Trust is at the core of every meaningful relationship you have: every client or customer you sign, every person who works for you, every friendship or partnership you cultivate.
It's present in those relationships, but it doesn't just show up. You have to build it over time, and you can't force anyone to feel that connection. In fact, you can't force anyone to feel anything. All you can do is set the stage for that feeling to develop on its own.
And consistent content is one of the best ways to do that.
Content is one of the most effective ways to create the conditions for trust to develop and to build on it over time. But just pumping out content doesn't make you more trustworthy. I'd actually argue that churning out content for content's sake makes you significantly less trustworthy.
Instead, you've got to create educational, valuable thought leadership content and get it into the hands of the right people -- and that can be hard to do.
I know firsthand that, as a leader, it's difficult to create high-quality content consistently. You have a thousand items on your to-do list. You're responsible for setting the vision for your company, and you work every day to push yourself and your team closer to that vision.
It's hard to devote time to content, but trust with your audiences that you can scale is a powerful force for creating opportunity. So, crafting that content has to become a priority. Here are three ways I've learned leaders can produce better content that builds trust with their audiences:
1. Assemble the right team.
I'm a big believer that you are the average of the people you spend your time with -- and that applies to your team just as much as it applies to your friends and partners.
Whom you work with is important, and trust between your brand and your audiences starts with the trust you build in your own team first. I know I wouldn't be able to get half as much done as I do if I didn't trust my team so completely.
Build the right team, and make it a priority to figure out the best way to work together. Even a small team can make a big difference, especially when there's a good amount of trust between everyone. Obviously, that takes time to build, but you'll get there when you hire the right people.
2. Stick to a process that plays to each person's strengths.
Leaders may not be the best people to actually craft every piece of content. I know I'm certainly not. I love sharing ideas and talking with people, but my communication skills aren't quite as strong when forced onto paper as they are in person. And that's OK.
That's why I have my team and why all leaders -- especially those who aren't naturally gifted writers or who have a hard time setting aside the time to write full articles -- need to find a process and the tools that work for them.
There are plenty of free content marketing tools that can help, and you can borrow a page from my book and begin with a simple "brain dump." The goal should be to play to your strengths, so if you're not a gifted writer, then stick to providing the raw insights, and let your team take it from there -- which leads me to my next point.
3. When in doubt, get out of the way.
As a leader, it's important to learn when it might be best to get out of your team's way. You need to recognize that you may not always be the right person to do a particular task.
I know this is probably tough to hear. After spending so much time working to grow your company, you're likely used to being involved in just about everything. Especially if you started your own business, it can be hard to let go of some things.
But you don't need to be heavily involved in every single step of every process. That's how your content gets bottlenecked, production stops, and your audiences are left without the content they need. Let your team do what they do best, and focus on the goals only you can achieve.
Trust has always been important, tough to build, and necessary to maintain over time. And the current climate isn't exactly helping, either. There's a serious lack of trust on the internet, but don't let it negatively affect your brand. Follow this advice to create better content that builds trust with your audiences and creates opportunity for your company.