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How to Rapidly Build Trust, Credibility, and Authenticity Through Your Content

How to Rapidly Build Trust, Credibility, and Authenticity Through Your Content

When it comes to powerful branding in tech, Apple is nearly unrivaled. This best-in-class giant owes its lofty positioning to the magnetic genius of Steve Jobs, whose vision and iconic personality attracted industry-leading talent and media attention.

What core principle of human psychology did Jobs understand to make this happen? He unlocked for a tech company what used to only be the realm of TV stars, celebrities, and sports teams: the power of a personal brand in business.

But how can you use the digital tools available in today’s arena to grow your personal brand and attract more talent and sales?

It all revolves around building trust, credibility, and authenticity with people that come into contact with you and your company. This can best be achieved through a six-step process that industry leaders Kat Maningo, Grant Lira, and Gavin Lira from The Empathy Firm have used to help create notable personal brands.

[Related: Yes, You Have a Brand - Even If You Don’t Know It, Like It, Or Wish It Were Otherwise]

Four list content strategy.

This process involves creating four lists that direct how you create your content: your assets, advantages, connection points, and associations. Together, these lists can be used powerfully in conjunction to build trust, credibility, and authenticity with those who consume your content.

Asset list.

Your asset list is comprised of anything that you have that your audience wants. The elements contained can be dream homes and cars, but the meat of this list includes more meaningful resources, like a good relationship with family, a successful business, staff, a travel-friendly lifestyle.

Advantages list.

This list includes everything that sets you apart from your competition. This is an opportunity to share your unique life experiences: accomplishments, survivals, victories.

Examples of accomplishments might be that you were featured in a large press, or you achieved amazing results in your line of work. Examples of what you’ve gone through might be coming back from homelessness or a failed business venture.

Connection points list.

This is the most important of the four lists. Start by listing all the opportunities you have to build a relationship with your audience. Include hobbies like golf, basketball, juggling, video games, and running.

Your origin is a crucial part of your narrative to share; it gives depth to where you are now. People trust more easily when they know a person’s past and context. Some people will strongly resonate with and be inspired by you if they have a similar origin.

The struggles you encounter are part of this list as well. Sharing your struggles is a great way to get vulnerable and build trust, connection, and authenticity. Ask yourself what you struggle with. Maybe it’s mental health, working out consistently, biting your nails, or public speaking. People relate deeply to those with similar struggles.

Feature points of your life are the last part of this list. These are things like sports teams, pets, your favorite foods, and favorite places. When you share a common feature point with someone, it leads to them liking you more because they see a bit of themselves in you.

Associations list.

Think about this list like this: If you were the main character of a TV show, your associations list would be your supporting cast. This includes your mentors, peers, clients, mentees, family, friends, people you help, and co-workers. The point of you sharing this is to show people who you respect, help, and have fun with so that way they know some of what you stand for.

[Related: Make a Name for Yourself: Leverage Your Personal Brand for Business Growth]

How to use these lists in your content.

Applying these lists correctly within your content is the key. You’ll be ineffective trying to relate to everyone at once. Aim at relating to a small subset of your content consumers very deeply.

Your assets list and your advantages list should never be posted alone, as this is just bragging. Take an item from each list and find a way to tie them together to create a story arc.

For example:

I used to be homeless (advantage list), but now I live in a gated neighborhood (asset list).

This says to your audience, “if I can do it, you can too,” and allows for an appropriate way to show what you’ve accomplished without coming off like you’re bragging.

Associations list can be posted independently, but to be effective it’s important to give context illuminating why these people are important in your life.

Connection points are versatile. You can share these wherever you see fit.

Optimizing for first impressions.

As human beings, we necessarily make assumptions to manage the complexity of the world around us. This starts happening as soon as we encounter someone new.

Most people don’t want to be put in a box by others, but if you’re smart, you’ll have a box of your own making for people to sort you into. Consciously building your personal brand primes others for how to view and treat you.

Let’s use Gary Vaynerchuck’s strategy as an example. He started out in wine (advantage list). He’s an immigrant (connection points list). His parents influenced him heavily as he grew up (associations list). He runs a marketing company (asset list). He loves the New York Jets (connection points list).

What else do you know about Gary? Probably not much. That’s on purpose. This strategy allows people to quickly feel like they know you and put you in a favorable box.

The right time.

The dawn of the creator economy has arrived, and there’s never been a better time in history to have an online brand. Once you get your content strategy rolling, it will provide you with a powerful platform that can help you sell more and attract talent to your company. Start today and take small consistent action in content creation to see your efforts pay off.

[Related: Six Proven Steps for Small Businesses to Stand Out on Social Media]


Alexandria Smith is a member of Ellevate Network's Chicago and Madison chapters.

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