It is true, and can’t be stated enough, that there are certain credibility killers that are to be avoided at all costs, because they are a sure-fire way to undermine the very purpose of your content — to drive hits and, ultimately, revenue.
Within the scope of this article, we’ll delve into the ten ways that you can be sure that you are delivering a trustworthy content.
1. You Give Your Readers Something Valuable
Though it is counterintuitive at best, and maddening at worst, your blog, podcast, or webinar cannot be directly trying to hock your wares. You’re basically offering value-based information that is designed to solve a problem in your readers’ lives, answer a question that they might have, offer insight they can only get from experts, or help them pass the time in some idle amusement. Because you focus on your users’ wellbeing, your credibility instantly will get a boost.
2. You Cite Your Sources
We live in a digital age where anyone can fact-check whomever they want. And people do. It, therefore, makes no sense to wield second-hand opinions as facts written in stone. Do some research. Find out where you got your facts, and use those tidbits and gems to add sparkle and shine to your otherwise potentially dusty facts.
3. You Include Other Voices
Be sure to shine a spotlight on what others have to say, and people will love you for it. It will make your voice sound less ivory tower and more like one who understands and mingles with the rest of the people. You’re not just speaking to hear yourself speak. You will appear balanced, fair, sincere, and most importantly, likeable.
4. You Use Active Voice
“Is a sound made in the forest by a falling tree when it is listened to by no one?” If this sentence was exhausting to read, then you get the argument for why you must use an active voice. It is gutsy and bold enough to say that somebody or something caused an action and that things don’t just happen. It is compelling, and the actor retains his rightful place — as the star of the show. I’m not saying you totally ignore the passive voice. According to Grammarly, it’s okay to use the passive voice when you “prefer the attention to be on the action itself and not the person doing it”.
5. You Use the Common Language
Though we can look up a word at a moment’s notice, most people won’t want to. Simply use words that most of your audience will understand and express yourself succinctly. Your credibility, and the rest, will follow.
6. You Use Entry-Level Information
You may be an expert in your field, and while that is a great place to start, your utmost job is to inform and to enlighten. You cannot do this by assuming everyone is up to speed on the latest and greatest in the industry on which you’re passionate. Start slow and break things down, so that everybody can come away having learned something.
7. Your Bullet Points Are Like Prose
People instinctively, for better or worse, notice consistencies — or inconsistencies — in writing. When using bullet points, be sure to give them a rhythm that could be read out loud while still sounding good. If you’re using imperatives in the first two points, go with that for the last two. Be poetic about it, and people will be impressed.
8. You Proofread
The sad truth is that mistakes in spelling, punctuation, and grammar can hurt your brand. It can make you appear sloppy, lazy, and unreliable. So take some time to read through your work, or better yet, hire a copy editor to check your spelling and grammar, cross-check your facts, and ensure your content is organised logically.
9. You Use Email
According to data compiled in the Wasp Barcode Technologies 2016 study, email carries a secret weapon within its electronic makeup: it engenders trust. It scores higher than marketing through Facebook and newspapers ads, and the greatest part? It’s free. Also, you control your email list, as it is not dependent on a platform like Facebook or Twitter, over which you have no definitive say.
10. Your Web Design Is Attractive
Investing time, and sometimes money, in a great layout is essential. Banner ads that take too long to load, clunky advertisements, and pop-up boxes chiming for a person to enter their email can all do the user a disservice. Stick with a clean, well-thought-out concept, as overloading your site with calls to stay and do more may, in fact, have just the reverse effect.
Download the Step Change ebook, Principles for Web Usability, to learn how you can optimise your own website for lead conversion.
Written by Rob Steers, Head of Digital at Step Change
Robert is a digital leader with over 15 years’ experience in digital transformation projects and acquisition campaigns. A catalyst for art and science, Robert has delivered impressive results for clients including a 60x increase in engagement across the ASX 200 and a $0 to $1m/yr acquisition campaign for toilet paper. With experience ranging from B2B channel marketing to B2C ecommerce programs, Robert has worked with global brands such as Jeep, Johns Manville, Grays Online, United Colors of Benetton, LJ Hooker, Konica Minolta, Ray White, and York Fitness.