For content marketing to be effective, it has to have good content. That probably sounds obvious, but too many of us overlook that when we create content for marketing purposes that use tools other than ads.
Content marketing via newsletters, social media and so-called "native advertising" must contain real, usable information rather than product pitches, blatant or disguised. Make it too commercial and you'll lose the audience.
While it's really just common sense, a new study bears it out.
The study, reported in Bulldog Reporter's Daily Dog newsletter, says 74 percent of the general public trusts content from businesses that aim to educate readers about a particular topic. It's "a fragile trust that businesses must take care in protecting—even signing off an otherwise objective blog post or newsletter with a product pitch will bring the content's credibility level down by 29 percent."
Other things that can hurt reader trust in what's being said include:
Information that can't be corroborated with other non-company sources: 46% Educational information from a company is more credible when it contains verification from named sources.
It doesn't address other perspectives or viewpoints: 17%
It Isn't clear that it's coming from a particular company: 15%
It's talks down to the reader: 12%
Women generally appear 11 percent more trusting of content marketing than men, and they tend to trust content shared though friends and family members 20 percent more than men do. 60+ year-olds are 17 percent more trusting than 18-29 year-olds, but the same 60+ age bracket is 14 percent less trusting of content passed through friends and family members than the 18-29 age group.
The bottom line... Keep it credible, identify sources and avoid overt product pitches. If you just want to pitch product, take out an ad.