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This post is based on episode 151 of the ProBlogger podcast.
“All things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to those people that they know, like, and trust.” – Bob Burg
A big reason many businesses start blogs is to build trust with customers so they can drive sales.
If we look at our own spending habits, we don’t just make purchasing decisions based on features or price. We also make decisions based on whether we:
- feel a connection to the brand
- trust the brand
- like the people selling (or creating) the product.
Over many years, I’ve found that blogging and podcasting are great ways to build a connection with potential customers.
When you create regular content that changes the lives of those who read it, over time people will come to know you, like you, and trust you.
So how can you speed up the process of getting your readers (or your listeners) to trust you?
Before we dig into that, here are two important things you need to keep in mind.
#1: Building Trust Will Take Time
It’s important to realise that building trust takes time. Most of us don’t instantly warm up to someone the first time we meet them. It happens slowly over time.
So don’t try to build trust fast on your blog: it’s not sustainable. Instead, think about building a solid foundation.
When I blog, I know a single post or podcast is unlikely to have a reader trusting me completely. It’s better to take things step by step.
#2: You Need to Earn Your Readers’ Trust
Think about the people you trust most in real life. Why do you trust them?
For me, it’s about all the little interactions I’ve had with them – the times they’ve been generous, dependable, honest, accountable, vulnerable, or true to their word.
The same goes for blogging. It’s little things over time that get readers to trust you. It’s your track record of creating useful content that serves those who read it, and the consistency and dependability of your message.
Think about the value you can bring readers, and spend your time creating content that makes people’s lives better, whether it’s through your blog, a podcast or a YouTube channel.
Every time you sit down to write, ask yourself, “How am I going to change the life of my reader today?” It doesn’t need to be in a big way. You might:
- Give them some new information
- Share the latest news in your niche, or apply it to their situation
- Help them realise they’re not alone.
These can all change people’s lives in small ways. And if you keep writing that type of content, over time you’ll build a real connection and earn your reader’s trust.
So you want their trust to come about naturally. Having said that, here are a couple of ways you can nudge the process along a little.
Tip #1: What Other People Say About You Counts a Lot
If my wife Vanessa introduces me to someone she knows, likes and trusts I’m more open to trusting that person, even though I may not immediately trust them. And I’ll have more peace of mind entering into that relationship.
The same happens online. You might have heard about this “social proof”. And you’ve probably experienced it yourself at some point.
For instance, you’re more likely to read a blog that’s active and has lots of readers than one that clearly has very few readers. There’s an element of social proof there.
To harness this power you might focus on building community and engagement with your readers. When you’ve got a warm community, people will be more open to trusting you because they can see that a lot of people already trust you.
Another way to get this type of social proof is having people of influence interact with you, talk about you, or trust you in some public way. It might be through interviewing influencers on your blog, or by guest posting on a larger blog. While these things don’t guarantee trust, they will help people feel a bit more open to trusting you.
For more help with social proof, check out episode 114 of the podcast where I cover four types of social proof you can use on your blog.
However, social proof will only take you so far. It can speed things up a bit with helping new readers open up to you. But you still need to earn their trust.
Tip #2: Trust Grows Faster When It’s Reciprocated
While I think it’s true that people do business with those they know, like, and trust, I think it also works the other way around.
People are more likely to do business with you when they feel you know, like, and trust them.
Knowing your readers is pretty easy. You can find out their demographics and the kind of language they use.
Liking them has to be authentic. Do you genuinely like your readers?
I really love my readers on ProBlogger. One of the reasons I started the ProBlogger event was because I wanted to meet my readers. They’re fantastic people. We have a lot of fun, and we enjoy each other’s company.
Trusting your readers might mean being vulnerable – sharing how you feel about the problem they’re having, and how you want to help them overcome it too.
Two Ways to Create Content that Builds Trust
When you create content, choosing the right tone and using personal language can help build trust. Aim to:
- Create content that’s vulnerable. Talk about the areas you’re still learning about, the areas where you’re still making mistakes, and the questions you don’t know the answers to. This shows your readers that you trust them.
- Create content that has some personal touches, or tells a story. This doesn’t have to be deeply personal, but showing a little of who you are can really build a connection.
Ultimately, if you want to gain your readers’ trust you need to be trustworthy. Be transparent with your readers, act with integrity, treat them with respect, and keep your promises.
Once you have your readers’ trust, treasure it. As the saying goes, trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair.
Do you think your readers trust you? Do you trust them? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts and any tips you have for building greater trust.