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Can B2B Build Credibility with Content Marketing?

Diligence and accuracy in owned media publishing allows B2B to foster a relationship with a subscribed audience and build credibility for the organization in the process

One of the occasional critiques of content marketing I hear from PR professionals is that content lacks credibility. I don’t agree. That hasn’t been true in my own experience, and I don’t think the research supports such a conclusion.

The 2021 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends Report by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs is an example. When the survey asked the 740 North American B2B respondents about the goals they achieved with content marketing, building credibility and trust was near the top of the list.

A majority, 81% of respondents said they have built credibility for their organization through content marketing over the last 12 months. Even more, the number of respondents that say as much has steady grown over the last two years – 75% cited credibility a year ago and 68% said so two years ago.

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How can content build credibility?

The old adage in PR suggests nothing you say about yourself is as credible as someone saying it for you. So, a third-party news report that says great things about your company’s culture is better than your company saying it about itself, for example.

There is definitely value in third-party validation, but a key reason people believe that third-party is the fact they have a  relationship with the subscribed audience. It’s their audience, not yours.

That’s where content marketing – when performed according to research-driven best practices – flips things around. You build a relationship with the audience. When your organization is accurate, reliable, diligent, thorough, empathetic and consistent in content, that is running your content platform like a news site, it’s building trust and credibility with a subscribed audience.

What about independence?

Those skeptical of this line of thought would point out the credibility comes from the independence of the publication. A company that touts its culture has a vested interest – and the audience will find suspect.

Here again, there’s an element of truth to that, but it also has to do with the presentation. Keeping with the example of company culture, if you present your culture with stories, anecdotes and in the words of employees, you can and will bridge the independence gap.

Where it gets really interesting is when you hit both goals for subscribers and third-party validation with content.  How? Chances are in the process of telling culture stories, you’ll earn coverage based on your content too.

And that’s the better point: content marketing and public relations need each other. Media coverage can be a source of content marketing – and content marketing can be a vehicle for media relations. It’s not a case of which program is better, but how much better they perform when working together.

>>> Looking for a consulting partner with proven PR and content chops? Check out our services.

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Image credit: Photo by Daniel Páscoa on Unsplash and the respective study

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