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How to Build Credibility as a Young Blogger/Entrepreneur

Aditya.jpgThis post was written by Aditya Mahesh, founder of AMBeat.com, a complete resource for entrepreneurs complete with advice articles, start-up profiles, interviews, news analysis, and more. Note: I (Darren) have added a few thoughts below Aditya’s post.

When it comes to the blogosphere it may be all about the content, but when it comes to content, credibility is king. Credibility can make or break a blog. Take a look at the successful blogs out there; TechCrunch, ProBlogger, Shoemoney, Huffington Post, Mashable, and the list goes on. What do all these blogs have in common? They are written by credible sources people trust as experts in their niche.

Building credibility is a crucial part of any business or blog. It is a process that requires tireless effort and can take months or years to build. In my opinion, your credibility is by far the greatest asset you have as a blogger, regardless of your monthly page views, RSS subscriber count, or even ad revenues.

While building credibility is difficult for anyone, it is especially difficult for young entrepreneurs who may still be completing college or even high school. Society seems to have this misconception that credibility and wisdom come with age and the older one is the more credible they are. Young entrepreneurs and bloggers definitely have to work harder to build their credibility, but speaking as the founder of a successful public relations firm I started as a freshman in high school at the age of 14, it is by no stretch of the imagination impossible for student entrepreneurs to brand themselves as credible resources.

Here are a four ways I built up my credibility:

1. Always Provide Quality

The best thing you can do regardless of age to build credibility is to always deliver a quality product. When I ran my public relations firm I did the best job possible for all clients. Hence, they provided my service with positive reviews and recommended me to their peers. This word-of-mouth marketing was crucial to the success of the firm. In the blogosphere, focus on the quality of your posts and the content you provide. Over time, if you consistently provide quality output, no one will care how old you are.

2. Associate yourself with Industry Leaders

One of the best ways to build credibility is to associate yourself with leaders in your industry. In the blogosphere this can be done through guest posts on larger blogs, inviting industry leaders to exclusive interviews on your blogs, and networking at industry events. While these leaders may be hesitant to work with young entrepreneurs at first, if you showcase the skills you possess, either by writing a quality guest post or asking for an interview with fresh unique questions, any doubts over age will disappear. In addition, this is a great way to build a network of mentors. Everyone likes it when someone else looks up to them. I have used my age to build a network of mentors for my personal success and my blogs.

3. Use your Age to your Advantage

While there are a decent amount of young entrepreneurs, your age still makes you unique and you can use this to your advantage. How many times have you seen large Tier-1 newspapers or magazine such as the New York Times, Business Week, Entrepreneur Magazine, Inc Magazine, Fast Company, and countless others feature pieces on young entrepreneurs? Business Week’s 25 under 25 which showcases 25 successful entrepreneur sunder the age of 25 or Inc’s 30 Under 30 which does the same for 30 entrepreneurs under the age of 30. When you pitch your business or blog to Tier 1 media for news coverage, your age makes your pitch unique and increases the chances of someone picking up the story.

Getting coverage in Tier 1 media is one of the best ways to become a credible source and using your age as a differentiation point can help you get coverage.

4. Lead you Peers

One of the most effective ways I have built up my credibility is to work in leadership positions with my peers and make them loyal followers of my blog or business. I am currently a sophomore at UC Berkeley and am teaching a course on entrepreneurship to other Berkeley undergraduates.

Teaching this course has helped me garner the attention of students on campus, entrepreneurs in the Berkeley community, and media outlets all which help my credibility as a blogger and entrepreneur.

In addition I am using promoting content from my blog in the course in effect building up a devoted reader base in my students.

Final Words

Overall, building credibility does not happen overnight. It will take a lot of time and dedication. If you are a young entrepreneur it can be especially difficult. However, if you follow the tips above it should put you on the right path to branding yourself as a credible resource.

A Note from Darren: I think that Aditya is right on the money with his advice here. I’ve watched a number of young bloggers do quite well for themselves over the years by taking the above approach. To reiterate what Aditya has said:

1. Quality Matters – if you help someone or provide them with something that enhances their lives in some way then you’ll win respect with most people no matter what your situation is.

2. Associate with Industry Leaders – I think this one is particularly useful. It might take a little time to get on their radar but if you can position yourself near and even get endorsement and support from them you will not only learn a lot but others will take note. I’ve seen a number of young bloggers break into their niches by doing this.

3. Use Your Age to Your Advantage – don’t just do this in main stream media – if you’re young and pitching other blogs with guest posts, take the ‘young person’s view’ or the ‘a 15 year olds advice on….’ type approach with your articles. Again – this is something that I’ve seen get young bloggers standing out form the crowd.

4. Leading Your Peers – another useful point. Become an industry leader in your own peer group and in time as you all grow older you’ll still be positioned as one.

My last two pieces of advice are:

A) to persist and not get bogged down by those who look down on you because you’re young. You will find that some people will be reluctant to put their trust in you because you’re young. Don’t get bogged down in this or let it slow you down – move on, keep being useful and building what you’ve set out to build.

B) to have youthful exuberance and enthusiasm but to lose the youthful arrogance – by no means do all young people suffer with this problem but I have vivid memories of a few that do. Yes you’re young, yes you may know what you’re talking about – but don’t feel that if someone says ‘no’ to you that they’re doing it just because you’re young – other factors could be at play. By all means be enthusiastic and follow your dreams – but keep in mind that humility counts for a lot and those ‘older folk’ around you might actually know a thing or two that you’re yet to discover. There’s a fine line somewhere there – try to find it and walk on it!

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Getting credibility is very important, but once you build it, or while you are building it, there will be people who will start to crush you down not because they doesn’t like you but they doesn’t agree with you.

    I had two case and one of them was just recently, when people disagree on what you said, they start to comment on your article and giving bad credits to you, you see this people are people who do not had a positive mind set.

    I personally feel being open and positive is a great element in getting credibility, so if you had get all the credibility, make sure to protect it or else there will be people who just wants to destroy you just because they disagree one word you say.

  2. Twitter Tips says:

    I’m a young blogger, and I’m doing my best to provide quality content. My readers like it and they always provide feedback! That’s great.

  3. Robby G says:

    all great tips and these are all extremely effective.

  4. Salman says:

    Hi Darren
    Superb post to help newbie bloggers to become entrepreneurs.

    Regards
    Salman
    http://www.tips4blogging.co.cc

  5. Hey guys I am the author of this post, if you have any questions shoot and I’ll get back to you ASAP

  6. @TheBadBlogger

    You can’t always get people to agree with what you say but blogs ARE all about conversation. However, there are a lot of people who hide behind the computer and are not constructive at all…you cant let these people bother or deter you

  7. @Twittertips, RobbyG, Salman

    Thanks!

  8. Eric Uhlir says:

    Darren this is something I am trying to build with my own blog. I think another thing to add in there is to show off your success. If you are being successful in what you are saying then people will listen if they know you are actually doing what you say. Hopefully my own startup I am working on will be successful and enough to push me higher into the credibility category.

  9. Asswass says:

    There are a lot young entrepreneurs out there with great content and great success stories. In this business age definitely doesn’t matter.

  10. Good advice, but what about us “old” and yet, new entrepreneurs? lol – I’m 50 and just starting out. Some people think I’m too old, but I’m a young-at-heart sort and I just refuse to get discouraged!

  11. I am only 15 years old and I have two blogs and am currently building up my freelance web design business. I read through this whole article, and I agree with every last word you said! I have gone through plenty of misfortunes due to my age, but I think I am doing well for myself with all of these challenges as just a 15 year old kid.

    Cliche or not, I really want to keep doing this stuff when I get out of High School, so I am going to take this advice seriously and work towards that goal.

    Started your business at 14 huh? Pretty impressive, Aditya!

  12. India Abraod says:

    A good piece of advice Aditya and thanks Dareen for your add-ons.
    http://www.theindiansabroad.com

  13. Being young in this business is great, because if you’re good as a little fellow, you’ll be great when you become one of those “old folks” Besides that, I just have to say… don’t let power go up your head! Just because you’re young and good, doesn’t mean you’re the best! Keep humble and prosper!

  14. Ugo onah says:

    This post is a relief to me; just when i need it. I, being a sixteen year old, African blogger, i’ve always felt like giving in on my blogging.
    I’ve understood that success with the blogs is a long term stuff, and am in, but i was begining to loose hope due to certain actions “against” me that i do view as segregational…

    Nevertheless, am charged by this post and would kick-back. It’s now obvious that i’ve been doing things wrong. Maybe i should be outsourcing mentors. Thanks darren and AM for this hot collabo…”i hope my comment don’t get deleted as usual”

  15. Ethan says:

    You had some great things to say here Aditya.

    I also really appreciate Darren’s comments at the end regarding arrogance. I would say that arrogance is one of the most difficult things for me to curb. I think arrogance is more or less a result of my (and others) want to get more well known. A lot of times perceived arrogance is actually just the young blogger looking to get recognized and respected for what they write – yet I do realize that is no excuse to be arrogant.

    Thanks again for the thoughts.

  16. One of the beauties of the blogging world is that it levels the playing field somewhat in terms of age. Credibility and quality content count – whether you’re young or old – new or seasoned.

    Good advice here for the young’uns and also good reminders for those of us who may be a little further over the hill not to make judgments. As always, the important mantra seems to be quality, quality, quality.

  17. Dave Doolin says:

    This is good advice for anyone starting out in a new venture, at any age.

    Joella, I’m 48 and retraining myself. I see it as a 5 year effort, so I am taking it “easy” while working 12 hours per day!

  18. I’ve been on the web, designing sites and selling products, since the mid 90s, but only have I recently started blogging, and agree that credibility is very important, I consider myself as an average guy, but an avid Internet user, so I always give blogs I read a chance and add them to my RSS reader, but after a few posts if they aren’t creating quality or they are just spitting out what others are saying they get removed pretty quickly.

    So I know others will do the same to my blogs. Around my inner circle I’m the go to guy for anything computer or Internet related, as well as Blackberry related, and I’d like to expand that to my web circle.

    Anyways I’ve been reading ProBlogger for a while, but didn’t know about AM Beat, so I’ve added that to my reader and hopefully will learn some good stuff from Aditya, because this post was interesting.

  19. KampungBoy says:

    Act…..must control and update own blog consistently

  20. Stef says:

    Great info. Hey everyone, I am a 12 year old blogger, and I have a fundraiser that needs raising. To visit my site, go to: http://www.laptopmemo.com

  21. @Eric: for sure past success is a fantastic way to build credibility
    @Aswass: amen
    @Blog Angel: thats great to hear…its never too late to start!

  22. @Alex: Thanks!
    @Daniel: I agree completely…you always have to keep working to better yourself
    @Ethan: I agree…being helpful will get you farther then being arrogant and stuck-up

  23. @ Vick: Thats why they say content is king
    @Dave: Wow that quite the “easy” workload ;)…good luck!
    @Kampung: off course, a stale blog is a dead blog

  24. Kayla says:

    Great advice…most inspiring post I’ve seen in awhile. Being only 19, I’ve experienced the troubles my age can bring to my professionalism. I’ve let it get to me in the past–showing off the weaknesses of my age with it.

    “You will find that some people will be reluctant to put their trust in you because you’re young. Don’t get bogged down in this or let it slow you down – move on, keep being useful and building what you’ve set out to build.”

    That is so incredibly true. It really needed to be said.

  25. @Kayla: I am currently 19 as well. Never let your age get to you, there are always people out there wiling to work with you, you just have to find them

  26. Dave Doolin says:

    Aditya: I do get enough sleep, have a tightly focused social life, and do get some surfing in occasionally (like today). But yeah, 60 hour weeks are pretty normal!

    Working 12 “easy” hours means working because you enjoy working… and just getting stuff done… instead of thinking for hours about getting stuff done.

    I don’t worry about credibility though, just about making quality content. Credibility seems to one of those things like happiness: the harder you chase, the further away it gets.

  27. Nice to see a blogger from India make a guest post here. Nowadays I see many Indian bloggers coming up in the blogosphere!

  28. @Dave: for sure I feel the same way..I probably work a similar amount from balancing business and school among other things

  29. Taylor Marek says:

    Exactly the way I do things. I just hit 20 less than a month ago, and do repeat these to those my age group just starting out.

    I do have to say these tips describe my early years of blogging, and it sure was fun to be the youngest person interviewed for a book on podcasting. Made me feel “old and distinguished”. ;)

  30. Absolutely, guys! Great article. I wholeheartedly agree. It’s the relationships you build that will bring you success – in any industry.

  31. Parth says:

    Thank you, Darren and Mr. Aditya for this great post.

    I am a 15 year old student who started blogging three months ago…I must say this post has given me a lot of encouragement and motivation to be in line with others.

    Thank you once again…

  32. frank says:

    This is goodn info, but it leaves me asking my self – how do you get niticed by big time bloggers? How do you get a shot at a guest post? How do you get your foot in the door?

    I’d love to hear practical advice on these things?

    http://twitter.com/franswaa

  33. @Taylor: I know exactly what you mean…being young and doing this does have its advantages, especially when people are so surprised that you are able to do this at a young age

  34. @Jennifer: Thanks!
    @Parth No problem and I’m glad I could help

  35. You HAVE to try. If you don’t give it a shot then you might as well quit before you start. Write great content. Content is king so writing engaging and meaningful posts is a great way to get people to notice you.

    Also BE DIFFERENT. These bloggers receive countless messages daily so unless you differentiate yourself, you will be ignored.

  36. Aditya

    Great post and inspiring to young bloggers. I do agree that society puts a lot of weight on older folks leading the pack due to experience but at the same time the younger generation has grown up on the internet and has been afforded the opportunity to learn and expand upon the offerings of the internet.

    Quality information posted by a 40 year old or a 19 year old is still quality information that cannot be challenged due to age. Credibility is an ongoing process as posting quality information that people read is a starting point but credibilty is gained through the interaction after the information is posted. You are taking the time to respond to so many comments which I believe boosts your credibility as you are acknowledging the readers and engaging them further.

    I am not young but am new to the blogging realm and find that quite a few younger bloggers have a lot of insight and should not be discounted.

    No matter how old you are, the same basic fundamentals come into play: know what you are blogging about inside and out, interact with readers and most of all work hard as the harder you work and the more time spent will reap the benefits of loyal followers.

    Best to you in college!

  37. @Lvadgal/Suzanne Vara: I could not agree more. Thanks!

  38. Im currently 17 but lets go back afew years. When i was just starting high school (i was 13yrs old at the time) i got myself a volunteering postion as a broadcaster on a community radio station here in Melbourne, Australia.

    TIP: Puberty and Radio dont mix :)

    Back then, i was lucky enough to have the chance to meet and interview some amazing musicians. i made friends with some great bands and slowly possition myself as someone who knows the music industry. At one stage statistics showed it was getting more listeners than afew of our commercial stations.

    When i was 14, the general manager of the station stepped down to work on his film career and (excuse my language) a complete dickhead took his place. The new GM was changing everything around and ruining the station. i left with afew friends i made at the station and started helping them with a music company they where starting, Which is when i started discovering blogging and social media. i quickly built up my knowledge of social media and became ‘online promotion coordinator’ for the company. at the same time i also started my own ‘side project’ running and promoting my own events.

    fast foreward to last year i discovered ‘personal branding’ and left the company to focus on my branding. which brings us to today, i have branded myself as a music industry figure and currently managing some successfully musicians.

    Having said all that, Lets use Darrens advice and call this comment “‘a 17 year olds thoughts…” :)

    1. Quality Matters – whether your 13, 16, 19, 25, 30, 50, 90 – quality of your knowledge is your major asset… if your not giving quality information then noone will listen. However it is even more important if your young. When i was a broadcaster the first thing the listener heard, was my squeeky voice (remember, i was 13) i used my knowledge to make them forget about the voice.

    2. Associate with Industry Leaders – Throughout my broadcasting days – not only the support but also the knowledge i got from some of the artists i interviewed is something i cannot thank them enough for.

    3. Use Your Age to Your Advantage – Yes, use it to your advantage but keep in mind its not for every occasion and sometimes it could backfire. when i was running events, i held a acohol-free event for teenagers 13-18yrs old (licensed with the police) afew days after the corey worthington fiasco (you all remember the kid who promoted an unlicenced party on myspace and got world wide news coverage) If your a parent of a teenager and you knew the guy running the event was 16, would you let them go? Also, if corey was 30 do you think his event would have gone world wide news? Corey’s party wasnt the biggest party ever, he only got world wide news coverage because he was 16 (and because he was a smart ass to the news reporter)

    4. Leading Your Peers – This one is a great advice. however, go back to point 1. if you dont have quality knowledge this one will fail.

    Wow, this comment was longer than i expected… i will finish here so you can continue to take over your niche!

  39. Use Your Age to Your Advantage – can i just add, my tweet that got the most RT’s was one about my age when i mentioned that most major artists and bands who tour to australia only do overage events.

    i mixed my age and my niche (music industry) and got hundreds of new followers on twitter.

  40. Todd Jordan says:

    Being a leader – that one is so powerful. Once you are involved, not setting on the sidelines is key.

    Many bloggers are content to not get big press, but if you want to be noticed, then being out front, online and in person, is key.

    I like how he mentioned the in person side of building influence and recognition. I know so many bloggers that won’t venture out but want more attention.

  41. @Chris: Wow….great comment and def. true
    @Todd: Exactly, you have to get involved and take control

  42. Rohit says:

    I an one of those numerous young bloggers out there. I started blogging and the results were bitter while I grew envious seeing other blogs developing manifold.
    I said to my self that I can get there with hard work and motivation. This post has added some extra stuff and ideas that I need to implement.

  43. Dave Doolin says:

    Rohit… I have to laugh… in sympathy of course.

    Bitterness is an easy emotion, but it’s unattractive!

    Here’s the difference between starting blogging at 17 versus 48: We both want success Right Now! But the 3-5 it takes at 17 seem to crawl by infinitely slowly, while at 48 it’s like turning over in bed a few times. All of sudden you’re 51 and where did the last 3 years go?!? Harumph!

    The two pages on any of my blogs that get the most attention are those two pages that offer something useful that people actually value.

    What a great conversation!

    AM: I am, right now, at this very moment… watching the sun rise over the East Bay Hills up here in bucolic El Cerrito (near the plaza). Berkeley was a good pick for you. I’ve met other like-minded students (JM, DK, AS), you’re in excellent company!

  44. @Rohit: Glad I could help
    @Dave: Thanks!

  45. Aditya, your advice is right on the money. I’m facing the same situation as well when it comes to age – I’m 24 which might not be young when it comes to the blogosphere, but it’s relatively young as a life coach in the industry of personal development. It’s been working to my benefit in various ways. To allude to your #3 tip, I have gained really helpful coverage from media due to the divergent nature of my story. I will also look into exploring the other media vehicles you wrote in your article. Thanks!

  46. Excellent words you two. Personally I have found it very difficult to work with the leaders in my niche, I have found that the up and coming are much easier to work with. I also think it is good to spend alot of times on successful blogs and incorporate their methods into your practice. Anyway Good post.

  47. lair360 says:

    There is alot of infos for everyone to stick to and read!

    Good article and keep it up!

    P.S. you might want to expand your blog with SSL encryption.
    It makes your blog a safer place for users to read and share their information.

    https://lair360.co.uk/blog/

  48. @Celes lair, and kris: Thanks!

  49. Rob says:

    This post is very informative as I am a young blogger / entrepreneur at the age of 15. I use my age as a advantage but mainly content is king! I provide articles at least 3-4 times weekly.

  50. Yep it all comes down to quality content. If you produce quality content that helps people, teaches them something, improves their life- you will get links, word of mouth, be able to sell lots of your product, get the a listers in your niche working with you and promoting your product, get higher search rankings etc etc. It all comes down to quality content mixed with a bit of marketing, age doesn’t matter.