How to Make Your Business Blog a Trusted Source of Information

trusted source of informationUsing your business blog to build thought leadership and to develop a relationship with customers and potential customers? If so, attitude might be your toughest competition. A new survey from Harris Interactive found that 98% of Americans distrust the information they find online. The survey of 1,900 people found that there were several reasons why they found the information untrustworthy, including:

  • Too many ads – 59%
  • Outdated information – 56%
  • Information is self-promotional – 53% 
  • Unfamiliar forums – 45%
“These findings demonstrate that people want online information to be more credible than it is today, and that current web services just don’t cut it,” said Mattias Guilotte, CMO of Mancx, an online information firm that helped to launch the survey.
It's hard enough that small businesses have other businesses to worry about when it comes to winning the minds and hearts of the target demographic. Learning that minds and hearts are competition in and of themselves makes business blogging harder still.
Despite the mistrust, there is room for improvement. The survey also found that online searchers would like improvements in answers always being up-to-date (53%) and less time wasted searching (32%). Small businesses and company blogs can easily make these improvements, and bridge the gap between the information people need and being that trusted information provider that people want. Here's how to bridge that gap and instill that trust in your readers:
  1. Do Your Research - Since over half of those surveyed said they'd like their answers and their information to be up-to-date, it would be best to conduct some research before citing a statistic or even writing your blog article. If the ideas you are working off of are from a few years ago, it's likely that there could something new or just some tweaks. However, if you were to just cite your statistic or to write your post, your information would be out-of-date, with a competitor possibly writing something that is up-to-date and getting that trust you so badly want.
  2. Keep it About the Customers - It is overwhelming had badly people want something that isn't self-promotional and covered with ads. Therefore, keep your business blogging about your customers and their pain points instead of about yourself. After all, the whole rest of your website is about your products, services and/or features, so keep just one place on your website for customer. That place is the business blog.
  3. Consider Your Amplification Strategy - A reason cited for distrust in the information is finding that information on unfamiliar forums. Forums can be great way to amplify the content you write and even to showcase your expertise. However, you have to put some consideration into which forums you use. If you are using forums that your target market typically doesn't frequent, or is perhaps brand new, then you might not get as much traffic from these places as you had hoped. Stick to the popular forums, or forums on popular websites. LinkedIn is a good choice for just about any business or industry.
  4. Move Readers through the Buying Process - To make this whole building trust idea simpler, think of your business blog as the place to move readers through the buying process and not the place to make the sale. A vast majority of the people who visit your website will not be ready to buy anyway, so don't spend so much time focusing on getting them to buy. Focus on their needs and pain points. Discuss the problems you actually solve for your customer. This way, you are more likely to provide the information these people actually need, wasting less of their time and positioning yourself as trustworthy source.
Just because people don't trust the information they find online doesn't mean all information that's online is untrustworthy. It's very possible for your business blog to be a trusted source of information and to ease the qualms people have about what they are reading. By having the right attitude about your business blog, readers will have the right attitude about you.
You only have a few seconds to instill trust and to capture the attention of a reader with your blog or blog post. Those few seconds are centered on the blog article title, and it must be a good one in order to accomplish those two things. If you need some help with your blog article titles, then download are ultimate checklist to writing blog article headlines: