Establishing and growing a thought leadership position online is one major reason clients turn to SixEstate to manage their blogging needs. Intuitively, clients understand that building trust in the digital sphere translates into trust — and sales — offline. This content marketing approach means that your blog is “educating people so that they know, like, and trust you enough to do business with you,” explains Copyblogger.
But, building a readership and an audience takes time, which frustrates some. So why bother? Why continue blogging?
The primary reason is building trust. Blogging is one way to build it.
Building credibility online via regular blogging is especially important for two reasons. First, because regular blogging featuring useful, original content produces search effectiveness — bringing your brand to the forefront. Secondly, blogging content grows more valuable over time, building authority in your niche.
Take note if your product or services can be easily lumped into a larger category, writes Carl Friesen at the Content Marketing Institute:
So if you have a ‘me-too’ product or service (a commodity), one of the most potent ways to stand out from the competition is by providing your clients with content that helps inform their decisions. By making this content available (whether it’s text, video, audio, graphics — they all have a role to play), you show your willingness to help customers achieve their desired outcomes.
These companies that get it, writes Natasha Khairullah at Digital Sherpa, they:
[...] understand that in the bigger picture, the visitors that come to their blog in search of answers who actually find some of what they need in the form of a blog post are more likely to return for actual paid services, are more likely to trust the company and exhibit brand loyalty and, eventually, are more likely to refer the company to their social circles. [emphasis added]
But how does blogging build trust for a company if another company — like SixEstate — is doing the actual blogging for them?
First, the blog is always controlled by the client. We may hire the journalist to cover the beat, but the company is always in control; the company accepts or rejects blog content produced for the site. This process of news curation establishes trust because it is a valuable service to readers (themselves current and prospective customers).
Second, a managed blog offers transparency. None of the blogs SixEstate manages are “ghostwritten” and none of our sources are omitted. This builds trust on the client’s behalf because it demonstrates control over niche news. Besides, it would be difficult to believe the CEO is taking time to write a blog post every day. Blogging is a process, and ideally, it requires a team of contributors and editors. The net result of the blogging is the development of thought leadership in a particular industry or niche.
Third, blogging by a third party builds trust because it allows companies to highlight and incorporate industry news — even from competition — thereby establishing a confident position of thought leadership. One-directional marketing messages are increasingly less trustworthy in the eyes of customers and prospects. A blog provides a platform open enough to be inclusive — but targeted enough — to establish leadership and mindshare.
If you are working to build trust, extend a digital platform, or firmly establish industry thought leadership, look no further than starting and maintaining a blog.
Katie McCaskey is SixEstate's content director. She tests real-world application of content marketing techniques using the specialty grocery she co-owns as a laboratory. She was Tech Editor of Chief Content Officer, 2010-2011, and contributes to the Content Marketing Institute. Connect with her on Google+ or @KatieMcCaskey.