30 Ways to Build the “Know, Like, and Trust” Factor that Grows an Audience

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Your content is good. You know your material. You know how to put words together in a way people want to read.

You’re nearly there.

But the game isn’t won yet.

No matter how strong a writer you are, you won’t grow the vibrant audience that supports your business until you fit one more piece into place.

Let’s take a look at what that might be …

The reality is, your audience won’t pick up real momentum until you’ve mastered the “know, like, trust” factor.

Face to face salespeople have known this for decades, but some content marketers are still struggling to get it right. Unlock this reader response for more comments, social shares, and followers. For invitations to guest post. And for a transformation in your blog, your business, and your reputation.


I hope so, because I’ve got 30 ideas for you …

10 ways to get known online

If you’re a Copyblogger reader, you know that high-quality content marketing attracts attention and builds your reputation — it lets people see who you are and why you’re worth listening to.

Your audience grows in proportion to the quality of content that you create and deliver.

How do you “become known?”

  1. Get clear on who you’re talking to: Don’t talk to “everybody”. Identify your buyer persona and tightly position your content for that buyer.
  2. Assert expertise in your niche: Use content to position and prove yourself as an authority. Give your ideas names and labels, and present formulas alongside empirical evidence. This approach has far more impact than simply spouting your opinion.
  3. Create the right content: Research, ask questions, and dig deep to ensure you create content your target niche wants to consume.
  4. Develop a valuable free product: Use it as an incentive to build your email list. Jon Morrow’s Headline Hacks is an excellent example. First discover what’s keeping your audience up at night, then offer a detailed solution packaged in an eBook, special report, or white paper.
  5. Encourage sharing to a wider audience: This expands your network and helps more people get to know you. Social media simplifies the mechanics of sharing, but to leverage its power you must be remarkable in some way … thought-provoking, engaging, stimulating, entertaining, etc.
  6. Build relationships with key influencers: In the authority stakes (as in all of professional life), who you know is almost as important as what you know. Use social networking and blog post commenting to attract the attention of influencers in your topic. Don’t be a suck-up, but do be smart and tactical. After all, you won’t be the only one vying for attention!
  7. Create a popular blog: Focus on your topic, express your personality, and use it as a base to express your unique perspective. Some great advice sites are out there to help you get better at this. I like Pushing Social and Boost Blog Traffic.
  8. Interview the experts. This proven technique lets you tap into the audience of an influencer (and cheekily position yourself with them).
  9. Guest blog: If you write articulate, interesting, and unique guest posts for relevant blogs, you can tap into a whole new audience. It’s the quickest way to get known by more people.
  10. Get creative: Content marketing isn’t all about the written word. You can explore webinars, product reviews, podcasts, infographics, white papers, ebooks, and video to name a few. What would appeal to your audience?

10 actions to build likeability online

Imagine two people with an identical product and an identical price.

One person comes across as boring and impersonal. The other is charming, interesting, and makes you feel good. Which one would you rather do business with?

A high profile alone is not enough to convert prospects into customers. You must also build relationships to nurture your likeability.

Here are ten ways to become better-liked online …

  1. Be authentic and express your unique voice through your content.
  2. Be real: If you come across as a dull, faceless company you’ll simply turn people off. Instead boost your popularity by writing with passion, sharing your stories, and getting personal.
  3. Be nice! It sounds obvious but unfortunately it isn’t. Don’t annoy or badmouth people. Be helpful, responsive, and generous with your time and your attention. Your audience will love you the more for it.
  4. Initiate a two-way conversation: Invite your audience to engage and interact with you. Invite comments on your blog posts and ask questions in your autoresponder sequence.
  5. Be relevant: Listen, research, and ask questions to discover your audience’s pinch points. Package your ideas into thought-provoking blog posts, share solutions on a webinar, or drip ideas through an autoresponder.
  6. Be visible: While the written word is powerful, it’s not the whole package. Incorporate video interviews, Google+ hangouts, and podcasts into your content marketing strategy. Allow your audience to hear you speak and see your body language.
  7. Put your face to your name: Remove the egg from your social media profile, display an engaging picture on your website, and tell your business story in a captivating way on your About page.
  8. Get your social media ratio right. Remember the 95% relationship building, 5% selling formula.
  9. Be generous: Share content and promote other people. Don’t expect people to share your stuff if you don’t demonstrate a commitment to do the same.
  10. Deliver social proof: If your numbers are good, show the tweets and shares of your articles or publicly state your subscriber numbers. Content that has attracted a lot of attention will attract even more.

10 factors that build trust with your audience

While you’re delivering your truly valuable content, you’re not selling, but you are paving the road to eventually selling a product that’s related to your content down the line. When it comes to selling online, authority and likeability alone are rarely enough — you need to become truly trusted.

Here’s ten ways to gain trust online …

  1. Give away (some of) your best stuff: The web is swamped with free content. If you want to stand out, even your free offers must be remarkable.
  2. Don’t disappoint: If you say you’ll post an article every day, post an article every day. Break your promises and your credibility evaporates.
  3. Be consistently good: Train your audience to expect a certain level of quality from you and constantly deliver. When you do, they’ll come to you first rather than going elsewhere.
  4. Incorporate testimonials: Let a third party vouch for you by sharing their experience of your work in their own words. It’s a great way to demonstrate how you deliver a positive experience.
  5. Use case studies: Real-world stories give examples (and proof) of your work and demonstrate your capability.
  6. Don’t steal: While it’s wise to be open to ideas that you tweak to make your own, never plagiarize. It’s wrong. (It’s also stupid and counterproductive.)
  7. Avoid jargon and pompous language: Keep it simple, be approachable, and cut the rubbish. We have inbuilt BS detectors and are adept at sniffing out the bad eggs.
  8. Apologize when you need to: You’re not always going to get it right. When you make a mistake, put your hand up, acknowledge the error, and state plainly that you’re sorry. Your audience will respect you far more than that futile attempt to hide it away.
  9. Give your audience space: Use content to allow your audience to choose you — in their own time. Whether they come to you in a day, a week, or a decade, you’ll get far more respect than that sleazy salesman who just won’t go away.
  10. Offer guarantees. When your audience is ready to buy, reduce their risk. For example, offer a 30-day trial, or money back guarantee. Your sales will benefit.

Over to you …

When you combine the elements of know, like, and trust to your content and actions, magic ignites. You become an authority on your subject, and you build a tribe of fiercely loyal followers who can ultimately become loyal customers.

But results like these take time and effort. You need to put the work in — to fight hard for your space. And you can never give up.

I’m game.

How about you?

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Reader Comments (88)

  1. says

    Georgina, recently I watched a series of videos posted by Michael Hyatt. I had read his book (Platform) and I occasionally read his blog, but honestly, I wasn’t a true fan – until now.

    In his first video, he shares with his audience how it took him 4 years to reach to a point where he was getting a decent amount of traffic. FOUR YEARS. In today’s age where you hear bloggers boasting how they skyrocketed their traffic to 10,000+ subscribers within a year, it is so refreshing. I immediately took a liking to him. Not only he is being honest, but he is also putting himself out there for others and showing us his vulnerability. To me this is instant likeability.

    And this is what has made the most impact on me. You have to be willing to share your glory and not-so-finest moments. You have to show you are human. That’s the only way you stand a chance.

    Fantastic post. Really enjoyed reading it.

    • says

      Hi Marya, thanks for your comment. I know some audiences do grow quickly but as you say most others can take a long time. It means earning that know, like, trust factor can be an emotional journey full of ups and downs. I so agree, it can be challenging to show you’re “real” by sharing the not-so-good stuff along with the bits you want everyone to know. And I guess that’s the joy of building your audience through content marketing, there are so many opportunities to drip your story as it develops. I’m glad you liked the post :-)

    • says

      Just by your comments, i have started liking him. All those webmasters nowadays are going through a rat race to stay ahead of each one by any means, and in such instance getting to know someone who has really grown himself with time and foundation is so great. Just going down to my “new tab” to know more about him. And thanks for the mention if the book- Platform. I am eager to go through that once.

    • says

      Thanks very much :-) I love that there are so many ways you can grow your audience and get known, liked and trusted because it means you are bound to find something that works for you.

  2. says

    This tips are priceless! After reading this and talking to a few others I am going to have to fully start putting my face to my name. This is one thing that I have been shy of doing, and it’s time for me to start showing people that I am a real person. After reading this list you have kicked me into action and some real simple steps that I need to start following today!

    Thanks for sharing,


    P.S. next time I blog comment you should see a new avatar :)

  3. says

    Good post! I think the key is a mixture of insightful and engaging information, with making sure that you take your own advice when it comes to customers and clients. Every time you write industry tips, etc. you’re raising your standards, which is a good thing (as long as you meet them).

    • says

      Hi Matt, yes that’s a great point about meeting your own standards. After all, if you don’t, you can undermine your own authority and potentially damage your relationship with your audience.

  4. says

    Wow.. this list is comprehensive I don’t think I can add one more. I guess, the bar is set higher this time and businesses should stop thinking of endless ways to game the system. Quality content is called for and people are smarter this time. Trust is earned.. so dress the part, I’d say. Thanks for sharing these tips, anyway!

    • says

      Hi Shaleen, thanks for your comment. You make a very good point. If you want to embrace content marketing and use it to grow your business, it makes sense to do it right by giving the strategy the right amount of attention and focus. Quality content that engages your target audience can take time to create, but do it properly and the results speak for themselves.

  5. says

    This is the most comprehensive list I’ve read for a while. Congratulations! I’ve bookmarked it as one of my ‘great articles’ to refer back to. There are so many ideas here that small business and new bloggers like myself can takeaway. Thank you!

  6. says

    Great list for building that all important Trust . People trust copyblogger so they read most of what is written. People trust Seth Godin and others like that too. We all have the people we trust. I remember sitting with my mother watching Oprah and my mother told me that she hated the woman but here she was watching the program. Trust is different from liking. And to build that trust as you said takes TIME.

    • says

      Hi Roberta, thanks for your comment. You’ve made a great point that trust and likability are two very different things. I really believe it’s when the combination of having authority, likability and trust combine together that the magic happens and that most definitely takes time.

  7. says

    I just paid over $2,000 and spend almost a year uncovering the 30 ideas you just posted here. Too bad it’s illegal (and immoral) to steal content because these 30 ideas would be the perfect free product e-book for the newbie blogger to offer on their blossoming blog.

    Another idea to get known online with key influencers is to consistently show up and rally support. If an influencer is holding a webinar, show up and ask questions. If an influencer has guest posted on another blog, go over and read the post and leave a thought provoking comment. If an influencer has been instrumental in some aspect of your business/blog growth, give them a shout out (and make sure you tag them so they’ll know.)

    Scott Stratten of Unmarketing.com asks for fans to put a link to their Amazon Wish Lists during Christmas on his Facebook post. A TON of people did and Scott bought one item off that list and had it shipped to the fan. I received a set of blocks for my son. I took a picture of my son with the blocks, wrote “Thank You Mr. Scott” on the photo and posted it on his Page. I then posted it on my own wall for all of my friends to see (and made sure to tag Scott and his Unmarketing page.) Scott saw it and came over and commented on my personal status update. I got noticed because of his gesture of goodwill.

    • says

      Hi Colleen. Thanks for your comment. Jon Morrow wrote a great post here on Copyblogger about the importance of networking and the fact that a blog will often grow specifically because of who you know. Your tips for engaging with key influencers are really good and I’ve certainly got results from exploring some of them :-)

  8. says

    Wow Georgina how can I say it? What a superb and very timely post for me. Of all the excellent 30 points the one that really hit me the hardest as a dose of reality was number 16 – Be Visible!
    As a Thai lady I have always be concerned about my English language skills (actually using a dictionary right now!) and relied mainly on the written word rather than video or podcasts etc. But after reading this post all over again I am determined to give it a go and see what happens! Thanks for sharing so many great tips

    • says

      Hi Amnuai, great stuff. I think that’s the key, you’ve got to be prepared to take risks and experiment to see what works with your particular audience. I’ve found I’ve got more of a connection with people when I’ve heard them speak on things like webinars and Hangouts so it’s definitely worth exploring further. Good luck :-)

  9. says

    Building integrity in your blog should be the primary concern for every blogger! When you post things that can help people, you slowly begin to build an audience that can trust you. When the time comes to place that affiliate link or review of a product, people will purchase just because of the trust they have in you solely.

  10. says

    The more I looked at this article the clearer it became to me that all we really have to do is “pretend” we are dealing with real people and NOT numbers. For example, would you NOT consider it rude to NOT allow a response from the other party when you are having a conversation in real life? Wouldn’t it be rude for you to refuse to answer their questions? Would you try that if you were selling face to face?

    My point: Let us always remember that there are real people behind those screens and it would unconsciously start practicing most of the 30 tips mentioned in this article.

    • says

      Hi Chimezirim, what you say is so important. One of my favourite bloggers has a very detailed reader persona that he refers to and pictures each time he writes. The persona even has a name, he knows his niche that well. The beauty of this approach is, as a reader, when I read his work, I feel as if he is talking directly to me. As such, I’m hooked :-)

  11. says

    Bookmarking! I enjoyed reading it considering the details and all. I’ll try to apply all the things I’ve read in this article. Thank you so much for sharing the information!

  12. says

    The hardest thing for most bloggers and writers to do is to imagine their audience. That’s because we’re taught craft over marketing but as most bloggers soon learn, it’s all connected. Once we stop babbling to ourselves, we can actually connect and those connections build brands.

    • says

      Hi Rachel, thanks for your comment and for making this important point. It’s not enough to write great content. In addition you have to write great content for a particular audience that you know inside out. If you fail to do that you’re not going to get the results you desire. That’s why a lot of the top bloggers spend so much of their time actively talking to real people. It’s the best way to get good, fast.

  13. says

    Hi Georgina ,
    Brilliant article Georgina . I like the way you have covered a great point with a professional approach.I like the way you deliver the article into Know ,like and Trust”

    Great article!
    Thank You
    Shorya Bist
    From Youthofest

  14. says

    Hi Georgina,

    You have done an awesome job in breaking down and transparently sharing the important ways to get known online, build likeability and build trust. All of them are spot-on.

    However, when it comes to building likeability and trust, I would like to add an extremely important missing ingredient which is writing with passion.

    However clichey or boring this may sound, I must say over and over that passion sells because it does. And, as you know, for you to be able to sell anything to anybody on earth you at least have to be likeable and trust-worthy in the first place.

    And, one of the key ingredients that makes you likeable and trust-worthy is exactly your passion about what you’re writing or sharing with somebody in addition to all the other important elements that you’ve brilliantly presented as the ways to build likeability and trust that are absolutely spot-on.

    By the way, writing with passion has been a life-changing light-bulb moment to me as someone who’s been struggling online for years because I’ve lately made my first sale on the internet.

    The way I did it is quite simply by writing a passion-filled content that resonated with my readers and also offered a practical solution to solving their problem at the same time.

    Finally, I’d just like to add something else that goes hand in hand with passion, and that is your firm belief or faith in what you are writing about. Because I honestly feel that if it wasn’t for that crucial combination of my great passion and my firm belief in my own content, I wouldn’t have made my first sale online.


    • says

      Hi Bruno, thanks for your great comment. You’re so right about passion. I think you can really feel it when a person writes with authenticity and a firm belief in the message they are trying to communicate. What’s more, as a reader, you feed off someone else’s passion. It can motivate and uplift you. One of my favourite posts for evoking passion is Jon Morrow’s Fighting For Your Ideas post http://www.copyblogger.com/fight-for-your-ideas.

  15. says

    Thank you for providing these great reminders on how to build your “know, like, and trust factor.”

    I’m a graduate of Jon Morrow’s GuestBlogging course and recommend it to anyone who wants to guest blog. Not only will the course help you to build your “know, like, and trust factor,” it will stretch your writing skills. Most guest bloggers, including me, spend seven or more hours writing a guest blog post. Why? Because each guest post must be tailored to a blog’s audience and well written. It’s important that you read the blogs you want to guest post for to make sure you know and understand ‘who’ the audience is. And remember… blog owners have different guidelines. Please read and pay attention to them. I know one blog owner who had to repeatedly tell a blogger that the maximum word count was 500 words. I’m surprised the blogger was still allowed to submit his post.

    Building your online presence may take some time but have patience, everything will come together in due time. :)

    • says

      Hi Amandah, I’ve done Jon Morrow’s course too and like you highly recommend it. And thanks for pointing out the importance of spending time on your work. I think it was Nathaniel Hawthorne that said “easy reading is damn hard writing”. So true!

  16. says

    Some of the things you put here really resonated with me. It’s not the greatest feeling to give something that took a lot of work away for free, but you’ve made a very compelling argument. I’ve added this blog to the ones I follow, and I hope to read more good info from you in the future.

  17. says

    I’ve actually found that creating a “for sale” product, over a “freebie” has worked better (for me at least). People value things if they have to pay for them, and it seems everyone nowadays has a freebie or some incentive (especially for signing up for a mailing list). I get more traction in terms of interview requests, work requests and my business/products being shared on social media when I release products people have to actually PAY for.

    • says

      Hi Paul, thanks for your comment. I think you’ve made a very interesting point and there’s definitely a lot of truth in people valuing something more if they’ve chosen to invest in it. I guess it depends what action you’re asking your reader to take. I reckon a freebie still works well for say enticing subscribers to your list for example, but asking them to make a small investment instead of offering a free trial of a product or service could prove to be more effective. It’s definitely worth testing.

  18. Ana says

    Georgina, I liked this post so much I’ve quoted from it in a piece of my own on a related issue. It’s not yet published and my blog isn’t up yet, so I’m trying to guest-post it somewhere. Of course you are mentioned as the author, but how do I properly attribute the quote publicly to this post and site? I wasn’t sure how to handle that whole thing format-wise.

    Sorry for asking such a basic question here, but maybe the answer will help some other beginner too.
    Great work!

    • says

      Hi Ana, thanks for your question. I’m not sure there’s an exact convention out there but I normally write the blog title and add a link to the post from that. You could also say something like “in a recent Copyblogger (add link) post, Georgina El Morshdy said…

      And good luck with your guest post. It’s a great strategy to adopt :-)

      • Ana says

        Thank you, Georgina. Right now I’m using the piece as one of my writing samples for an upcoming job interview. I did the “In a recent post in Copyblogger.com …,” but I was unable to add the link to Copyblogger as I was writing the article in Word. Only your name automatically provided a link, so I kept that.

        Later, when I post the piece as a guest blog post or elsewhere, I hope to find a way to add the link to Copyblogger.

  19. says

    Great post. I would disagree with the guest blogging being the fastest way to getting known online, though. It’s not doubt a powerful strategy but you’re not guaranteed to get picked up by a “Copyblogger” publication. I could flip a switch tomorrow and have my face in front of tens of thousands on Facebook with their ad platform. Better to buy critical mass and public opinion if you have the budget.

    • says

      Hi Matthew, thanks for your comment. For sure ads work and can get you in front of lots of people very quickly, however you could argue building an audience through guest blogging and content marketing is more effective at building your authority because of the relationship you start to create. I think guest blogging works because you’re not just dependent on your own audience, but have the opportunity to tap into someone else’s. But you’re right, it’s also about getting the right gig and that can take time to achieve.

  20. says

    Is it my morning coffee or your article? I have several smashing ideas emerging after reading your post. One is to work more on what I started: interviews with experts. I have several ideas and can’t wait to reach out to some of the experts.

    I’ve just started a process of identifying appropriate places for me to guest blog. I create ice breakers and simple team building activities to help people be more productive together. If you have any ideas for me, I’d love you forever! Or, I could provide you with some ideas to take the Death out of meetings you must attend. Thanks!

    • says

      That’s awesome Darcie :-). Glad you’ve got some ideas from this post and I think expert interviews will be a good strategy. Sounds like you need to find some business sites to guest on. What’s your buyer persona?

      • says

        My buyers are people who lead teams: managers, supervisors, team leaders, facilitators. I provide ice breaker products and ideas to rev up the torturous meetings that most people in the business world must endure. I’ve been speaking in front of audiences who experience death by meetings on a regular basis. My ideas are simple, inexpensive and bring long term results toward getting people better connected. Any ideas? Thanks!

  21. says

    Hi Georgina!

    What a great post and detailed points. This 30 things are really helpful to increase online presence of internet marketer. Yes building trust is important and one should put 95% effort to build relationship without which no body can able to sale online.

  22. Chris Sanchez says

    Excellent post!

    I really liked how you led in with the fact that salespeople have known this for decades. I’ve been in sales for “over” a decade and somewhat new to content marketing.

    Thank you for articulating the natural sales (relationship) process that takes place in building awareness, interest, and trust.



  23. says

    We’ve just started our first blog and these tips are magical. Thank you. Would appreciate any feedback for improvement and thanks again for the advice. Will use it.

  24. says

    Wow. All I can say is wow. That was one of the most insightful articles I’ve ever read about how to build trust, like and credibility online. You have really done your homework and put out some great stuff. These are some of the things that I strive to do and definitely want to do more for my readers as well. Keep up the awesome work and keep the great writing going because the internet needs you.

  25. says

    Hi Georgina! Excellent post! Of course, as you pointed out, that missing piece is the hardest one to master. I love your ideas for getting known and building likeability. It’s a little different for each person as we all have to discover what resonates best with us.
    For the social media ratio, I’ve also heard 90% relationship building, 10% selling for the formula. Not sure if 5% makes a big difference. What are your thoughts?
    Thanks again for an informative article!

    • says

      Hi Lisa, thanks for your comment. I agree, you need to figure out what works for you and your audience and acknowledge your uniqueness. In terms of social media ratios I quoted Sonia Simone’s 95 / 5%. I’m sure the odd few percent doesn’t make that much difference, the key is to ensure you’re always looking to engage and stimulate conversation and discussion. It’s the best way to build your audience as well as getting to know them (which let’s face it is the starting point of any marketing activity). Also, if people are engaged, I think they’re more likely to listen when you do have something to sell, promote or market. What do you think?

  26. says

    Hi Georgina. Thanks for the great article. I think we’ve all heard the phrase “know, like and trust” and whilst we’d all agree with with, achieving it is something else. I’ve lost count of the number of articles I read on the know part, but the like and trust are noticeable by their absence. Thanks again.

    • says

      Thanks for your feedback. I think to get the real benefit of this essential element you really do need to nail all three. The knowing bit is sometimes easier as I think the like and trust element take longer to build up.

  27. Sheetal Sharma says

    I agree with all the points mentioned in this post, these 30 ways will definitely help me in growing my online audience at Synechron where i work for Global Marketing and Communication team.

  28. says

    Hi Georgina,

    I find it really interesting how people are now talking more about ‘Trust and Authority’ & ‘Know, Like & Trust’ like these are the latest catch-phrases we should be focusing on. But it’s always been about this. Good business has always been about being genuine and about caring about relationships. So I find it fascinating this ground-swell of articles and talk on the topic.

    That being said, I did enjoy reading your article and have to agree with your points generally, though I’d say it comes down to something very simple. If you are anything of an authority in your field, whatever that is, then surely it’s just about saying what it is that you have to say, being confident (but not arrogant) about it and looking to help people and build relationships wherever you can.

    I’m not so sure about the great free products & encouraging social sharing – I’m sure these help (and broadly fall under helping people/adding value anyway) but for me it’s just about being genuine & helping people if you can – and always has been 😉

  29. says

    Thanks Georgina for a few extra tips. My blog is still fairly new compared to other blogs, but with the right frame of mind and employing your tips, with time mine and I’m sure everyone else’s blog will grow from strength to strength. Keep up with the good content!

  30. says

    These are great ideas, I have such a hard time balance social media interaction as personal AND “business” . I write mainly reviews and if readers are not in the market to buy, well they don’t really read so I am trying to find others ways to interact and keep attention!

  31. says

    great list of actionable tips.

    especially point 1 “know your audience” is really important. that’s why you hear people saying “choose a niche you like”. not because you know a lot about the niche already (you can learn about a topic rather fast), it’s because you know how the audience “ticks” since you’re a part of it.

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