Public trust in the media is at an all time low. Fake news runs rampant on social media, some sites push opinions as facts, and many trusted information sources are losing journalistic authority in the eyes of the readers.
Yet, in order to sell your products or services, you need consumer trust. Especially if you rely on content marketing to attract new customers, building trust quickly with visitors is necessary to find success. Here are some tips to build trust in your business and content, in a world where consumer trust is low.
Backing claims up with facts
As you produce content to sway people to your business, back up what you’re saying with hard facts and data. Link to data you’ve produced yourself or link to independent sources. It’s easy to link to other articles that state data or facts, but sometimes you need to follow the rabbit hole to find the original source. Doing your part to prevent false facts from spreading can ensure you keep your hands clean of fake news.
Backing up your content with facts shows consumers that you do your research, and doing so sets you up as a reliable source of information. Be bold with the facts, tell people what your sources are, link to where you got your information from, and broadcast that you are trustworthy. This encourages people to fact-check you, so when they find you’re telling the truth, they’ll be more amenable to your content.
Nothing screams “don’t trust this article” more than an ugly website. As people check out your site, they instantly judge the level of professionalism by how it looks. Have an outdated design from the early 2000s? That could convey that you’re out of touch with the modern world. Is your site filled with obnoxious and clickbait ads? People will think your site exists just for the clicks and ad revenue. Make sure the design of your site is modern, classy, and attractive.
It’s not just how your site looks either; how you present your information matters, too. Filling the page with funny GIFs might help entertain your audience, but it hurts your professional appeal. On the other hand, having nothing entertaining might look too stuffy, and you could lose the interest of readers.
The murky waters of social media
A major catalyst for our fake news society is social media. It allows misinformation to spread quickly without any type of governing body to ensure something is truthful or not. Yes, some sites like Facebook and Google are trying to stem the flow, but there’s still a surprising amount of fake news sites that get attention on social media and have built a substantial following.
What you share and don’t share on social media impacts how much followers trust you as an information source. Sharing only your own content is ineffective, so you have to also share external content. Being highly critical of what you post can help keep your company out of hot water.
Another great way to build trust on social media is by being transparent and having conversations with your followers. Reply back to comments, ask for input, and get involved. Maybe even host an AMA (ask me anything) session and let people see your company is made up of normal people.
At this point, people are sick of clickbait. Yes, it’s effective at getting people to a site, but people hate it. Even Facebook is trying to prevent sites that use clickbait from succeeding.
So, clickbait titles went from a less than savory tactic of getting traffic to being completely unprofessional. If you do employ it, make sure to back up your claim. A prime example of what not to do is to title a piece: “You Won’t Believe What This Mom Does Every Day!” — and the article is about her hugging each of her children before school. Not only does that mislead your readers, it destroys your credibility.
Building a good team
A blog is only as good as the writers who contribute to it. Creating a professional and trustworthy team to produce your content is a must. They need to be creative, well informed, and understand how to implement good writing practices with your marketing strategy.
That also means that your team needs to be on the ball with every piece of content they produce. A single mistake could draw the public’s eye and do lasting damage to your brand. Disengaged writers take shortcuts, don’t cite sources, and make mistakes in general. Happy and engaged writers will take more pride in their work and make sure everything is properly researched as much as possible.
Creating long-term consumer trust
Trust isn’t earned overnight. It takes time, diligence, and honesty from both parties. One of the best ways to build trust is to run a squeaky clean business, respond to any problems quickly, and provide the service people expect. Doing that, along with providing trustworthy content, and avoiding less savory practices, are the best ways to build trust.
What is your experience with building consumer trust for your brand? Share your thought in the comments.