When was the last time you looked up a new business and came across a line like this?
Company XYZ uses state-of-the-art technology to bring integrated solutions to clients in the [fill-in-the-blank area]. We bring a combined 80 years of experience to the table, offering the very best [service] in the industry through our proprietary [industry] model. Clients choose Company XYZ again and again for our unparalleled commitment to quality and cutting edge methodologies.
Yuck. If you’re searching for any type of business service, then you could easily have run across this generic-styled paragraph a dozen times today already. Do you actually trust a company with this kind of website content?
Of course not. And why not? Because it doesn’t really tell you anything. You might ask:
- What state-of-the-art technology?
- How are you calculating combined experience? 40 employees with two years experience each?
- What proprietary [industry] model?
- Who chooses you again and again?
- Who says your commitment is “unparalleled?”
If your website content could stir up these kinds of questions in other readers, then it might be time for a new round of content writing. Today I want to show you how your website content can pull back the veil and build trust with your audience.
Give Away Your Secrets
Yes, really. You can give away your secrets. I covered this topic in greater depth last fall, but let’s hit the highlights:
Just because you give readers the recipe, it doesn’t follow that they’ll cook it up themselves. This applies more to business services like ours (writing services, marketing agencies, etc.). If you’re a financial advisor, for example, you could design an entire content library with information about planning for retirement, getting a good mortgage, etc. But just because you tell people how to do these things, it doesn’t follow that they will do these things for themselves. Many will end up coming in to your “storefront” anyways.
Secondly, let’s be honest. You’re probably not reinventing the wheel. You might be pretty darn good at making a wheel, but you probably aren’t reinventing it. That being the case, don’t let fear of potential competitors prevent you from sharing your “secrets.”
When you share your secrets, people will naturally be drawn to you. Pulling down the veil – showing how you do what you do – is attractive to people. We hear about “humanizing your business” all the time these days. What’s more human than letting down your guard at the *gasp* risk of connecting with someone?
Building Trust With Website Content
So, you’re willing to pull back the veil, but how do you actually build trust? Becoming open is just half the battle. In my limited-but-ever-optimistically-growing experience, here’s what you do to build trust:
- First, create original, well-planned content that shows you actually put in some time/thought/research. Again, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. But you should bring something new to the table; otherwise you’re basically insulting your readers, which is rather detrimental to developing the whole trust-building objective.
- Secondly, respond and engage with those who take the time to share, comment, or even challenge your writing. Remember, creating content is creating dialogue and dialogue channels. If someone “in the real world” listened to you talk non-stop for eight minutes and then asked a simple question, you would show them the common courtesy of response and engagement. Why not on your blog?
- For my third tip, I’m going to borrow Sonia Simone’s third tip on building authority: “Authorities give a damn.” As Sonia notes, it’s so important to genuinely care. When you don’t, your audience will be able to tell, and it’s “So long, trust!” for you.
Lastly, you must do all of these things consistently. We must constantly prove ourselves… demonstrate our worth… reaffirm our value. You can’t build trust, put it on the shelf, and then come back to where you left it five days earlier.
How does your website content pull back the veil and build trust? What do you need to change?