In this post, we're going to talk about a topic that's not often addressed on blogs, and that topic is trust. Trust is everything in blogging, for both sides, the author and the readers. Once established, trust takes time to nurture, especially for new blogs. Below, we'll look at 5 smart ways to build trust with your blog.
Does trust really matter in blogging?
The online world is becoming more unpredictable in my opinion. Fake news is spreading like wildfire and sometimes it's hard to distinguish what is real and what is fake.
According to this article, misinformed information has decreased global trust in media. And then there is an entire issue with people 'faking it until they make it.
But all for what, five minutes of fame? Nah, it's just not worth it. That's NOT how you build trust online. So, yes, in this current climate, especially online, trust matters in blogging.
As a matter of fact, a critical process of building a successful blog is building an audience, attracting loyal readers, and growing a community, right. You simply cannot do any of those things if people don't trust you and your blog.
The same as in real, everyday life. Trust gradually comes after you've spent some time nurturing the relationship you have with someone. It applies to both individuals. You don't just instantly gain or give trust, you have to earn it or work for it.
So, for your blog:
If someone new arrives and chooses to subscribe, they've essentially begun the process of learning to trust you and your blog. It is then up to you to nurture that trust.
You let that subscriber down in any way, you're going to know about it. They're going to share it with their friends and followers on every social platform known to humankind, that your blog is not to be trusted.
Building trust with your blog is not hard, but it is quite time-consuming. But it's definitely worth the effort you put in.
And building trust doesn't just apply to your blog and content either. It applies to every single marketing channel you use to publish your content. Remember, you're also building an audience on those channels, be it Instagram or YouTube, etc.
On a smaller but nevertheless important note, I should mention that losing trust is also very easy to do, as a blogger. It can happen to anyone.
How and why?
Because you simply cannot please everyone. There will be a few, that no matter how hard you try to best serve them, you will never be able to please.
OK, let's dive right in
Let's start with your blog content.
Your blog content is essentially your holy grail for creating trust. The information you put on your blog needs to be reliable, credible, and useful.
Producing this kind of content for your blog is not easy and takes time and patience. So, make sure whatever type of content it is that you're putting out for your readers, that it's both relevant and trustworthy.
Let me give you an instance:
One thing I love to do in a number of my posts is to use data and statistics. Not always, but often. If you like doing the same, just make sure your sources for any data and stats you use are credible. Another important thing you should always do is cite them. Don't just rip data off from a site without linking back to the original source.
When you are making claims about something controversial, using data and statistics is a great way to help back up your ideas and theories. This will certainly help towards building trust with your blog.
Every blogger will occasionally create reviews (written or video form) of their favorite products, tools, services, apps, etc. Which is great. I do this myself quite often.
The important thing to remember when reviewing or recommending anything on your blog is to be 100% transparent, completely unbiased, and wholeheartedly honest.
We'll talk more about transparency in blogging later on.
Often I see newer bloggers making the rooky mistake of reviewing and recommending products and services that they have never even heard of, used, or would trust themselves.
This is a monumental mistake to make. Because doing so will not win trust credits from your readers. If a product or service you highly recommended turns out to be malicious or inferior in any shape or form, that's on you.
From day one, I've always reviewed and recommended tools that I've used in my blogging and other online businesses. Never have I suggested to my readers or community that they try out something that I've NOT used or fully trust in myself.
In my reviews, I often share a copy of the receipt for any purchases of tools and services that I'm reviewing and recommending. I also add a disclaimer.
I use videos quite a lot in my product reviews and recommendations. Videos can be a great way to reinforce trust in people. Don't believe me? Check out the statistic below.
57% of consumers say that watching a video gave them more confidence...Source
These are just some powerful ways to build trust. And I believe it's important because if you want to review more products and services in the future, with transparency, you will already have a nice and large reader base that trusts your judgment, opinions, and insights.
Honesty pays, trust me 🙂 (Pardon the pun)
I'm all for making myself accountable when I say I'm going to do something. Even if it takes me the next five years to do it. But what I wouldn't recommend doing is making a promise and then not delivering on that promise.
I know a lot of entrepreneurs and bloggers think differently about this, but sure, it's nice to create some hype and excitement about a new post, incentive, or product that you're working on or planning to launch.
But, if you set expectations high for your fans and then don't deliver, and you do this often, you can kiss goodbye to any trust or loyalty you instilled in them, it will gradually fade away.
I mean, what's the point? You're never a man of your words... That's exactly what they'll think.
The simple solution is to deliver what you promised. If you say you're going to do something, do it.
Not all bloggers are comfortable about being authentic and original.
I've spoken to hundreds of new bloggers over the last 10 years and many have had this notion that the best way to win the trust is by hiding behind some kind of made-up persona.
I'm not kidding you either.
You still see this happening today, especially on social media. Folks glamorizing their lifestyles on Instagram and YouTube by conjuring the perfect personality out of thin air, and it looks like they've really made it, right?
If they have, then that's great and you can be inspired and motivated to do the same. But if they aren't quite living the life they're working towards, then why f**king fake it to begin with?
I just don't get it:
Do you know what I think the best strategy is, especially for newbies?
Just be yourself, be you right from the word Go. There's only one 'You' so be the best version of 'YOU' that you can be.
If you've seen any of my YouTube videos, my intros are usually a minute or so long. I rant for a while, but my viewers get to see the real me. I don't pretend to be anyone else other than myself. I apply this to every platform that I use, whether it's YouTube or my blog here.
Be you, share your highs and lows. If you're succeeding, blog about it. If you're struggling or failing, blog about that too. Be authentic and original.
This is a kind of a sensitive issue, I know. As with being authentic and original, not all bloggers are willing or respectfully able to be 100% transparent.
Privacy is now a big issue and we have to respect that.
I respect everyone's privacy, however, when it comes to my privacy, it goes against my beliefs about being authentic and transparent. I can't be transparent about my business if I'm always worried about my privacy is what I'm trying to say.
That's just my opinion, I appreciate it might not be yours.
I like to share everything that's happening with regards to my blog and business, from my highs and lows, failures and successes.
If I feel like sharing my income reports, I'll do so. If I feel like sharing with you a terrible personal matter that impacts my blog or business, I'll do so.
The best thing about being authentic and transparent in blogging is that you can pretty much crush every other blogger that's worried about being transparent and private.
What I'm saying is this:
Sure, respect everyone else's privacy, your readers, and your community foremost. But, with your own blogging journey, don't be afraid to share what's really going on behind the scenes.
OK, so there you have it. Five smart ways to build trust with your blog. I hope you found the tips useful, and more importantly, I hope you take action and apply them to your blogging strategy today.
Let's do a quick recap -
Thanks for reading, see you in the next post.