Companies today are faced with the ever-growing challenge of gaining buyer trust. With a digital environment filled with scams, credit card fraud, trolls and bots, consumers have reason to be skeptical. It should come as no surprise that the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer found that 59 percent of the mass population is not sure what information is true and what is not.
What does this mean for brands trying to gain trust?
While all this negativity might seem like an uphill battle, there are still steps companies can take to build and sustain a reputable image. We’re offering some proven tactics that can help establish and sustain credibility even in an increasingly untrusting world.
Advertising is What You Say; PR is What People Say About You
Simply put, public relations is a strategic communication process that helps shape the story others tell about you. And, while PR is a “traditional” practice, it still holds relevancy in the digital age.
While PR can help influence how your company and brand “story” is told, it cannot dictate it. We would all love to censor what is said about us at times, but that isn’t how it works. Online publications and media outlets (and we don’t mean of the “fake news” variety) are still key to getting your story out. This also means, however, that companies and leaders are left to trust these outlets to publish the version of the story they want. It can be scary to trust a third party to describe your brand, but the risk is worth the reward. Buyers are much more likely to trust what others say about you compared to what you say about yourself through marketing.
For the best chance of success, extensively research the publications (and journalists) you plan to pitch, provide them with accurate information, timely access to company leaders and credible third-party sources, such as customers, to share their experiences with your company and brand.
Also note that press releases remain a reputable source among media professionals. According to Cision’s 2018 State of the Media Report, 44 percent of journalists say press releases are the most trustworthy source of brand-related information, proving that traditional PR tools are still relevant in today’s environment.
Bottom line, a successful placement with a trusted news source can help you to earn credibility in your industry and with your customers.
Other Things You Can Do
While we’ve already discussed the value of positive editorial coverage, there are other things you can do to build credibility and trust. Company awards, for one, still go a long way so research the ones you’re eligible for and submit, submit, submit. Then win those awards and promote them through press releases and on your social media network.
On that note, don’t let the prospect of Internet trolls keep you from creating an active social media presence. Having such a presence is vital these days, in fact. Building a social media network and interacting with it in a regular and professional manner is a great way to get out the story you want to tell. It also allows your audience to personally engage with your brand which helps build loyalty and trust.
Search engine optimization is another way to drive buyers to your website where they can learn the value and credibility of your brand. As visitors to your site increase through SEO, you’ll gain even more momentum since search engines will begin prioritizing your website over others.
Search engines will also rank you higher in accordance to your content. If your site contains valuable, trustworthy material, you will be viewed as more credible.
Last but not least: We touched on customer testimonials earlier, which are increasingly important since they ensure there are “real people” having successful experiences with your brand. Buyers are more likely to trust a customer testimonial over other traditional marketing efforts. Harness the power of customer testimonials to put success stories in front of your audience — again, via press releases, your website and social feeds.
In our current climate, your strategy needs to become less about selling your product and more about finding ways to help buyers get to know and trust your company and brand.
Are your PR and marketing campaigns helping you build trust with your key audiences? Contact us today to learn how we can help.
This article was originally published in The Connector and reprinted with permission.