Being Real Builds Trust

by Steph Hay

28 Reader Comments

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  1. Thank you, Steph. I work for an agency. A big part of my job is to help clients communicate marketing messages clearly. You’ve clarified a number of ideas I’ve enlisted over the years in this post. I will be bookmarking it and returning to it to help me focus my writing in the future. Great job.

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  2. Sweet! I’m thrilled to hear this piece strikes a chord with you. Thanks for taking the time to share.

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  3. Wow! I’m speechless! Stephanie, thanks a lot for being real, writing such a real/trustworthy article and bringing your Mom into this ;)

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  4. Hey, thanks Max. My mom was both surprised and delighted by it, too. (Though I fear she might get a big head.)

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  5. Steph I could not agree more with this line: “trust inspires confidence. And it’s confidence—not just a knowledge of differences—that compels decision-making” Thank for the MOM test idea too! I will use it when evaluating our message.

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  6. Super cool, I’m glad to hear it. I always wonder how many people actually read those “Why we’re different” pages; they all sound the same to me. :) In any case, thanks for the comment!

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  7. I’ve been working on a content strategy for my portfolio for weeks and frankly I wasn’t getting anywhere because I was too busy looking around at other folks work for what I told myself was “inspiration” while in fact I was trying to figure out what a “real” portfolio sounds like. This couldn’t have come at a better time. Thanks Steph :D

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  8. You’re so welcome! I’ve struggled with this, too—how can we not? But I’m glad the reminder came when you most needed it. And don’t be afraid if you find yourself writing less than you think you should (or more than, even). Just keep it real and you’ll be golden. :)

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  9. … by Strunk & White, the classic “How-to” handbook and checklist for writers. Here are a few of their instructions for creating trust (a basic component of all good writing), some of which Step also nicely touches on:

    “Use definite, specific, concrete language”

    “Omit needless words”

    “Write in a way that comes naturally”

    “Do not overwrite”

    “Do not affect a breezy manner”

    “Make sure the reader knows who is speaking”

    “Be clear”

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  10. Yes! Strunk & White is not only a quick and practical read, but an endlessly relevant resource to anyone who has to write content. Thanks for mentioning it.

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  11. I work with many clients, most of whom are new businesses. I have tried on numerous occasions to get them to shy away from marketing claims that are too bold, that don’t sound natural or may seem unrealistic. Next time I have this discussion with a client I will refer them back to this blog.

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  12. Hi!
      Thanks for your valuable information with comments what all of you are putting and giving with Compliance and solutions.

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  13. Sweet, I’m glad to hear it! I’ve been in your shoes more times than I can count. One of the techniques that helps me get a “more pizazz please!” client onboard is by storytelling in the content. As an example, instead of “Ours is the only aquarium in the world with two whale sharks,” maybe it’s “Have you ever stood eyeball-to-giant-eyeball with a 70-year-old creature that’s a third the size of a football field? No? Well then it’s time for you to come and meet Pinto, one of our two whale sharks.” The super-wordy latter example still uses plain language, but its conversational aspect typically gets a thumbs-up from clients.

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  14. The Mom test is a great tool. I’ve just finished writing the content for our new site, and your article makes me realise that, despite good intentions, I’ve ended up ‘sounding like everyone else’ way too often. Mom needs to come to work with me for several days of ruthless revisions. I think a big challenge for me is to trust being real, over sounding ‘professional’. Thanks for a great article Steph.

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  15. Thanks! I love that this article already has shifted your content perspective, and I also love that you recognize how challenging it can be to write real content. It means breaking some bad habits of trying to be too [insert adjective here], but it can be done. Keep rockin.

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  16. Thank you for writing this great article! There are too many times people will try to base what they are doing by trying to “one up” what someone else is doing. It is good to get a reminder like this.

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  17. I love to keep it real but on my site, I have to back my articles way off. If I expose too much of THE TRUTH then I risk needlessly scaring away prospect due to excessive “tude.”

    It’s a touchy feely business, unfortunately..

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  18. Steph I could not agree more with this line: “trust inspires confidence. And it’s confidence—not just a knowledge of differences—that compels decision-making” Thanks for mentioning it.

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  19. Thanks Steph. Excellent post. I truly believe your statement,“trust inspires confidence. And it’s confidence—not just a knowledge of differences—that compels decision-making”. Great job.

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  20. Just joined alistapart.com and your writing is awsome!!!

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  21. Keeping it real is absolutely essential. You cannot be what you are not. Another great test besides the mom test is the wife test.
    Brett

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  22. yarh…. I also usually ask Mom for some question. It seems that Mom is a person we can trust. Thanks Steph for informative writing!
    Minneapolis Web

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  23. Still, I wonder about the wording. I’m in two minds when it comes to writing an enticing copy – on the one hand, it should be easy and understandable; on the other, alluring rhetoric may yield grand results and I’m not very keen on dumbing down the language. UX people will kill me.

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  24. I couldn’t agree more Stephanie :)
    Have a great day
    Oliwia

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  25. Yes I agree with you…….

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  26. True that. Looking at what users assumes or think is more important.

    Creative Web Design Company in London

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  27. ..

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  28. Hi Stephanie,

    I agree with your statement “think of user mind” what they like and dislikes etc.

    Dubai Web Design Company – ADWEB STUDIO
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  29. I am now building my portfolio in graphic designing. Its quite good profession.

    Logo Design Company Australia

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