social feeds are drowning in one-off articles and product pitches. Then, you discover a step-by-step content series that starts with identifying vulnerabilities and leads to post-implementation best practices. Each piece gives actionable insights without hard-selling a product. In your eyes, deciding which brand to approach first just became easy.
A content series is like a well-planned syllabus for your audience. It's not just about serving up individual pieces of content that tackle isolated issues; it’s about constructing a holistic content experience. By mapping each piece to a specific stage in the buyer’s journey, you offer a guided tour that positions your brand as the go-to solution source at every step.
A well-executed content series also has a compounding effect on trust. When prospects gain valuable insights from one piece in the series, they’re more likely to continue along the path you laid out, deepening their engagement and trust in your brand.
7. Produce high-quality thought leadership content
What sets your brand apart isn't just what you say and how you say it. It’s also the depth of thinking behind it. A staggering 85% of decision-makers in the Trust Index survey said high-quality thought leadership enhances their perception of a brand. But thought leadership isn't just about publishing more content; it's about sharing a wellspring of valuable insights that provoke thought and inspire change.
Imagine you're a CEO grappling with the complexities of digital transformation. You’ve seen all kinds of content, from listicles like "Top 10 Tools for Digital Success" to dense, technical white papers that leave you more confused than enlightened. Then you encounter an article that doesn't just discuss the “what” but delves into the “why” and “how.” It’s rich in strategic insights, grounded in research, and offers a visionary perspective on navigating digital change. In your eyes, that brand just moved from the periphery of your vision to a central resource in your decision-making process.
Producing high-quality thought leadership means adding a layer of intellectual rigor to your content strategy. People want more than expertise. They want wisdom. They want the seasoned perspective that comes from understanding the broader implications of a subject. Producing thought-leadership content involves taking risks, challenging the status quo, and offering nuanced arguments that elevate the conversation in your industry.
Consider the ripple effects of thought leadership, too. With a sustained commitment to quality and depth, you can redefine your brand's value proposition. And when you consistently deliver content that goes beyond informative to transformative, you're more than a vendor; you're a thought leader.
Bottom line? Make trust your brand’s North Star
Building trust with content is doable, but it’s no small feat. It's not just about avoiding trust busters; it's about laying down trust anchors that guide your audience toward a meaningful relationship with your brand.
From the trustworthy allure of well-crafted case studies to the intellectual rigor of high-quality thought leadership, the pillars and actions outlined here serve as your path to trust.
And let Trust be your North Star. Follow it to lift your brand from a mere source of information to a trusted advisor buyers revere and—more importantly—buy from.
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