How to Establish Credibility and Successfully Persuade Your Audience

Every day, after I complete my morning routine (which always includes taking a sip of coffee that is most certainly too hot but the cooling of which I’m too impatient to wait for) I lumber down my apartment stairs to my beautiful, luxurious alabaster-hued 2007 Toyota Matrix. It’s not much to look at, but it contains six of my most prized possessions on this earth: my radio presets.

Though I do have a CD player (click here if you need a refresher), my radio presets represent hours of driving, searching and painstakingly ordering my favorite frequencies.

I know what you’re asking yourself. What on earth does it take to be selected to the Select Six?

These radio presets represent, in one way or another, the most credible sources of information within range of my little car radio, and they’ve been meticulously vetted and optimized for the most pleasurable driving experience.

And therein lies the power of credibility. Once it’s demonstrated, nothing else will do. The path toward establishing credibility isn’t direct and can even take decades to achieve. But if you follow these two pillars, it is well within reach.

1. Honesty

We often discuss honesty in terms of truth-telling; fact or fiction, true or false. And that’s certainly important. Strictly adhering to (or, at the very least, erring on the side of) the facts will always be better for your credibility. People want to be told the truth.

But this principle has a second tier.

Authenticity and transparency are often unseen, but incredibly powerful, extensions of honesty and can take many forms. Perhaps it’s the in-depth, no-stone-left-unturned approach to a blog that gives your audience all the data they need to make an informed decision. Maybe it’s the short, blunt and no-frills style of headline-writing that leaves little doubt as to how you should feel about a certain topic.

Authentic brands tend to be bold but almost always end up better for it. Apple’s recent tilt with the FBI around privacy and iPhone encryption was an outstanding example of that ethos. As risky as it may have been, Apple used well-informed ethics to take a position and defend it, and they reaped their reward on the trading room floor.

When your audience knows exactly where your company stands, they’re likely to join you.

2. Empathy

Empathy comes in many shapes and sizes, and it lies somewhere between ethos and pathos. It leverages your expertise with the audience’s natural emotional reaction to being understood to create an important bond between the two.

It’s giving your subscribers a 37-word newsletter, knowing that might be all they have time to read that morning. It’s cutting the meeting short because you realize your employees are swamped. It’s researching the unique needs of the company you’re about to cold-call so you can present some real, meaningful solutions.

No matter how you define it, empathy goes a long way with clients, customers and co-workers, and it does wonders for credibility. If you respect your audience enough to really listen, credibility (not to mention brand loyalty) is sure to follow.

Credibility through Content

A brand is only as good as the story it tells. I may be a little biased, but the most efficient way to establish credibility is through content. Credibility is the mark of a solid, well-maintained relationship, and providing relevant, valuable and actionable information to your audience is the only way to do it. No matter your industry, there’s always a right time to try and build that relationship. With patience and persistence, you just might be someone’s radio presets.

Want to know what makes content great? Check out this blog about the importance of your brand’s angle and how to convey it.

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