Having success in blogging is all about gaining the trust of your readers. That is something we all know as we move forward looking for increased subscriber numbers, comments and other metrics that are a by product of successful blogging. Without that trust, you are not converting casual lurkers into active members of your community. Therefor, gaining that trust of individuals that you want to stick around can be a difficult thing to accomplish. Without this trust that you are going to deliver the goods on a regular basis and enrich the lives of your readers, you are really just pissing in the wind as you continue to struggle with making anything out of your blog. So…as you move forward in this journey, how can you gain the trust of new readers and keep the trust of your existing?
Is Trust Getting Harder To Earn Online?
Online trust is a funny animal. With blogging gaining steam in mainstream media to the point that even my mom understands what it means to be a blogger, there are more and more individuals looking to have a side hobby or business online with a blog. What does this mean of the blogger looking to make an income online and gain the trust of thousands of readers by delivering great content? There is a lot more noise online today than there used to be.
Everyone and their mom (literally) has a blog these days. Many of these blogs are here today, gone tomorrow blogs, but they still add to the clutter that we find online. The struggle then is to gain the trust of potential subscribers when they are bombarded with more content than they can really handle on a daily basis.
How many times have you searched Google online for an answer to your question, only to jump from page to page with no real answer in sight? There is a lot of noise and it is your job to combat that.
I think trust is a harder thing to earn online these days due to the mass quantity of blog posts hitting the net on a daily basis. It is going to be harder for you to achieve that success and rise above the rest. What does this mean to you? You have to work harder to get above the noise, but benefits are even bigger. With more noise, there is a much larger audience. So when you do rise above the rest, you have a much bigger success story than if there was no noise at all. Kind of a double edge sword effect there.
A Personal Trust Story To Illustrate A Point
When I think about building trust online, I always relate it to my male Boxer Hans. It will make sense in a second so stick with me.
We rescued Hans from Atlanta Boxer Rescue so we could have another Boxer to keep our female company. She was getting a little too spoiled as the only child…so she needed a brother. When we first rescued Hans (picture of the first night to the right), he was really sweet but a little stand off’ish. This was understandable as he had been bounced around from house to house and this was after ABR got him on his “last day” at the pound. This guy had seen a lot of different homes in the last year, so his trust level was pretty low.
When we first got him in, he didn’t like it when you messed with his feet. He would almost snap at you if you played with his ears and he got pretty upset if you ever left. Basically, Hans had seen so many different things over the course of his life that his trust level was pretty low. He was happy and loved people, but on his terms and he was guarded. Luckily…he got along with Hemi (our female) beautifully right off the bat, so that was good.
Over time, we worked with Hans gradually getting him over his trust issues by providing consistency. I would move him around a little bit at first and then start to get a little bit more pushy to show that I don’t want to hurt him…I just need to be able to move him around from time to time. Jenn started working with him on his ears and…eventually…he could care less if we just pull the crap out of them.
Now…what used to be a guarded dog is a 70+ pound lap dog that can’t ever be close enough. What did we do to gain this trust? We provided consistent results over time. Through this consistency, Hans was able to let his guard down and become one of the family.
How Can You Earn This Same Trust With Your Readers?
While Hans is just a dog and your readers might be much more complicated, the actions you take to earn the trust of your readers and show them that you are not just another spec in the noise is much the same. Here are some tips to convert the Hans that is browsing your blog…
Provide Consistent Quality
Content is still king, so consistent quality in your offerings on your blog are going to still be the biggest converting factor. When you publish an article, are you publishing one to stick to a schedule or provide real value? Every time a new reader lands on your page, they are going to do one of two things. They are going to scan and leave or dig deeper into your blogs content to figure out if they want to visit your site again. What are your new readers going to find in their digging? Consistent, quality content or a mess with several nice article in between?
Quality Content Over Time
You are posting quality content, but your blog has only been live a week. You are going to have to continue to post up this quality content even when no one is reading. Try to prevent the urge to splash as much content with blog articles as you can on the screen and go for quality instead. People trust blogs that have been around a long time and have that consistency, so you are going to have to build up those same archives on your own blog to show that you are not going away any time soon.
Keep Their Trust By Providing Value
Just like with Hans, just because they are in your house…that does not mean they are going to trust you automatically. Diversify your offerings on your blog to provide valuable resources that fill the needs of your readers. Trust is largely earned by giving more than you receive, so these resources will gain more trust and provide a nice asset in your blogging. These can take the form of resource static pages, ebooks, ecourses, membership sites, etc.
If you have been doing the whole blogging thing awhile, you have gained some social proof in the form of comments, subscriber counts and other metrics. Converting new readers is much easier if you can show that new potential subscriber that a large quantity of people trust you enough to interact as well. It is a follow the herd mentality, but it works.
This is one of the most important aspects of successful blogging and gaining that crucial trust online. You have to be original. You do not want to be the next (fill in the blank here)…you want other people to want to be the next you. Forget regurgitating what someone else is saying and start being original. No one wants to trust someone that is copying another winning formula…they will just go to the originator instead of you.
Gain That Trust And Keep It
Once you gain the trust that it is so hard to gain online, protect and keep it. Just because you have converted that casual lurker, that does not mean they are going to just blindly follow. It is your job to show them that their trust has not gone misguided by continuing your promise to provide quality.
If you want success online…that is the key…
So what do you think…is trust harder to gain online these days?
Trust image by thorinside