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This is part 2 of my discussion with Kentico CEO Petr Palas, regarding the 2014 Kentico Content Marketing Survey results. You can read part one of my discussion with Peter Palas here.

We're picking up from where we left off in part one, at question 3.

Question 3

 Zachary: Question 8 and Question 6 both reinforce that it’s essential that a company’s educational information can be corroborated by sources that aren’t affiliated with their company. As we already discussed with my first question, just having someone a consumer trusts share that information with them seems to be a confirmation of that data. What are some other ways that companies can make sure that the data they’re sharing is easy to verify and that consumers feel that it can be trusted?


Petr: It's really important to use external sources in your content to support your data. You can cite supporting data from other company's research, you can include detailed data from your own surveys and research that you've conducted, as a way to take content marketing away from opinion-based and present verifiable facts.



Key takeaways from Petr's Answer:

  • Link to external sources to support your arguments.
  • Conduct your own research and surveys to compile your own data.
  • Make sure your content is objective and fact-based, avoid too much opinion that you can't support with data.


Question 4

Zachary:  Yeah! Just like the marketing survey that we're discussing right now, that all makes a lot of sense!
Question 3 from the survey asks whether or not consumers trust educational information less if it’s signed off with a plug for a product or service.
The responses here were pretty neck and neck, with about 45% saying this would hurt the trustworthiness of the content, and 55% who say that it wouldn’t make them trust the data any less. Given that there’s such a close gap here, what do you feel is the better course of action? Should you use these plugs in any blog post, only in content at certain stages of the buyer’s journey, or should mentions of your own products and services be avoided entirely?

Petr: If it is content that your company creates for your customers, from our perspective I would recommend being clear about who you are, why you wrote this content, and what your interest is in writing it. This shows you're transparent and you're creating your content with a certain intention. 

If you don't do this and the customer finds out later that you were publishing content not just to create value for the customer, but to sell them something, then it may be seen as a dishonest approach by the customer.

If you disclose this you may lose some readers, but you won't lose everyone and you won't put your reputation at risk.

Zachary: Okay, and so do you think that the readers you would be losing in that situation are not very qualified leads anyway?

Petr: Yes, they're definitely not. And if the content is truly valuable and of high quality you're less likely to see pushback from readers about the content being created by a commercial company.

Key takeaways from Petr's Answer:

  • While product plugs may turn off some readers, those readers are not likely the people you would have wanted to reach.
  • It is key that you are transparent about who you are and why you are writing content.
  • Again, if the content is of high quality and actually valuable, readers are less likely to be concerned that it was written by a company.

Question 5

Zachary: Ok, cool! I've got one last question for you Petr. Question 7 points out that information is more trustworthy if it includes statements from named sources. We’ve already talked about how information shared by friends and family makes that data more trustworthy to consumers, but friends and family aren’t likely to be subject matter experts. When we’re looking at these named sources, do the specific qualifications of the named source seem to have an impact on how trusted the content is, or does any named source seem to increase trustworthiness independently of their credentials. For example, Parents and doctors are given as examples in the survey. Do consumers seem to trust content that names a parent as a source as much as they would content that names a doctor as a source?

Petr: This depends on the trustworthiness of the source. The quality of the source definitely has an impact.

Zachary: Ok, so parents could still make for a good source because if a parent is reading your content and they identify with what they're saying, and they say "Well, I'm a parent too, and I've been through exactly that!" that can help you build trust, and if you can cite people with specific qualifications then that's going to help give your content even more credence.

Petr: Um, yes, I would say so. I would agree.

Key takeaways from Petr's Answer:

  • Qualifications of a source aren't necessarily as important as readers being able to identify with and trust a named source in your content.
  • That being said, a trustworthy named source with the right credentials can help you further build credence for your content.

Zachary: It's been a pleasure speaking with you, Petr. Again, I just want to say that I really appreciate you taking the time to sit down with me and share these great insights! 

Petr: Yes, thank you very much for your time. Have a good day, bye!

Zachary: Thanks, you too!

Key takeaways overall:

  • Write fact-based content that you can support using credible and trustworthy named sources.
  • Be transparent about your reasons for writing content and don't be afraid to promote yourself as long as you're still providing real value for your readers first.
  • Be transparent. It's hard to rebuild trust once it is broken.
Post by Zachary Chastain
July 28, 2014