I’ve been thinking a bit in the past week about scaling trust.
It’s pretty much a prerequisite for scaling growth, right?
The way I prefer to word it, though, is “earning trust at scale.”
Because you can’t just go out and create trust.
You have to earn it.
One opt in, account sign up, and conversion at a time, right?
Until, at some point, you’ve earned enough trust that trust earns you more trust.
The people who trust your brand begin to recommend and vouch for you.
So, how do we earn trust with content?
Well, for starters, here’s what you shouldn’t do:
❌ No click bait headlines with content that falls short of actually being helpful.
❌ No pretending to be an expert when you should have interviewed an expert.
❌ No making claims without sources or proof to back it up.
❌ No copycat content that is the same regurgitated fluff your competitors also publish.
It’s actually about delivering more helpful information than anyone expected you to share and becoming known for it:
✅ Knowing who you are creating for so well that your content can go extra deep and truly help them.
✅ Forging relationships with your audience by pulling back the corporate curtain and using a real human voice to speak for the brand.
✅ Sharing insights backed by actual examples and experiences.
✅ Using direct quotes from credible experts.
✅ Being confident enough to share curated content you didn’t create but that you know will help your audience.
✅ Engaging directly with your audience to learn how they’re responding to what you’re creating and what additional resources they need from you.
Scaling trust requires effectively distributing content that demonstrates expertise and authority.
Who at your organization understands your buyers best?
Could you record them answering tough questions and providing solid advice backed by examples regularly?
Could they engage directly with customers regularly?
Could they disrupt the way your prospects currently understand their challenges and help them see things differently enough to try your product / service?
Get them talking and turn that into content: videos, podcasts, articles, social posts, etc.
To earn trust at scale, first earn trust in ways that don’t (responding to each comment on social media, responding to each newsletter reply, engaging directly with customers to learn what matters to them, over delivering when someone in your ICP asks a question), then use a strong voice (or set of voices) to represent your brand and get the message you want to permeate your market out there.
The customers and prospects you invest in 1:1 will become a part of your trust-building mechanism.
And, of course, BE TRUSTWORTHY.
Content Marketing Mindset Shift: Tactics Aren’t Strategy
“[Content marketing] gets seen as a tactic (something we check off our to-do list) and not a strategy (something that drives business growth). Shift the mindset from tactic to strategy…”
Does your content marketing feel a lot like checking off a to-do list? In his LinkedIn post, Winston A. Henderson challenges marketers to stop thinking this way and lists 8 ways to align content strategy to business goals.
Should We Call This Content Journalism?
A mix of content marketing and brand journalism helped Parabol reach 150k monthly pageviews. This Animalz article by Tim Metz explains how the approach they took merges the most effective bits of content marketing and brand journalism.
I’ve always seen this as layering immersion journalism (truly diving into a niche and reporting on it from that deep vantage point) on top of the practice of content marketing (trust-building to drive interest and conversions). What do you think? Does the new name work?
Is Podcast Searching And Listening Part Of Your Content Strategy?
Tristan Pelligrino is onto something special. His video shares how he uses Listen Notes—a podcast search engine—to prepare questions for guests coming on his own podcast.
He also recommends using podcast research in some additional ways, a few of which could be applied to inform your content strategy:
“✔️ Listen to a conversation featuring a decision-maker at one of your key accounts
✔️ Pinpoint key phrases & learn how your ideal customers explain their challenges”
Additionally, he mentions that a podcast search could help you identify industry experts to interview for your own podcast as well as finding supporting quotes for content you’re creating.
Psst: I took a minute to test out Listen Notes and was reminded of some fun conversations I’ve had in recent years.
A Repurposing Workflow To Try
This article by Vivek Mathew details a content repurposing workflow (along with a real-life example) you can use to get the most out of what you create.
“Don’t let your greatest hits collect dust.” - Ross Simmonds
Hard Truth: You Can’t Hire A Content Writer And Expect Content Strategy, Industry Expertise, And Product Knowledge
Kerry Campion’s publishing a mini-series about hiring writers over on LinkedIn and this post hit home.
There are pieces of content marketing that you are responsible for when you hire a writer:
- strong briefs
- industry context
- subject matter expertise
- product knowledge
Some bits can be transferred during a ramp up period, but you’re not going to get the content you’re hoping for if you don’t do your part, or pay for more than writing with the understanding that you’ll still have to be available and contribute.
Psst! If you’re looking to fill in the missing pieces of your content marketing team, I know of a great place to start.
Single-product Company VS Multi-product Company Positioning
April Dunford, positioning pro and author of Obviously Awesome, says it breaks it down like this:
For a single-product company, your company positioning equals product positioning.
Once you grow to become a multi-product company, you have some choices to make. She walks through some examples of how it can be done—including a cascade approach, a suite approach, and a lead product approach—here.
My takeaway: There is danger in overcomplicating positioning.
Don’t Be Vauge
Want to improve your website copy? Andy Crestodina says the key is being as specific as possible. Here are 5 ways to do it, with examples:
- Write descriptive <h1> headers
- Use a relevant hero image
- Rewrite (or remove) generic subheads
- Use descriptive navigation labels
- Write calls to action that give them a reason to click
Price It Right
How do you know if you’re charging the right price?
“You have the right price when people complain, but they still buy.”
MJ Peters explains how to get there in this LinkedIn post.
Email Goals: Trust And Growth
Email marketing can be overwhelming, but it helps to focus on your goals and how you’re going to hit them.
There are few things more important than earning your audience’s trust. Christine Alemany offers these 3 tips for gaining and keeping trust:
- Make your privacy and opt-in policies clear
- Optimize for humans
- Create, test, learn, repeat
Sumaiya Khalifa offers 5 steps she says will help you grow, even in a recession:
- Get creative with your content
- Make it easy for users to sign up
- Use social media (for list-building)
- Offer something of value
- Segment your email lists by buyer persona
The Future Of Social Media Marketing
What will social media marketing look like in 2023? Here are 32 of Andrew Hutchinson’s best predictions. They’re broken down by platform, which is handy.
Discovered via Brand MVP.
Prioritizing Keyword Search Volume Results In Mediocrity, Google Says
How do you choose content topics? While keyword search volume lists can be helpful, they can also lead to mediocre content. So what should you do instead?
John Mueller recommends focusing on topics that match your expertise and passion.
“In short, write content that you can write something awesome about, and do not force your writing based on what people are searching for—especially if you don’t know the topic super well.”
Full article by Barry Schwartz here.
Discovered via Marketer Crew.
Is That Mixed Tape For Me?
In her LinkedIn post, Najmah Salam equates content curation to a perfectly selected mix tape (she may or may not be speaking my love language here). She explains how good curation includes insightful commentary, is mindful of the audience’s time, and sets the right expectation.
Related: William Arruda shares 4 keys to reaping the benefits of curation.
Audience Ops Insights
Earn Your Audience’s Trust—And Google’s—With A Hub And Spoke Strategy
A hub and spoke strategy is a powerful way to organize content around a specific topic. This interlocking structure serves readers far more than a mish mosh of traditional blog articles might. Your audience can easily navigate to additional, related resources and you’re signaling strong, helpful topic authority to Google.
The hub and spoke strategy employs 2 types of content: a hub article and spoke articles.
From our hub blog about the hub and spoke approach (meta, I know):
“The hub is a comprehensive resource center that addresses a broad topic. It targets a short-tail, competitive keyword and links to a series of spoke articles.
Spoke articles are sub-topics of the hub. Each spoke targets a long-tail, less competitive keyword that relates to the hub’s keyword and dives deep into that sub-topic. These are the “meat” of your content library.”
Moz: The Beginner’s Guide to SEO
Podia: How to Create, Sell, and Profit From an Online Course
Zapier: The Ultimate Guide to Working Remotely
Audience Ops: The Hub & Spoke Content Marketing Strategy: What Is It and How to Build Your Own
What we’ve found
This article is one of our highest performing pieces of content. It ranks in the first and second spots for the searches “hub and spoke content” and “hub and spoke strategy” and has held those spots for a long time without decaying.
Perhaps part of the reason is that using the hub and spoke structure to plan content forces brands to do what Google has been urging us to do with its recent update: BE MORE HELPFUL.
Also from the referenced article:
“The main goal of the hub and spoke strategy is to pack more value into your content than a traditional blogging strategy provides.”
The prompt to create a batch of articles around a topic and intentionally organize ideas for the reader to navigate, consume, and return to, helps a marketing team produce more helpful content than they do when they hop topics for the sake of consistent publishing. It’s as if the hub and spoke approach causes us to think “How helpful could we be?”
Need help creating hub and spoke content (or restructuring some of your existing articles to adopt the hub and spoke model)? Contact Audience Ops.
Opt In Challenge
Survey Your Audience
Want to know what your audience is looking for? Ask them. This week your Opt In Challenge is to read this issue of Simon Owens’ newsletter and put together an audience survey.
Discovered via Ghost Newsletter.