Online Business Content Segments

Online Business Content Segments

Today’s online buyers are savvy shoppers. But they are also heavily influenced by others, including peers, trusted advisors (from analysts to bloggers), celebrities, family, friends, and strangers (people who leave product reviews, for example). When searching for products and services, there is one source of information that online shoppers tend to rank at the bottom of the trust scale – the brand!
This is especially true of paid advertising, but it also applies to content. Who do shoppers trust? Research shows that friends and family top the list as the most trusted, followed by online reviews, and then third-party experts.
Yes, that means your company or brand can produce a lot of content that tells us how great your product is, but at the end of the day, a buyer might be skeptical about its value, just because it came from you. Note the emphasis we place on the phrase “how great your product is” – this is because explicit in-your-face promotional content is not usually considered ostensible, but other types of content your brand produces can still be highly trusted. Buyers expect you to say only good things about your product, and that means they have to go elsewhere to discover potential problems or downsides to your solution. Customer reviews usually help fill this gap, by providing a more balanced user perspective and insights into both the product’s pros and cons.
On the other hand, if your brand writes articles about industry trends or common problems and how to solve them (without directly naming your product as the solution), buyers will be more receptive to reaching out to you. Likewise, if you share information from your existing customers (case studies and testimonials, for example), buyers are also more confident, especially if they can get to know your customer and see similarities with themselves.
While it is understandable that a direct selling offer is not always viewed as the most accurate, you should still talk about yourself and your products at least for some time. The bottom line is that you need to produce pieces of content that fall into all three of these content sections:

>>> Brand Created: This is the content that your company produces. It includes both branded (company, product, or service names) and unregistered information (discuss trends, problems, or solutions but does not specifically mention your company or product name).
>>>Customer-generated: This is content that is created by the customer or audience without the help of your brand or company (although you can encourage content development). This type of content usually refers to the brand name or product name, but from the customer’s point of view. An example is the Doritos commercials that are shown during the Super Bowl every year and that are created by fans. Even though the brand requested the content and ran a contest to find the best commercial, it was still the fan or customer who created it without Doritos’ guidance.

>>> Third Party Validation: In both B2B and B2C there is a lot of content that is generated around a brand from someone other than the customers or from the brand. This content comes from analysts, experts, celebrities or others considered knowledgeable or influential about your product or service. The third party content creators are not part of the brand, but sometimes a company can use (and pay to use) the content if it is in the best interest of the brand or product. (Think about paid celebrity endorsements, or even the recent trend of paying bloggers and social media influencers to create content about the brand.)