What Makes People Trust Your Words?

In this epidemic of clickbait and half-truth content that “doesn’t technically lie,” it might seem as though being misleading is the best way to gain readers’ trust in what you have to say.

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A lot of experts out there will tell you the best way to build authority as a writer in a specific niche is to guest post, a lot, everywhere, all the time. Great start, but you can’t forget the most important part: writing words that not only make a difference in your audience’s lives, but that earn you that authority. Just because you’ve published here and there doesn’t mean you’re an expert if you don’t have anything valuable to say.

Here’s how to write words that earn trust.

Telling them the whole truth, not what they want to hear

In this epidemic of clickbait and half-truth content that “doesn’t technically lie,” it might seem as though being misleading is the best way to gain readers’ trust in what you have to say. It isn’t.

When you give people only what they want to hear, you’re not actually helping anyone. They’re not always looking for someone to confirm their beliefs. Sometimes they want the truth.

Being helpful and constructive, not overly kind

Sometimes, we’re just too nice. Some people need tough love. Or they can be best served with constructive criticism. Think of if/when you go to someone asking them for feedback on something you wrote, and all they have to say is, “Great job! This is amazing!” Well … that’s great news, but it really doesn’t help you improve, does it?

You don’t have to be mean (please don’t be). Just be real. Be honest. Sometimes offering advice means saying, “You’re probably not doing so great right now, but let’s work to fix that.”

Actionable, credible advice

People come to websites and blogs, much of the time, for actionable advice – that is, advice that informs, but also offers something a reader can go away with and try themselves. Being able to offer that kind of advice boosts your credibility, which is why sometimes, if you aren’t familiar enough with a subject, you shouldn’t be writing about it.

Sometimes good advice doesn’t conform to the norm. But it’s always backed by good research. It’s not always about you and your experience. It invites the reader to join the conversation and look at things from their own perspective.

In all of this, keep in mind that you’re not writing just to one person (not usually). You’re going to have to generalize some things. That’s fine. If your audience trusts you, they’ll probably ask you more specific questions that pertain to their personal circumstances. Not a bad thing at all.

Give the kind of advice you want when you confide in someone you trust. Think of your audience above all else, and the small ways you can make their lives a little bit better every day.

Image courtesy of picjumbo.com.

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