How to show you’re a reliable source

August 21, 2018 5:03 pm

Want to cultivate a reputation as a reliable, credible organisation? Give some thought not only to what information you provide, but to how you provide it.

If you regularly publish information online – whether in the form of blog posts for a general audience, media materials for the industry press, or research notes and white papers for customers and prospects – you invest a lot of effort and time into those resources. And you’ll maximise the return on those investments by presenting that information in the right way.

Whoever your audience is, your goal should be sending a message that says: “You can trust what you hear from us.” And you do that in part by presenting information that’s clear, honest, vetted and easy to find:

  • Be transparent – Schoolteachers regularly instruct their students to “show your work”. That’s good advice for enterprises too. By showing how you calculated certain statistics or arrived at certain findings and conclusions, you bolster the case you are trying to make.
  • Be open – You’re a business. Of course, you’re going to try to persuade prospects and customers to do business with you, rather than with a competitor. Acknowledge this and don’t try to pretend otherwise. But also make it clear you aim to be honest and helpful in your efforts to persuade people that you’re their best choice. The next point relates to this.
  • Acknowledge the inconvenient – Not every study or news story will be favorable to the case you’re trying to make to prospects and customers. Don’t ignore inconvenient truths. (People are certain to hear them eventually anyway.) Address bad news and negative developments upfront, and say how you’ll work to make things better.
  • Choose your sources carefully – The internet is an invaluable tool for research. But it can also be a swamp of misinformation – one where you can find a source to validate any argument, no matter how awful and untrue. When looking for online allies to support your claims, always dig a bit deeper to make sure those sources are themselves reliable.
  • Make information easy to find – When you provide data from surveys or studies, include a link to those sources, whether they’re on your site or someone else’s. And be sure the link you use goes to the actual data you’re citing, rather than to a home page or press page. People find it annoying to have to hunt for information that should be readily available.
  • Be consistent – If you can establish a track record of providing good, reliable information on a regular basis, people will know to come back to you as a source time and again.
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