Authenticity – what it really means, who embodies it (and who doesn’t), why it’s important – seems to be a discussion du jour. So why does authenticity matter so much for brands? We’re living and working in an era of low trust in institutions, people and society as a whole. A survey reported that only 18% of consumers say they trust business leaders to be truthful. At its core, business is human; as consumers, we want to do business with those that share similar values. We want to work with and buy from organizations that are truthful, genuine and dependable. It boils down to authenticity, and authentic marketing.

We want to work with and buy from organizations that are truthful, genuine and dependable. It boils down to authenticity.Click To Tweet

As communicators, it’s our job to be masters of authentic marketing. We talk a lot about executing on robust content marketing plans, producing compelling content “snacks” that are easy to read, remember and act on. We’re creating videos, publishing blogs, and focusing on reaching and engaging with audiences in new ways via Snapchat and influencer marketing. These are the ways our stakeholders (particularly those in the millennial generation and younger) identify with our brands. But we know content for the sake of content doesn’t work. How can you ensure what you’re creating and marketing is truly authentic?

Advice for Creating Authentic Marketing

Here are five curated insights for how to embrace and embody an authentic approach to content creation.

  1. “Stop thinking like a salesman and start acting like your reader’s mentor. A salesman wonders how to get his next sale. A mentor cares about his students. He wants to help them get ahead and live a more fulfilled life. By providing solid advice on a regular basis, you build authority and trust; and that’s how you win new customers.” — Henneke Duisermaat, Kissmetrics

  1. “The language of marketing is notorious for feeling artificial…no one really cares about ‘quality manufacturing’ or ‘industry-leading service levels’ unless they know exactly how that feels. When using stories as a vehicle for content marketing, take this advice…Stand in front of a mirror, look yourself in the eye, and tell your brand story out loud. Do you believe it?” — Carol Barash, Content Marketing Institute

  1. “Authenticity is being human. It’s that simple. It has nothing to do with being original or unique. Professional content marketing is selling the human in your business to the humans who buy from your business.” — Ryan Hanley, TrustedChoice.com

  1. “Integrating super-personalized marketing into your strategy is a way for your business to say, ‘I’m listening. I know what you want… what you need… what you enjoy.’ The more your business shows this to a customer or prospect, the more likely they will be to connect with you and become a promoter of your business.” — Jess Marranco, HubSpot

  1. “Building your brand authority involves a certain professionalism, but that doesn’t mean your copy needs to be full of long-winded sentences and obscure words. If you want to stand out from the crowd, your copy needs to speak to people in a way they can relate to.” — Jamie Thomson, MarketingProfs

Is Your Brand Authenticity for Real?

The more virtual our lives get, the hungrier we are for something – experiences, knowledge, interactions – genuine. Our customers don’t just want products or services. They want to align with a company they have confidence in; to know the people behind the brand. They want real, they want relatable, and they want it consistently.

It’s our job as marketers to help deliver on those desires. And done right and well, authentic marketing content can get the job done – engaging our audiences and gaining their trust (and their business).

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For more than 10 years, Jen Zottola has helped bring clients’ stories to life – through media opportunities, digital and marketing content, executive presentations, employee communications and more. Fusing creativity with strategy, she crafts compelling, award-winning copy proven to reach and resonate with the right audiences in the most impactful ways. As editorial director, Jen collaborates with clients and account teams to provide counsel on messaging and voice, as well as writing and editing support. Her creativity isn’t reserved only for writing; Jen also gets a kick out of party- and event planning.