27 million pieces of content are shared every day, according to a recent Nielson study. This adds a lot of pressure to business owners and bloggers aiming to get traction through their content (which is the whole point!). People will only read and share your content when they trust what you write. If visitors on your website doubt your credibility, they’ll quickly navigate without ever coming back.
In this post we look at the 8 actionable strategies you can use to create content your audience will actually trust. Establish yourself as a credible source of information by implementing these tips while creating blog posts, emails, website copy and sales pitch.
#1. Add visuals
Let’s look at some stats to prove our point:
- Posts that include images produce 650% higher engagement than text-only posts, as reported by Inc. Magazine.
- Content with images get 94% more views than content without images.
- Blog Pro’s analyzed 100 of their high ranking posts to conclude that each article had an average of 3.2 images for an average of 1150 word article.
Use a feature image at the beginning of every article. A catchy image draws attention to your article. Buffer explains that fewer characters per line have a psychological effect on the way we view content. Fewer characters makes it easier to comprehend the text and it seems less complex.
This is the same reason why social media expert Derek Halpern uses this tactic on his blog post. His blueprint for a perfect blog post includes sharing an image to the right.
Visuals such as videos, infographics, memes, graphs and charts, stock images, custom images, presentations and embedded Instagram images and tweets take your content marketing to the next level. Define a style and add your logo to custom images for readers to identify that as your style.
Sure, the substance of your content counts but an excellent visual style will definitely skyrocket the reputation and awareness of your brand.
#2. Create helpful resources
The audience doesn't entertain constant sales pitches. Most of your website visitors wouldn’t even be ready to buy from you the first time they visit your website.
Instead of putting up content that screams “buy now, because we’re the most awesome”, publish resources that fill the voids faced by your customer while showing the benefit of your product. Helpful content that answers the common questions and pain points faced by your audience builds trust.
Your audience who are your prospects will be looking for the same information. So provide it to them on your website. Talk about the different issues that matter the most to your prospects and show them how your solution will help them. Through case studies, show how your audience benefitted from the offerings and how your solution solves their issues.
BuzzSumo’s Knowledge Base is an excellent example. This section includes case studies for the audience to know more about BuzzSumo and the different ways they’d benefit from it.
Use different formats such as blogs, e-books, case studies, infographics, podcasts and videos to inform, engage and entertain your audience.
#3. Link to credible outside resources
You may (or may not) be including links in your sales related content. However, I have to tell you the importance of linking to credible outside sources in your blog posts.
Along with being important in establishing trust, they improve the user experience and rankings. Remember the following tips while using outbound links in your blog posts:
- Don’t link to outdated or irrelevant sources. Only link to sources helpful to your audience and which will be considered credible by Google.
- Only use anchor text making sense to your audience and Google. Don’t overuse them to get rankings.
- Previously, Google recommended keeping external linking to 100 or less per page. It is no longer the case. Don’t obsess over the number of links you’re adding, use only those many that are enough to cover your topic.
#4. Create a conversation
In Neil Patel’s words “At NeilPatel.com, I’ve experienced a 247% increase in readership in a test between a formal and dull tone vs. a conversational tone.
The on-page time of visitors also shot up to 4 minutes 45 seconds from 1 minute 22 seconds.”
So how will you create a conversation? By including “you” and “I” in your articles to place the reader in the conversation. This makes them feel that you’re speaking directly to them. Keep your paragraphs short, between 1-6 lines to create an illusion of a conversation.
While reading a blog post, we have an internal dialogue going on. Naturally, the questions that arise are: “I wonder who are the best content marketers?” or “How could he say that they are the top content marketers without any proof?”.
Recently, I’ve adopted a new practice. While writing a post I put myself in the mind of my readers. What questions will they have? What objections will they have while reading? What evidence or proof will satisfy these objections? Answering these questions helps me create content which actually solves a pain point.
#5. Include data in your content
Says Neil Patel, “When you include data journalism in your content, readers perceive your content to be more valuable, more authoritative and more trustworthy.”
Data driven posts are defined as “The data-driven approach focuses on creating high-quality posts that solve the audience’s problems or issues they care about by offering proof and backing up every claim with scientific findings, data, and up-to-date research.”
Which from these two sentences will you believe: “Creating engaging content is the biggest challenge for B2B content marketers” or “60% marketers report that their biggest challenge is creating engaging content, reports Content Marketing Institute.”? Obviously the second, because it is backed by data.
For a data driven post, you can either conduct your own research or leverage the marketing trends, data and statistics obtained by other studies.
#6. Use your tone carefully
Many writers and marketers don’t get this. But it vital to have an authentic tone in your writing. Write the way you speak. Consider the type of tone your audience wants to hear.
If I’m writing for an academic journal, my tone will be formal. For a blog targeting small business owner, my tone will be casual and conversational, making them feel comfortable.
Having a distinct tone makes you and what you write or say interesting. One of my personal favorite is Marie Forleo. I love the way she uses certain terms in her videos and blog posts -“Everything is figure outable” and “the business smackdown” – where she gives advice to business owners. Marie gave an interesting name to an otherwise boring “question and answer” term.
Gain the attention of your audience. Gain the attention of your friends and network. Gain the attention of your peers. Gain the attention of your users by being interesting and letting it show in your tone.
#7. Avoid grammatical errors and typos
Poor grammar on a website scares 59% visitors away!
Like you, I also cringe when I come across articles with grammatical errors or typos. It suggests to me that the content was written in a rush and the writer did not bother to proofread. Believe it or not, people do judge you from your grammar and spellings.
If you’re unable to spell or properly use grammar for your articles, the options you have are:
- Use a tool like Grammarly to correct grammar and spelling errors.
- Hire an editor to proofread and review your article before it goes live.
- Use Hemmingway app to check the readability of your posts.
- If you can’t afford to hire an editor, take out time to do it by yourself. Use Grammar Girl’s Editing Checklist to edit your work.
#8. Avoid generic statements
Generic statements, called rants can hurt your credibility beyond measure. If you have to prove a point, use specific examples. Personal examples, anecdotes and expert opinions add credibility to your content.
Instead of writing “LinkedIn is the most popular networking site for professionals”, you could add credibility to your statement by citing a statistic, case study or an anecdote. For e.g. “Many professionals have told me that LinkedIn is their favorite networking site”.
Use every piece of content to build trust with your audience. If your content fails to follow the above 8 guidelines, your content will hurt your credibility instead of boosting it.