Know, like, trust Part 1: Add the KNOW factor to your content - The Write Idea

Know, like, trust Part 1: Add the KNOW factor to your content

By Renae Gregoire

You’ve heard it said that people prefer to do business with people they know, like, and trust, right?

Me, too.

Yet everytime I hear that advice, I think, "Okaaaaaay…."

It sounds nice, but what does it really mean to know, like, and trust someone? What does it take for someone to know, like, and trust you, or your business?

And, more important, how do you translate your desire for people to know, like, and trust you into your website and content?

To get at the answers, I did some investigating to explore what it really means to know, like, and trust.


To know you, your prospect must "get" you.

When I talk about knowing, I'm not talking about the surface kind of knowing, where people have seen your name, logo, brand, or content. In that kind of knowing, people recognize you and know you exist. You're not a total unknown or stranger. 

They know about you, or of you.

The kind of knowing you want to make possible is the deep kind of knowing that follows when someone shares intimate, private details with you ... when someone knows what makes you tick, what sits at your core or foundation.

An article in Psychology Today uses Johnny Depp as an example to answer the question: “What’s the difference between knowing about someone and knowing someone?”

As a Johnny Depp fan, I know certain facts about him. I know that he:

  • Is older than me (not by much)
  • Has two kids
  • Plays guitar
  • Likes to work with Tim Burton
  • Was magnificent as Caption Jack Sparrow

If you’re a huge JD fan, then you might know lots of facts about him, too. You might also be able to say you’ve seen all of his movies.

But can you say that you “know” him?

Not really.

To “know” Johnny Depp, according to the article, Johnny himself would have to:

…actively share information with you, particularly intimate, private information. For instance, you may be able to find out online what Johnny Depp’s favorite movie is, but if he were to tell you himself, perhaps with personal insight into why it’s his favorite, or where he first saw it, that would give you reason to say you know him (at least a little).

Examples of companies that get "knowing" right

Although you don't have to stop at publishing your "knowing" content on your About page, the About page is a natural place to let people in.

Example 1: Jonathan Fields

Author and entreprenuer Jonathan Fields is intimate and open with readers from the very first sentence of his About page: 

You can read what’s below, but truth is, that image above, that’s all you really need to know…

You're on his About page, and as you read that first sentence, you naturally look up and see the image picture below.  

Image from a great About page

If you're like me, you're wondering what it is. The colorful heart draws you in.

You head back to the text, and find that Jonathan took the picture while giving the final keynote of the World Domination Summit many years ago. On his About page, he shares how he felt, and the importance of the photo.

On that day, I was nervous. Though I’ve spoken in front of much bigger audiences since then, it was my first time standing before 500 people. Eyes and hearts staring back at me, yearning for something good. Something real. … As I walked up onto the stage, I brought a small picture that had been hastily drawn by my then 10-year-old daughter and tucked into my backpack before I left. A series of colored hearts to wish me luck and remind me how much I was loved. That’s all I needed. I knew that at any given moment, no matter what happened on that stage, I could look down and know everything was going to be okay.

Question: After reading Jonathan's About page, do you feel you know him? Do you want to learn more? For me, the answers are YES and YES.

Let's look at a more "corporate" example next.

Example 2: Zendesk

Zendesk's About page starts with two simple headings: "This is Zendesk" and "In the beginning," followed by three short sentences about how the founders wanted to create software that was "nice to look at" and "easy to use."

Example of a great About page

Scroll down, and the page tells us what to expect from the company's products: software that simplifes customer service and incorporates design elements people expect. 

Zendesk -- an example of a great About page

Scroll further, and we also learn what ignites the hearts of the people at Zendesk: making lives better for the people in their communities.

infusing know, like, and trust into your about page

The next panels give us a sense of their playfulness.

zendesk example of a great about page

Overall, my impression is that Zendesk is clear, simple, heartfelt, fun.

Do I feel as if I "know" Zendesk? Not yet, but I'm starting to "know" them; I'm also starting to "like" them enough to want to learn more! 

Before we move onto "like" though, let's talk about how you can lead people to know you through your website and other marketing content.

Your turn: how to lead people to “know” you through your content

How to instigate that kind of “knowing” to someone who’s poking around on your website, reading your brochure, or scrolling through your Facebook page? Just as Johnny Depp himself would have to share private details with you so you could know him, and just as Jonathan Fields and Zendesk shared private details with us, you have to share something with your prospects so they can know you.  

Here are a few ways to instigate knowing.

1. Let loose with your color and personality.

Share about a time when an experience with a customer made you break into a big smile. Is there a running joke among your staff about those Philly pretzels you *must* have flown in every month? Tell us about it. Does your CIO like to do headstands before lunch? Yep. Sharing a detail like that instigates knowing, too.

2. Somewhere (on your website or elsewhere) share your WHY.

Simon Sinek, author of Knowing Your Why, explains about your WHY in his popular, 18-minute TED Talk.  Just in case you don't have 18 minutes, I've posted a 5-minute version below, which gets to the heart of the matter--fast.

3. Provide context around the things you share and say.

Dr. Paul White, author of The Vibrant Workplace, says that providing context leads to more and better understanding.

When we give each other the context of our thoughts -- that is, the reason or purpose of our sharing -- this greatly enhances others' ability to understand us. And obviously, if we share context prior to the start of the discussion, this is most helpful (rather than waiting to see the quizzical look ... showing that they have no idea what we are talking about).

In other words, by providing context, we avoid having people puzzle over our content. When we provide context, we don't kill readers with the dreaded curse of our knowledge. Dr. White explains: 

One of the problems in talking together with others is that you know "where you are coming from," what you have been thinking about, and the purpose (in your mind) of the conversation. However, the other person often has no clue. So when you start talking, it can take the other person a while to figure out why you are sharing what you are.... 

It's not that your readers are stupid, and need you to spell out every single detail. On the contrary: The people visiting your website and reading your content are likely smart -- perhaps even as smart as an astronaut or a quantum physicist. 

But here's the thing: although your readers are smart, they're also busy. Super busy. This means that your job as marketer is to care enough about readers to put in the effort to make your offers and value propositions clear.


Like this article? Be sure to read Part 2, on LIKING, and Part 3, on TRUSTING.

And if you need help infusing know, like, and trust into YOUR content, please get in touch.

P.S. This is post #27 in my 30 Day Blogging Challenge! 

P.P.S. Curious? Join my tribe to learn more!

Join my tribe?

Do you sweat the small stuff? Do you want your online presence to inspire trust and confidence? Do you grit your teeth when others don't care enough about YOUR web experience? Are you all about creating an excellent website and excellent content that makes it easy for people to get to know, like, and trust you and buy your stuff?

I think we might be soul mates. And I'd love for you to join my tribe.

When you do, I'll alert you to new blog posts, new programs and products, and new ways for you to create excellent, frictionless, online experiences that lead more people to YES! I promise to be relevant and real, and to send only thoughtful content and advice.


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About the Author

Hi! I'm Renae Gregoire, a digital conversion expert improving the performance of digital marketing content, including websites, landing pages, sales pages, online courses, blogs, and email sequences. If you're a coach, consultant, or other expert having trouble getting people to click, sign up, subscribe, or buy, I can help. My work typically involves a blend of strategy, design guidance, and wordsmithing, with a heavy focus on how your materials look, sound, feel, and function—all from your reader's perspective. Contact me to see how I might be able to help improve your conversions.