Have we really ‘had enough of experts’?

Possibly the most definitive statement made throughout the campaign was Prime Ministerial candidate Michael Gove’s assertion that “People in this country have experthad enough of experts.”

Gove made the statement on the 3rd of June, when Sky News reporter Faisal Islam challenged Gove to name just one independent economic authority that supported Brexit.

But, was Gove right? Do people in this country really hold experts in contempt?

Content marketing says no

One only needs to look to the practice of content marketing to realise that, far from having had enough of experts, people actively seek out expertise before they make decisions about purchasing goods and services.

The entire basis for this flourishing sector is the creation of authoritative, expert content. Customers have long since become immune to pushy ads, preferring instead to draw their own conclusions based on trustworthy information that helps them to make buying decisions.

For too long, the industry insider knowledge within brands had lain dormant and un-tapped. Content marketers have helped brands communicate their expertise through their websites, as well as through regular blogs, email campaigns, guides and white papers. It’s no longer enough just to put out some sales messages: customers expect brands to offer unbiased, practical advice.

We tend to refer to this sort of content as ‘thought leadership’. Done well, it builds trust with potential buyers by providing answers to their questions and giving them the information they need in an easily digestible format.

What are people tired of?

Gove’s comment does provide a couple of lessons for content creation. These are some of the things that people have genuinely had enough of:

  • Inflammatory statements. Both sides were guilty of this. Just think back to Farage’s ‘breaking point’ poster, or David Cameron’s warnings of WWIII. A smidgen of cheek and disarming honesty can go a long way, but making divisive or outlandish claims simply diminishes your credibility.
  • Over reliance on statistics. Politics, like many industries, is a numbers game, but it’s tough to quantify this in terms of people’s everyday existence. Choice statistics, used transparently to promote an ideal, can carry great weight. However, too many numbers will blind people and tempt them to act on emotion rather than logic.
  • Statistics given out of context. As we’ve established, numbers are all head and no heart. They can be great for grabbing headlines (remember that £350m from the side of the Leave battle bus?), but if they can be easily disputed, they can undermine your content.

Follow these golden rules, and you can make sure that no-one gets sick of your ‘expert opinion’ when you publish your next blog or guide.