I’d like to believe you’re an honest person.
You would never, ever do anything to take advantage of anyone, right?
But would I be wise to trust you with my life savings?
Probably not. And the reason is simple: I don’t know you well enough.
The same goes for brands. As consumers, we’re constantly bombarded with marketing messages from companies we’ve never heard of before.
And we have to make a split-second decision about whether or not to trust them.
How can you demonstrate that you’re credible, competent, and trustworthy?
Simple, by creating trust-building content.
One thing to keep in mind is that trust is not a one-time event. It’s also not established automatically.
It’s built over time through repeated interactions and experiences.
That’s why it’s so important to create a consistent stream of trust-building content.
Not sure where to start?
Well, start with the three key elements of trust-building content:
- Reputation: Prove that other people trust and respect you
- Integrity: Be transparent and honest
- Credibility: Show that you know what you’re talking about
Let’s take a closer look at each of these elements:
1) Reputation: Prove that Other People Trust and Respect You
Knowledge is great. But when it comes to building trust, nothing beats a good reputation.
Reputation is the result of what other people say about you.
It’s the sum total of your past actions, interactions, and experiences.
People rely on reputation as a heuristic, or mental shortcut, to save time and energy when making decisions.
For example, let’s say you’re looking for a new doctor.
You could spend hours researching every doctor in your area.
Or you could simply ask your friends and family members for recommendations.
Reputation is important because it’s an easy way to signal trustworthiness.
When other people vouch for you, it’s a strong indication that you can be trusted.
Of course, building a good reputation takes time.
You need to deliver on your promises and exceed expectations consistently.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to accelerate the process.
Here are a few ideas:
- Be Different: The only way to get noticed is to be different.
Find a unique angle or perspective that sets you apart from the competition.
- Be On a Mission: People are drawn to brands with a purpose.
When you’re clear about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, it becomes easier to build a loyal following.
- Be Consistent: Reputation is built over time through repeated interactions and experiences.
Make sure your messaging is consistent across all channels and that your actions always align with your words.
- Develop Your Own Voice: Don’t try to be everything to everyone:
Find your niche and develop a unique voice that resonates with your target audience.
- Have an Opinion: Be opinionated, and don’t be afraid to take a stand.
People respect brands that aren’t too much of a chicken to speak their minds. You’ll alienate a few people, of course. But it will bring you closer to some.
This will help you establish thought leadership and build trust with potential customers.
- Become a Storyteller: Share your brand’s story in an interesting, engaging, and relatable way.
People love stories, so use them to your advantage.
- Get Press: Getting media coverage is a great way to build trust and credibility.
If you can get your brand featured in major publications, it will go a long way in establishing your reputation.
- Be Helpful: Offer helpful resources, advice, and tips that make people’s lives easier.
When you’re helpful, people will begin to see you as a trusted source of information.
- Build a Tribe: It’s easier to build trust and credibility when you have a group of passionate supporters.
Find ways to connect with your fans and give them a reason to rally behind your brand.
- Use Quotations: Acknowledge other people’s expertise by quoting them in your content.
This is a great way to build rapport and credit your sources.
- Be Transparent: Be open and honest about who you are, what you do, and how you do it.
People appreciate brands that are transparent and easy to understand.
- Seek Feedback: Ask for feedback from your customers, clients, and peers.
This will help you identify areas where you need to improve and show that you’re open to constructive criticism.
- Be responsive: Respond to customer inquiries, questions, and concerns in a timely and professional manner.
This shows that you care about your customers and are committed to providing a great experience.
- Show Results: Develop a case study for every successful project you complete.
That will build confidence and show potential clients what you can deliver.
- Offer Testimonials: Include testimonials from satisfied customers on your website and marketing materials.
This social proof will help build trust with new prospects.
- Guest Blog: Write guest blog posts for other websites in your industry.
This will help you reach a new audience and establish yourself as an expert in your field.
- Speak at Events: Speak at conferences, meetups, and other events.
Look for opportunities to share your knowledge and connect with potential customers.
- Go above and beyond: Exceed expectations whenever possible.
When you do more than what’s expected, people will begin to see you as a valuable resource.
- Have a sense of humour: Don’t take yourself too seriously.
People like to do business with fun and easy-to-talk-to brands.
2) Integrity: Be transparent and honest
Trust can’t be bought; it must be earned through your actions.
Always do what’s right, even when it’s not easy, and people will begin to see you as a trustworthy brand.
Don’t focus on yourself.
Focus on what’s best for your customer, even if it means making a sacrifice.
This selfless attitude will create trust and goodwill.
So, how can you prove to your audience that you’re worthy of their trust?
Be genuinely interested in your customers and their needs.
When you show a genuine interest in others, they’ll be more likely to trust you.
Keep your promises and follow through on your commitments.
This shows that you’re reliable and trustworthy.
Treat others with respect, even if they don’t always deserve it.
Respecting others shows that you have integrity and are a class act.
Don’t boast or brag about your accomplishments.
Humble people are more likeable and trustworthy.
Honesty is the best policy, especially when it comes to business.
When you make a mistake, don’t be quick to get defensive. Instead, own up to it and make things right.
People are drawn to passionate individuals.
If you’re passionate about what you do, it will show in your work.
This passion will help build credibility and trust with your audience.
People will respect you for your honesty and be more likely to trust you in the future.
Listen, Lurk, observe (the 3 L’s):
When you join a new group or community, take a step back and observe the culture before you start sharing your own opinions.
This will help you get a feel for what’s acceptable and what’s not.
It will also show that you’re interested in learning more about the group and that you’re not just there to promote your own agenda.
Give Credit Where Credit is Due:
When you share someone else’s work, give them credit.
Not doing that is plagiarism, and it’s just not cool.
When you give credit where it’s due, people will see you as an upstanding individual with integrity.
Help others promote their work.
When you share someone else’s blog post or article, they’ll be more likely to return the favour.
This will help you build a network of trusted colleagues.
Start an Email List:
An email list is a great way to build trust with your audience.
When people sign up for your email list, they’re giving you permission to contact them.
Moreover, email communication is more intimate and personal than other forms of communication.
You can use your email list to build trust by sending helpful content, resources, and updates.
When something goes wrong, accept responsibility and make things right.
This shows that you’re accountable for your actions and are willing to take responsibility when things don’t go as planned.
Don’t Pretend to Be Something You’re Not:
It’s important to be authentic.
Don’t pretend to be something you’re not just to gain someone’s trust.
Sooner or later, they’ll figure out that you’re not being genuine, and it will damage your relationship.
Credibility: Show that you know what you’re talking about
Credibility is what comes after trust. If a person trusts you, they will believe everything you say.
In other words, you become a credible source of information.
To build credibility, you need to be an expert in your field.
You can become an expert by consistently sharing your knowledge and insights.
You can also become an expert by being a thought leader in your industry.
A thought leader is someone who is respected for their opinions and ideas.
They are often seen as trendsetters and innovators.
Use the following tips to become a thought leader in your industry:
- Design a Professional Website or Blog: You do not want to present yourself as an amateur. Invest in a professional website or blog design. Get a custom domain name, reliable hosting, and have a professional email address.
- Avoid Careless Mistakes: Proofread your work before you publish it. Nothing will make you lose credibility faster than careless grammar mistakes.
- Check Your Spelling: This ties in with the previous tip. Always proofread your work before you publish it.
- Write Regularly: The more you write, the more credible you will become. Write articles, blog posts, whitepapers, eBooks, etc.
- Design a Timeless Logo: A logo is one of the first things people will notice about your brand. Make sure your logo is simple, elegant, and easy to remember.
- Use Quality Photos: In the age of digital cameras, there’s no excuse for using low-quality photos. Use high-resolution photos that are clear and easy to see
- Social Proof: Social proof is when other people vouch for you. Some examples of social proof are customer testimonials, case studies, and media mentions.
- Offer a Free Trial: A free trial is a great way to build credibility because it allows people to try your product or service before they commit to buying it.
- Use Trust Symbols: Use security shields, logos, and trust seals to show people that their personal information is safe with you.
- Provide Money Back Guarantees: A money-back guarantee shows that you’re confident in your product or service. It also shows that you’re willing to stand behind your product.
- Get Testimonials: Customer testimonials are a great way to build credibility. When people see that other people have had success with your product, they’re more likely to try it themselves
- Take Copywriting Lessons: Don’t let poor writing skills hinder your credibility. Don’t bore your readers with outdated phrases, clichés, or too much jargon. There are plenty of resources available to help you improve your writing skills.
- Join Relevant Groups: There are groups for almost every industry. Joining one of these groups shows that you’re interested in your industry and want to stay up-to-date on the latest news and trends.
- Speak at Industry Events: Speaking at an industry event is an excellent way to show your expertise. People will look to you as an authority figure when you’re up on stage.
- Be a Guest on Podcasts: This is similar to speaking at an industry event. When you’re a guest on a podcast, people will see you as an expert in your field
- Give Interviews: Interviews offer you a chance to share your knowledge.
- Publish Research Papers: If you want to be seen as a thought leader, you need to produce quality content. One way to do this is to publish research papers.
- Create an Online Course: Creating an online course is a great way to share your knowledge with others. Just figure out how to package your knowledge into easily digestible formats or chunks, and you’re good to go.
12 Key Ways to Create Trust-Building Content with Examples
Here are 23 key ways to create trust-building content, with examples.
Provide Answers to Questions
One of the best ways to build trust is to provide answers to some of the questions that your target audience might have.
The idea is to start thinking about the said content from your audience’s perspective.
Think about all the questions they have and prepare a list.
You can then use this list as a guide to help you develop content ideas responding to these questions.
Here are some examples of questions that you can answer in your content:
- How does your product or service work?
- How can your product or service help me?
- What are the benefits of using your product or service?
- What are some of the features of your product or service?
- How is your product or service different from the competition?
- Why should I buy from you?
You can begin by asking yourself, “what do my customers want to know?”
If you don’t know the answer to this question, you can always ask your customers directly.
This can be done through surveys, customer interviews, or even casual conversations.
Once you understand what they want to know, you can fashion your content around these questions.
Ralph is a perfect example of a company that uses this content strategy.
If you look at their blog, you’ll see that many of their articles answer common questions that their target audience has.
Not only does this help build trust, but it also helps position Ralph as a thought leader in the space.
As you can see in their story section, the company has all the important gear guides that a customer might need before purchasing.
This is extremely useful for customers who are new to the space and are looking for guidance.
By providing this type of content, Ralph can build trust with their target audience and position themselves as experts in the space.
That explains why the company has gained authority in the industry dominated by well-established brands such as Pearl iZUMi, ASSOS, Castelli, and others.
Showcase Your Expertise
It’s okay to blow your own horn every once in a while, provided you’re not blowing smoke.
Don’t be shy to showcase your expertise.
If you’re good at something, make sure your target audience knows about it.
One of the best ways to do this is by writing blog posts that highlight your expertise.
You can also create other types of content, such as infographics, videos, or even podcasts that showcase your skills and knowledge.
Make use of your in-house experts and have them contribute to your content marketing efforts.
You don’t have to be a big brand like Nike to drive consumer trust and confidence.
Even small businesses can do it as long as they have something of value to offer.
For example, Carhartt is a modest-sized company that has built trust with its target audience by showcasing its expertise in the “stories hub.”
Invest in Case Studies and Testimonials
If you want to build trust with your target audience, one of the best ways to do it is by investing in case studies and testimonials.
Case studies are a great way to show your target audience how your product or service has helped other people achieve their desired results.
For example, if you sell a software solution that helps businesses streamline their operations, you can write a case study about one of your clients who were able to save time and money by using your software.
AMZ Pathfinder is an excellent example of a company that uses case studies to build trust with its target audience. They’re consistently publishing case studies every couple of months, with each highlighting a different success story.
Testimonials are another great way to build trust with your target audience.
A testimonial is simply a review or endorsement of your product or service from a satisfied customer.
One of the best places to showcase testimonials is on your website.
If you look at the HubSpot website, you’ll see that they have a section dedicated to customer testimonials.
They also have a section called “customer love,” where they showcase some of the nice things their customers have said about them.
This is a great way to build trust with your target audience and show them that you’re a company that can be trusted.
Explore Various Content Formats
Don’t limit yourself to written content only.
For example, you can create infographics, videos, or even podcasts.
The important thing is to explore different content formats and see which ones work best for your business.
Not all businesses are the same, so what works for one company might not work for another.
While the human brain is wired to permit more authority to the written word, that doesn’t mean that other formats are any less effective.
In fact, in some cases, having a face or a voice to represent your company can build more trust than written content alone.
That explains why some companies are investing in video testimonials.
A video testimonial is simply a review or endorsement of your product or service from a satisfied customer but in video format.
Stick to Your Values
The EY Future Consumer Index found that:
- 66% of consumers expect brands to behave ethically
- 63% of consumers say a company’s behaviour is more important than the products it sells
- 58% of consumers are more concerned about transparency
- 45% of consumers want sustainable product choices
In other words, people care about more than just the products they buy.
They care about the company’s values and how it treats its employees, customers, and the environment.
If you’re all about transparency, a simple trick would be to create a dedicated disclosure page. Here, you can talk about your relationships with other companies, sponsorships, and any type of relationship that could potentially be perceived as a conflict of interest.
An example of a company doing this right is Medical Alert Buyers Guide.
They have a dedicated disclosure page that talks about their relationships with different companies in the medical alert industry.
This is a great way to build trust with your target audience and show them that you’re not hiding anything from them.
Know Your Brand Trust Goals (and How to Measure them)
What do you want to achieve with your content?
Do you want to see your customers raving about your company on social media or review sites?
Do you want to see an increase in sales?
Do you want to see them recommending your products or services to their friends and family?
Or are you more interested in growing a loyal customer base?
Whatever your goal is, make sure you have a way to measure it.
For example, if your goal is to see more social media activity, you can track the number of social media mentions or shares your brand is getting overtime.
You also want to define what trust means to your organization. Detail what success looks like for each goal.
For example, if you want to increase brand awareness, what would that look like?
Be sure to monitor how your brand is being talked about online and take note of any shifts in sentiment.
An excellent tool for this is Google Alerts, which allows you to track any mention of your brand (or anything else) online and get notified whenever there’s a new mention.
You can also track social media conversations and mentions using a tool like Mention or Hootsuite Insights.
By understanding your brand trust goals and how to measure them, you can ensure that your content strategy is aligned with your business goals and that you’re on track to achieving your desired results.
Appoint a Brand Trust Lead
This step isn’t mandatory, but if you have the resources, it can be helpful to appoint a brand trust lead within your organization.
This person will be responsible for creating and executing your brand trust strategy.
They should also be the point of contact for any questions or concerns related to brand trust.
They’re also responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with customers, employees, shareholders, partners, and other key stakeholders.
They should also understand the latest trends in brand trust and be up-to-date on industry best practices.
They’ll develop a blueprint for success and be the go-to person for all things related to brand trust.
It goes without mentioning that they’re also responsible for monitoring and evaluating the progress of your brand trust strategy and making necessary adjustments along the way.
This one should be a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning anyway.
Consumers aren’t interested in sales pitches or any of those sales’ lingo.
They’re interested in real, down-to-earth, and relatable content that they can connect with personally.
They’re interested in what makes you a brand they can trust — your values, mission, and vision.
We could say authenticity is in your company’s DNA. It’s what makes you unique, and it’s something that you should be shouting from the rooftops.
For example, if you’re a sustainable fashion brand, make sure that’s reflected in your content strategy.
You can also be authentic by being present. Start responding to negative feedback, addressing customer complaints, and engaging with your customers online.
Not responding to customers on social media can result in a 15% churn rate.
While it’s important to be authentic, you also want to make sure your content is consistent across channels.
Your brand voice, tone, and message should be the same regardless of where your customers consume your content — on your website, social media, email, or even offline.
Get Your Brand Story Right
Lastly, get your brand story right. We can all learn from Nike.
Nike is one of the most trusted brands worldwide, and its secret sauce is its well-crafted brand story.
Their story is so compelling that it has transcended generations. It’s a story about grit, determination, and perseverance.
It’s also a story about how Nike empowers its consumers to be their best selves.
That kind of story builds trust and creates an emotional connection with consumers.
Work on Your SEO Strategy
If you want your target audience to find your content, you need to ensure your SEO strategy is on point.
This means using the right keywords, optimizing your website for Google, and creating high-quality content.
It also means making sure that your website is mobile-friendly and that your content is shareable.
Focus More on Relationships than Conversions
It’s no secret that people buy from brands they trust.
So, if you want to build trust with your audience, you need to focus on developing relationships with them rather than trying to sell them something.
Think about it this way, would you rather buy a product from a brand that’s constantly shoving sales down your throat or a brand interested in building a long-term relationship with you?
The answer is pretty obvious.
To build relationships with your audience, you need to create helpful, relevant, and engaging content.
According to Wunderman Thompson’s study, 56% of consumers feel loyal to brands that get them. The keyword here is “get them.”
Your content should be able to address their needs, answer their questions, and solve their problems.
In other words, they expect your brand to understand their preferences, priorities, and values.
The best way to do this is to create buyer personas. Once you understand who your target audience is, it’ll be easier for you to create content that resonates with them.
Build Social Proof
In a Nielsen study, 92% of respondents said they trust recommendations from friends and family more than any other type of advertising.
This goes to show that social proof is a powerful trust-building tool.
One of the best ways to build social proof is by leveraging user-generated content (UGC).
This could be product reviews, testimonials, case studies, or even social media posts.
Backing up this study finding is BrightLocal’s 2018 Local Consumer Review Survey which found that 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
Only 15% said reviews didn’t influence their decisions.