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How to Build Credibility

How do you rate when it comes to credibility? But more importantly, how do you go about getting credibility if you don’t have any or not much of it? Important question for bloggers – Andrew Rondeau from We Build Your Blog shares some tips on building credibility as a blogger.

There are some interesting theories around this topic. One such exponent of a theory is Graham Jones who writes about the credibility pyramid.

pyramid.gif

This pyramid is made up of four key elements.

1. Knowledge (10%) – At the bottom of the pyramid is a band of knowledge. Although this only represents 10% of a credibility score, it is nevertheless the foundation. If you don’t know what you are talking about, you have no credibility no matter what else you might bring to the mix.

Focus (15%) – The next level up according to Mr Jones is focus which constitutes 15% of the total score. Focus describes the process wherein people do not deviate or go off at tangents. This is when we come across people who seem to be single minded in their opinions, approach and knowledge.

This does not mean that you need to bombard other people with huge amounts of details and information in order to be considered credible. It is more the clarity and enthusiasm as well as the consistency of the information that is being presented that allows people to assess the credibility factor.

In some instances it is even possible that providing far too much information can undermine the credibility score. Perhaps this is where the popularity of the ‘elevator speech’ comes into play. You have two minutes to present your information. You have to be focused and only provide the most important points.

3. Enthusiasm (25%) – The next component on this pyramid of credibility is enthusiasm. This has an allocation of 25% which is fairly high. We probably call this passion more often than not. We view enthusiastic people as being far more credible than those who are not.

Perhaps it is because we feel that if the person can’t be enthusiastic about their own topic then he can’t be believing in his own words. Of course this can be unfair. There are some people who are too shy to speak up never mind appear enthusiastic.

4. Care and Concern (50%) – Possibly the most surprising component of credibility is the top part of this pyramid. It shows that 50% of your credibility is associated with your care and concern. If you show that you care about your audience you will be able to gather up half of the score towards a strong credibility rating.

This means that when building up your online credibility you have to show a huge amount of caring and concern for the interests and well-being of your audience. No matter what you are trying to do online, whether build a blog, communicate with readers, sell a product or even just hold a conversation on a social media platform such as Twitter or Facebook, if you care for your audience you build credibility.

It seems that a small percentage of your credibility is knowledge, add to that focus and enthusiasm and you only have half of what makes up your credibility. The other half is all about caring and concern for the other person’s well-being.

That could almost sound right.

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. The final 50% did surprise me, but on second thought I think it just makes sense.

  2. Thank you for highlighting my ideas in this article and I am glad so many people have enjoyed reading it. I see that some people think knowledge is more important than I suggest. That is a common reaction; but the fact of the matter is all of the items in the pyramid are inter-related. True you need knowledge, but the care aspect can help people determine whether or not that knowledge is actual or false.

    Often people say things like “it doesn’t matter if someone cares, what matter is they know their stuff”. That is almost an instinctive reaction. But when we measure such individuals’ ratings of credibility, care features highly – even if they consciously think it does not affect them, it does at a subconscious level.

    Having said all this, the reason knowledge is at the base of the pyramid is because it is the foundation upon which the rest us built. Without knowledge, credibility is very hard to build.

  3. I lack the Focus Part of them..

    In the other 3 parameters I seem to do good..

    My inability to Focus is proving to be the single most RoadBlock in my Career and in gaining Credibility…

    I am trying to overcome that..

    @rungss at Twitter

  4. @TwinToddlersDad. I don’t think it is a matter of “getting away” with little knowledge. Research just shows that in the overall scheme of things, you don’t need a lot of knowledge to become credible. However what knowledge you do have must be factual

    @ Mark Kachigian. Great connection with Maslow – insightful!

    @ Jason Comely. Spot-on! Consistency is of utmost importance. Without that you will be found out.

    @ Tim Long. I think we could debate the percentages all day, couldn’t we? I just find it interesting what makes us credible and whatever percentages we individuals think are right, we all should put effort into each category.

    @ John Arnold. “Along those lines I find the posts that seem to get the most response from people and that build the most trust are those posts where I share myself somehow within the post. If I can tell a story of something that I have struggled with and made progress on, people are moved to trust me.”
    Great point John. Something that I have seen in my own posts….and I need to do it much more often!

    @Grace. Great point…as long as it is all factual! What’s been your best sharing of results?

    @Graham Jones – great to see you here. And I like your final sentence, “Without knowledge, credibility is very hard to build.”

  5. smartvergin says:

    Thanks Darren for the article containing valuable tips.

    Knowledge is indeed the core of website content that attracts the attention of a visitor.

    By focusing on what you are talking about, you would specify the mentioned topic more and avoid diversification.

  6. Great article about how to market yourself and draw attention. Knowing the facts is not enough. 75% of the formula comes from caring about your audience and how you express it. Develop your voice, be unique, don’t just parrot what everybody else is saying. Great work Andrew and Graham.

  7. Dean Saliba says:

    I could not give a crap about gain credability to be honest.

    People with no credability (John Chow springs to mind) still manage to make at least $40,000 a month from their blogs.

  8. This does not beggarly that you charge to assail added humans with huge amounts of data and advice in adjustment to be advised credible. It is added the accuracy and activity as able-bodied as the bendability of the advice that is getting presented that allows humans to appraise the believability factor.

  9. fas says:

    Care and concern includes being good with your readers, asking them their problems and talking to them.

  10. Good post. I think that as bloggers you have an inherent responsibility to be transparent and honest, to truly represent your topic so I was a little surprised knowledge was only 10 percent of the score. However you are right inthat it is definitely the
    Foundation for a good blog/online persona. If I had to add anything it would be consistency since that aways helps. People like routines and knowing what they are getting. Very helpful and informative as always.

  11. interesting post, graham — “focus” really resonated with me — if you try to be all things to all people, you end up being nothing to no one!

  12. Lee Ka Hoong says:

    Excellent post Andrew! I believe that caring audience is the most important in building loyal readers. Reader will come back to read your following post, they concern about your caring on them, you have to actually reply to their comment or communicate with them.

    Regards,
    Lee

  13. Terrific post. But I would think that the knowledge would play a bigger role in credibility.
    thanks

  14. Steven says:

    Care and Concern is most important!

    Using Twitter to make cash? Easy check out http://bit.ly/Twittercash

    How I got $12,000 in 30 Days and a steady $5,000 a month income – http://earncashfromgoogle.com/adsense/how-i-got-12000-in-30-days-and-a-steady-5000-a-month-income/

  15. BloggerDaily says:

    Yeah. Bloggers need credibility too!

    Yes, enthusiasm is the most important part. From this enthuasiasm we got the feeling to explore more and more. From that point we will bring ourselves to endure the knowledge.

    And then it becomes passion where care & concern will take place =)

  16. teratips says:

    Thanks for this amazing article

  17. Good post, though I think Knowledge should be more than 10%. Care, Enthusiasm, and Focus are things that anyone can have, but Knowledge is what really separates the high earners with lots of credibility from the 99%.

  18. Miss Edie says:

    Nice post, I also believe knowledge is important and caring and understanding..
    I would want someone that is willing to share their knowledge in a nice way.

  19. krissy knox says:

    I knew care and concern comes first. I am surprised at the order of the others. I was always under the impression that knowledge came next and then focus. That is perhaps what society has told we young people for a long time in my society. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing, Darren.

    krissy knox :)
    follow me on Twitter
    http://twitter.com/iamkrissy

  20. Online MLM says:

    Awesome post and very true. Most people think that knowledge makes people follow them where in reality it’s the connection that matters – this post calls it “Care and Concern”.

    As an online network marketer, I believe that keeping in touch with my network is the most important thing that keeps us bonded together. Then there’s the challenge of staying enthusiastic and focused but not to neglect knowledge as well.

    Awesome post!

    Mike – http://PositivelyRich.ws

  21. 75% of the formula comes from caring about your audience and how you express it. Develop your voice, be unique, don’t just parrot what everybody else is saying. Great work Andrew and Graham.

  22. Kat Eden says:

    This is great, particularly the last point about caring for your readers. I definitely care about helping people but I don’t keep this uppermost in my mind when I’m writing. I become so focused on making my point and backing it up that I sometimes forget to speak as I would to a real person.

    A great piece of advice I once heard is to always write with a certain person/client in mind as the respondent. I was just about to publish a new ‘high-info’ post, now I don’t know whether I should edit it a little!

  23. Ebony Jones says:

    Most of that was right on point. However, I don’t know if I agree with the focus item.

    Not every blog benefits from that approach. For some blogs, the lack of focus and wandering is part of the appeal…humor blogs in particular.

    Great tips, but one size does not fit all.

  24. Peter says:

    Hi I have two problems with this article(no offense)

    Who is Andrew Rondea? Someone who doesn’t seem very famous and doesn’t seem to have credibility is talking about how to have it?

    Second point is that I think you forgot the most important point and that is RESULTS.

    If you are buying some product, what do you want to know? What results could this product bring you.

    If you are buying ebook about blogging you want to know about result which you will make after reading it.

    If you are buying some self help book, you want to know how it will affect your life.

    This applies to people too.

    Why is Tonny Robbins so famouse and sucessful? Because he has results. He worked with one of Williams sister with Andre Aggassi and he helps them.

    Why Roger Federer has credibility? Because he won 15 grandslam and break many many tennis records.

    You don’t even need real results, thats why scams work so well. You just need to make people believe that you or your product have some results.

    There are many smart people, many focuse people, enthusiastic people and people who loves and care about other people, but until they aren’t able to show some results they won’t have crediblity.

  25. Jacob Stoops says:

    I also think have a unique voice & personality is something that can set you apart as a blogger. Also, the ability to conduct and present effective research behind your content.

  26. Scott Gould says:

    I’m off the opinion that Focus is more important than 15%.

    To have clarity on a subject – in an age where content is a commodity and we are drowning in it – is a defining factor of credibility.

    I don’t need someone spewing content – I need them to communicate it with clarity, in order to rouse that most precious human resource – action.

  27. Darren,

    You don’t know how this has helped me. There had been a time that in my search for credibility I was focusing on being popular by adding friends from there and everywhere by joining a lot of forums, by leaving comments everywhere. I know these are important but really this doesn’t give me any credibility. after giving back by visiting my site, they forget me. they forget the site. I start the whole cycle again. I especially love the caring and giving. and I’m guilty of this. a lot of times i forgot to reply to the comments of my readers. i forgot to reply to customer’s queries and in my blog’s case “prayer requests”. *sigh* thanks for the reminder. I shall do a 180-degree turn and do what’s RIGHT. Enthusiasm, Focus and Knowledge are intact so my goal is to just maintain them.

    Thanks again and God Bless!

  28. Tumblemoose says:

    Darren,

    Really, how could one argue with this strategy? I think it not only speaks to credibility but to overall success in most any venture, including (and especially) blogging.

    I know that I’m not the most knowledgeable person on my blogging topic, but I work hard to engage my audience by having and giving guest posts, by commenting on blogs and by responding to those folks who comment on my blog. Showing my concern and caring through these methods has worked well for me.

    Cheers

    George

  29. Jason Su says:

    This post is all about how important it is to have self restrictions, all the most important things are the things that you can control!!!

    As Darren mentioned:
    1. The most important thing is to have care and concern, that alone takes up 50%. Thing thing you can do yourself, it is not hard to give care and concern to your audience; it does not cost a penny.

    2. The second most important thing is to be have enthusiasm. This takes up 25%, and it is just writing a blog that you are interested in or have passion. Again this is something that you can change without costing anything.

    3. The third is focus and this is 15%: focus is pretty much doing what you are good at doing, Improving what you are bad at. And not doing things that does not work; this is trial and error; keep your eyes on your goals.

    4. The least in the pyramid is the knowledge, this you cannot really control, but knowledge is not as important as other aspects that can contribute to your credibility.

  30. @ Dean. John Chow not credible? Interesting! Wonder what John would think?

    @ Lee Ka Hoong. Sometimes it is the easy tasks that provide customer care, isn’t it?

    @Kat Eden. That is great advice – thanks.

    @Peter. Sorry but I don’t think you need to be famous to be credible.

    Andrew

  31. Peter says:

    Andrew I didn’t say you need to be famous at all. I told you need have some results. Being famouse is just result of that + some other things of course.

  32. rjleaman says:

    I’m interested in the various reactions to your 10% allocation for knowledge, Andrew: my own first reaction was to question it, but thinking back on some recent disscussions with new bloggers still trying to find the ‘perfect niche’ — it makes sense.

    Some reasonable amount of knowledge is necessary as the foundation: any blogger trying to write in totally unfamililar territory is sure to make credibility-killing gaffs before too long. But it’s not necessary to be a complete ‘expert’ on a topic in order to begin to blog about it — any more than a journalist must know all about a feature story before he begins to research and write it. You do need to know enough to know what questions to ask and to process the information you come up with, however…

    So, yes, 10% of the Credibililty Pyramid sounds about right. After that, the other three factors kick in, and that’s what empowers the blogger to present information in a way that makes sense and solves problems for the readers.

  33. Alex says:

    Another good one. It’s great to know that Enthusiasm and Care alone put you at 75% of the equation. One of the best things I read today, for sure.

  34. Christian says:

    10% for knowledge is interesting. I can’t argue with it though, because as a sales trainer, I teach people all the time that so many other things matter more than what you know…when it comes to getting results.

    You HAVE to know what you’re talking about to be credible, but you also have to know how to present yourself and get your message across. It’s the whole package that matters.

    It’s also fair to point out that without that 10%, you’d be at 90%, which might sound good, except that being in the top 90% of blogs really isn’t saying much :)

  35. helixia says:

    I am surprised on your ranking. I would only follow a blog if it has something interesting to say. But care and concern does not rate high for me as a consumer. I felt that would be reserve more for forum, ask xxx, advice website, etc.

    helixia
    http://finding-life-direction-life-purpose.blogspot.com

  36. Thanks everyone for taking the time out to comment – turned out to be a great debate.

    I do like what Graham (creator of the pyramid) wrote:

    “The reason knowledge is at the base of the pyramid is because it is the foundation upon which the rest us built. Without knowledge, credibility is very hard to build.”

    And thank you Darren for letting me post here on this awesome site.

    Andrew

  37. Ruchi says:

    I agree with you Care and Concern is the most important aspect.

  38. JOE says:

    how about advertising, doesn’t help ? :D

  39. Wakas Mir says:

    Concern for users is the one that stands quite high on my list, but very nice post indeed darren..

  40. Lately credibility has become synonymous of the friends you have in the guru’s inner circle. Each day is becoming increasingly harder to create credibility if you don’t know anybody who vouches for you. Then everybody start listening to you and buying your products even though they are pure garbage most of the time.

  41. An excellent post, and one that makes you go, “Hmmmm…” Care and concern making up 50% of the credibility score makes sense to me. I see this emerging primarily as an effort to truly understand the problems your target readers are experiencing, and then directing your online efforts towards solving those problems with valuable information, insights, and tips. I see some bloggers following a ‘formula’ that they’ve been taught in some internet marketing course, but never really individualizing those steps based on their own knowledge and experience. I don’t really get “caring and concern” in a sentimental way, not being that kind of gal, but in terms of investing my focus and research into useful valuable information — I get that. A thought-provoking post.

  42. Anja Merret says:

    Great article. Seems quite a heavy weighting in favour of showing care. But it does seem the internet kind of runs on that. If you don’t show enough you don’t make it.

  43. aöf says:

    Excellent, cornerstone post Andrew. I like to see how the elements of credibility were quantified…

    I think that having concrete focus deserves more than 15%… establishing credibility requires to be extremely attentive to what you do and say. Branding is something hard, and long-term.

  44. I agree with all four points when gaining credibility. Personally, I would say enthusiasm would be the first key element, followed by knowledge and focus. Its takes passion to continuously blog, Showing that you care about your reader and write to please them definitely is the highest key element to gaining credibility.

  45. radyo dinle says:

    I would say that the care and concern is important. But you will not get it unless you have got the other 3 in place

  46. thanks , I agree with all four points when gaining credibility.

  47. neonegyptian says:

    This is kind of confusing. Part of the care and concern factor embraces all of the other factors. That is, by showing the audience that you’re giving them the good and rare info that they need (knowledge), tailoring to their specific interest(s) (focus) of the subject, and updating and expanding the blog/site regularly (enthusiasm/passion) all express the same end result, care and concern. So, I think really the pyramid is composed of three different factors which produce credibility. And for most, credibility simply is another way of saying, I care about you, I’m not wasting your time. A little bit more simplified. Makes it easier to grasp.

  48. thigiru says:

    Its true that any business is all about credibility.

  49. thanks for sharing! credibility is not easy to build but easy to be destroy. the key to build it I think is writing good stuff over time and time.

  50. jeux pokemon says:

    I can use these on my blog; they do help you to connect with your audience and build trust. Last week, I rewrote my about page with these goals in mind.

    One thing I can add is this: always use your real name. Even on MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, etc. Most people are afraid to back put their name and reputation behind everything they write, but you should because it really demonstrates authenticity. It’s also easier to keep track of one name rather than a dozen aliases, and you’ll build brand (name) recognition.