How to Build The Know Like Trust Factor Through Blogging
Last Updated on May 17, 2023 by Bert-Jan Schilthuis-Ihrig
People buy from people they know, like, and trust. Sounds familiar, right? You’ve probably come across this principle on your blogging journey before.
It’s not hard to see that the idea works. I mean, don’t you prefer getting a haircut from someone you know? Wouldn’t you wait a few days if necessary rather than have it cut by someone new?
The know, like, trust principle is just that. We tend to stick with people and brands that we trust because we’ve either had good experiences with them in the past or we’ve seen them do good things for other people.
It makes sense that if you want to sell your services, you will have to work on this know, like, trust factor and according to the marketing experts at Copyblogger, a blog is one of the best places to do it.
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? A marketing strategy where you make more sales by building the know, like, trust factor through blogging. But how do you do that? How do you get people to know you, like you, and trust you through your blog writing?
Let’s look at exactly that. Let’s look at what it means to know, like, and trust someone, and especially, how you can use your blog writing to increase these feelings towards your brand.
Write So People Get To Know You
What does it mean to truly know someone? What exactly is the difference between knowing a person and knowing about a person? For example, is learning someone likes chocolate through your neighbor the same as them telling you in person?
I don’t know about you but I’m still on my first cup of coffee of the day. Definitely not ready to get super philosophical yet so here’s the point that’s relevant for bloggers. In the process of getting to know someone, there’s an active role for the person you come to know. In other words, if you want people to know you, put yourself out there!
Obviously, putting yourself out there isn’t just a matter of including an about me page on your website! It means showing, and not telling, people who you are.
It takes time to get to know someone in real life and blog writing is no exception. Just because you learn that someone likes cats, doesn’t mean you know someone. There is no miracle writing hack that will get the job done overnight. Instead, it’s simply a matter of consistently being yourself.
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Aim For Authenticity Over Professionalism
Until recently, my only writing experience consisted of academic writing. I was taught to write in a way that was objective and intellectual rather than personal or emotional. I’m not saying this style of writing is useless, but it’s pretty much the opposite of what a blog needs.
If you want your blog writing to be good, it needs personality, opinions, and humor…
It needs you.
Show people who you are. Make the occasional joke and don’t shy away from the things that are close to your heart. After all, the goal here is to have people get to know and see who you are as an entrepreneur.
Write as if you’re talking to a friend and use language that sounds natural. You want your blog to be personal and sound like spoken language so it’s okay to:
- use first person instead of the impersonal plural (“I think” instead of “we think”)
- see grammar as a set of guidelines rather than rules (I know, ~radical~)
- put your personal views and sense of humor on the page
- use spoken language (and even slang) rather than bookish, overly formal language
These are all traits that make your content more interesting and engaging.
Keep in mind that people tend to trust people that are similar to them. This is why including your personality and views in your writing is so important. They not only allow people to connect to your brand, they also make your brand appear more trustworthy in their eyes. If you’re similar to them in one way, people want to assume that you’re similar to them in other ways.
In blog writing, your personality is an asset and should be a strong part of your brand. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not by hiding behind the idea of writing perfect English or being overly polite.
Show Consistent Branding
Branding may sound like one of those big complex business things but it’s nothing but repetition of a few identifiable things. By consistently repeating things like colors and fonts in your blog and social media content, you make them recognizable and therefore part of your brand.
Think for a moment and picture a group of people talking about your brand. Are there any words they’re using over and over? Professional? Friendly? Eco Friendly? Minimalist? Racy? Cat obsessed? Are these the words you would like them to use?
Next, take a moment and think about who you want to be as an entrepreneur and small business owner. What is important to you when it comes to people’s perception of you and your brand? Do you want to be seen as corporate, homely, or easy-going? Are you an expert or a peer?
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Your audience will likely connect with your brand based on one of these words so it makes sense to pick the ones that align with who you are. In other words, do you want to work with people that are also corporate?
Don’t forget that your voice and the tone that you use are also part of your brand. The words people use to describe your brand come up because they represent qualities that consistently show up in the things you do.
The good news is that you are in full control of the words people use to describe both you and your brand! While branding is not something that you can do in a single piece of writing, your audience will certainly pick up on it as long as you’re consistent. All you have to do is show up as yourself!
How To Be Likable In Writing
In business and in life, we are drawn to people that we like. We prefer to buy from brands we like and that provide the solution to our specific problems. Targeting the right audience and understanding exactly what these problems are (and how to fix them) is where the money’s at.
With people, we are usually drawn to people that share certain universally liked traits. We normally prefer people that listen over people that talk excessively, maintain eye contact rather than look away, etc.
Sure, it’s hard to work on these traits in writing. I mean, good luck maintaining eye contact through a blog post! Can you feel my laser gaze??
But think about the qualities that people actively dislike. Don’t talk too much? Don’t be shifty? Now, this is something you can achieve in your writing.
Pitfall 1: Talking About Yourself Too Much
Have you ever tried to find a recipe online? Chances are you had to force your way through all kinds of information you don’t need. I don’t know about you but there’s an audible sigh of relief whenever I see the “jump to recipe” button…
People read blogs for a variety of reasons but most people read blogs to learn something new. Maybe they want to learn how to cook a head of cabbage, tips on how to handle stress, or even find tips on how to groom a cat?
Your readers are interested in how you can help them, therefore putting too much emphasis on your side of things has the potential of becoming an annoying distraction.
For many beginner bloggers, this manifests in “I” teaching instead of “you” teaching. Here are a few examples:
📌 Save for later! 📌
|Teaching from “I”||Teaching from “you”|
|I liked the vegan food this restaurant, I recommend going.||You should consider going to this restaurant if you like vegan food.|
|These are my favorite leggings, I love them.||If you’re looking for new leggings, you may like these; personally they’re the best I’ve tried.|
|I took this train route and I encountered a lot of delays.||Be prepared for delays if you take this specific route.|
Visitors always expect to get something out of reading your article and they want that information as quickly as possible. Your readers didn’t come to your site to find out how so and so makes your life better. They want to know how it can benefit theirs.
This doesn’t mean that fostering a personal relationship isn’t worth the effort. It just takes time and you can’t rush it by talking about yourself.
Let’s say you’ve been getting coffee on your way to work. Slowly getting to know your barista can create a feeling of familiarity that makes you want to come back. Now imagine that same person blurting out their entire life story the first time you order a coffee…
Finally, sometimes your personal experience can really enhance what you’re trying to say. A classic and super inspiring example of this can be seen in this post by Jon Morrow. His personal story serves as a background to illustrate his central point: you should take action no matter the circumstances.
Seriously, read the blog post. You’ll see what I mean.
As long as you’re authentic in your messaging, your audience will get to know your brand and will become more interested in who you are.
Pitfall 2: Showing off instead of showing Expertise
Once you’re successful, it can be tempting to tout your accomplishments. After all, you’ve achieved things many people can only dream of. Why not enjoy the fruits of your labor a little and indulge in some bragging?
The problem is that, unless you make it the central point of an article, people probably didn’t come to your website to read how well you’re doing.
I mean, if you had to choose between two YouTube videos. One is called “I made $1,000,” the other one is called “This is how I made $1,000.” Which one would you choose?
Always remember, people are interested in your content because it helps them and makes their life better in some way.
Obviously, you can mention your past successes as proof that you’re an expert. When you give real-life examples, there is nothing preventing you from using your biggest successes. Just try to show expertise rather than show off.
Pitfall 3: Making Your Readers Feel Stupid
In my first year of being a teacher (my first career), I was really struggling with certain difficult students. I tried being strict, friendly, relaxed, angry, you name it. No matter what I tried, I just couldn’t get the hang of classroom management for that one group.
Frustrated, I asked one of my fellow teachers for advice. “Just be crystal clear with them and you’ll be fine” was what he told me.
I walked away all confused and feeling dumb for not understanding the solution. I mean, what does being crystal clear even look like? Moreover, what exactly was unclear in the phrase “quiet, please?” There had to be something I wasn’t getting…
The word just sums it all up here. It makes it sound as if there’s a simple solution to a complex problem and by extension implies that the problem itself is simple. Furthermore, the solution provided is vague and almost impossible to understand, let alone implement.
People come to your blog to find answers to their questions and one of the most unlikeable things you can do is to dismiss or belittle their problems. It makes them feel stupid for even asking you for help.
Fortunately, with some teaching experience problems with classroom management became a thing of the past. After a while, I came to realize that my colleague’s advice hadn’t been wrong.
Although what he said was true, it was just a statement of fact and not a solution. The fact that I didn’t get anything I could do or implement made his advice utterly unhelpful for a beginner like me. From his perspective, having crystal clear rules was all it took.
He just forgot to see the problem through the eyes of a beginner.
When you explain something on your blog, never lose sight of the people that you’re writing for. If they’re beginners, acknowledge that things can be difficult or at least confusing for them and you’re already making great strides to being likable.
Never forget that you’re writing for people that come to you because they’re not as far along as you are.
Build Trust Through Your Writing
Every time you pitch an offer to a client, you’re asking them to part with a little of their limited amount of money. In return, you offer a product or service that you assure them will fix whatever problem they’re having. There is no guarantee that your product will perform as advertised, all they can do is take your word for it. It’s not hard to see why trust is so important in business!
It goes without saying that showing your expertise is a big factor in content marketing and building trust. If your free content was helpful to your readers, they are more likely to be interested in your paid content.
In blog writing, you can build trust by focusing on the three main pillars that are essential to it: ability, integrity and benevolence (aka being well-meaning).
In other words, people want to see that you know what you’re talking about, deliver on your promises, and that you have their best interest at heart. So how exactly do you make that happen?
Know (And SHOW) Your Stuff
If you want people to trust you and your brand, you have to prove to your readers that you are capable of delivering the solution they’re looking for. After all, why would they trust you if you can’t show proof?
The most obvious way to do this is by including testimonials and reviews for your products and services. By showing your audience that you have delivered in the past, you’re essentially giving them reasons to trust your expertise.
Besides building trust in your own expertise, you can build trust in your content. You can show trustworthiness by always making sure you source your articles correctly.
Avoid sweeping generalizations such as “most people think…” and “we all have…”. Instead, use trusted sources to show that you’re not pulling stuff out of the air.
Walk The Walk
If you want to build trust, then be trustworthy. Don’t over-promise and don’t under-deliver. Being true to your word can be done in small things.
If you sell a product that only has 3 points, don’t call it an ultimate guide.
In writing, think about the solutions you’re offering and don’t pretend like complex problems have simple answers. People trust those that are true to their word. Be true to your word and deliver on your promises.
Show You Care About Them
If you’re new to blogging, you must have read one of the many how-to-start-a-blog posts in which many big bloggers recommend Bluehost as a hosting service with “amazing 24/7 customer service.”
It all sounds pretty convincing until you check reviews from some actual users… More than half of its users give Bluehost one star. Ironically, Bluehost’s amazing customer service seems to be one of the main reasons for the bad reviews.
Bluehost is so widely recommended because it pays affiliates hundreds of dollars for each sign-up. When we moved our blog to Bluehost, it crashed three times in six months and then we moved to GreenGeeks.
When you make money by recommending a product that is demonstrably bad, you cross a line. Don’t get me wrong, driving affiliate sales is not a bad thing by any means. Just do your research and don’t be blinded by affiliate commissions.
Make sure that your reviews are based on either thorough research or actual experience with the product. I mean, it can be tempting to recommend a product just for that big, fat, juicy affiliate payout, but who benefits from a post like that? Once again, if you want people to trust your brand, be trustworthy.
Finally, make it very clear to your audience that you’re genuinely trying to help them and that there are no ulterior motives or hidden pitches. Only by providing your audience with free, high-quality content can you build trust in your brand.
The stuff that you give away for free should be high quality and value-packed! If you only present your audience with poor content, who’s going to believe your paid offers are any different?
There will be times for pitching your services or products to your audience but don’t sneak them in. Don’t pretend something is free and then charge people for the last piece of the puzzle.
Final Thoughts On Know Like Trust In Writing
Building the know, like, trust factor is a process that takes time. There are no hacks or shortcuts but there are ways in which you can actively work on it.
Your blog is the best place to connect with your audience. By showing what your brand is about and who you are as an entrepreneur, you give people an identity to connect to.
Although writing for a specific audience is ultimately what turns visitors into customers, being unlikable in your writing can put people off your brand if you’re not careful.
Finally, building trust is a matter of sticking to your promises and showing people that you’re there to help them along on their journey.
How are you working on your writing skills? Let me know in the comments!