Building rapport through your content marketing efforts can be a challenging task, after all, it relies upon a positive engagement from your audience which can be affected by a number of factors.
In this article, the third instalment of the ‘Building Rapport Across Different Communication Channels’ series, we have taken a look into some of the do’s and don’ts of building rapport with your prospects through your content marketing efforts.
Create Quality Content
The first and arguably the most important step in building rapport is creating high-quality and valuable content to fulfil your target audience’s needs.
If you want to build a level of trust, and a solid foundation of rapport with your audience, creating content that just sings your company’s praises and focuses on what you offer, is definitely not the way to go about it.
To be blunt, 90% of your audience will not care about your products and services, at least not yet.
By focusing on your offering too early and providing low-quality ‘spammy’ content you are likely to drive away any potential customers and destroy any rapport that you have built.
To create quality content, you need to identify who your target audience is, the channels that they are active on, the types of content that they prefer, and issues that they face or questions that they ask. You can then produce targeted content that aims to solve or answer those issues.
If your audience is left satisfied by the content that you provide on a regular basis, and find actionable tips and lessons within, they will be more likely to view you and your business as a valuable source of information.
This may not build rapport directly, as there may not be direct engagement between individual members of your audience and yourself. However, by providing quality content that fulfils your audience’s needs you are likely to see an increase in engagement, and having developed a foundation of positive brand experience, this will make it easier to engage and build rapport via other channels.
Post Content Consistently
The internet is home to a vast sea of content that caters to a variety of needs and requirements, and if you’re not providing what your audience needs in terms of content, they will look elsewhere.
By maintaining a consistent content creation and publishing schedule you can keep your current audience engaged and maintain any rapport that you have built with them, whilst making it easier to grow your audience and expand your content’s reach.
Following a content schedule that allows you to consistently post quality content helps to maintain engagement and increase reader interest which is vital for building and maintaining rapport through content.
You need to make sure that your content publishing frequency is suitable for your audience. Posting a new piece of content daily may be overkill and actually cause disengagement. However, make sure that you aren’t posting too little, as this can also cause disengagement and a loss of interest.
Actively Engage with your Audience
When you regularly and consistently post quality content, people will be more inclined to engage with that content. Whether it’s a like, share or comment, it all helps to increase the visibility of your content and is a good indicator as to whether certain content types, topics and styles resonate with your audience more than others.
When you publish content on your website, external blogs, or social media, don’t just post it and then move onto your next content piece. To build rapport with members of your audience, you need to actively engage with the questions, queries, and feedback in the comments of your posts.
Whether it’s positive or negative feedback on your content, it’s always good to respond in the comments. If you create a ‘how-to’ guide focused on a certain problem area within your niche, you could receive comments along the lines of: ‘Thanks! I’ve been struggling with this for a while.’. Your response to this could be ‘You are very welcome. I’m glad you found it useful!’. It’s a very simple response but shows your audience that you're not just dropping content and then abandoning it, you’re there to actively engage and provide value to them.
Responding to negative feedback is also important to your content marketing efforts. For some of your readers, your content may not resonate with them fully. This could be due to the fact that they are facing different issues to those that you have covered, they were expecting something different from your content, or they may not have gained the same value and insight compared to other members of your audience.
If you receive negative feedback on your content, you have the opportunity to turn this around by engaging with the audience member, and seeing if you can provide value to them on a one-to-one basis.
If you receive a comment on the same ‘how-to guide’ that says: ‘This didn’t help at all. I tried these steps, but it didn’t solve my issue.’, enquire as to the details of the issue that they are facing and try to help provide a resolution. Doing so shows that you are committed to helping your audience and not just there to promote your business through your content.
Sometimes, even though your content may be highly in-depth and informative, your audience may still have questions relating to the topic.
Answering these questions in the comments and further helping your target audience, once again shows that you are happy to actively engage with your audience. By helping to resolve your audience’s problems and providing value on a one-to-one basis, you will start to build a positive rapport.
Thought-provoking content and controversial topics are often a good way to increase audience engagement. Having discussions with your audience is a great way to gain more exposure for your content and, of course, showcase more of your knowledge and expertise.
Remember to try and keep the topic of discussion calm and not drift into a less formal, heated and unprofessional debate.
Having engaging discussions with your audience not only helps to prove your industry knowledge but also helps you to display your brand’s personality which in turn will build a rapport.
Oftentimes businesses are simply viewed as an entity focused on making money, so interactions such as these, where you truly display the personality and values of your business, are extremely valuable for building rapport.
When it comes to developing content and aiming to build trust with your prospects, you need to ensure that any information that you provide, and any insights and recommendations are well-founded and supported by accurate, relevant data.
Providing false or misleading information can have disastrous effects on the relationship between your business and your audience.
Before publishing your content, make sure to check every fact, every figure, and every statement that you provide is fully accurate and will not affect the quality or integrity of your content.
The trust that your audience puts in you is vital for developing and maintaining rapport, if you provide inaccurate or false information, you could lose this trust and with it, any reason for your audience to view you as a credible source of information.
Provide Relevant Content
Another aspect of content marketing that helps with the development of rapport, is including examples and insights in your content that are relevant to your audience’s interests or common problems that they are likely to face.
Building rapport with your audience relies on making a positive connection with them. Making a connection with them relies on developing content that resonates with their interests and struggles. To do so, you need to create content that is relevant to their business, the situation they are in, or their industry.
To make this process easier for yourself and more valuable for your audience, always take time to determine which platforms your content will be posted on, the segment of your audience that will see the content, what industry the segment is in, how you can tailor your content and the examples and insights within.
Doing this helps you to develop your content around your audience and publish what is relevant to them, This will result in more valuable content and a more satisfied audience, which will make it easier for you to build rapport.