Content marketers like to spend time discussing with each other how the world of content is going to change and what trends are going to dictate the future of the industry (as well as what fads are going to go away). But even in this opinionated crowd, it’s relatively uncontroversial to describe authenticity as one of the most important factors for success when creating content in the future.
If you want to have a successful content campaign in 2022 and beyond, it’s vital that you understand the importance of authenticity and the right ways to integrate it into your campaign.
Content overload: a review of the problem
Since its inception, content marketing has been a viable and potentially valuable strategy for people and businesses of all kinds. Delivering insightful and useful content to your audience is a quick way to build trust, earn a better reputation, and ultimately win more sales and loyal customers.
In the past, content marketing was new and exciting. In the mid-2000s, as long as you wrote something decently interesting with sufficient depth and detail, you could count on an audience to find it valuable. These days, the content market is oversaturated, even with an optimistic analysis.
Partly because literally anyone can create content, and partly because of the growing interest in content marketing, there are more blog posts, videos, podcasts, and other content mediums than ever before. No matter where you look on the Internet, users are bombarded with more content than they could possibly consume in 100 lifetimes.
This creates big problems for content creators.
- Problems of visibility and direct competition. When consumers search for a topic and find 10,000 videos on the topic, why would they choose to watch yours over someone else’s? With so much direct competition, standing out is practically impossible. Even if your content is amazing, it may never be fully explored by audiences who have other options.
- Limitations of novelty. For now, almost everything has been done. In an oversaturated market, it’s hard to do something truly new. When new platforms emerge, there is usually a rush of business. trying to expand their customer bases there, so it’s only a matter of time before the new platforms are oversaturated as well.
- Decreased confidence. Being inauthentic can make people inherently less trustworthy, or make them feel alienated from the brand, significantly reducing the effectiveness of your content.
Why is authenticity important?
Why is authenticity important? How can you get it out of this woefully saturated market?
- Differentiation. When you started your business, you probably came up with a list of differentiating factors – the distinguishing characteristics that make your business different from the businesses of your competitors. He knew that it was important to do something different from his competitors if he wanted to stand out and attract a different market segment. For example, you may have offered better customer service or lower prices than one of your competing businesses. In the world of content, differentiation is also an important period, if you just repeat the same things that everyone else is saying or use the same formats that they are already using, you are not going to get anywhere. Being authentic in an unauthentic market could be exactly what you need to stand out.
- Trust and bonding. Authenticity also fosters greater trust in your audience. People can usually tell if you’re faking your personality or if you’re sincere in your approach. If you adopt a polished, professional, suffocating demeanor, but don’t really feel it inside, people will be able to tell. They may not be able to identify you, but they won’t feel very close to you and they won’t feel like they can trust you. On the other hand, if you are completely authentic and sincere in what you say, they may implicitly trust you.
- Relationship and loyalty. Being authentic also makes you more relatable and likeable. You may alienate a fraction of your readers or viewers if you have a personality type that is incompatible with them, but the people who stay with you will always appreciate your sincerity. This leads to higher audience loyalty and better chances of growing your audience over time.
How to be more authentic in content marketing
What steps can you take to be more authentic in your own content marketing?
That’s a tough question, because if you try too hard to be authentic, you could end up coming across as fake. But these tips can help:
- Be yourself. Don’t think about it too much. Just be yourself, even if you’re not sure your personality or interests are a good fit for this niche. Perhaps you have an abrasive personality that you fear appearing vulnerable to; that’s fine, but you can take comfort in knowing that authenticity is enough for many people. Let your personality shine through in whatever content you’re writing or creating.
- Inject more humor. A hallmark of sincerity and relatability is humor. If you inject more humor into your content, people will naturally find you more approachable and, for lack of a better word, more “human.” That doesn’t mean you should look up funny jokes beforehand and read them on the screen; To be effective, your humor must come naturally. If you don’t consider yourself a naturally funny person, don’t worry, this is not required. But it can help you relax and gain a better connection with your audience.
- Allow for more errors and imperfections. Don’t push yourself too hard. Before appearing on screen, many video creators spend an agonizing amount of time putting on their makeup, styling their hair, and smoothing out every possible detail about their appearance. This can actually have a detrimental effect on your appearance of authenticity. Having a few messy hairs or even stumbling over a word or two can make you seem more real and therefore more relatable.
- Lean on controversy. Whenever possible, lean into controversy. Some content marketers avoid controversy altogether and choose to focus on things that everyone can agree on. But this makes you seem inauthentic and too generic. Instead, it’s often better to risk alienating a small percentage of your readers for the sake of taking a strong, opinionated stance. Of course, this is not always possible. If you are writing in on behalf of a non-profit organization, for example, you may be restricted in what you can and cannot say. Use your best judgment and offer your strong opinions when you can.
- Keep it casual. Even if your brand derives power from its authority or prestige, in your content, you should strive to be more informal. Conversational tones, laid-back personalities, and to some extent improvisation register as more authentic than the alternatives.
- Avoid clichés and formulas. It’s a good idea to examine your competition and emulate some of the tactics that helped them succeed. But it’s easy to take this too far; avoid clichés and formulas if you want to stay original and be seen as authentic.
- Don’t be too sneaky or too salesy with CTAs. Calls-to-action (CTAs) are important if you want to get more sales and make your content efforts worthwhile, but you shouldn’t push them too hard if you want to be seen as authentic. Sneaking calls to action where they don’t belong or being too salesy with them can work against you.
- Recruit other voices. You don’t have to be authentic by yourself. In fact, it is better if you recruit some other voices for your blog and your other content publishing channels. Get plenty of guest editors on your blog, and be sure to set up interviews with other authorities on topics related to your brand.
Authenticity is hard to replicate. It is difficult to imitate too. It’s not hard to pack more authenticity into your content if you’re willing to be yourself, or at least work with people who are willing to be themselves. With more authenticity in your content, you’ll have a much better chance of standing out and a much higher chance of achieving your long-term business goals.