If anyone has anything against content marketing it’s because ROI is so difficult to measure. The important thing everyone wants to know is whether the content leads to sales. Why would a business invest in digital content marketing when the results can’t be counted?
I think it’s interesting that so many small online businesses and bloggers often put a lot more effort into creating entertaining, informative, and interesting content than many larger companies. They are heavily investing in content while large marketing departments are hesitant to invest equivalent resources. It takes a lot of organization and a solid collection of metrics to get the c-suite to go along with a content marketing plan!
Without a guarantee of new or repeat sales, why would smaller companies and startups risk the investment in content to drive traffic to their websites and attract new clients and customers?
Content marketing is the golden goose for small businesses because they don’t have the benefit of an established brand presence in the marketplace. It’s content they count on to create rapport with people they may otherwise never reach.
“Content creates rapport with people you may not otherwise reach.”
How do you create trust-building content?
Startups, solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, and new product development divisions within companies must develop new market connections to be seen and heard. And if their content has the ability to forge a new connection that sticks and “feels comfortable,” then the intangible quality may even be worth more in the long run than an instant sale.
Rapport wins the sale, especially in B2B situations. Even if you are a B2C business, rapport in marketing is becoming intrinsic to sales. As consumers encounter more and more choices, they will naturally choose to purchase from companies that are on their wavelength.
But developing a kindred spirit with another person is difficult to do online, isn’t it? How do you make that magic happen with words and images? Isn’t rapport a factor of “chemistry?”
Rapport is usually seen in the way people communicate together. Body language and invisible signals play a large part in calming suspicions, or making another person feel comfortable in your presence. The big challenge, if you want to influence more than folks in your local networking chapter, is to develop rapport online with your digital content.
Rapport is not only possible; you can develop a plan to accomplish this.
Forge the magical bond of rapport with your content.
First, let’s talk a little more about rapport. What is rapport, and how do you create this magical bond in real life?
The three main nonverbal practices to establish face-to-face rapport are the handshake, the seating arrangements, and the visibility of your hands. We’ll address these one by one.
The handshake builds rapport by establishing credibility. Your content marketing should also establish credibility.
The simplest ways to be credible in your customer’s eyes is to be consistent. Regardless of the type of content you commit to creating, publish on a consistent, regular basis.
- A good handshake is firm. Your content should also be firm. Be forthright in your opinions. Say what you think and what you know. Don’t be not wishy-washy. Everyone hates the dreaded dead fish handshake, and the same with your content. Develop a clear voice and stick with it.
- A good handshake is upright, neither aggressive (palm down and dominating) nor passive (palm up and passive). Your content should ideally hit a nice balance to connect with your customers. Dominant is content that’s always selling, barking your benefits and out of touch with your audience. Passive content is self indulgent, unclear and short sighted. Great content should provide clarity, information, or at least make someone smile.
- A traditional handshake is three pumps. Your content should also follow the rules of engagement. Know proper protocol on social media sites. Make sure you know the appropriate word counts for different channels. You can individualize your content to represent your brand, but if you break the rules, at least understand that you are breaking them.
A seating arrangement that is conducive to good rapport opens up the responses, encourages the word “yes,” and makes the conversation more memorable. An optimal seating arrangement is triangulated, not directly across from the other. Studies show that sitting directly opposite one another actually causes conversations to include short sentences, more “no”s and less ability to recollect what was even said!
Can you create an online environment that feels like a comfortable seating arrangement?
Discomfort occurs because people feel “put on the spot.” Instead of responding in an open manner, or with interest or thoughtfulness, they shut down in order to protect themselves. They limit their responses because it feels more like a volley instead of a gentle rally. An awkward seating arrangement feels more like a hot seat than a conversation, and the same goes with awkward content.
In a good digital content “seating arrangement,” you would probably offer more than one type of content. You’d give the prospective client an opportunity to say yes in small ways. You’d ask questions and respond intelligently to their answers instead of repeatedly using the same pointed company talking points. Above all, you’d try to be helpful and encouraging, exhibiting an understanding of your client’s challenges.
Content that accommodates your client and makes them more comfortable works best, especially when layered with personal meaning. Create personalized content tailored specifically for a particular user or member within a group.
For example, the way you’d talk to a human resources manager would be different from the way you talk with a salesperson. Your conversation with a fisherman would be slightly different from your conversation with a biker, even if your product or service centered around a more general discussion of outdoor recreation. Note the distinctions that are important to the end user or consumer. People enjoy and respond to individualized attention.
Great content assures your customers that you’re aware of “the seating arrangements.”
The Visibility of Your Hands
Did you know that good rapport is easier to foster if you keep your hands visible at all times? You may not ever think of this, however this one habit of keeping your hands in view actually builds trust more than any other hand gesture you employ. When your hands are not visible you appear sneaky and mistrustful.
How do you “show your hands” in your content?
- It should go without saying, if you’re doing a webinar or video where you are visible, then literally, make sure you tilt your camera so your hands are visible. After that, there are a number of ways to build trust online.
- Make sure your about page is fully fleshed out because it is the page most visitors go to first after they land on a website.
- Document and show testimonials from other clients who have worked with you.
- Create content that builds trust: The equivalent to showing your hands a digital content is to be open about your own challenges and accomplishments, too. Why not share instances where you won and lost. You might share case studies, things you tested that worked, and those that failed.
- You may also offer a Q & A call for to earn your prospects confidence, share what works and what doesn’t in your industry, reveal something about the challenges you experience, or simply post FAQs about your products and services. These all reveal a refreshing honesty and often become the most popular pages on your website.
Creating rapport may seem like a fringe benefit of content, however smart marketers never forget this important quality in every piece of content they create. No matter what your strategy for closing sales and generating leads and increasing web traffic — all desirable and measurable goals — the rapport you develop with your audience is what people will remember about you and your brand.