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5
Engagement
Questions —
Answereda Pardot Research Report
It’s the question at the heart of almost everything a
marketer does: How do I increase engagement with my
content and my brand?
Providing valuable and authentic content is crucial
to establishing your brand as credible and worthy of
engagement. But if you’re creating large amounts of
valuable content without ensuring that your audience
is engaging with it, you could be wasting a significant
amount of time. You need a thorough understanding of
all the variables that contribute to brand engagement:
what drives consumers to engage with a brand, to identify
them as a credible source of information, and ultimately, to
share that brand’s content with their own following?
“The time has come to stop treating
proprietary audiences as afterthoughts and
instead embrace them for what they are — a
source of critical business energy in need of
investment, leadership, and support.”
- Jeffrey Rohrs, Audience
Mathew Sweezey
Marketing Evangelist
Pardot, a salesforce.com Company
@msweezey
How do I increase
engagement with my
content and my brand?
Research by
reputablecontent
3x
employees
In an effort to answer these questions, we surveyed over 400 people on
issues of brand engagement: the ways in which they engage, why, and
how these engagements influence their decision to purchase. And for our
respondents that indicated that they are highly likely to share content with
their own following, we delved even deeper and attempted to answer the
following five questions:
When it came to making a purchasing decision, survey respondents
indicated that trust in a brand’s content was 3x more important to
them than trust in a brand’s employees.
1. What establishes my content as trustworthy?
2. Does the type of content matter?
3. Which channels do my audience consider to be
the most credible?
4. How do I accumulate subscribers, fans, and
followers for my brand?
5. How do I retain subscribers, fans, and followers?
Of those who are likely to share content, the following criteria
impact their perception of the content’s value:
On ghostwriting:
Honesty: 83% said if they found out content wasn’t written
by the company, it would negatively affect their level of trust
with the brand in a significant way.
On publishing primary research:
Fresh Data: 66% feel content containing primary research is
more credible than content that shares secondary research.
On overall brand credibility:
Brand Ethics: 86% said “trust in the brand’s ethics and
business practices” was more important than their trust in
the brand’s people or solution.
“Trust has never been more important
as a corporate asset, and it needs to
be managed for people to believe the
information you’re putting out.”
- Amy Treanor, EVP Edelman Square, the
division of the firm responsible for the
Trust Barometer
83%
say ghostwritten content
would negatively affect
brand image
What establishes my content as trustworthy?1
82% of those surveyed indicated that the
type of content affects their perception of
how credible the information is. What types
of content were perceived as most credible?
Survey respondents found the content to the
right to be “very helpful” or “extremely helpful”
in their search for credible content.
44%
Referrals from
industry thought leaders
34% White papers
31% Videos
30% Email
29% Articles on third-party sites
23% Podcasts
22%
Blog posts on
company website
18% Social media
Content from white papers and referrals
from industry thought leaders are the
two content types that are perceived
to be most authentic. Social media and
blog posts have the lowest credibility.
Does the type of content matter?
2
Referrals and conferences/networking events are considered to be the most credible ways to find
authentic information. Online search and banner advertising are among the least credible methods.
39% Company websites
26% Online search
Banner advertising43% Thought leaders
54% Referrals
52%
Conferences and
networking
5%
Which channels do my audience
consider to be the most credible?3
Increasing the reach of your content starts with
accumulating a following for your brand.
Out of all those surveyed, the criteria to
the right was found to be “very influential”
or “extremely influential” when deciding to
become a follower of a brand:
59%
Authenticity of
content
57%
Helpfulness of
content
28%
Ease of signing up for
online communication
43%
Peer recommendations
or referrals
35%
Brand’s perceived position
in the marketplace
15%
A personal invitation to become
a fan, subscriber or follower
How do I accumulate a following
for my brand?4
77%
say “helpfulness ofcontent” is the second-mostinfluential factor.
80%
say “authenticity of content”
is the most influential factor
in following a brand.
80% of survey respondents say that “the authenticity of
content” is the most influential factor in their decision to
become a follower of a brand. 77% say “the helpfulness
of content” is the second most influential factor. These
factors weigh more heavily than peer recommendations
and the brand’s position in the marketplace.
How do I accumulate a following
for my brand? (continued)4
67% of respondentsconsider contentauthenticity whenconsidering brandsolutions.
Authentic content
is 3x more important
than a brand’s
market position.
Authentic content
is 2x more impactful
than trust in
employees.
When Done Correctly:
When deciding to stay with a brand, customers indicated that
authentic content is 2x more impactful than the trust they have
in the brand’s employees. It’s also 3x more important to them
than the brand’s “perceived position in the marketplace.”
67% of those surveyed indicated that they are more likely to
consider buying a brand’s solution if the content they received
after becoming a follower was both authentic and helpful.
Your followers are valuable. In fact, 80% of those surveyed
indicated that they are more likely to evaluate solutions
from the brands they follow on social channels. When it
comes to retaining these followers, survey results reveal
that content might be your best friend (or your worst
enemy, if not done correctly).
How do I retain fans, subscribers,
and followers?5
97%
indicated the experience
either slightly or seriously
affected brand trust.
63%
have engaged with
disappointing brand content.
23% said they wouldnever read thatbrand’s content againafter the experience.
When Done Incorrectly:
63% of all respondents have engaged with
content at some point in their career only to be
disappointed by what they received. Of those who
have been disappointed, 97% indicated that the
experience either slightly or seriously affected their
trust of the brand.
In addition, 23% of those who were disappointed
indicated they would never read content from that
company again, and 41% said they are only slightly
likely to ever read content from that company again.
How do I retain fans, subscribers,
and followers? (continued)5
Quality over quantity
Focus on customer
retention
The type of content
matters
Quality over quantity.
Focus on customer retention. The type of content matters.
If you focus too much on producing content, but not
producing quality content that’s both authentic and
helpful, you risk alienating your followers. Remember:
over half of your audience will likely never read your
content again after only one bad experience.
This study has shown that customers are more likely
to evaluate solutions of brands that they follow, and
content plays an important role in retaining your
existing customers.
Keep in mind that your audience views white
papers and referrals as more credible sources of
information than blog posts and social media, so be
careful where you invest your time and resources.
While this study points to the
importance of content as a tool
for customer engagement, it
also teaches us a few additional
best practices:
What can I take away
from this research?
Marketing Automation
for the Customer Company
Smarter Marketing. Better Results.
www.pardot.com
Your customers are smarter, more capable, and better-informed than ever before.
This new breed of consumer demands a better breed of marketing, and the Pardot
platform has the capabilities to get you there.

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5 Content Engagement Questions Answered

  • 2. It’s the question at the heart of almost everything a marketer does: How do I increase engagement with my content and my brand? Providing valuable and authentic content is crucial to establishing your brand as credible and worthy of engagement. But if you’re creating large amounts of valuable content without ensuring that your audience is engaging with it, you could be wasting a significant amount of time. You need a thorough understanding of all the variables that contribute to brand engagement: what drives consumers to engage with a brand, to identify them as a credible source of information, and ultimately, to share that brand’s content with their own following? “The time has come to stop treating proprietary audiences as afterthoughts and instead embrace them for what they are — a source of critical business energy in need of investment, leadership, and support.” - Jeffrey Rohrs, Audience Mathew Sweezey Marketing Evangelist Pardot, a salesforce.com Company @msweezey How do I increase engagement with my content and my brand? Research by
  • 3. reputablecontent 3x employees In an effort to answer these questions, we surveyed over 400 people on issues of brand engagement: the ways in which they engage, why, and how these engagements influence their decision to purchase. And for our respondents that indicated that they are highly likely to share content with their own following, we delved even deeper and attempted to answer the following five questions: When it came to making a purchasing decision, survey respondents indicated that trust in a brand’s content was 3x more important to them than trust in a brand’s employees. 1. What establishes my content as trustworthy? 2. Does the type of content matter? 3. Which channels do my audience consider to be the most credible? 4. How do I accumulate subscribers, fans, and followers for my brand? 5. How do I retain subscribers, fans, and followers?
  • 4. Of those who are likely to share content, the following criteria impact their perception of the content’s value: On ghostwriting: Honesty: 83% said if they found out content wasn’t written by the company, it would negatively affect their level of trust with the brand in a significant way. On publishing primary research: Fresh Data: 66% feel content containing primary research is more credible than content that shares secondary research. On overall brand credibility: Brand Ethics: 86% said “trust in the brand’s ethics and business practices” was more important than their trust in the brand’s people or solution. “Trust has never been more important as a corporate asset, and it needs to be managed for people to believe the information you’re putting out.” - Amy Treanor, EVP Edelman Square, the division of the firm responsible for the Trust Barometer 83% say ghostwritten content would negatively affect brand image What establishes my content as trustworthy?1
  • 5. 82% of those surveyed indicated that the type of content affects their perception of how credible the information is. What types of content were perceived as most credible? Survey respondents found the content to the right to be “very helpful” or “extremely helpful” in their search for credible content. 44% Referrals from industry thought leaders 34% White papers 31% Videos 30% Email 29% Articles on third-party sites 23% Podcasts 22% Blog posts on company website 18% Social media Content from white papers and referrals from industry thought leaders are the two content types that are perceived to be most authentic. Social media and blog posts have the lowest credibility. Does the type of content matter? 2
  • 6. Referrals and conferences/networking events are considered to be the most credible ways to find authentic information. Online search and banner advertising are among the least credible methods. 39% Company websites 26% Online search Banner advertising43% Thought leaders 54% Referrals 52% Conferences and networking 5% Which channels do my audience consider to be the most credible?3
  • 7. Increasing the reach of your content starts with accumulating a following for your brand. Out of all those surveyed, the criteria to the right was found to be “very influential” or “extremely influential” when deciding to become a follower of a brand: 59% Authenticity of content 57% Helpfulness of content 28% Ease of signing up for online communication 43% Peer recommendations or referrals 35% Brand’s perceived position in the marketplace 15% A personal invitation to become a fan, subscriber or follower How do I accumulate a following for my brand?4
  • 8. 77% say “helpfulness ofcontent” is the second-mostinfluential factor. 80% say “authenticity of content” is the most influential factor in following a brand. 80% of survey respondents say that “the authenticity of content” is the most influential factor in their decision to become a follower of a brand. 77% say “the helpfulness of content” is the second most influential factor. These factors weigh more heavily than peer recommendations and the brand’s position in the marketplace. How do I accumulate a following for my brand? (continued)4
  • 9. 67% of respondentsconsider contentauthenticity whenconsidering brandsolutions. Authentic content is 3x more important than a brand’s market position. Authentic content is 2x more impactful than trust in employees. When Done Correctly: When deciding to stay with a brand, customers indicated that authentic content is 2x more impactful than the trust they have in the brand’s employees. It’s also 3x more important to them than the brand’s “perceived position in the marketplace.” 67% of those surveyed indicated that they are more likely to consider buying a brand’s solution if the content they received after becoming a follower was both authentic and helpful. Your followers are valuable. In fact, 80% of those surveyed indicated that they are more likely to evaluate solutions from the brands they follow on social channels. When it comes to retaining these followers, survey results reveal that content might be your best friend (or your worst enemy, if not done correctly). How do I retain fans, subscribers, and followers?5
  • 10. 97% indicated the experience either slightly or seriously affected brand trust. 63% have engaged with disappointing brand content. 23% said they wouldnever read thatbrand’s content againafter the experience. When Done Incorrectly: 63% of all respondents have engaged with content at some point in their career only to be disappointed by what they received. Of those who have been disappointed, 97% indicated that the experience either slightly or seriously affected their trust of the brand. In addition, 23% of those who were disappointed indicated they would never read content from that company again, and 41% said they are only slightly likely to ever read content from that company again. How do I retain fans, subscribers, and followers? (continued)5
  • 11. Quality over quantity Focus on customer retention The type of content matters Quality over quantity. Focus on customer retention. The type of content matters. If you focus too much on producing content, but not producing quality content that’s both authentic and helpful, you risk alienating your followers. Remember: over half of your audience will likely never read your content again after only one bad experience. This study has shown that customers are more likely to evaluate solutions of brands that they follow, and content plays an important role in retaining your existing customers. Keep in mind that your audience views white papers and referrals as more credible sources of information than blog posts and social media, so be careful where you invest your time and resources. While this study points to the importance of content as a tool for customer engagement, it also teaches us a few additional best practices: What can I take away from this research?
  • 12. Marketing Automation for the Customer Company Smarter Marketing. Better Results. www.pardot.com Your customers are smarter, more capable, and better-informed than ever before. This new breed of consumer demands a better breed of marketing, and the Pardot platform has the capabilities to get you there.