No matter how lousy you may be at math (hey, no judgement here), there’s one simple equation you should have in your back pocket at all times:

Trust = authority = conversions.

Only by building trust with your target audience will you be viewed as an authoritative player in your space. And yes, authority means conversions.

After all, would you rather work with a business bursting with credibility or a completely unknown quantity? It’s not even a choice.

Build trust through content marketing.

Loyalty and leads

Eighty-three percent of consumers cite trust as a key driver of loyalty. When you consider that it costs five times as much to attract new customers than to hold on to existing ones, you begin to see just how lucrative trust is.

While building trust among consumers is essential for brand development regardless of industry or business size, it’s particularly vital in terms of business-to-business operations.

“When you’re trying to inspire trust in a B2B context, you’re asking somebody to put their professional life in your hands,” said Jeff Baker, Director of Digital Marketing Strategy at Brafton. “If you sign up your company for a major product or service, you’re putting your credibility on the line. Depending on the size of the investment you committed to, if it goes belly up, you could get fired.”

Content marketing allows prospective customers to learn as much about your business as possible. In short, every piece of content is a chance to prove you’re not going to screw your customers over.

“Knowing what the hell you’re talking about is important, and content marketing lets you prove it,” Jeff continued. “Blog posts, videos, social – it all shows proof of concept. People can see what you’re producing and see you’re subject matter experts in your space.”

“Knowing what the hell you’re talking about is important, and content marketing lets you prove it.”

Content for every occasion

Content marketing can be used at every level of the sales funnel to engender trust, from educational blog posts at the top to case studies and client testimonial videos at the bottom. Besides acting as proof that you can indeed do what you say, your content marketing assets also provide the opportunity to let your creativity shine.

“Valuable, visually stunning eBooks and white papers are proof that you have creative, solid abilities to produce things,” Jeff said. “Whether it’s an interesting subject that shows expertise or an argument that shows you’re thinking about things in new ways, content marketing assets are a chance to prove innovation and capability.”

That said, it’s important to have your brand voice in mind every step of the way. Inconsistency opens the door to doubt, and nothing kills trust faster.

“You have to have consistency in what you’re saying across all channels,” Jeff said. “If you’re consistent and valuable and prove your SME at every touchpoint, there’s no continuity gap, allowing you to represent your brand well on all fronts and prevent any uncertainty.”

Giving brand trust a boost with influencer marketing

Beyond consistent content marketing, there are other ways to supercharge your brand trust efforts.

One option comes in the form of influencer marketing. Your brand may not be a known quantity, but if it’s perceived to be endorsed by someone who is, that trust may carry over. Sharing content with authoritative names in your industry can lead to social shares and external links on their part, which in turn brings credibility and attention to your brand.

Another option is incorporating an influencer’s two cents in your own content. Interviewing a popular SME in your industry allows you to share in their own trustworthiness. It also increases the chances the person in question will share the content with their own audience.

It should go without saying that any content you produce, whether with the help of an industry influencer or not, must be of high quality. That goes well beyond using a consistent voice.

It means backing up what you’re saying with authoritative sources, be they statistics or SME insights. It means including original images, videos and other media to add to the user experience (and obtain a search engine optimization bump in the bargain). Finally, and most importantly, it means keeping your target audience in mind.

Millions of pieces of content are created on the internet every single minute, from emails and blog posts to tweets and Yelp reviews. To cut through the noise, every piece of content you create must be valuable, relevant and targeted.

Anything else is a waste of time for you and your audience.

Eric Wendt is a writer and editor at Brafton. He discovered his love of words after realizing he was terrible at math. If he's not updating his Tumblr with poetry he's too embarrassed to share, there's a good chance he's out in search of the perfect pale ale.