Content Marketing

How Reach Content Can Help Build Trust With Your Audience

You’re running down a trail in your neighborhood. It’s not too hot, not too cold, and the fresh air feels great against your skin.

You’ve been tracking your runs for months using an application on your phone. After each outing, you check to see how close or far away you were from your personal goal. Tonight, you already know you’re ahead of pace. But you have a lot left to give. You feel like you can go the distance, and that motivates you to push forward, accept the burn in your legs, and allow your mind to drift to a different place.

Then you trip over a tree root and you’re face first on the dirt. Goodbye personal best. Back to square one tomorrow night.

We’ve all been there. Maybe not physically on the ground, but we all know what it feels like to lose our momentum in content marketing. After putting months of work into a strategy and seeing some success, numbers start to fall flat, and we’re left to come up with a new approach. This time, we need a strategy that brings us closer to and helps us eventually surpass our personal bests.

Accept Change in Content Marketing

In content marketing, strategy changes all the time based on our learnings over the past several months. In the beginning, it was all about getting views by hijacking keywords and churning out low-quality posts.

Then, more recently, it was about creating product-focused content that educated buyers about a brand’s offerings. That, too, has already begun to fail for many organizations. Yet it’s hard to give that type of content up because there will always be a need to tell people about what’s being sold.

That leaves a burning question: “How can I engage with my customers when they’re not in the mood to read about my products?”

That leaves a burning question: “How can I engage with my customers when they’re not in the mood to read about my products?”

The answer is simple, but the execution proves to be more difficult than many marketers thought: “reach content” and the rest of this blog will tell you exactly how to step out of your marketing comfort zone and begin to think like a true publisher.

What Is Reach Content?

Reach content is best defined as writing on a topic or theme that an audience cares about, but isn’t related to what a brand sells. At the Content Standard, we write about psychology, creativity, and science, because we’ve found that when our audience isn’t reading about content marketing, they turn to those subjects to relax and be entertained.

Lately, marketers have become obsessed with proving the ROI of content, but too many organizations look at their blogs as their entire strategy. Decision makers track the dollars and cents, and they give up when their posts don’t directly correlate to earned business.

Content ROI Graph

But is that really the goal of your blog? To capture people’s attention and convert them on the spot? If it is, it shouldn’t be.

By now, we know that building trust and forging meaningful relationships with consumers is what eventually leads to sales twitter-icon. That doesn’t come from product-driven content at first. You have to get people through the door before you offer them a deal, and the best way to get more eyes on your brand is by becoming and creating what they love.

Ask yourself these 3 questions when building out your content strategy to reach new audiences.

  1. Who am I trying to reach?
  2. What do they care about?
  3. Do these topics align with my brand’s look and feel?

Push yourself to leave business at the door by delving deeper than basic demographic descriptions. Sure, you’re trying to reach the decision maker at a Fortune 500 company, but what does she care about? What motivates her? What scares her?

Is she a budding artist who, while not signing off on deals at the office, also cares deeply about eco-friendly technology? Those characteristics and qualities can help shape the type of reach content you’ll want to consider creating.

After all, if your decision-maker audience begins to associate you with art and green technology, then your brand suddenly becomes more human, more relatable, and more likely to win her business down the line.

Don’t Be Afraid!

When I’m speaking to marketers about reach content, I can sense their hesitation and fear. After all, marketers are trained to think strategically first, creative second, in today’s data-driven world. So asking them to revert back to an age where creativity and a true understanding of an audience matters most can seem like bad advice.

I assure you, it’s not. Businesses like MasterCard, Western Digital, and IBM are already doing this well. They’ve invested in the idea of producing content for their audiences, outside of their normal advertising, lead generation, and sales goals. They’re only key performance indicator? Trust.

They’ve invested in the idea of producing content for their audiences, outside of their normal advertising, lead generation, and sales goals. They’re only key performance indicator? Trust.

How do you measure trust? Returning visitors, time on site, subscriptions, and any other way you can look at how often your customer base turns to you for fun.

Reach shouldn’t be your entire content strategy. You’ll still need media that converts. But it’s important that you understand the difference between the two and learn how to measure the success of each tactic accordingly. Don’t measure your lead-gen content by pageviews, similarly to how you shouldn’t measure your reach content by conversions.

Take a step back and ask yourself, “Am I creating what my audience really loves or am I just trying to sell them my products/services?”

Are you OK with your answer? If not, now’s the time to pivot your approach.

Are you ready to start creating “reach content”? Start with this Interactive Persona & Buyer’s Journey Worksheet.

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