During the month of May, the Maven continues to focus on content marketing. This week: credibility. Your audience of technical professionals seeks out content to help them do their jobs better, stay up-to-date on their industry, and make more informed and confident buying decisions. You can help them on their journey—and position your company as a trusted authority and go-to resource—by maintaining a high degree of credibility in your content. Here’s how:
1. Be useful and relevant. This is the most important factor. Give your audience information that’s helpful to them, such as explaining a technical process, comparing approaches to solving a problem, or analyzing a trend in their industry. If you can establish your expertise in specific areas and educate your audience, you will be able to build trust, and customers and prospects will return to you repeatedly.
2. Use three types of content. Thought leadership is content that your company produces, typically educational in nature. Curated content is produced by others that you share with your audience, such as analyst reports or third-party articles or blog posts. And promotional content focuses on your own products and services. Each type of content has its place in your mix. There are no rigid rules about the mix, but we think a balance and appropriate breakdown looks something like this: 30 percent thought leadership content, 50 percent curated content, and 20 percent promotional content.
3. Be objective and professional. You can and should establish a position and point of view in your content, but you should also discuss alternative points of view. Education is all about having a broad and deep 360 degree view of a topic. If other positions and points of view didn’t have validity, no company would take them, so don’t simply dismiss them outright. Instead, acknowledge alternative approaches and demonstrate why your position is the stronger one.
4. Cite sources and references. If you’re producing a white paper or technical article, perform research and use credible third-party sources such as industry experts, analysts, and other publications to support your key themes. Cite sources in footnotes and/or a list of references at the end of the piece.
5. Ensure your content is fresh. Content can get out-of-date quickly. You need to continually produce fresh content and put a publication date on it to show your audience that the information is current. For example, have you clicked on a company’s blog link only to discover the last entry was months ago? What kind of impression did that leave on you? Another thing to watch out for is content containing information that is no longer accurate or relevant given any changes or trends occurring in your industry.
6. Avoid amateur mistakes. Along with out-of-date content, mistakes can hurt your credibility. Typos, grammatical errors, fuzzy imagery, poor rendering on mobile devices, long download times, poor sound, and other mistakes reflect poorly on your credibility. Proofread and test before publishing.
7. Produce content in a variety of formats. Technical professionals have demonstrated an appetite for all types of content: white papers, webinars, videos, technical briefs, data sheets, blog posts, articles, case studies, product catalogs, and more. The company that creates a wide variety of content in different formats gains credibility by giving its audience options. Remember that you can re-purpose content from one format to the next; for example, turning a white paper into a webinar.
8. Distribute and promote through the right channels. Every company publishes content on their website. However, technical professionals use many digital sources in their search for content, including industry websites, directories, e-newsletters, catalogs, and more. When your content appears in respected and widely accessed industry resources, your credibility increases. And when you promote your content using the channels that your audience uses—such as e-mail newsletters, banner ads on industry sites, and directory listings—you will reach a greater number of targeted technical professionals.
IHS Engineering360 offers a portfolio of content marketing services, providing you with a targeted audience and offering high visibility for white papers, technical briefs, articles, and other content. You also can take advantage of solutions to drive your customers and prospects to your content. If credibility is important to you—along with building brand visibility and generating engagement opportunities through content—visit IHS Engineering360 to learn more.