How to use PR campaigns to build trust
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 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 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.
Influence on social media
Social media is one of the best PR tools that your brand has available to influence customers and demonstrate trustworthiness.
This was quantified in a study by the International Journal of Research in Marketing, which found social media can help improve brand customer relationships by helping consumers to associate human characteristics with brands.
By opening up a two-way street for communication, social media gives brands the opportunity to build trust and grow a community. Demonstrating expertise in this informal setting can help your brand to shake off the corporate mask, share a behind-the-scenes look at your business with your audience, and win a great reputation by quickly responding to customer service requests.
Several pioneering tech firms have given clear examples of how to build trust across a broad audience by using social media. For example:
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.
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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READ this Tech PR case study: How SELiS used press interviews to show Thought Leadership
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