How to use PR campaigns to build trust

by | Nov 11, 2020 | B2B PR Blog, Messaging development, Our PR approach, PR Campaign Planning

Trust is a precious commodity, developed and banked with your audience over the course of thousands of interactions and touchpoints.

The more honesty and helpfulness infused in each of these interactions, the more trust that is accumulated. Until eventually, you’ve transformed from an ambiguous stranger, to a helpful ally, and your audience are prepared to buy critical products and services from you.

In today’s world however, trust is in scarce supply. The 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer revealed that trust in businesses and governments has significantly eroded since 2012, with the tech sector suffering the largest loss of all.

PR is a powerful tool for building trust by communicating clear brand values and promoting positive engagement. PR campaigns aimed at building trust should be based on a three-step process of educating, influencing and persuading.

Educate with Thought Leadership

Strategic thought leadership content helps build your authority and establish your brand as a brand worth listening to.

White papers

White papers in the form of in-depth reports backed by original data, or guides showing a deep knowledge of the problem, can demonstrate understanding and build authority by helping your prospects to solve a problem or make a decision.

Thought leadership

Thought leadership content gives your company a chance to demonstrate its credibility and earn trust by sharing your expert opinions on industry topics. This might be through well-written articles placed in household publications which are read by the target audience or talks at well attended industry events. With the third-party endorsement of a prestigious publication or event, your business will have a trusted stamp of approval.

HP was the first company to hit one million followers on LinkedIn by posting relevant updates, industry insights, and inviting its audience to follow the page.

Microsoft has found great success building a community, by humanising the computer industry with real stories about employees on Instagram. In a series of social media posts, the software giant highlights the small ways that people are using Microsoft technology to change the world. They’ve created an important dialogue with customers by automating the brand-building approach by inviting its audience to share their own Microsoft stories and become mini-ambassadors for the brand.
Bosch sparked a dynamic discussion on Twitter by promoting the #LikeABosch hashtag, which turns otherwise unglamorous items like washing machines into a source of inspiration that creates prolonged interaction with their audience.

Persuade using free content

An audience that recognises your expertise and engages with you on social media can be drawn even further down your funnel, with strategic giveaways that demonstrate your value.


How-to guides show that you understand your audience’s pain points and gives them a small taste of what to expect when they work with you. While it might seem that you are giving away your expertise, you are in fact helping the audience to justify their investment in your offering by providing insights into their problem and a clearly articulated solution – best applied by you.

Tutorials and helpful content

Helpful social media posts and tutorial videos can fulfil a similar function, showcasing your expert knowledge and giving prospects the opportunity to ask questions and engage with your brand. Inbound marketing platform, Hubspot uses this strategy to great effect giving away interactive guides and free educational courses to demonstrate their expertise and encourage prospects to purchase a paid service. At the same time, the free content acts as a lead magnet helping to build an email list for future marketing campaigns.

In a similar way, internet marketing tools and Software-as-a-Service platforms like Dropbox and Trello often employ the “freemium” model – a combination of “free” and “premium” to build trust by giving away a basic level of service. This helps grow an audience by providing genuine value before pulling on their purse strings.

Once customers are comfortable on the platform using the free model, they are then more likely to trust the same company, when they need a more enhanced version, rather than switch over to a different brand.

EC-PR B2B PR Campaign Planning Guide Activate Cover

ACTIVATE B2B PR Campaign Planning

Your complete guide to creating compelling PR campaigns and content


As part of your PR planning, factor in the need to build trust. By educating your audience, engaging with them across different platforms, and addressing their needs, your brand and your company will soon have earned the trust required for a long-lasting relationship.

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THE HACK B2B PR: Write Press Releases That Get Published

Our expert B2B PR guide to creating a press release that editors want to publish.