This article was originally posted at https://meetedgar.com/blog/link-trust-is-more-important-than-ever-heres-how-to-build-yours/

Creating the best marketing content in the world won’t help your business if you can’t get anyone to read it.

Problem is, to get people to read it, you need them to trust you. And let’s face it — there’s a lot of pretty bad content out there!

(Raise your hand if you never want to have to hear the words “fake news” ever again.)

With all that less-than-amazing stuff floating around the web, people tend to be a little skeptical of the news they see on social media.

That means YOU have to work harder to earn their trust — and a lot of the time, you have to earn it before they ever click on one of your links.

So, how do you navigate a catch-22 like that?

After all, it’s not like you can invite everyone on the Internet over for a rousing round of trust falls.

How do you build your audience’s trust?

Here are a few places to start!

Classic headline tricks? Forget ‘em

Want people to trust you enough to click your links? Don’t try to trick them!

Oh, sure, that sounds simple — but you know you see people doing it all the time.

Tricking readers with headlines is common enough that it has a name you might have heard a lot, and that name is click bait.

Click bait headlines trick readers in different ways, and neither is good for building trust.

One way is to withhold information, so readers click on a link not because they genuinely care about the story it leads to, but because they don’t know what it leads to, and they’re curious.

Those are headlines that sound like this:

  • What happened at this party will inspire you
  • Four out of five people can’t finish this video without cracking up
  • The thing you should never do — and why

Headlines like these create a curiosity gap that makes people want to click, but they’re also unpopular with readers, who don’t like feeling tricked into clicking on something. (Plus, Facebook can detect them, and will restrict your reach for sharing them.)

Similarly, another type of click bait headline is one that outright lies, or exaggerates to the point of not being literally true. (Fudging the truth or overindulging in hyperbole can make for a juicy headline, but once people click and realize what you did, their trust in you is going to take a serious dive.)

Practice writing headlines that are clickable, but don’t trick readers.

We write at least 15 headlines for every blog post we publish, because it often isn’t the first (or second, or third) attempt that really nails the perfect mix of mystery and substance.

The more consistently you hit that sweet spot, the more trust you’ll build in the people who see your headlines on social!

Spruce up your social images

You probably already know that blog posts and Tweets with images in them get more shares.

(And if you didn’t — surprise!)

Creating quality images for your status updates can do a lot to build and reinforce trust in your audience, too.

When people see information on social, one of the big factors in whether or not they trust that information is whether or not they trust the source.

Building trust doesn’t usually happen overnight — it happens over time, and that means you want to give your audience a consistent reminder of who you are. When they see and recognize you again and again over time, their trust can get stronger and stronger.

(Basically, you’re giving yourself a reputation.)

An image is one of the first things someone notices in a status update — so make that image count, and make sure that it represents you well.

Here’s an example.

Career Contessa has a consistent, professional aesthetic when it comes to their social media images:

(We blurred the text in the image above so you can focus just on the graphics.)

Take note of the repeated design elements, like the colors, the fonts, the illustrations, and even the layouts. This type of consistency screams professionalism — well, professionalism doesn’t typically involve a lot of screaming, but you get what we’re saying.

A strong visual identity works in your favor, especially when you’re working on developing an instantly-recognizable identity!

And speaking of your identity…

Remember that quality > quantity

Let’s say you need to buy something really, really important.

Like a sandwich.

Which would you trust more: one made by somebody who whips them together as quickly as possible, or one made by somebody who crafts them with care and precision?

Sure, that first sandwich maker cranks out a lot of stuff, but half the time it’s sloppy, and there’s all kinds of dicey-looking filler. You order from them a couple of times, and you learn not to trust what they’re offering.

If you haven’t stopped reading to go get a sandwich already, you see where this is going: the content you create gives you a reputation, and that reputation can build — or break — your audience’s trust.

Take the time to create better, more thoughtful content, and you can get more repeat visitors, more shares, and even more subscribers.

(Hint: If you’re worried that slowing down your content creation means you’ll have less material to share on social, don’t forget — everyone repeats their content these days.)

Beautify your links

When it comes to your URLs, looks aren’t everything — but they can certainly make a difference.

Case in point: people are less likely to click on a link if they don’t know where it takes them.

One way you can combat this is by implementing Twitter cards, so that your URLs generate link previews on Twitter. Another is by making your Facebook link previews as effective as possible for both desktop and mobile (tip: you can edit them inside Edgar).

And while link shorteners can give you access to all kinds of handy dandy click data, they might also turn your URLs into a jumbled-up bundle of random numbers and letters. If you want to score the benefits of click analytics without sacrificing brand name recognition, use a shortener that allows you to create a custom URL — it can increase your clickthrough rates up to 39 percent!

That’s exactly why we partnered with Rebrandly — so you can give your shortened links in Edgar the added boost of personalization, and all the click data to go with it!

See? Customizing a URL increases your brand name recognizability, which helps you build trust over time. Plus, it allows your URL to give readers a better idea of what to expect when they click on the link! (For more info about how custom links work and how much they can increase your click rate, check this out!)

Remember: building trust takes time

Building trust doesn’t happen overnight, and a lot of the time, it’s something that happens naturally, because you’re doing things you should do anyway!

Focusing on quality content, making your links as enticing as possible, writing better headlines, sharing with consistency — these are all things with benefits that go far beyond building trust in your readers.

The more you make them priorities, the more you can reap those benefits, AND build up the trust that’ll make your name one people rely on!

Got any trust-building tips of your own?

Seen any ridiculously clever personalized URLs you can’t help sharing?

Let us know in the comments below!

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