There are many ways for bloggers to demonstrate their credibility to readers, potential clients, and customers. A life lived authentically in the public eye is far better than trying to live a false image—something all bloggers know all about!
These strategies and techniques are some of my favorites because they always feel natural, which reassures readers that you're the real deal. You'll feel far more comfortable when you're just being yourself, and you'll find that your readers will, too.
1. Be professional.
Conducting your business in a professional manner is not just about doing things properly or having the right credentials. It's also about:
- Always focusing on your readers
- Paying attention to details
- Looking for ways to take things one step further
- Anticipating needs
2. Use strong branding.
A strong brand is the foundation on which to establish credibility. People need to know who you are and what they can expect from you. Create a logo that's easily recognizable and use other repetitive elements when putting together your brand. People love repetition—it helps them feel secure, and the elements are easier to remember.
3. Gather recommendations from industry peers and fellow expert bloggers.
Testimonials from readers or clients (if you are, for example, a stylist or makeup artist in addition to blogging) serve as third-party endorsements. Endorsements from established industry experts—like another established authority blogger or a celebrity—leave even more powerful impressions.
4. Provide your contact details.
Use verifiable information such as a telephone number or Skype handle on your Contact page. Cater to individual preferences by providing multiple options, such as listing various social media handles. If you'd rather not give out personal info, use a contact box instead. Or use both!
5. Create an FAQ page or section on your site.
Think about questions you're likely to get and comments you answer frequently as inspiration. Put all of those questions and comments into a page on your blog so people can refer to it often.
6. Use high-quality photos.
Again, it's time to prove you're the real deal! Use professional-quality photos as a kind of proof that your blog is worthy of your readers' attention.
7. Answer your readers comments and questions.
Talk to your readers and fans! This might seem obvious, but nothing kills a new relationship faster than silence. If you don't answer readers, you could give the impression that you don't care, which won't encourage them to come back.
8. When looking for expert connections, dig into your past.
Take inventory. Don't just stick with the obvious, like people you talk to every day. Who are some niche leaders you've networked with over the past few years who could help you promote your blog? Most people are genuinely flattered if you remember something they put time and care into, so they'll be more than pleased to support you.
Speaking of those influential people… don't forget to build your own reputation and credibility by meeting people in person. Arrange local meetups and other events with bloggers, fashion enthusiasts, and media representatives. Join professional and networking organizations (like IFB Pro) and attend events consistently. Introduce yourself and be genuinely interested in the people you meet.
10. Maintain integrity.
Only partner with brands you really believe in. Your readers will see right through it if you're writing a post only for the sponsorship dollars.
11. If you have a team, introduce them.
Either use formal profile shorts or images that bring out each team member's personality. Keep it real. Their profiles should tell their stories in ways that represents your blog and connect with your readers. Remember your branding, and focus on how each team member can specifically help readers in their respective bios.
12. Invest in quality.
Be sure that every part of your blog—including design, writing, sponsorships, and photography—radiate professionalism and quality. If it's a skill you don't have, find a way to hire or trade for the service.
13. Write a book.
Once upon a time, the privilege of becoming a published author was reserved for elite writers. But nowadays you can self-publish a book in a week or two if you have something to say and you use a platform like Amazon.com. Vanity publishing no longer carries a stigma. The digital age has given independent authors access to helpful tools and apps to produce perfection. But be warned! There's no automatic guarantee of a good product. You must produce a top quality, professional manuscript that has been properly formatted and carefully proofed.
14. Solicit reviews.
Once you've published a book, reviews aren't going to fall into your lap. You'll have to go out there and get them. Search platforms and marketplaces such as Amazon and look for top reviewers in your field. Write to them directly and offer a review copy. Join KDP Select and take advantage of your five “free” days—periods you can set yourself where you offer your book for free. Then announce your book, promote it vigorously, and ask for honest reviews.
15. Use targeted press releases.
Don't send out press release blasts. When you're soliciting coverage, write to bloggers and journalists personally and include a quick note as to why your news might be of interest specifically to them. Make sure you've read their previous work—bonus points if you can reference it in relation to your news.
16. Create a Facebook Group or Page.
Love it or hate it, Facebook is a fact of life. Many of your readers, clients, and customers already have a “home” on Facebook. So create a page for your blog and become a part of their everyday lives. Answer customer service questions quickly and directly. As potential customers and clients observe you and your interactions, they'll gain confidence in your ability.
17. Be positive.
Always strive to maintain a positive online presence. Don't get sucked into drama. You'd be amazed how many bloggers hurt their businesses years down the line by negativity on social networks. It leaves lasting impressions, even if your fans or followers are entertained or sympathetic to what you're saying. Note that this doesn't mean ignoring bad conditions completely—it means coming up with solutions, or showing people how you handle inconvenience with grace and humor.
18. Give it away.
The best way to get people promoting and recommending you is to provide valuable information they can use right away. Don't wait for sponsorships on every post. Fill your site with helpful content. When people see how valuable your insight is, it will be a boon for any other services you might offer, like styling, writing, or photography—as well as future sponsorships.
19. Would you let your mother read it?
What are you talking about? How are you describing it? Would you be embarrassed if your mother read your story or looked over your website? Would she agree that it's written in your natural voice? Using this test is an easy way to make sure you're always being real and authentic.
20. Seek feedback.
Everyone has a unique viewpoint. Be sure you have at least one extra pair of eyes on your blog to alert you to mistakes and blind spots, whether it's paying professionals for feedback or calling in favors from friends.
At the end of the day, you don't have to go to extravagant lengths to establish credibility. But be professional. Be authentic. Be focused on your reader. Have faith that in time, you reputation and credibility will see consistent growth.