How To Build Trust Through Content Marketing: 5 Ideas For Purpose-Led Brands


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In the world of marketing, the concept of persuasion comes up a lot. We talk about persuasive language. Persuading your audience to take some kind of action—subtly and not so much. Read. Get in touch. Click. Buy.

But what makes someone on the receiving end of this messaging stop scrolling and decide to connect? More and more we’re learning—and research confirms—that this behaviour isn’t driven by persuasion at all. Or any other clever trick from the marketing playbook.

Instead, it’s a leap of faith, based on trust. Specifically, the degree to which the audience believes your brand is credible, honest, and industry-leading. According to one recent consumer report, trust is the top driver of revenue-generating behaviours. This includes everything from picking one company over a competitor to spending more, and trying out unrelated products or services from the same brand.

In other words, try to persuade all you like. Lean on those superlatives. But until your audience trusts you, they’re probably not going to take the leap you want them to.

Now, here’s the good news: purpose-led brands have a leg up when it comes to trust, because they’re already putting their money where their mouth is, balancing profit with values. And since content marketing is such a powerful tool for building trust, establishing credibility and forging stronger customer relationships, it’s the perfect tool to build on this foundation.

With this in mind, we’re sharing a few proven content thought-starters that have worked—for us and our purpose-focused clients—to build trust and connection with our target audiences. Feel free to bookmark, borrow, and put your own stamp on them. And let us know how it goes!

How to build trust through content marketing: story starters for purpose-led brands

1. The how-to: empowering your audience

We’re constantly coaching clients to develop stories that are educational, versus overtly promotional. And sometimes it’s a tough sell—conversion is the end game of content marketing, after all, even for purpose-led brands. So why spend time trying to educate your audience?

First of all, think of it more as empowering than instructing. Whether you frame your pearls of wisdom as a guide, a course, a step-by-step tutorial, or a set of savvy tips, ideally, you’re imparting valuable information that your customers can take away and use to make better decisions. This fosters gratitude, and positions your brand as an authority, that genuinely cares about its customers’ success. And this, in turn, builds trust.

Tip: Framing matters. To strike a relatable chord with your educational content, speak to your audience’s pain points directly, and then explain how your tips are the fix. An example: “If you’re struggling to come up with an actionable content plan, you need this step-by-step tutorial.” Or: “As a new B Corp, you’re probably facing some unfamiliar content challenges … here’s how to spin them into wins.”

2. Thought leadership: standing out in your industry

What are the hot-button issues in your brand’s corner of the universe? What emerging news or common challenges are your mutuals buzzing about on LinkedIn? If you’re an expert in your field, you probably have a take on this phenomenon that people want to hear. By crafting thought-provoking articles, posts, videos, or podcasts that offer unique insights and analyses, you demonstrate a deep understanding of your field, and commitment to driving meaningful conversations. This elevates your brand as a trustworthy voice on the forefront of your industry. And worthy of doing business with, too.

Tip: If you’re stuck on which topics to tackle, start as suggested above: with the big trends in your industry, and common questions you see cropping up. What are your peers most concerned and excited about, and what specialist knowledge can you share that audiences will find valuable and relevant? For instance, in our world, AI is on every mind—and social feed—at the moment. So we’re planning some thought leadership on how to stand out with premium content in the age of, er, chatty robots.

3. The story of values: spotlighting your brand ethos

If you’re a brand with a purpose, like a B Corp, you’ve probably spent some time hammering out a set of key values, and what they mean to you. So go forth and talk about them. Share stories that spotlight your core values in action—sustainable sourcing, inclusive practices, and so on—guiding your brand’s real-life decisions. Value stories like these build credibility and trust, especially among socially conscious customers looking for a fit with their beliefs and principles.

Tip: Try basing a package of stories or social posts around each of your values. Case in point, we recently started planning a series of posts exploring Forge and Spark’s brand values of creative excellence, firm kindness, resourcefulness, collaborative strength, and integrity. Hop over and take a look at the first post of the series, then report back (that’s a taste of “firm kindness” in action, in case you were wondering).

4. A peek behind the scenes: showing transparency

This is a chance to pull the curtain back and prove you are exactly who and what you say you are. You can do this any number of ways: a virtual day in the life of your business, an origin story about your brand’s inception, a firsthand glimpse of the team brainstorming. Even a window into how your people spend their personal time recharging and gathering inspiration. Highlight interactions, decisions, or activities that reflect your values and central mission. This intimate access humanizes your business, making it that much more relatable, and trustworthy.

Tip: Try taking your audience on a little hero’s journey. Start from your brand’s beginnings, recounting challenges, successes, and pivotal moments that have shaped your brand’s identity. Sharing your brand’s evolution—warts and all—can help make a genuine connection with your audience, showcasing your commitment to growth, honesty, and improvement.

5. The client-love story: proving you deliver

Share real stories of customers whose lives or businesses you’ve impacted. Whether it’s a testimonial, case study, or user-generated content, these narratives offer proof of tangible benefits you’ve delivered, which fosters trust. As a purpose-led brand, you’ll want to focus this lens on customers, partners, or supporters who share your values, highlighting accomplishments, projects, or stories that align with your central purpose. By showcasing your community in this way, you emphasize the shared values and connections that bind your audience together. And your own role in forging those bonds.

Tip: Don’t be afraid to talk up the results you’ve achieved for your clients. As a purpose-led brand, you may struggle to find the right balance between humble and braggy (we can relate). But as long as you’re honest and authentic in celebrating your clients’ success, your strength and trustworthiness as a partner will come shining through.

Steal these tips, too: How to build trust through content marketing

In our own quest to build trust with clients and audiences, we’ve found these smart content strategies to be invaluable for building credibility and trust:

Be clear and be conversational. This breaks down barriers between your brand and your audience, making them more comfortable engaging with you. Remember, you want to talk with your audience, not just talk. Nurture the conversation and adapt what you say and do based on the responses.

Get under the surface. The more your audience can relate to your stories, the more reason they’ll have to trust you. To resonate more deeply, you need to ABAW, always be asking why. As in, why does this matter so much to my customers? Why does this particular challenge trip people up so much? Why should people care about our services?

Be anything but boring. Your work may be serious, world-changing stuff. But you still need to hook and engage your audience to begin the trust-building process. So find ways to bring humour, play, delight, and drama to your content. (We’ve noticed that B2B brands, especially, find this tricky— we’re here to help.)

Invest in your storytelling. Putting extra time and resources into crafting quality content—written and visual—is about much more than filling your channels, and waving a flag at fickle search engines. It’s about building a meaningful relationship with your audience. Remember, the power of storytelling lies in how it connects with people. And when your audience connects with your brand’s storytelling? Well, trust and growth are sure to follow.

Let’s build trust together, shall we?
We’d love to talk about how we can help level up your content marketing to premium-quality and truly trust-building. Reach out to us at hello[AT]

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