How to build trust in your content for sustainable business growth

Timo launched React & Share with a bunch of ideas and a strong co-founding team who worked together to get the company to the doorstep of success. Before React & Share, Timo was involved with a range of different businesses in Finland, always with a finger on the pulse of emerging technologies. His key skills are rooted in a passion for digging deep into the subjects that he cares about.

  • 88% of adults search online at least once a day
  • 62% of Brits regularly searched for e-commerce websites
  • Only 1% believe everything they read online

Trustworthy content has never been more important for e-commerce businesses, as only 1% of Brits believe everything they read online.

Our recent research collected by the team at React & Share showcases the search habits of consumers online in 2020/21. Through the use of a YouGov survey, it was revealed that only 1% of Brits believe everything they read online despite 88% of us searching online at least once a day.

Searches for e-commerce websites have become one of the largest topic searches over the last year with 62% of Brits regularly searching within the ongoing lockdowns. As e-commerce websites continue to grow, it has never been more important for consumers to trust the content they read online.

Any website that holds trustworthy content can relate to sustainable business growth by ensuring repeat traffic and increasing your rankings. So how can you improve your content strategy and build trust within the online content that you provide your target audience?

LET YOUR AUDIENCE TALK TO YOU

Asking your readers what they want is the number one way to build trust in your content. By reaching out to your audience to find out what they think, you are automatically displaying an interest in their needs – putting your head and shoulders above those who press post without a care in the world.

After all, when you publish content how do you know – without collecting feedback – that your audience has left the content feeling satisfied? Clue: you don’t. To get effective feedback from readers, don’t ask too much of them. A couple of your readers will want to email you or complete a survey. A few more may leave a comment or chat with a bot but almost all would be willing to click a button.

At the end of the day, audiences want to feel like their opinion matters. Choose the feedback tool that’s right for your content and watch your trust and engagement soar.

ASK THE EXPERTS

We’re huge advocates for pulling in voices from respected industry members to foster trust between you, your content, and your community. In these turbulent times, reliable content from reliable sources has become central to the lives of millions, and who’s more trustworthy than the (other) experts in your field?

Featuring industry thought leaders, highlighting testimonials, platforming case studies, or even including your customer in your content is a great way to build credibility. This is where social proof enters the chat. Social proof is the idea that people mirror the actions of the masses and can come in many forms including word of mouth, reviews and other content efforts.

A third-party perspective in your content will always contribute to attesting to your value and validating your work.

DONT IGNORE THE (QUALITATIVE) DATA

It’s important to pay attention to what the numbers are telling you about your content. Data can be deployed to influence decision making, inform content strategies, and demonstrate your teams’ efforts. There are plenty of free tools to gather some pretty interesting insights, however, we’re inclined to warn against focusing solely on gathering quantitative rather than qualitative data.

Quantitative data can give you great insights into how your content is performing on the surface but quantitative data gathered via feedback can let you know exactly how your reader feels about the content that you’re posting. Bounce rates, traffic, and likes are much less important than human-centric metrics such as customer satisfaction, shares, and engagement that get to the heart of your audience’s needs.

Spend some time unearthing qualitative data – you’ll be surprised at what it reveals about your content.

BE AUTHENTIC

Employing a consistent and authentic tone of voice across all channels that align with your brand is crucial. Imagine stumbling upon the socials of a website that you know and love and discovering that the messaging across the social channels doesn’t resonate at all with what you like about the web pages.

Beyond authenticity, injecting personality into your content can make it seem more genuine, reminding readers of the real people behind the screen. Personalising content won’t do any harm either. However, any inconsistencies in voice, messaging, imagery, quality and overall branding – no matter how small – are a massive red flag to anyone reading your content. If trust is central to your content strategy, make sure that all of your content plays by the same rules. 

Conduct an audit of all of your content and ensure there are no discrepancies. We’re all human, typos happen.

PRIORITISE CLARITY AND ACCESSIBILITY

Ensure that all information is clear, accurate, and above all accessible. Just one spelling mistake can chip away at the trust your audience has in you, and they’d become less and less likely to stand up for your content.

Beyond small errors, refusing to address crucial conversations around accessibility and publishing pieces that exclude a large portion of your readership could have disastrous consequences when it comes to trust in your content. Keeping content clear, concise, and compliant with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines is a good step towards creating content that readers can utilise. Also, ensure that any tools you are using are aligned with the same guidelines. You’d be surprised how many aren’t.  

By putting clarity and accessibility at the top of your list, rather than as an afterthought, you’re less likely to jeopardise trust. 

Timo Virtanen, CEO & Co-founder, React & Share