Listen here Focker…This is the Circle of Trust. Right Now…you are OUTSIDE the Circle of Trust.
I can’t count how many times I have leveled this classic line From Meet the Parents at unsuspecting strangers, colleagues, and (potential) family members. It’s also amazing how The Circle of Trust brilliantly organizes the world into two camps; Them and Us.
The problem is that most bloggers don’t recognize that admission into their reader’s Circle of Trust isn’t automatic. Not by a long-shot.
The Sad Truth About Your Readers
They are in over their heads.
In fact, your readers are actively searching for a reason to ignore you. They don’t want another RSS feed to read. They don’t want another bookmark. They don’t need another excuse to waste their afternoon surfing your blog.
But they DO want someone they can trust. Thankfully for us, this need for authentic reliable relationships still brings readers to our doorstep. Gain this trust and you’ll be given the golden key that unlocks their attention and their wallet.
However, the normal playbook for gaining this trust isn’t what you may think. The old stand-bys of flashy graphics, sophisticated copywriting, and cotton-candy emotional appeals don't work like they used to. Your reader's Circle of Trust is made out of titanium guarded by a mean squad of Marines. A frontal assault won't work.
That's why I've cooked up 7 unconventional techniques to get you invited, with open arms, into your reader's Circle:
#1. Admit Weakness
People hate perfection in others. It's a weird quirk of human nature that keeps everyone on a level playing field. It’s the reason why people love to see celebrities and shiny brands trip on their face. On the other hand, vulnerability is the new black. If you mess up, admit it quick. You’ll show that you are human and worthy of trust.
#2. Be Transparent
I believe that transparency is one of the most valuable traits of a trustworthy brand. Transparency is about being clear about your motives. If you want to sell something – say so. If you are making an affiliate commission – just give your readers a heads up. You'll be surprised by how much your your reader's value your openness. This is the #1 reason why top online marketers aren't worried by FTC testimonial regulations; simply, they've always be open with their readers - they never required a law. Follow their lead.
#3. Be the Momma Bear
Protect your tribe. Let me put it another way – ALWAYS have your readers’ back. Make sure they get 100% accurate information. Insist that guest bloggers contribute their best work. Boot troublemakers quickly and without mercy.
Something magical happens when a person realizes that they can sleep easy knowing that you’re standing guard.
#4. Make Your a Content Win/Win
Strive to offer your best content in exchange for something. It can be an email address, a comment, or cold-hard cash. It’s up to you but always make it clear that you and the reader are involved in an exchange of value. Simply – you value something they have and you want to trade.
At a primal level this just feels right. We all hate to owe people, and we especially hate to owe someone when we feel like we’ll be manipulated later. Avoid this trust killer by being upfront and frank about what each of you stand to gain in the exchange. By the way, if you give away something for free...make it truly free - without a "gotcha" later on. This is a huge trust builder
Are you Keeping It Simple Stupid?
Jay Heinrichs in his awesome book “Thank You for Arguing” points out that although John Kerry clearly won the 2006 Presidential debates, he still wasn’t considered trustworthy. Think about it. Intelligence isn't a prerequisite for trust– the simpler you are the more you trustworthy you become.
This is a tough lesson, but it doesn’t always pay to be the smartest cookie in the room. By the way,
#6. Always Inspire
Take a moment to read through your blog comment responses. Are you cheerleading for your readers? Are you encouraging them to push forward? Are you handling everyone as a person that gets your undivided attention?
When you shift your focus away from posts and back to people you naturally inspire them. When you do, you create trust.
#7. Just Ask
Yep, ask for your reader’s trust. Sounds so simple that it’s comical but many folks just assume that they are entitled to trust. You’re not. You ask for it by spending quality time with your About Me page, offering sincere advice, and always “showing up” for your fans.
Not only will these 7 tips earn you a seat in the Circle of Trust, they will also attract a growing following of engaged and passionate readers.
I’m curious, How are you earning trust with your readers? How are you being transparent and inspiring your tribe?