There is a new C-word circulating through the marketing fraternity, and it isn’t at all what you think it is.

Content Marketing – it’s all the rage. The term “Content Marketing” was typed into Google’s search bar more often in 2013 than any other year. Businesses and marketers alike are catching on. But have you ever stopped to think about what content marketing is really all about?

Sure, it’s about telling stories about your brand and answering questions that your customers have about your products and services in a “non-salesy” fashion, but deep down brands that do content marketing well do it for something more than that. And truth be told, we’ve been doing it years.

Only we didn’t call it content marketing – we called it Building Brand Love. Brands that committed to creating content marketing strategies, faired better than their competition because they realised that content marketing is about building trust.

Whether you are creating content to attract new customers, to engage current customers, or both, the underlying purpose behind your efforts should be to build a higher level of trust between you and your customer.

Here are our 5 crucial considerations when creating compelling, customer-centric content.

1. Define Your Audience and Execution

Always bear in mind who you’re creating content for and what content will be best received by this audience. It’s much easier to build trust (and resultant sales) when the right consumer is given the right content. If building trust and brand love is the objective, don’t place your emphasis on pushing too hard, too soon.

2. Define Content Type, Frequency and Location

While the type of content you publish, the frequency at which you publish and where you publish won’t in itself build trust; you have to show your audience that you have their best interests at heart. The keyword here is ‘heart’. If your audience seeks content via Instagram, for instance, make it available to them. Trust starts by putting the information they want in places where they can benefit from it.

3. Share, Promote and Engage

Part of the process of building brand love is making sure that the word is out that your content is available. Having said that, there is a fine line between helpful awareness and spammy promotion. Make sure that sharing is done on the platforms where your audience is active. Further, curate content carefully and help the consumer quickly see why they may want to consume your content.

Finally, if a fan or potential customer takes the time to engage with your content, whether by sharing it on Social Media or commenting on it, make sure to reach out to them to let them know you appreciate their support.

4. Make Connecting Simple

If you’ve taken the steps and invested in creating great content, then you should be equally committed to making it accessible. Make sure it is very easy for your prospective and current customers to become more meaningfully connected to your brand. After all the work to get someone excited about what you are doing, don’t push him or her away by making it hard to connect. In other words, put links to your content everywhere!

5. Analyse, Optimise and Pivot

What does analytics have to do with building brand love? Great content marketing practitioners take the time to monitor what works and what doesn’t. Brands must look at the content to see what is being viewed, shared and engaged with. If certain content is drawing a greater response while some is largely being ignored, then brands should pivot strategies to create more of what their audience is connecting with. This doesn’t only drive more readers, but makes for a more engaging content deck going forward.

Like Rome, brand-love cannot be built in a day. More often than not, it takes time and repeated execution of ideas to develop trust between brands and their customers. With this in mind, most content marketing campaigns won’t work until trust is established. Therefore, adequate headway must be given to trust building efforts.

Building brand love is a process, and a worthwhile one. But it is a process nonetheless. Build it, nurture it, support it and everything about your business can and will become easier.