SURVEY: The Public Is Mostly OK with Content Marketing

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So. Much. Content.

Good news for those with a stake in that endlessly evolving practice we call “content marketing”: the public has accepted it. For the most part. With conditions.

As we all know, the average Joe Smith’s trust is a fickle thing, and it can easily be lost. Still:

“74% of the general public trusts content from businesses that aim to educate readers about a particular topic”

A soon-to-be-released survey performed by CMS software producer Kentico tells us more. HINT: the key word in that previous line is “educate”…

The survey, part of Kentico’s ongoing Digital Experience research series, involved more than 300 American adults and came to some other important conclusions.

The key is value and objectivity:

  • Customer trust goes down by 46% when content can’t be corroborated with third-party sources
  • 17% of customers don’t trust content that fails to address alternate perspectives
  • 15% discard materials when it’s not clear which company is sponsoring them
  • Tone is also important: 12% of respondents don’t care for content that “talks down” to them

No sales allowed: a full 29% of respondents don’t trust anything that ends with a product pitch.

Here’s a surprising one: despite all the talk of “relationships” and “brand loyalty”, none of that really matters when it comes to information:

  • 85% don’t place any greater trust in materials from companies they buy from regularly

That’s not to say they generally distrust such materials, though (random GIF alert):

Skeptical

  • 49% say they will, on the whole, trust the info businesses give them but will also seek outside corroboration
  • 57% naturally claim that verification from named third party sources (doctors, parents, etc.) adds credibility

These may be the survey’s most encouraging findings:

  • 69% say this kind of stuff is more credible when it comes from someone they know, and…
  • 94% have shared such “educational information from a company” with a friend or loved one in the past

And here are the real world numbers you were waiting for:

  • While only 27% say such materials come up “often” when searching for related topics, 57% say it comes up “sometimes”

Some of this survey’s conclusions may feel like common sense, but here are some basic takeaways:

  • Name your third-party sources and acknowledge opposing viewpoints for the sake of credibility
  • Don’t treat your readers like idiots or try to sell them anything
  • Get on that SEO

Agreed?