Did you know that people are intentionally cutting back on watching TV and reading newspapers so that they can spend more time on the internet? What are they doing while they are on the internet? They are researching information about the things that are important to them. Because of the speed, efficiency and huge number of options offered by the internet, the worldwide web has become the primary method for conducting research and making purchasing decisions.
We have moved from the Information Age to the Recommendation Age. Each one of us is a recommending superstar. It is something that we do on a daily basis when we talk about our favorite movies, restaurants, doctors, clothing shops, products that we use to improve our lives, keep our homes cleaner…you name it, we like it (or not) and we talk about it with our friends and acquaintances.
Recommendations like this are called word-of-mouth advertising and are simply the most powerful form of advertising on the planet. Word-of-mouth advertising can make or break a business more quickly than any form of paid advertising. Why? It is personal, it’s credible and it’s viral.
Blogs become a virtual extension of us and our businesses. By their nature, blogs are informal and provide a virtual window that allows people to get to know you as a person and what your business is all about. As I mentioned in my blog post about “Why Every Business Should Have a Blog” your blog is a virtual ambassador for you and your business. With your blog, you have the opportunity to provide useful information to people that is engaging, educational and truly helpful. The more engaging, educational and helpful your information, the more credibility and trust you build with your readers. And, because people like to buy from people that they know, like and trust, you are creating an environment that makes it very natural for people to want and enjoy doing business with you. It also makes it very simple and easy for people to recommend you and your blog to their friends and acquaintances as a reliable resource for credible, trustworthy information. Your blog can become your VIRAL brand ambassador very easily…
How To Build Credibility
Credibility is a key factor and greatly determines how your content is perceived by your audience. You can write the greatest post in the world but if you do not establish credibility with your readers, you will not produce the results that you are looking to produce. Personally, when I read someone’s blog and find some great information in a post, I always look for information about the author and if I don’t find easily find it, that author has just lost alot of credibility with me.
Rule Number 1 – Make information about you easily accessible! Have an “About” page on your blog. Be sure to have a picture and a bio about you, your expertise, and accomplishments in the “About ” page of your blog. As the old saying goes…a picture is worth a 1000 words. A picture on your blog shows that you are a real person and it also provides a psycological link between you and your readers. Pictures remove anonymity…people connect with people. It becomes easy for someone seeing your picture to connect with you more readily.
Rule Number 2 – Use a “Contact Me” form somewhere on your blog. Allowing people to comment on your posts is great, but providing an easy way to send you a personal message is even better. People love knowing that they can contact the blogger directly. Accessibility to the blogger is the second key aspect of building credibility with your readers.
Rule Number 3 – A key factor in builiding credibility is establising expertise. When people are researching information, they want to know that the advice offered is coming from someone that knows what he or she is talking about. Your “About” page should highlight your professional expertise and showcase your ability to speak with authority about your chosen subject.
Rule Number 4 – Make sure your blog is easy to navigate and read. The theme that you choose for your blog is a great way to infuse your personality and brand into your blog. But you should never forsake your readers’ experience of your blog for the sake of having a really cool looking blog that is not reader/user friendly. No matter how cutting edge your blog looks, if people can’t figure out how to navigate it you will lose your readers.
There are some blogs that I wanted to read, but the layouts were so difficult to manuver through that I just gave up and never returned. As you can tell from this blog, it is a simple three column layout that presents information very cleanly. Is it the on the cutting edge of blog design…no it’s not. There isn’t alot of noise on the blog. It’s an information site about a Pro Chef using a recipe for becoming a successful network marketer on the internet. The resources cited in the posts are the best and most credible in the industry. It is easy to navigate through the information. It is very simple to leave comments and to contact me.
Rule Number 5 – The quality of your content is what brings people to your blog and is the number one factor in establishing credibility and authority. If location, location, location is everything to real estate; then quality, quality, quality is everything to brand credibility. Is the information that you are writing about useful, valuable and current? Can it be verified? Are you linking to outside resources? Do you have testimonials to substantiate the benefit points you are presenting in your post? Is it information that people want to read?
How To Build Trust
Rule Number 1 – Trust is built with both credibility and consistency. Content consistency is an absolutely criticall part of blogging. While we all stray in our blogs and discuss issues that are off topic once in while – providing information about that which engaged your readers in first place is a must. By this I mean that if you are blogging about scrap booking don’t just switch to posting on real estate and expect to maintain your readers trust. If you feel a burning need to post about something off topic, clearly label it as off topic and then file it in a “Rants and Raves” category.
Rule Number 2 – Update your blog with pertinent, fresh content regularly. Develop a blogging schedule and stick to it. Your readers trust that they will receive information from you on a specific topic and on a regular bases – don’t betray their trust. When first blogging, it is necessary to build a base for your blog. By posting 4 – 5 times a week you will quickly build a solid base for your readers. After a couple of months of doing this, you can scale back to blogging 2-3 times a week.
I know that this is alot of blogging in the beginning, but in the end, the results will be well worth your initital effort. This is a new blog for me. I have been building my foundation steadily for the past three weeks and to date I have 18 posts on the blog. My readership is increasing on a daily basis and that is really what it is all about ….connecting with as many people as possible that have an interest in what I am writing about and providing them with valuable content and resources to help them become successful in their internet networking endeavors.