The Rise of Trust Content


Trust Content is more important than ever for brand building and driving awareness.

Every year as marketers we set new goals and assess the state of an industry that constantly evolving. New channels, technologies, and trends are the shifting sands beneath our feet. Every year we hear the same questions. What trends matter? Which ones don’t? What platforms are working better? What channels are on the way out? What new tactics should I think about investing in?

Trends are a starting place for a deeper conversation about what marketers and more importantly, what customers, are up to. How their behavior is changing.

trust content

What Is Trust Content?

Media that allows you to spend more time and more meaningful moments with an audience.

Trust content can take a lot of shapes. It can look like events, communities, long-form content, webinars, and more.

Why Is Trust Content Needed?

If we take a step back, Trust Content is a response to two problems that marketers have created for ourselves. Trust Content is a response to the consumer’s lack of time and also the lack of trust in advertising and content.

1. Content Saturation

Welcome to the apocalypse of content saturation.

People now consume 13 hours of content a day (source)

That’s 2/3s of our waking day Instagramming, Netflixing, TikToking, reading newspapers (ok, not newspapers). In the 1920s, we consumed less than 2 hours of content each day.

When I first wrote about Trust Content in 2015, that number was 11 hours of content each day.

If these numbers goes much higher, we are going to have to stop sleeping (just kidding, who sleeps anymore?).

Technology has created more channels and devices and places for us to consume content. Marketing messages have become more targeted and more frequent. And this was all before AI generated content came on the scene.

We’ve gotten really good at the SMALL stuff. Squeezing a few seconds of your attention to read a social post. Micro-content. Interruptions. Getting through to a person passively watching a streaming show. Reinforcing our brand voice through a thousand tiny cuts.

Even digital video and TV commercial success is now measured in a few seconds at a time.

2. Declining Trust

People do not trust advertising.

84% of millennials don’t trust advertising (source)

But did we really ever trust ads? Certainly more than we do today. But, this is a much larger trend. The list of things consumers are losing trust in is sobering.

We don’t trust social media. We don’t trust press releases. We don’t trust the media. We don’t trust banks. Or fashion brands. Or energy companies. 

There is a big trust gap in the world. And it includes most of the big channels marketers use to reach an audience.

Google and Meta are still cornerstones in every marketing budget around the world. But, what happens when the platforms we rely on for brand messaging are trusted less and less?

Some of the channels that give us the best access to reach an audience are the least trusted. Alternatively, we put more trust in experts.

We trust the people closest to us. Our neighbors, our local community, our coworkers, our employer. We trust individuals, especially those with an established record of expertise.

Trust Content In Practice

Some of the people we trust the most are those we spend the most time with. Family, friends, coworkers. Content that allows you to spend more meaningful time with an audience drives trust.

We can spend more time with an audience in many ways, but serialized content takes the benefit to another level. Serialized content creates audience retention, which means more time spent and a significant opportunity to build trust, authenticity, and a relationship with the audience.

Trust Content, executed well over time, builds up the creators in your business as trusted experts.

In practice, the best Trust Content opportunities for brands are podcasts, newsletters, and video series.

  1. Podcasts:
    Podcasts offer a unique opportunity for brands to create a personal connection with their audience. The human voice carries emotion and authenticity, helping listeners feel like they are part of a one-on-one conversation, which fosters trust.

    And because podcasts allow for multi-tasking, the engagement time is longer than almost any other medium. The average podcast is 20-40 minutes in length. Try to think of another channel that allows you to spend that much time with your audience on a regular basis.Storytelling is key to the podcast medium. Consider sharing personal anecdotes, allegories for more complex topics, and detailed backstories.

  2. Newsletters:
    Newsletters provide a direct line of communication to your audience’s inbox, bypassing noisy social media feeds and ad blockers. And with the rise unique distribution tools like the Substack app, your content can reach an audience on multiple channels.

    Newsletters are also a direct line to building first-party data. Today, owning audience data is essential for every business.To boost your newsletter’s success, concentrate on providing unique insights and substantial value. Original content directly correlates with improved growth and retention

  3. Video Series:
    The compelling visuals of a video series creates higher engagement and emotional connection. Platforms like YouTube and TikTok allow brands to express their personality and build trust.

    These platforms excel at audience discovery and community building, making them ideal for expanding your reach and establishing a consistent viewer base. To make the most of video series, build in multiple visual storytelling tactics and focus on concise short but powerful segments. Think about segments with visual examples. Use charts. Use screen sharing and review content from other visual mediums.Share various clips lengths is also important to access unique audience types. If you have a 15-30 minute show length, consider sharing 1-minute and 5-minute excerpts to fully capitalize on the channel.

When you invest in serial content channels, your audience opts in. Your audience returns. You build authority and trust.


The Creative Marketer Newsletter ↓

Divergent takes on marketing, advertising, creativity, and art.