Building trust with your people and growing your audience is the whole point of writing a blog. Well… not the whole point. As I’ve mentioned, there are some personal benefits of writing a blog if you’re just started out and you don’t have a huge audience yet.
But let’s face it… when you finally start developing an audience, that comes the fun part. You suddenly don’t feel so lonely anymore and phew, finally actually cares about what you’re writing. The path of creating content that engages and builds trust isn’t always easy. But there are some details that you can reveal in each post to help build that trust.
I’m sharing with you 11 ways to build deeper trust with your people and grow your audience.
#1 Use a case studies or testimonials
Sharing case studies and testimonials is one of the best ways to build trust. This is especially true if you have a service to offer or a product to sell. I haven’t gotten to any case studies on this blog yet, but I’ve definitely used examples of what’s worked and why certain lead magnets convert better for some big influencers.
On the other hand, I’ve used testimonials to get more engagement with my audience. A few months ago, I offered to take a look at my subscribers “About page” and give them a road map to revise their copy. I shared a testimonial I had from a client and sure thing… the responses from that email sent out was much higher than just the average newsletter or update I sent out. When people see that other people love your services, they’re way more likely to invest their time and energy to engage with you!
Testimonials are way powerful than the three sentences they usually take up. It’s too easy to toot your own horn, especially online, so people naturally respond more to social proof than to you.
To write a case study or success story:
- Dedicate one post or do a roundup of everyone revolving one topic
- If you dedicate one post to just a customer or client, make sure the results of that case study are powerful with stats and before and after story to back it up
- Interview and speak to the person you’re going to showcase
- Make sure the case study is a win-win for both your brand and for the client
- It should help both you in selling more services or products and the person you’re featuring (more visibility and traffic for them)
#2 Share your stats
For the longest time, I couldn’t define what it means to be authentic. It’s so easy to throw around buzzwords that you know people want to hear like “authentic”, “value”, “automate everything” etc.
So what does being authentic mean to you?
Is it sharing realities as is without sugarcoating things?
Or is it sharing behind the scenes and bloopers while making it entertaining for you?
To me, authentic means to go above and beyond in sharing behind the scenes stats and realities. In a world that treasures the perfectly curated Instagram feed (even though I’m a sucker for pretty things too), being authentic is the real struggle.
Back to the point: showing stats and metrics will really help people see things as is. You provide the stats and numbers and let them discover it for themselves. Instead of throwing the facts or the info at them, present the evidence that leads them to the discovery — which is the point you’re trying to make.
Now, what do you mean by stats and numbers?
Well, this depends on your niche and what metrics people value.
- In blogging, it’s pageviews, subscribers, or sales
- In weight loss, it’s pounds, body fat, muscle weight, etc.
- In dating, it’s how many times you can get laid in a month
Numbers are dry, but why do people still care about them?
Yes, ma’am. They are. Math isn’t my preferred subject either. And I’m more about quality than quantity. But you have to know that numbers do play a certain level of success in anything you talk about. Plus it’s much easier to measure quantity than it is to measure quality — the latter is too subjective.
#3 Share your story: before and after
Before and after stories are one of the best ways to connect with your audience because you deep dive into what happened in the past, what you did, and how the aftermath came out to be.
This can be inspiring if you decide to make this a story. But it can also be actionable if you create steps people can take to get to where you are. Everyone goes through struggles of some sort and when you can contrast the before and after with what you did, people will know that they can also change their circumstances.
The basic outline of a story should have these three parts:
- The before (Where you were before and where your audience is now?)
- What you did (Remember, the happy reality didn’t just drop on your lap, what did you do to get there?)
- The after (What’s your reality like now? How is it better?)
Have I mentioned that storytelling itself actually helps you connect with your audience? Don’t think of it has writing or even blogging, just plain old storytelling by the campfire with smores. Many people don’t tell stories so if you do, it’ll really set your blog apart.
#4 Share a failure
This one might sound contradictory. If I want to build trust and expertise with my audience, shouldn’t I bury all my secrets deep beneath my bed along with the layers of dust down there?
Not always. And this is for a few reasons:
- Very few people are good at admitting their failures let alone share a story about. Most people want to avoid responsibility
- It unlocks your vulnerable side and like storytelling, it builds a connection
But when sharing a story of failure, it’s best to contrast it with another time when something has worked. Perhaps you can contrast two methods, strategies, or just two somethings. The point here is to give people hope and that if you change your mindset, strategy or method, you can make it work.
When talking about a “failure” or a plan that didn’t work out, you don’t want to be like, “Here’s our awful day” and make the reader feel like it’ll never get better. You want people to feel, “Last month’s trip didn’t go that well, but today was hella fun! Here’s how we planned our camping trip differently this time.”
#5 Give examples throughout your posts
Now, this one is one I use often — if not the most often of everything on this list. Examples just come to mind and when you’re sharing examples, you’re doing a few things simultaneously,
- Deep dive on a topic to show that what you’re saying is actually doable
- Be more specific
- Helps the reader understand your point (it’s best if your readers even resonates with one of your examples)
- Shows how much you know on a topic
Now I know some niches and topics are a little less about sharing stats and numbers. For example, if you talk about personal development or life coaching, people usually don’t quantify their life satisfaction. You can definitely have a scale where you rank your daily satisfaction for your health. But on average, personal development is a much more descriptive niche where people are more concerned with the quality of their lifestyle than the quantity of something.
In these cases, you want to amp up your posts with examples. Some examples I share are simply from personal experience (memory is the easiest place to grab from) or sometimes I create examples just to emphasize a point. When you break what you say into examples, now people begin to feel, “Oh okay, this is actually doable.”
#6 Shoot a video and share the behind the scenes
I’ve done video on this blog on and off, but I’m embarrassed to say I don’t have complete video strategy. I bought all the equipment from Amazon a few months ago and after I set up my tripod up in the other room, I stopped there. I don’t know why I’m blogging when my most clicked-on blog post is actually a video .
Video is as awesome and as authentic as it can get when it comes to connecting with your audience. There are so many ways you can connect via video. Live stream is effective but requires lots of guts to get started. The beauty of video is that almost every social channel has its own version. You can start with giving behind the scenes peeks on Instagram stories or Snapchat.
#7 Compare two things
You can be recommending a skin care product to your audience and then they’ll wonder how it’ll compare to another product they had in mind. You can wholeheartedly love and recommend one product but people will still wonder how it compares to something else.
Comparing two products can show how you came to the conclusion and give both products a chance in the game. This is especially great if you’re recommending high ticket products that are investments. Since you went so deep into its features and benefits, you also want to include an affiliate link because people might be ready to buy!
#8 Share predictions of future trends in your industry
Now some niches move faster than others. For example, if you’re in social media or tech space, there are new apps popping up every day. It’s crazy!
On the other hand, if you’re in personal development, things move a little slower. Sure, new books can be released every month. But in general, people are still obsessed with being confident and happy. It’s not like one day people will wake up and suddenly want to feel like this:
If you’re in a niche that tends to move faster, try to predict the next trend. And be transparent about the prediction. You might be right or wrong, but you gave it a shot. It shows that you’re invested in your topic and in it for the long haul.
Lately, a slew of Facebook groups has closed down. Even big influencers who have over 50K fans. Woah! What does this mean? Do you foresee this to be the next trend?
#9 Share a survey you conducted and the results
Guessing is cheap and predicting future trends can be pretentious, but you know what’s neither?
Wrangling a group of people and conducting a survey around a question your people have. It’s much more “scientific” and its results and opinions come from not only one, two or three people — but a whole bunch of people. It can be ten, twenty or thirty depending on how much time you have.
A few months ago, I felt so relieved to have read results on a service provider who conducted a survey on what people were most afraid of in terms of hiring a copywriter. It turns out that business owners were afraid that their copy won’t sound like them and they won’t get a chance for a revision. I personally gave two revisions at the time so I felt relieved that my services covered that part. Her survey question wasn’t a concern I thought of, but it was certainly an answer I wanted to know too!
Conducting a survey takes time and is a small project so when you’re transparent about the results, people are really grateful for you! Make sure it’s a question they want to know the answer to terribly otherwise it won’t be worth your time.
#10 Be authentic, be you, and show your face
This one was hard for me at first. But a few months ago, I felt out of touch with my blog so I changed the header of my blog to have my photo. Now every time, I type my URL into Google, my blog is something I personally want to read. Before, it just seems like, “So who wrote this? Why do I even care?” I’ve always introduced myself on my About page, but not everyone visits that.
The best way to blog is to not hide behind your blog and make it look like another Entrepreneur, Forbes, or Huffington Post. I mean, I love all those sites, but you know what I mean. I go to read the article for the content and not to connect with the person who wrote that article.
If you’re not yet ready for video yet, the least you can do is include a front-facing and friendly photo of yourself. It’s better to have it on your sidebar rather than About page because you want it on a spot visitors can see no matter what page they land on.
#11 Be personal and have a conversation with them
Use “you” and “I.”
Building an audience sounds so intimidating. Naturally, I don’t gravitate towards center stage. But when you blog, you know you have to build an audience and readership.
Yet even when you do, you won’t be talking to everyone at once. Otherwise, no one in your audience will feel special. Instead, write like you’re just having a deep conversation with one person in a coffee shop.
And no matter how you choose to build deeper trust with your audience, the key is to be more specific. Show off your potential with social proof. Deep dive with examples. Connect with stories and failures.
If you don’t feel at least a little scared when revealing a secret, the post probably isn’t worth publishing.