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August 2, 2013

How Do You Make People Trust Your Web Content?

If you want people to buy from you, they have to trust you.  After all, when’s the last time you spent your hard-earned money on a product that was being pushed by someone who struck you as less-than-upfront?

On the Web, though, you can’t just sit down and give your customers a chance to get to know you face-to-face.  The only chance you have to earn their trust is through your content.

That’s why you have to follow these four tips every time you hit the ‘publish’ button:

1.  Inform, don’t sell

Unless you’re writing a page of sales copy, you shouldn’t mention your products or the name of your company.  Readers want to learn something useful, not feel like they’re sitting through an infomercial. Before you can expect anyone to take you seriously, you have to establish yourself as an expert.  The only way to do it is with content that’s chock full of facts — not hype.

If people like the quality of information that they get from you, they’ll like you — which means they’ll be much more likely to check out your products. Even if they don’t buy something from you right now, they’ll remember that you really know your stuff — which means they’ll remember to come back later, or to pass your name along to a friend.

If you want to see your business grow by leaps and bounds, consider your Web content to be a way to “pre-sell” your products.  For example, if you sell wrinkle cream, write an article that explains how hydroxy acid strips off old skin cells and stimulates the growth of newer, smoother skin.  That way, when readers head to your sales page — and they see that your wrinkle cream has hydroxy acid as the main ingredient — they’ll know your product is a good one.

2.  Let readers know you “get it”

Writing successful Web content isn’t like writing a research paper.  Yes, you have to be informative, but you also have to inject some emotion into it.  Remember, your readers are looking for information because they have a problem that needs to be solved.  If you can show that you understand their problem, you’ll leave much more of an impact than the writer who just lays out a bunch of unemotional facts.

Luckily, you can let your readers know that you “get it” in just a few sentences.  Back to the wrinkle cream example, you can mention how wrinkles are stressful because they make you look older than you are, or because they make you cringe when you look at the photos of your son’s graduation.  As soon as you make one of these points, your readers will know that you truly understand the depth of their problem — which will instantly make you seem more trustworthy.

3.  Eliminate the corporate speak

Your readers should think of you as someone they’re having a friendly one-on-one conversation with.  If you use a bunch of fancy “corporate” words — instead of simply talking to people like you would in a normal conversation — they won’t be able to relate to you as much.  And, if your readers can’t relate to you, they won’t be able to trust you.

Bottom line — before you type out a single word of Web content, close your eyes and envision talking about the same subject with a friend over lunch.  That way, you’ll be in a conversational state of mind, instead of a stuffy corporate one.

4.  Let them know who’s doing the talking

As important as it is to have a conversation with your readers, it loses its luster if your readers don’t know who they’re having a conversation with. You have to make it perfectly clear  why you’re a trusted expert on the subject.

How do you do that without making your content read like a sales pitch?

If you’re publishing your content off-site, your resource box is a good place to do it.  Even in just a couple of sentences, you can provide details that make readers say, “yeah, this person really is an expert.”  If you’re publishing your content on your own site, make sure you have an ‘About Us’ page that explains who you are and what your credentials are.

Another way to do it is by sharing brief anecdotes in your content, when appropriate.  For example, if I was writing an article about creating the best online video, I would mention something about my days as a news anchor.  That way, if I gave out advice on how to speak into the camera or how to frame up the shot, my readers would be much more likely to trust what I was saying.

Business owners have been trusting Nicole Beckett and the team of professional journalists at Premier Content Source to handle their content marketing duties for years.  Find out what they can do for you by logging onto