By Lee Odden.
We talk a lot here on Online Marketing Blog about influencer marketing and one of the benefits of incorporating the voices of influencers in brand content is not often covered: customer experience.
What’s the connection between CX and influence? A big part of customer experience is trust and many customers simply do not trust brands or advertising.
That’s where adding credible 3rd party voices to brand content comes into play. Brands that want to deliver the most relevant, engaging and actionable experience for their customers will often incorporate external experts that already have the attention of the audience that brands want to reach.
Partnering with relevant influencers to co-create content can open doors for brands trying to engage hard to reach and increasingly skeptical audiences. Those content collaborations can also help deliver an experience that is more credible and trusted than brand content alone.
Of course, simply including influencer quotes in brand content is not enough. In order to optimize brand content to be more trusted, influencer contributions must be genuine, authentic, and ultimately impactful.
The starting point for influencer collaboration success begins with brands identifying specific topics of influence. Those topics need to be aligned with what customers care about so that when the brand identifies and engages with influencers on those topics, they are authentic to customer interests. Influencers that understand firsthand what buyer goals, pain and interests are in the context of solutions the brand offers can be critical for content collaboration that is genuine and impactful.
Another part of influencer and brand authenticity is disclosure. If the influencer has been compensated in any way, they need to disclose the relationship as sponsored or as an advertisement. If the content is relevant and engaging, the disclosure will not be a distraction.
Boosting the credibility of B2B content with influence can be complemented with making sure that content is findable. That is where the intersection of SEO and influence come into play.
Search engines like Google have realized long ago that delivering the best search experience correlates with successful advertising engagement. That means the left side organic results and ads alike need to be the best answer for customers.
For brands, delivering a great user experience in search means understanding searcher intent and providing content that meets those expectations at the very moment of need. Modern SEO best practices do exactly that: provide highly specific, useful information that is relevant to the purpose of the customer in solving their problem or meeting their need.
For optimal SEO performance, those best answer content experiences should be delivered with relevant, fast loading pages that are mobile friendly and deemed credible by other websites that link to them. Even better, is when that content is optimized for trust with relevant 3rd party experts.
Effective Content Marketing is about delivering useful information where, when and in the formats that are most meaningful to buyers. Optimizing content for effective discovery, consumption and action according to buyer preferences relies on insights for each of those outcomes. How buyers discover solution content, their preferences for content format, device and topic and the triggers that will motivate action are all insights that can lead to corresponding metrics such as Attract, Engage, and Convert.
Attract: Organic visibility of target topic content with a high click through rate from Google search results to brand content
Engage: On-topic content consumption, interaction, engagement and low bounce or abandon rates
Convert: Visits that result in relevant action: Subscriptions, downloads, trials, demos, inquiries, sales, referrals
While the marketing world is focused on the many obvious approaches to improving customer experience, those that understand the value of content that is optimized for findability and credibility will realize even greater benefits.