You know what you are? The most trusted source. Or at least you have the power to be the most trusted source. You know what you like and you are happy to share your opinion with the world. You know what you’re talking about.
So, when you are doing research online, you’re looking for content generated by people like you. It’s not that they have to agree with you, but they need to seem like they’re reliable and know what they are talking about.
That’s a very good guideline for content marketing and content creation. Be the voice that sounds reasonable. Content must no longer be tied to the hard facts. Indeed, the art of fact checking has departed on the last SUV out of town. Instead, we all rely on an individual gut feeling, and the source can be just about anyone.
We can probably trace this shift in trust to when Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show, became America’s Most Trusted Newsman, and Stephen Colbert coined the term “truthiness.” Look, too, at the rise of TMZ, a gossip site which skyrocketed to fame and credibility by breaking the story of Michael Jackson’s untimely death.
Add this shift In the concept of credibility to the increasingly frenetic pace of the 24/7 news cycle,where information whizzes by so fast that the multitude of errors on previously trustworthy sites like CNN and MSNBC erode confidence practically by the hour.
As the New York Times’ David Brooks recently remarked, “We live in an economic system in which the world is seen as a conversation, lots of free and open exchange, where it works best for everybody if we all trust one another.” Information is everywhere and as a result we’ve all become editors in chief.
Content creation is up for grabs. In this wide open playing field of information availability and the ever shifting idea of trustworthiness, any content with a whiff of an agenda is a buzzkill.
Even if you are researching a future purchase where actual money will leave your bank account, the last thing you need is a brazen sales pitch. No one wants to be told what they want. The most successful sales sites build trust by offering solutions to problems.
To become and remain a trusted source, you don’t necessarily need to tell the truth as much as you need to connect with the online equivalent of a firm handshake, eye contact, and an infectious smile.
Content marketing creates trust, and as such is rapidly replacing both advertising and journalism (which increasingly prioritizes pageviews). In a preference marketing era, trust is your point of entry.