Why Honest Content is King
Get onto any social media platform and you’re bound to see a sea of short and long content from all kinds of industries, brands and businesses, all working to make their impact on their desired audience. But what is it that distinguishes compelling and effective content from the rest? What sets apart the businesses that can push through the rubble and those that stay stagnant?
The answer is simple: honesty.
Honesty plays a critical role in establishing your brand, maintaining consistency and keeping customers engaged. Many companies feel that putting honesty and opinion into their content limits their audience and potential buyers. On the contrary, it allows for a much more loyal scope of audience that is more likely to buy from you as big brands that attempt to feed everyone can be identified as the not-so-nice ‘faceless corporation’. Particularly when you’re up against these larger competitors, a sincere personal touch makes all the difference to your campaigns.
To tackle the market head-on, you need to know that your audience values integrity. Kick out that ‘please everyone’ mentality and stick to the stuff you know.
Build trust, keep trust
Honesty builds trust, and the more you maintain that level of trust, the more loyal an audience you will build. Through transparency, you create an even level of trust: you trust them to be completely honest, they trust you because you are honest. A brand that is more willing to share its ‘warts and all’ maintains a sincere relationship that may be rare to find in big business. Whether this means admitting fault, not stringing clients along or just being brutally frank about your core values, a trustworthy character doesn’t hide behind curtains, so don’t do it with your business.
A human touch
How many major brands and big department stores do you now see responding to Facebook posts and replying to messages throughout multiple platforms? Social media has allowed for brands to break the barrier between corporation and customer, and a level honesty adds to this personal touch. Forming honesty reminds readers that you aren’t just a corporation filtering out information, but rather a writer, a worker and a person, with your own set of values and thoughts. There’s a reason why the “family run business” is such a catch – it means you’re human. Stick to a sincere approach to get ahead of the bigger brands.
Remove unlikely consumers
When you get rid of that need to please everyone, you start seeing a growth in the audience that your product or service actually applies to. There’s no point trying to twist and mould the truth for a customer that doesn’t have interest in your product. There’s no point writing for customers on a budget when you sell a high-end service. Once you start creating content that is honest to you, you create a client-base that has higher density of future sales. Yes, it might seem like you’re excluding a huge mass of potential customers, but keeping it limited to the right demographic is actually much better for your budget (and your time!) than trying to draw in customers from a large, unspecific crowd. You aren’t just benefitting your own business’ integrity when you stick to honest content.
Focusing on the right battles
Once you remove less likely prospects, you have the time and money to focus on the battles that you can win; sticking to your client base. There’s nothing worse than trying to market to an audience that isn’t properly suited to what you sell. Filtering out your audience through honest content lets you better establish a demographic that works. This means, less time with trial and error and more time engaging with the right customers. In this case, generalising won’t help you.
Think of someone you know that is brutally honest with the friends, co-workers, clients. There’s an air of confidence that comes with being honest, and it rings true for your company’s content, too. Maintaining the right level of honesty throughout your content makes for a brutally confident character, one that doesn’t get pushed around. Don’t you want your brand to have strength, power and pizzazz?
Consistency is key
A flimsy brand will continue to create content that favours the needs of who they think their customer base is, which leads to regular and frequent shifts in values. Customers grow and change all the time, and while it’s natural to see progression, inconsistent content only shows that you are confused about your own core values. Evolution is inevitable (and important), but maintaining your honesty plays a huge part in your overall integrity, as well as the vital consistency needed for a business to stay afloat in the competitive market.
Say a health foods store emphasises the importance of a certain food or supplement. Months later, they’ve found out this supplement isn’t so great, and create further content that emphasises this new opinion, without admitting their previous stance. Now, the business looks like they have no real knowledge on the matter and are no longer a viable, honest source for their customers.
Alternatively, this store could be honest about their mistake and express that they may have changed their mind. Not only does this admit fault, but it lets readers appreciate and acknowledge the humanity of the business. Flaws can generate trust, and a consistent storyline helps readers keep up.
So, honesty really is the best policy
No one likes reading on-the-fence content. If you’re creating content that’s essentially Switzerland, all you’ll do is spark debate among your consumers, and frustrate those who would rather content that favours their own opinions. So next time you’re creating a long-form blog on an issue that is either X or Y, make sure you pick a side. You may not hit all the targets, but the ones you do hit will be valuable to your business.
Content marketing is a valuable part of your campaign, but the right voice makes all the difference. If you’re trying to weigh up against competitors, honesty will give you the personal edge that keeps your audience intrigued and loyal. When you’re thinking up topics for that next blog post, keep in mind how you feel about the topic, and put in a dash of personality that will resonate well with the crowd.