Google any question that’s on your mind right now. What do you see? Dozens and dozens of articles, blog posts, and videos are all desperately trying to get you to click on them. Similarly, when consumers search for information on Google, they are overloaded with results. To make matters more confusing, online advertising only shoves more search results in front of users.
In reality, consumers are just looking for a trustworthy, informative answer to their query. Most e-commerce brands try to create as much content as possible (and quickly at that) in hopes of at least one piece grabbing consumers’ attention. Unfortunately, what most brands fail to pay attention to is the one aspect of content that actually matters: authenticity.
The truth is that the vast majority of digital content is uninformative. While the content length may be extensive, it can be misleading, difficult to read, or simply written poorly. So, as an e-commerce brand, how do you create great content that’s differentiated from all the bad content online? It all comes down to creating authentic content.
What is Authentic Content Marketing?
In summary, authentic content marketing refers to creating honest and genuinely helpful content for your audience that will help customers see your brand as trustworthy. Authentic content marketing focuses on equity & authority instead of just producing entertaining content.
Here are a few common features of authentic content:
1. It’s Tailored to Your Audience
The content you publish has to be about something your audience cares about. Speak to your audience like they are your peers or even friends — not like you’re just a salesman. Speaking your customers’ language will resonate much more with them which is why authentic messaging in your content is so important.
2. It Benefits Consumers in Your Niche
Authentic content is also valuable because, most of the time, it’s actually useful. However, what “useful” means to your niche may vary widely. One example of the useful content your niche might be looking for is how-to videos that provide solutions to their common problems. Regardless of your specific niche, make sure your content serves to benefit them in some way.
4. It’s True to Your Brand
The fastest way to sound inauthentic is to try to sound like someone you’re not. If your brand is serious, be serious. If your brand is funny, be funny. This is the key to authentic content marketing — maintain a recognizable brand voice. The more you do that, the more authentic your content will seem.
5. It’s About Your Mission, Not Your Products
Especially for e-commerce brands, it’s tempting to always talk about your products. But making your content all about your products is neither an effective sales tactic nor an effective content marketing strategy.
Instead, talk about what drives your brand: the purpose that keeps you going. This could be anything from charitable causes that mean something to you, fostering a caring work environment, or only creating sustainable products.
Is Authentic Content Marketing Worth it?
Authentic content resonates with readers and viewers. That helps foster great relationships with your customers and build long-term trust. While anyone can create content that will be seen – authentic content marketing will also help you generate conversions and build brand loyalty.
To understand why it does, first think of the content that engages your brand the most. What do you like about it? For starters, it’s probably about a subject that interests you. But, it’s also probably well-written, informative, and, if you take a close enough look, genuine. In other words, it doesn’t feel like a piece of content that someone quickly threw together in hopes of a few likes; it actually makes a statement. Long story short, when it comes to creating content for your own brand, authentic content gets more clicks, impressions, shares, and conversions. It’s really as simple as that.
How to Create Authentic Content in Two Steps
Knowing what authentic content should look like is only the first half of the equation. The second half is learning how to actually create that content. There are two simple steps to creating content that demonstrates authenticity to your audience: get to really know your audience and yourself.
1. Get to Know Your Audience
After determining who you want to engage with your content, try to learn everything you can about them. This includes what motivates them, how they spend their time, what kinds of jobs they have, their struggles, their source of their joy — everything. Be careful not to just write all of this down, but actually internalize it. Every piece of content you create needs to speak to these people by targeting the particular qualities that define them.
One way to guarantee every piece of content’s effectiveness is by creating a checklist. Then, use the checklist to approve each piece of content once it’s finalized, but before it’s published. For example, you might want every piece of content to at least either educate or convert readers. Before publishing, make sure the piece hits at least one of those goals. This will guarantee effective content creation tailored for your audience and what they’re looking for.
2. Get to Know Yourself
Getting to know yourself is getting to know your brand. This may seem irrelevant at first — you already know your brand. However, defining your strengths and what makes your brand unique will allow you to more easily and effectively create authentic content.
In the qualities you discover or realize about your brand, you may find gems that not only differentiate you from competitors, but also directly appeal to your target audience. This all relates back to brand purpose and how you can leverage purpose-driven marketing. Use these ideas to stand out, stay authentic, get your audience engaged, and build a community, all with the help of strategic and authentic content marketing.
Authentic Content Marketing Example: Fire Dept. Coffee
Let’s take a look at exactly how one coffee seller created authentic content, allowing them to resonate with their target audience.
Fire Dept. Coffee is not only veteran-owned but also firefighter-ran. This allowed the brand to leverage a particular identity when speaking to consumers. Here’s how they used that brand identity to create authentic content.
1. Leveraging a Brand Mission
The audience for Fire Dept. Coffee isn’t just firefighters — it’s also people who enjoy coffee with a kick and who can appreciate the brand’s mission to donate 10% of net proceeds to first responders who are ill or who have been hurt on the job. Fire Dept. Coffee built its marketing around its unique brand story and its mission, helping to beat out tons of competitors.
2. Learning Their Audience
Fire Dept. Coffee appeals to first responders and those who support them, which just so happens to be exactly who the folks at the company are. Not only does the majority of their internal team have experience working as firefighters, but the brand’s founder is also a veteran. Therefore, Fire Dept. Coffee is able to utilize all of this experience when marketing the brand and creating content.
For Fire Dept. Coffee, it was a matter of publishing content that people within the company liked. For example, the team loves to laugh, so memes, TikTok videos, and jokes were an obvious choice. Now, the company posts memes practically every other day on their Instagram account.
In addition to comedy, the brand obviously likes to support first responders. So, that mission was represented across their content, as well. This way, customers knew that every purchase from Fire Dept. Coffee is actually making a difference.
3. Getting Results from your Content
Fire Dept. Coffee’s content has helped boost sales and brand loyalty.
In the span of one year, Fire Dept. Coffee’s revenue increased by 142%. On top of that, the brand picked up several valuable partnerships with social media influencers who also value the company’s authentic brand voice, content, and mission.
See more results here: Fire Dept. Coffee case study.
More Authentic Content Marketing Examples
Fire Dept. Coffee isn’t the only brand using authentic content marketing to increase sales. Two other great examples are Tiny Tags and Asutra.
Tiny Tags sells personalized jewelry for moms. Their audience consists of mothers and those who are looking to buy jewelry for mothers. Their content includes honest and heartfelt testimonials from real mothers, sharing their own stories about motherhood. Not only is this extremely authentic, but it has also helped the brand build a community around its products.
Asutra sells self-care items like skincare products. One highly successful arm of their authentic content strategy centers on world-renowned tennis champion and Asutra part-owner Venus Williams.
Asutra creates videos and blog posts centered on Williams’ favorite products, recommendations, and lifestyle. For an audience interested in radical self-care, women-owned businesses, and organic products, seeing a celebrity who they know and love give honest advice is more than engaging — it’s authentic.
Boost Brand Awareness With Authentic Content Marketing
By creating authentic content around your brand’s purpose, you will be able to boost awareness, engagement, and, most importantly, sales. In turn, these efforts will impact your SEO ranking, allowing your website to get much more organic traffic.