Credibility is the single most important attribute of great marketing content. Effective content must also be relevant and valuable, but if potential buyers don’t see your content as credible, they won’t give you credit for relevance or value. Here are two ways to increase the credibility of your content.
Several recent research studies have contained both good news and bad news regarding B2B content marketing. First the good news. It’s clear that content plays a vital role in B2B buying decisions.
- In the 2017 B2B Buyer’s Survey by Demand Gen Report, business buyers were asked why they selected the winning vendor over others. Seventy-five percent of the respondents said that the winning vendor’s content had a significant impact on their choice.
- In a 2016 survey of business decision makers by Edelman and LinkedIn, 45% of respondents said that thought leadership content had directly led them to decide to do business with a company.
- In a 2016 survey of business executives by The Economist Group, respondents reported that, on average, they engage with only about 25% of the thought leadership content they see every day.
- A 2016 study by Beckon found that the amount of content published by brands had tripled in the previous year, but that customer engagement had remained flat. The study also found that just 5% of the total content produced garnered 90% of the total customer engagements, meaning that 19 out of 20 content pieces generated little or no engagements.
Credible content is authoritative. Therefore, it’s important not to fill your content with unsubstantiated claims or assertions. Marketing content doesn’t need to read like an academic journal or a legal brief, but the main points you make should be supported by sound evidence, preferably from recognized and reputable sources.
Business buyers have repeatedly made their preference for authoritative content clear:
- In its 2017 Content Preferences Survey, Demand Gen Report asked survey participants what recommendations they would make to improve the quality of the content provided by B2B vendors. Seventy-six percent of respondents said use more data and research to support content.
- In a 2016 survey of senior business executives by Grist, survey participants were asked what qualities they find most valuable in thought leadership content. The third highest ranking attribute was content that is evidence-based and contains robust data. The survey also asked participants what turns them off about content. Forty percent of respondents said unsubstantiated opinions.
Once again, B2B buyers have made their preference for non-promotional content clear. In a 2017 survey of business buyers by the Content Marketing Institute and SmartBrief, survey participants were asked to identify the most desirable qualities of the content they use to make buying decisions. The third most important attribute identified by survey respondents was content that “is more educational than promotional in nature.”
Keep It Real
B2B buyers have spoken, and they’ve made it clear that they want vendors to provide content that is credible, relevant, and insightful. Potential buyers will see your content as more credible if you make it authoritative and non-promotional.