How to Build Credibility With Your Target Audience

Personal Branding
building credibility

These days, trust is in short supply. If you want to resonate with your target audience, you’ll need to overcome the challenge of trust. That means building credibility – and building it as early as possible.

But how exactly do you do it?

The Question of Credibility

Credibility, when earned, makes your customers – and oftentimes, the general public – trust you. People are going to be more likely to pay attention to what you say, accept what you say at face value, and be persuaded by your messaging.

If managed responsibly, credibility can help you achieve:

Higher brand awareness.

A more credible, trustworthy source is likely to be cited, distributed, endorsed, and promoted by more people. That means your content and your messages are going to reach more people across more channels, ultimately leading to higher brand awareness. And as we all know, higher brand awareness is good for any business, and in many ways.

Fewer barriers to sales.

Credibility also leads to fewer barriers to sales. If a prospect already knows and trusts your brand, they’re going to have fewer objections to your sales pitches, and they’re going to be much more easily persuaded than someone who’s inherently skeptical of your brand.

Customer loyalty.

Existing customers who trust you and believe in you are going to be more loyal to you. There’s no reason to switch to a competitor, and take a gamble, when you know that your current partner is a bastion of trust and integrity.

Marketing and PR support.

Each piece of content you create is going to become more powerful if your brand is already trusted. Each message you post on social media and each press release you syndicate is going to carry more weight. Building credibility is, therefore, a way to boost the effectiveness of your marketing and PR campaigns.

How to Build and Maintain Credibility With Your Target Audience

Now for the central question: how do you achieve these benefits and build credibility with your target audience?

Speak to your audience directly.

The first step is to speak to your audience directly. Instead of producing content and posting messages to a broad, generic audience, focus on your specific niche. It’s going to make your content much more relevant and persuasive.

Develop strong, original, informative content.

Content is key for building credibility and trust, so develop the best possible content you can. Ideally, your content will be founded on original research, with abundant, verifiably true information that your audience can actually use. If your content is unique, valuable, and well-written, it’s going to be a positive force for your credibility and reputation.

Demonstrate genuine authority and expertise.

Similarly, you need to demonstrate genuine authority and expertise. In other words, you need to show that you’re a leader in this space. There are many ways to do this, such as by earning awards and recognition from third parties, speaking competently about pertinent issues in the field, taking strong stances, and collaborating with other leaders.

Be authentic.

Brand authenticity may seem like an oxymoron, but it’s an increasingly important component of your overall strategy. People can detect insincerity, and insincerity leads to distrust. While you still need to think carefully about your messaging, it’s important that your messaging is consistent with your actual values and perspectives; don’t brandish an insincere message with the vain hope that it’s going to fool people into trusting you. Instead, it’s usually better to be yourself.

Don’t shy away from controversy.

In line with this, don’t shy away from controversy. Businesses sometimes hedge their bets by remaining as indifferent as possible, but it’s often more valuable to take a controversial position, even if it means alienating a portion of your audience. People who disagree with you will at least trust that you’re giving your genuine opinion.

Take accountability for errors and missteps.

Businesses are sometimes tempted to ignore their mistakes or brush them under the rug, but you’ll build much more credibility and trust in the long term if you take accountability for your errors and missteps. An effective apology, combined with efforts to undo or compensate for any damage done, is typically plenty for most people to not only forgive you, but think more highly of you after the mistake. No business is perfect, and freely admitting that is a sign of integrity. Don’t be afraid to own up to your mistakes.

Building credibility and trust isn’t easy, especially if your business is just starting out or recovering from a PR disaster. However, the time and energy you invest into this effort is more than worth it; if you can make your target audience trust you, all your marketing, PR, and sales strategies are going to become more effective and your business is going to grow.


Featured image provided by Savvas Stavrinos; Pexels; Thanks!