Clients are more likely to do business with you if they know, like and trust you. And while it’s easy to become “known” to a potential client, and be sure they “know” what you can do for them, getting them to trust you is a huge issue.

I find that once I’ve delivered successfully for a client, that trust level is high – but at the start of the relationship, we’re both feeling our way.

One way to build trust, even before you meet a prospect, is by showing yourself to be like them. This is because if you build commonality with them, they’re more likely to believe that you can help them solve their problem.

You can do that through what I call “review” content. A review is your opinion on a product or service you’ve used. What’s great about them?

  • Can be short, and this means they can be a good way to get started in thought leadership content
  • Can be amazingly useful, so that your prospective clients are truly grateful
  • Help you target your content at people in market niches that are most valuable to you

So how can you use “reviews” to build trust? Make sure that your review content meets four criteria.

As a case example about “review” content, I’m going to use hand-held tablets that have been made extra-durable, or ruggedized, for use in the field. We’ll call this hypothetical newly-introduced tablet the “Pingo 2.” Many of my environmental science and engineering clients use such devices in their work.

As I discussed in Issue #5, it always helps to develop an “avatar” or person who represents those you want to serve as clients.

So, visualize one of my clients, a wildlife biologist I’ll call Jennifer, who spends her days stomping through tundra, forest and field. She’s bitten by bugs, gets sunburned, and always has a can of bear spray ready. She catalogues aquatic species, birds, plants, soil contamination and other factors. Her reports go into environmental reviews for her mining-company clients.

To do her work, she relies on her tablet for inputting her measurements, images and other data, and then uploading these to the project database.

In so doing, she develops a powerful love-hate relationship with hand-held tablets. She has strong opinions, some of them involving very colorful language, on the best and worst tablets for gathering field data.

Previously, she was using a hand-held device we’ll call the “Pingo 1,” but for a week now has been using its successor, the Pingo 2.

Would a text or video review of the Pingo 2 be good for Jennifer’s career? Let’s apply the four tests and see.

Test #1: Relevant – would be used by the people you want as clients

Personally, I don’t deal much with ruggedized tablets. I do my work in civilized places such as a high-end coffee bar (where I’m writing this) and not sitting on a pickup truck’s tailgate. So I would likely scroll right past a review of ruggedized tablets.

But Jennifer’s clients do use these things. They, too, do fieldwork. They need to enter data on a device that has a battery that won’t die on them, that will survive a drop onto a rock, shrug off rain or snow, and work in the winter. So yes, they will be googling reviews on the latest field-friendly tablet.

So, the Pingo 2 tablet meets Test #1 – the content would be of great interest to the people Jennifer wants as clients.

Test #2: Something you’ve used yourself

As established, Jennifer has loved and hated many tablets. She’s known the joy of getting her report uploaded with no problems, and the horror of going back to a paper notepad when her battery dies on a cold day.

So yes, she’s used her Pingo 2 extensively, long enough to find out its quirks, limitations and strengths.

As a “review” subject for Jennifer, the Pingo 2 meets Test #2 – she has knowledge that comes through use.

Test #3: Something on which your opinion has weight

Jennifer, as observed, is an experienced field biologist. She’s measured more fish, taken more water samples, and backed carefully away from more bears than she cares to think of. She’s used many different tablets.

As well, Jennifer has compared experiences with many of her colleagues, who also have their professional lives wrapped around their tablets. So, does she have credibility in what she says? Yes, her opinion would be seen by her mining-company clients as having weight.

So, the Pingo 2 survives Test #3. Jennifer’s opinion would have credibility.

Test #4: Something with very few other reviews

Every time Apple comes out with a new iWhatever, there’s a sudden flurry of reviews of the device. It’s a form of “newsjacking,” which I discussed in Issue #6. But Jennifer’s career would not be helped by adding her voice to the chorus, one of thousands of hits on Google. Louder voices, with more Web traffic, would dominate any search results.

But she can be a clear and distinct voice on the Pingo 2, which is a niche device that sells in the thousands, not in the millions. While not a mass market device, the key thing to remember is Test #1 above – it’s a device that is used by Jennifer’s clients and people she wants as clients, within the mining sector. Her review of the Pingo 2 has a good chance of coming up in search results by mining sector leaders – bringing Jennifer to the attention of highly qualified prospects who didn’t know about her before.

The scarcity of reviews on our ruggedized hand-held device also means that those mining executives will be grateful to Jennifer for helping guide their decision on which device to buy.

A “Pingo 2” review meets Test #4 – there won’t be much competition, and the review will be appreciated by Jennifer’s intended clients.

So ask yourself – how can you use “review” content to boost your credibility with the people you want to serve?

  • Think of equipment, software, paid databases, online tools and courses, books, publications, training programs and other items you know about.
  • Text reviews have application, but video works well too. Jennifer could enlist a colleague using a smartphone to shoot a video in which she demonstrates the best and worst features of the Pingo 2.
  • Good search engine optimization is important. Be sure to have search terms that people will use in looking for your content.