Gone are the days when building trust is all about sales talks and calling in the experts.
According to a HubSpot survey, only 3% of the respondents consider salespeople and marketers as trustworthy. Millennials, in particular, are naturally skeptical of advertising, as only 1% of them claim that a compelling advertisement can influence their buying decisions.
These figures mean that businesses should spend less time pushing products and more time building authority and putting a face on your brand or business.
Being an authority means establishing yourself as a legitimate, credible, and resourceful thought leader on a specific topic and translating that knowledge into action. It’s a more authentic way of marketing.
When you’re recognized as an authority, it’s easier for your prospects and customers to like you. And the more they like you, the more they begin to trust you, thus leading to more traffic and sales.
The word also goes out to your peers, colleagues, and contemporaries, leading to beneficial partnerships and opening lucrative business opportunities. It’ll be easier for you to embark on new projects because of referrals, thus reducing your marketing costs.
So, how can you earn your customer’s trust?
Check out the following ways on building trust and authority for your business:
Focus on creating content
One of the most powerful ways to become a trusted authority is to create compelling content consistently.
It’s not just about creating memes and clickbait articles. High-quality content demonstrates your authority and expertise to your readers, making it easy for them to trust you. They also add value and knowledge to the reader, keeping them coming back for more.
Zero in on a niche and target audience
Having a niche allows you to focus your time and expertise on a specific subject.
For instance, if you want to become a fitness authority, then you should focus on creating exercise videos and diet guides. If your business is wedding coordination, then providing lists of reliable wedding suppliers and tips for wedding preparations are relevant to your target market.
And speaking of the target market, you need to know who you’re talking to. Speaking their language can go a long way. Spend some time on forums and groups where your target market hangs out, and you’re bound to get a feel of how they speak to one another and the terms and phrases they commonly use.
Make your content evergreen
Evergreen content essentially means that your content has no expiration date. It stays relevant and essential for an indefinite period, so it usually retains its value over time.
When you produce evergreen content for your target market, it demonstrates that you know your audience well enough to answer their biggest struggles and problems.
Because it’s naturally informative, it receives a lot of views and social shares over time, boosting your online presence and building you as an authority figure.
Examples of evergreen content are how-to guides and tutorials, frequently asked questions, and industry resources.
Produce case studies and testimonials
If you’re like most customers, you look at reviews first before deciding whether to buy an item or not.
That’s why showcasing testimonials on your website and social media channels make your audience trust you more. Reviews are candid, not full of marketing jargon and meaningless buzzwords. It’s one of the most persuasive pieces of content that you can feature. After all, people are more likely to trust someone that other people trust.
You can either encourage customers to write you a review and quote some of them or ask your clients to create a video testimonial for you for added credibility. You can also ask them to leave you a review on relevant platforms, like Yelp, Foursquare, and LinkedIn.
Want to take it up a notch? Create case studies—in-depth narratives that feature how your clients use your products or services, demonstrating their value.
Case studies talk about a problem the client is having, then show that your product or service is the optimal solution for that problem. It’s very niche-specific, so it often resonates with your target market.
Moreover, case studies contain factual claims and statistics, so publishing them positions your brand as an authority within your industry. It’s one of the fastest ways to become a thought leader in your industry.
Be consistent in deploying content
You can’t just publish a high-quality blog post today and go missing in the next few weeks.
Consistently producing relevant and topnotch content establishes you as a thought leader in your industry. The more consistent you are, the more credible people think of you.
Plus, the longer that you produce content, the more legitimate your business becomes. It’s also a great way to distinguish yourself from your competitors as it further builds brand awareness.
If you’re running out of ideas for your content, you can always curate from other reliable sources and diversify your marketing strategy.
It does not only give you a reprieve from churning out content day in and day out, but it also helps you establish beneficial relationships with other entrepreneurs.
Some ideas on how to create curated content include:
- User-generated content
- Big lists
- Social updates and comments
- Topic-focused content
- Data-driven content
You can find articles to curate on Google, Alltop, LinkedIn News, how-to sites, Twitter, and other online publications.
Links have always been part of Google’s algorithm, so the more linkbacks you have from relevant sites, the higher your trustworthiness becomes.
Here are some ideas on how you can link back to your content:
Google has its way of measuring a site’s authority, and that is through PageRank.
PageRank is a metric that measures the importance of web pages based on how many backlinks a page receives. You can further get a boost in by using internal links and spreading the link juice to other connected pages on your website.
A page with a high PageRank is regarded as authoritative and trustworthy, so it appears high up in the search results. People often don’t check the results beyond the first page of Google, so being on the first page can make you look like an expert in your field. You get more leads, too.
Guest post on relevant blogs and websites
Guest blogging is a great way to build brand awareness, as the content you post on other high-traffic sites exposes you to a new audience. You can usually place a link in your bio leading to your landing page, so it’s a viable way of attracting new subscribers and leads.
More importantly, guest posting builds trust. If a trustworthy site publishes your content, it implies that your business is reliable, too. It can help others see you as an expert, which is excellent for your business’s reputation.
Leave meaningful and engaging comments on blogs and forums
Another way to position your business in a position of authority is by being helpful when you comment on posts, forums, and social media.
When you engage, don’t just leave comments like, “Thank you or sharing,” or “Great read!” Although those are words of affirmation, they will hardly spark a real conversation.
Instead, try to answer questions and provide solutions to the problems of your target audience. Coming from a place of help not only establishes you as an authority but also makes you likable and approachable.
If you can already give tons of value with your free comments, how much more can you help them if they hire you?
Focus on your offline strategies as well
Your physical presence is equally important as your online presence.
There are a lot of things that you can do offline to help you build relationships and establish yourself as an industry connoisseur, such as the following:
Participate in speaking engagements
There’s no greater testimony to your expertise than by getting invited to speak at public engagements. Here are some ways to build trust as a public speaker:
- Speak the language of your listeners to establish rapport.
- Structure your presentation like a conversation by asking your audience for their point of view and answering any questions they may have.
- Be confident in delivering your piece. Know who your audience is so that you also know how you can help them.
- Speak from experience and don’t be afraid to reveal something personal about yourself. It humanizes you.
- Don’t show off as it takes your focus away from your message.
Sponsor or host meetups and events
No invitations to public speaking events? No problem!
You can host your event and invite other speakers to contribute. Center the conversation around the topics you’re knowledgeable at so that you can demonstrate your proficiency on that particular topic.
You can also pledge to become an event sponsor for more brand exposure. People will also see you as an authority figure when you sponsor a reputable event.
Hosting and sponsoring are also great ways to build relationships with the big names within your industry.
Run a contest
People love contests. If done right, contests can lead to long-term loyalty from your participants.
To make sure that it gives you the trust and mileage that you deserve, here are some tactics in running a contest:
- State your rules and make sure to be faithful to them. Display these rules on an easily accessible page.
- Announce it and build anticipation weeks before the contest.
- Answer people’s questions about your contest to show them that you care for them.
- Give away prizes that will highlight the value of your brand.
- Announce the winners in public so that your participants know that you stayed true to your words.
Although the tips mentioned above won’t make you an authority overnight, they’re a good start in your journey of establishing yourself as an expert and authority figure in your niche.