Infomercials don’t work anymore. Nor does preachy content. Over the last few years, there has been an increase in interest in authentic content from businesses. Screaming and shouting about how great your business is doesn’t work the way it did before. People, especially millennials and Gen-Z, want to hear about the people behind the business. They want to know about the story behind the business, where the inspiration was, and why you want to do what you do. Because of this, you need to focus on posting more authentic content. But what content counts as authentic? How should you translate this concept across your website, social media, and any other platforms?
How to start adding authenticity
Creating authentic content for your audience involves a few steps before you can really reach your full potential. They may take some development and a very deep understanding of your audience and your business, but they’ll be worth the payoff.
Who is your audience? What are they interested in seeing?
The most important part of creating authentic content for your viewers is understanding what they want you to show them. This can take some testing out of different content types. This could include educational content, infographics, and case studies on your website. For social media, this may entail educational videos, memes, and behind-the-scenes videos. Figuring out what your audience responds the most to will help you grow your audience and be able to give them something that they’ll want to view, read, or listen to.
Do you have a voice? How should you develop one?
As we’ve stated before in previous blog posts, having a unique and developed voice is extremely important for your content marketing. Speaking in a different tone in every blog will confuse the audience and can impact your SEO. The same concept goes for social media and videos, having a different tone and using different vernaculars in captions and on videos will make your marketing efforts messier. If you have a group working on your content marketing, creating a guideline for the company voice will be a great investment of time and/or money so that your whole team is producing consistent content.
You’re an industry authority. Own it!
That’s the whole thing. You’re creating content in your industry because you’re an expert. You know the ins and outs of your industry and how people can succeed, and you’re sharing that with the world. Being confident in your knowledge and authority is one of the best ways to create authentic content.
What authentic content should you create?
Now that you know how to create authentic content, you need to know what counts as authentic content on every platform, and how to execute it. There are a number of different platforms on which you can make content, and being able to utilize each of them to reach your audience authentically is critical to your strategy.
On your website, there are dozens of opportunities to present yourself in an authentic way. You can incorporate a lot into your homepage to start. It’s the first page most visitors will see, so try to present it in a way that’s transparent about your business. You can include a blurb about your business, or a mission statement.
You should also have an about page that is thorough and built out. This can be about your business overall, and you can also include staff bios. Staff bios add a level of humanity and authenticity to your website by allowing your staff to tell your audience about their experience and personal lives. Personally, when I read about what a staff member does for the community, it makes me more inclined to trust and use their services.
The biggest area for authentic content on your website is, of course, your blog. Your blog is a spot where you’re constantly posting content for your audience, so be sure to check the authenticity of what you’re putting out. Try to keep self-promotion as only 10% of the content on your blog page.
Posting educational content is going to be the best for your blog page. Entertaining content can seem insincere in a blog that isn’t centered around narratives. That doesn’t mean you can’t write your stories from the industry, we would even encourage you to. Telling your stories is a great way to produce authentic content, but make sure there is an educational aspect so that your audience is still getting help from your blog. Creating infographics is another way to create content that will help your audience learn but in a more digestible and aesthetically pleasing way. You can also incorporate video into your blog content by embedding a YouTube video at the top of your page or using videos to showcase a process.
On social media, you should be educating and entertaining. Being a thought leader in your industry on social media is super important to success and authenticity. Specifically, on Instagram, Reels are the way to go for authenticity and a wide reach. You can create educational or entertaining videos very easily on Reels. At Ascent, we post a lot of behind-the-scenes Reels of video shoots and our new office. Your audience wants to see what you’re up to. It’s a great way to be authentic in the work you’re doing, as well as subtly promote your services. Similar to your blog posts, blatant self-promo on social media should only be posted about 10% of the time.
Graphics are another great option for social media. You can easily show statistics in your industry using graphics. Transparency is a very authentic marketing strategy, and hiding these statistics from your audience could come across as shady.
It’s also very easy to do entertainment on social media. Making industry-specific memes is a fun way to share insights with your audience. Even using your business account to share a funny meme or video on your story (with discretion, of course) can increase trust. Humor is a very authentic way to market, because of how universal it is. The more you can make your audience laugh, the more they’ll love seeing your content, and love your business in general.
Authentic Video Content
Video is a great way to foster authenticity for your business. We’ve done deep dives into video marketing in the past and how it can assist in SEO, but doing a sit-down and talking about your company, its goals, and how you want to help people is a very authentic way to utilize video. Interview style videos are a great way to achieve this, by having someone read questions for you to answer. There is nothing more authentic than an unscripted discussion about your passion for your business. For more video marketing inspiration, check out this blog post.
Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge of authentic content marketing, it’s time to implement these changes to your strategy. Start with developing a voice and learning your audience, then move into shifting your actual content to be centered in a more authentic way.
Contact Ascent today to find out we can help improve your content marketing!