Trust is an essential element for any type of online marketing. In the era of fake news, brands need to go out of their way to encourage their prospective customers to trust them more. One of the reasons content marketing is so effective is that it helps to build this trust. But you still need to use a variety of techniques to make sure your content is more trustworthy.
Here are 9 simple ways that you can do this.
Write Like You Speak
One of the basic rules of any type of content (written, at least) is to write like you speak. This is key in sales copy, but it applies to your content as well. Writing on the web should be accessible and easy to read. When some people start writing, they feel like they have to switch to formal mode. But this only gets in the way of what you are trying to say.
Communication is the goal of your content, and you should focus on communicating your point clearly and succinctly without jargon and formal language. The tone you use will vary to a degree depending on your audience. For example, the tone you use for millennials would differ from the tone you use for professionals. But it should still sound like a real person, and if you write in the same language that they use, you will create an instant connection.
Address Them as Individuals
Most content should speak to the reader in the second person. And the word “you” is therefore, crucial. When you write, always keep in mind that you are writing to a single person. You might want to use your persona and write to them. Write as if you were having a conversation with them.
The reader will instantly connect with your writing when you address them directly, even if it’s obvious that this is not a personal letter to them. It helps to break down barriers and show that you care about the reader.
‘Show, don’t tell’ is classic advice for novelists. But the same advice can be used by content writers. Generalizations and vague claims wash over the reader and hurt your credibility. Using superlatives like “we’re the best” don’t do anything for building trust—not unless you back them up with evidence. Evidence could include testimonials, facts, figures, links to resources, etc. Don’t make unfounded claims because they will hurt rather than help you.
When using numbers, always be specific. Don’t just use a vague large number like “over 5,000 subscribers.” Instead, use the exact number and this will instantly appear more credible.
Go Easy on the Highlighter
We’ve all seen those pages packed full of yellow highlighter and CAPITAL LETTERS and all kinds of signs and symbols. While they may be effective in getting sales for a specific type of product, they should generally be avoided in your content. By all means use bold, italics, and underlining. Use highlighting if you want to. But use them sparingly. The same goes for exclamation marks. They look desperate and like you are shouting. Use them infrequently if at all.
Use Social Proof Regularly
Social proof comes in many forms, and you should make a regular habit of using it in your content. An instant trust-boosting technique is to drop in the odd testimonial or quote from a respected industry figure where you have them. Don’t do it too much, but just drop it in casually. Writing about positive customer experiences also builds trust. Perhaps you could do this in your blog, such as dropping in how you helped a particular client get “X” amount of sales. These tactics are used in landing pages and sales copy all the time, but there’s no reason why you can’t us them in your content as well.
Get Published in Trusted Places
It’s not just what you say, but where you say it. If someone comes across an article you have published on a top industry website or blog, this instantly boosts your credibility and makes them trust you more. The trust they have in the other website rubs off onto you—this is one of the major benefits of guest posting, especially for new businesses.
And if you can get positive mentions from the people who run these websites, that’s going to help even more.
Use a Consistent Voice
Consistency is important when you create content, so work hard to create a brand voice and then stick to it. This might only come after a while and it is often something you need to develop. But at least decide how you want to sound. If many different people in your team are responsible for creating your content, provide them with a guide to how your brand voice should be, including the sorts of words to use and to avoid. A more consistent voice helps to build trust.
This is perhaps the simplest step of all, but it can have a major impact on the trustworthiness of your content. Nothing turns a reader off more than finding content that is full of mistakes. It’s off-putting, and it dents confidence in your business. After all, if you cannot be bothered to proofread your content, what does this say about your business?
The odd mistake will not hurt, but content that is littered with mistakes will hurt your image. The simplest way to avoid mistakes is to put your content aside for a day and then proof it before publishing. You could also run it through Grammarly or even just Word, and get someone else to read through it too. It will only take a few seconds, and it could make all the difference.
Consistently Provide Value
This is the most important way to build trust. If the content that you publish is consistently providing high value, the trust will come automatically. Content marketing only works when it is done well—and great content means when it provides genuine value to the reader. If you can put the effort into making this happen, you are going to build trust with every piece of content you publish.
Take a Closer Look at Your Content
How is your content marketing going? Are you just going through the motions and publishing a blog because everyone else is? Or are you putting the time and effort into making sure your content provides value and speaks to your reader?
Follow the steps above, and you can be sure that you are helping rather than hurting your image—and increasing trust in your brand—with every piece you publish.