How to build authority and trust with your content

How to build authority and trust with your content

How to build authority and trust with your content

Write content that builds your authority with these simple tips

Think about the people or businesses you’ve bought services from recently.

Did you trust they knew what they were talking about? Did you consider them to be experts in the services they offer?

Trust plays such an incredibly important role in any business, but especially for coaches, consultants and service providers marketing themselves online.

Why? Because whether you’re offering a 1:1 service, a course, a digital product or a group program, YOU are your brand, and people need to trust you before they’ll hire you or buy the thing you’re selling.

So, how do you build your authority and get people to trust you?

Well, there are plenty of things you can do to establish your credibility, but one of the best ways is creating and sharing content that showcases your expertise.

But it’s not enough to publish any old content.

Because if you want to position yourself as an expert in your industry, the quality of your content matters.

And just as your content can help people feel confident that you know what you’re talking about, it can also turn them away if it causes any niggles of doubt.

The good news is there are some simple things you can do right now to make sure your content is credible, compelling and doing the job it’s meant to do.

Here are my top 10 tips for writing content that’ll build your authority and attract clients who can’t wait to work with you.

1. Offer your own perspective

Sharing content that showcases your knowledge and expertise is one of the best ways to build your authority in the topics you want to be known for.

But that doesn’t mean just rehashing what others have already put out there, in your own words.

Instead, always strive to offer your own perspective on whatever it is you’re talking about, based on your unique experience and knowledge.

I’m not saying you need to find topics that haven’t been written about before – the online world’s a noisy place and at this point, there probably isn’t much that hasn’t been covered!

But you do need to find an angle or perspective that only you can give.

As email marketing expert Meera Kothand says in her book But I’m not an expert: “The idea is not to be radically original. The idea is to differentiate yourself.”

Ask yourself what you can bring to the conversation that’s unique to you.

2. Show, don’t tell

‘Show, don’t tell’ is one of the golden rules of fiction writing, and it totally applies to content writing too.

It’s easy to tell people how experienced you are, but if you want people to believe you – show them.

Case studies and client testimonials are one way to do this, but you can also apply the principle to other types of content.

How? By telling your readers your tips or advice and then showing them how it works with an example or mini-story.

For example, if you’re a bookkeeper and writing an article about 5 things to consider when choosing an online accounting system, you could include a story about what happened when you or your client DIDN’T consider one of these points.

(Or if you don’t have a personal story to share, you could describe a hypothetical situation, just like I did here ☝️ ).

3. Back up what you say with facts

One of the best things about the world we live in is that anyone with a computer and decent wi-fi connection can publish their thoughts online.

One of the worst things about the world we live in is that anyone with a computer and decent wi-fi connection can publish their thoughts online.

Pseudo experts are everywhere, and citing facts or stats from credible sources (hint: not Wikipedia) can help your audience believe you do in fact know what you’re talking about.

It doesn’t even need to be numbers or data. Including quotes from influential people in your industry can also add weight to what you’re saying and shows you’ve done your research and know your niche well.

Including links in your blog articles to credible sites, like those ending in .gov, and .edu, will also give your site a nice SEO boost (and we all want that!).

4. Check your facts

Of course, if you’ve included any facts or quotes in your content, you need to make sure they’re accurate.

This means checking that:

  • any stats or figures are current
  • names of people and organisations are spelt correctly
  • quotes are correctly attributed
  • all numbers stack up.

If you have even the slightest niggle that something’s not right, check it and check it again (or leave it out altogether if you’re not sure).

5. Edit your work

When it comes to your credibility, the importance of editing your content can’t be emphasised enough.

A typo here or there isn’t the end of the world – but if there are constantly spelling, grammar and other mistakes in your writing, your credibility will take a hit.

At a bare minimum, I recommend using an online grammar tool and waiting at least one day between when you write your content and when you edit it.

And if you really want to make sure your content is giving the best impression of you and your business, you can download my Ultimate Content Writing and Editing Checklist here.

Download my free content writing and editing checklist

6. Be consistent

Doing what you said you’d do, when you said you’d do it, is not only a good reflection on your work ethic but also helps build trust with your readers.

If you tell your subscribers you’ll send them a weekly email, try to stick to that schedule (and if you can’t, let your readers know your schedule has changed so you’re not ghosting them or showing up erratically in their inbox).

Maintaining a consistent voice is also crucial for building trust and establishing credibility.

Your tone might vary across channels, but your voice should always be the same no matter what platform you’re on.

It should also match your actual voice (you know, the one people hear when you do a Facebook Live or appear on a podcast) so every interaction your audience has with you is consistent.

7. Don’t overwrite

I’ve edited a lot of content for a lot of people over the years, and a recurring theme is the idea that big words sound smarter than simpler ones.

I’m not sure why this is the case, but it’s not true – in fact, it’s completely the opposite!

When you overwrite or use jargon, buzzwords or big words, it can make you seem insincere, arrogant and out of touch – all attributes that can damage your credibility and turn your audience away.

Instead, write clearly and simply, using real words your readers will understand.

You can even do some target market research and uncover the exact words and phrases your target audience are using – and then use them in your own content so your readers know you’re speaking their language (literally).

8. Be clear

Influential researcher and storyteller Brené Brown says “clear is kind”, and I couldn’t agree more.

I also believe being clear is fundamental to being seen as someone who’s credible and trustworthy. After all, if your readers don’t understand you, how can they trust you?

The problem with this of course is that it’s really hard to be objective about your own content and assess whether you’re being clear or not.

That’s why I recommend asking at least one other person to read your content before you publish it, so they can flag if anything’s confusing or needs further explanation.

9. Deliver on your promise

Have you ever clicked on a headline only to find that the article is not at all what you thought it was going to be about?

This is clickbait – a marketing tactic that’s annoying and doesn’t reflect well on the publisher. 

Now, I’m not suggesting your content is clickbait – but to avoid annoying your readers, it’s always worth checking your content does in fact match the promise in your headline.

For example, if your lead magnet title is ‘The Ultimate Guide to X, Y, Z’, is it an epic, comprehensive guide that’s jam-packed full of valuable tips and advice, or a one-pager light on detail that’s been thrown together in Word?

Likewise, if you say there are 10 steps to do something, have you included 10 steps, and are all of those steps relevant to the topic you’re writing about?

10. Create from a place of service, not self-promotion

Ultimately, to be successful, your content must be useful and valuable to your audience.

Never create content just to promote yourself or the thing you’re selling. Think about the problems your ideal client has, and then create content that helps them solve those problems.

By putting your readers first, you’ll quickly gain a reputation as a credible source of information in your industry, which will help you build your authority AND grow your business.

 

Want to write content that builds your authority and positions you as THE go-to expert in your field? Get started by downloading my free content writing and editing checklist:

7 benefits of hiring an editor for your business

7 benefits of hiring an editor for your business

7 benefits of hiring an editor for your business

If you run your own business, it’s likely you’ve hired at least one service provider (and probably many more) to help you on your business journey.

It might have been an accountant to do your taxes, or a web developer to build your website. Or maybe you’ve got a VA who keeps everything running smoothly.

Whoever it is, outsourcing can save you a lot of time, not to mention headspace.

But have you ever considered hiring an editor?

An editor can add a lot of value that goes way beyond just picking up typos and missing apostrophes (although we do that too!).

In fact, if you write a lot of content for your business and want to position yourself as an expert in your field, an editor might be just the person you need on your team.

Here are seven reasons why you might consider hiring an editor for your business.

1. Your content will be stronger

If you’ve ever re-read something you published a while ago, you probably noticed things you didn’t see before, like typos, missing words, or bits that just didn’t sound quite right.

The reason for this is simple: it’s incredibly difficult to edit your own work, especially if you’ve just written it.

Even if you’re a strong writer (even if you’re a copywriter), you’ll see what you think you wrote, rather than what you actually wrote – which is why it’s always a good idea to get a second pair of eyes on your content before you publish it.

You can ask anyone to do this (and anyone is better than no-one), but if you really want to up your content game, it’s best to hire a professional.

As well as picking up spelling and grammar mistakes, a professional editor will tell you if anything is unclear, which sentences are clunky (and how to fix them), and whether there’s any repetitive content that can be cut.

By looking at your content from your readers’ perspective, an editor will help you fix any issues BEFORE they reach your audience – allowing you to deliver polished, professional content that’s relevant, useful and keeps your readers engaged.

2. You’ll be more likely to stick to a schedule

It happens to the best of us.

You start a blog intending to publish a new article every week, but other things take priority and suddenly six months have gone by and you’ve posted nothing.

Or, you’ve been working on a new lead magnet for your site and it’s not coming together the way you’d hoped, so now you’re avoiding that half-finished draft on your desktop…

Regularly publishing content is crucial for staying top of mind with your audience and generating leads, but it’s easy to let things slip.

And if you know you have trouble meeting your own deadlines, including an editor in your editorial process is a great way to stay on track.

As well as having an eagle eye for detail, most editors are experienced project managers who’ll not only help you set a content schedule but also stick to it.

For example, I set all my clients up with their very own editorial calendar and workflow, so they know when things are due (and I can send gentle reminders if they’re late).

3. You’ll be less likely to cause offence – or get into legal strife

In a world where anyone can publish anything, words matter more than ever.

The right words can position you as an expert and have people lining up to work with you.

On the flip side, the wrong words can offend your readers and give a negative impression of your business that can be hard to shake.

But language evolves quickly, and it’s tricky to know which words are okay and which words you should avoid.

While most people know it’s better to use ‘humankind’ than ‘mankind’, fewer might know that ‘transgender’ is often preferable to ‘transsexual’, or that saying someone ‘suffers’ from a condition can be offensive.

There are resources to help you, like the Conscious Style Guide, Diversity Style Guide and ‘Inclusive Language’ section of the Australian Government’s Style Manual. But if you really want peace of mind that your content is as inclusive as possible, hiring an editor to review your content is a wise move.

Good editors keep up to date with the latest trends in language usage and will flag any potential issues.

They’ll also be on the lookout for any other problems that could get you into legal strife, like not attributing quotes or crediting images properly, infringing on copyright and trademarked material, or defaming someone (intentionally or not).

4. You’ll appear more credible to your audiences

Being seen as credible and trustworthy is incredibly important for any business, especially online where potential clients can compare service and product providers with a few clicks of a mouse.

Creating content like blog posts, guest posts and emails is an excellent way to establish yourself as a credible source of information and build trust with your readers, but it can also damage your reputation if it’s not well executed.

Typos happen (yes, even to me) – but if your writing constantly has spelling and grammar errors and inconsistencies, this can erode people’s confidence in you.

And while there are plenty of content editing tools that can help you check and finesse your writing, they’re not as helpful as having a REAL person review your words.

That’s because it’s not just spelling and grammar mistakes that can damage your credibility. Things like broken links, unclear or incorrect information, and not backing up your claims with facts can all damage the credibility you’ve worked so hard to build.

5. You’ll save time

How long does it take you to write a blog post? 2 hours? 5 hours? 10?

According to the 2020 Orbit Annual Blogging Survey, it takes people an average of 3 hours 55 minutes to write a typical blog post, with some spending more than 6 hours (or basically an entire day of work) creating just one article.

Now, while it would be nice to have a full day each week, fortnight or even month for creating content, for many business owners this just isn’t feasible.

Even if they do make time for this ‘important-but-not-urgent’ task, many find it hard to sustain it in the long term, which is probably why so many content plans fall by the wayside.

So, how can an editor help with this?

While hiring someone to write your content for you will save the most time, it’s amazing how much easier it is to bang out a first draft if you know your editor is waiting in the wings to polish it up.

There’s no need to agonise about whether you’ve used passive or active voice or put your apostrophes in the right place, because you know your editor’s on hand to fix these things for you.

Including an editor in your editorial workflow makes for a much more efficient process, so you can publish regular content without spending your whole life writing and rewriting (unless you’re a copywriter or content writer, of course!).

6. You’ll make more money

Okay, you might think this is a stretch, but stay with me.

One of the most common objections I hear from people about getting their work edited is they can’t afford it.

But if you’re serious about being seen as an expert or thought leader in your field, my question is, can you afford not to?

Editing and proofreading your content is essential for building your credibility – and not doing so can actually do you damage.

If you’re consistently publishing high-quality content, you’ll generate more leads, attract more clients, and be able to charge more (and therefore make more money).

See?

7. You’ll become a better writer

One of my favourite things about working with clients is seeing their writing improve over time.

Everyone has their own writing style, and most people make the same mistakes again and again without realising it.

When your writing is regularly edited, you become aware of these mistakes, and as a result, you stop making them.

Having an editor on your team is like having your very own writing coach, cheering you on from the sidelines.

And who wouldn’t want that?

Are you ready to hire an editor?

Check out how we can work together

3 steps to successfully working with an editor

3 steps to successfully working with an editor

3 steps to successfully working with an editor

How to get the most out of the editing process

If you’ve found this page, you might have decided it’s time to hire an editor.

Maybe you’ve spotted one too many typos in your work – or worse, someone’s pointed them out to you.

Maybe you’re sick of spending hours agonising over what you’ve written and just want someone to polish it up for you.

Or maybe you know high-quality content is key to boosting your credibility and attracting more clients – and having your work professionally edited is an excellent way to achieve this.

Whatever the reason, hiring an editor is a great investment for your business – but it can be daunting, especially if you’ve never worked with one before.

You probably have lots of questions, like “What if I don’t agree with their changes?”. “What if they don’t get me or my writing style?”. Or, “What are they actually going to do?”.

To help you out, here are my top three tips for working with an editor and getting the most out of the editing process.

1. Choose the right editor

The first step to a great editing experience is choosing the right editor in the first place.

Most editors focus on either non-fiction or fiction. But many specialise even further, including by service, subject area, medium or genre, so finding one who has experience in your type of writing is crucial.

For example, if you’re compiling your company’s annual report, you’ll need an editor who understands corporate writing and is experienced checking technical information like financial figures, statistics and tables.

If you’re looking for an editor to polish your web copy or blog posts, you’ll want someone who’s across SEO best practices and understands the most effective way to present copy for online readers.

It’s also important to choose an editor who’s suitably qualified.

While there’s no prerequisite training to become an editor, most editors will have some sort of formal education and/or solid professional experience.

If you’re unsure, check if they’re a member of a professional association, like the Australian Institute of Professional Editors.

You can also try them out for a smaller job to see their editing skills in action before hiring them for a larger project.

Most importantly, make sure you find an editor you feel comfortable with.

Handing over the words you’ve invested time, effort and creative energy into can be a nerve-racking experience, so finding someone you trust and who makes you feel confident is essential.

2. Give a detailed brief

Once you’ve found the right editor, it’s time to tell them about your project!

To get a quote, you’ll need to give them some essential information, like your word count, the level of editing you need, and your deadline.

Most editors will ask for a sample, which helps them assess what shape your writing is in (and therefore how long your job will take).

But to do an excellent editing job, what your editor really needs to know is who you’re writing for.

Things they’ll need to know include:

  • Where your readers live. This determines the correct spelling for certain words and allows your editor to check for country-specific words and sayings that people in other countries just won’t get.
  • What your readers’ demographics are. For example, if you’re writing for millennials, the language and writing style you use and examples and visual elements you include will be very different compared to if you’re writing for over-50s.
  • How familiar your readers are with the topic. This helps your editor assess whether some jargon is okay, or if it’s better to put things in layperson’s terms.

3. Be open to feedback

The final step for getting the most out of the editing process is being open to your editor’s feedback.

Having your work edited is not like handing in an assignment at school (although I get it may sometimes feel like that!).

You won’t receive a pass or fail – but you will get expert advice on how to make your writing even better.

If you’ve chosen the right editor, they’ll be experienced in the type of content you’re producing and will help you see things you might not have noticed.

That said, you’re not always going to agree with all of your editor’s suggestions, and that’s totally fine.

Editing is a collaborative process, and most editors will mark up their suggestions so you can accept or reject them as you please.

Good editors will also take the time to explain why they’ve made certain suggestions (if it’s not entirely clear) and will be available to answer any questions you have along the way.

Are you ready to hire an editor?

Check out how we can work together