Building your brand’s credibility is one of the main reasons to pursue a content marketing strategy.
As a thought leader, you make bold claims and voice strong opinions about what your prospects should do to achieve their desired outcomes.
Then, your content backs up those claims, showing your audience you actually know what you’re talking about.
But there’s a catch… this only works if the content itself has credibility.
Think of this way: credible content builds brand credibility.
In this post, I’ll give you a checklist of seven things to look for in your own content to quickly build credibility with your readers.
1. Show, Don’t Tell with Visuals
Clarity and credibility go hand in hand. Sometimes it’s a lot easier to convey something by showing a graphic, comparison, drawing, or chart than trying to write it out.
Visuals are incredibly powerful in content marketing. Check out this Slideshare deck to see what I mean:
2. Include Case Studies
Everyone likes examples they can relate to, and case studies are perfect for illustrating a concept, strategy or approach in action.
Case studies are extremely effective in bottom-of-funnel content when prospects are comparing your company to your competitors. Case studies also increase trust when you’re making specific claims about a product or service.
Tip: If you refer to one case study several times on different blog posts, you don’t need to include the entire case study in each article. To avoid duplicate content, just host it on a page on your site that you can link to.
Check out this post on How to Create Powerful Client Case Studies
3. Cite Your Sources
You can find an online statistic or source to back up just about any opinion, but with the recent spike in fake news, readers are more skeptical than ever about deciphering fiction from reality.
I’m sure you wouldn’t intentionally cite a fake article as a source, but I’m referring to the grey area: studies with a curiously small sample size or those with questionable motivation behind the research. Here are a few great examples (and my source!)
- The study that found Cranberry juice will cure a UTI was funded by Ocean Spray.
- The study that claimed Diet soda helps you lose weight was funded by Coca-Cola and Pepsi.
- And the study that said chocolate is a superfood? You guessed it: funded by Mars, the maker of Snickers, Twix, etc.
When citing sources, try to find multiple places to verify your facts. Also, be sure to actually cite your sources and give credit where credit’s due.
4. Don’t Skimp on the Details
According to a study of 1 million Google search results performed by Backlinko, the average first-page result contains 1,890 words. Google loves in-depth content and so do your readers.
That doesn’t mean you should publish long articles just for the sake of hitting a word-count quota. But covering a topic in detail with a clear structure not only wins over your readers, it also increases your authority in Google’s eyes as well.
5. Proofread for Grammar and Spelling
Did you know poor grammar can directly affect your website conversions?
- In this study, 1,003 people were asked what was most likely to damage their opinion of a brand on social media. The largest group (42%) said grammar and spelling.
- Websites with well-written reviews have better conversions. This was found on TripAdvisor and Amazon.
- Matt Cutts noted that good spelling and grammar are correlated to higher ranking websites.
Personally, I don’t need a study to convince me that grammar and punctuation are important. We painstakingly edit and proofread every article we write for our clients and get direct feedback from them before publishing.
If proofreading isn’t your strong suit, hire an editor to edit your web pages and content before you publish. Here are a few tips on what to look for when hiring an editor.
There are also some great editing tools that will make the job easier if you’d rather do it yourself.
6. Take a Stand
Most people think having a strong opinion on a topic will alienate some of their readers.
They’re right… when it comes to controversial topics completely out of their field of expertise.
But when it comes to topics within your profession, strong opinions are golden!
Anyone can state the facts, but an article that reads like a research paper won’t win over your audience’s hearts. (For starters, they’ll never finish it.)
We believe great content marketing helps build relationships. You may not be the first person to write about a topic but you’re the only one with your unique experiences and views on that topic. Your opinion is what helps readers relate to you and your company. Your content has the power to connect with people on a level no one else can.
It’s not about finding a topic that’s never been written about (good luck doing that). It’s about writing on topics that are important to your audience and adding your unique perspective.
7. Stick To One Topic Per Article
Have you ever had to ask someone to repeat themselves because they went in so many directions while answering your questions that you couldn’t keep up?
Unfortunately, when someone gets lost or confused reading your article online, they don’t start over or ask for clarification – they just leave.
A great way to keep yourself on track is to treat your headline as a promise. One promise that tells the reader, “This is what you’re going to get.”
If you can’t fit your promise into 70-100 characters or 6-8 words, you’re probably trying to say too much.
(But there’s some good news… now you have enough content for two posts!)
No one looks like an expert when dancing around multiple issues in a single post. Our attention spans are short enough as is. So instead of going wide with your topic and risking a vague, boring article, go deep!
Get specific and thoroughly cover one topic at a time.