In a recent blog post (http://tinyurl.com/pnu7erq), Gartner research director Jake Sorofman – an expert in digital marketing strategy, trends and practices – introduced The Three Cs of Content Marketing:
- Creation—is the collaborative, often distributed process of generating original ideas and creative output in the form of text, images, video, infographics and the like.
- Curation—is when marketers find, filter, organize and annotate third-party content to advance their storyline by adding value to someone else’s point of view.
- Cultivation—is the practice of inspiring your audience to contribute content back to your storytelling efforts, often in the form of comments, gamified or contest-driven contributions.
While these are all key to a successful content marketing campaign, think about a diamond. There are four factors that affect a diamond’s value: color, cut, clarity and carat weight.
Similarly, if you want your content to be highly valued, there’s a fourth C you should be focused on, as well: Credibility.
If your content – your message – doesn’t have credibility with your audience, all the blood, sweat and dollars you put into the creation, curation and cultivation of content won’t really matter.
In a world where we are bombarded with thousands of marketing messages and claims a day, and where technology has turned anyone with a smartphone or a laptop into a publisher or “citizen journalist”, it’s harder than ever to know exactly WHOM to believe.
The philosopher Aristotle studied the credibility of speakers and found that an audience was more likely to be convinced if the speaker was seen as:
- Being competent – having a good knowledge of the subject
- Having sound character – being honest and trustworthy, and
- Having goodwill toward the audience – that is, having the audience’s interests in mind.
There’s the rub: Credibility originates with the receiver of the message because it is based on the receiver’s perceptions.
You can’t create it by yourself. You earn it, just like trust and reputation, over time.
As Gartner’s Sorofman said, content marketing is hard work. Make sure that while you’re working on the creation, curation and cultivation of content, you work even harder at earning the credibility needed to get your content seen and believed.
We’ll offer some thoughts on building credibility in our next post.