When it comes to marketing campaigns, two companies could use an approach that’s almost exactly identical, using the same style, tone, value proposition, and more, but the two campaigns are not going to be equal.
The reason is that one of those companies is going to be better known and better trusted by the audience that they’re trying to reach. Here, we’re going to look at E.A.T., which stands for Expertise, Authority, Trust, where it came from, what it means, and how your brand can establish it to its own advantage.
E.A.T. originated (as far as we can tell) from Google, specifically in an update to their search algorithm that rolled out in 2018. It is a term that applies to search engine optimisation, effectively a statement that declares what Google is looking for from people who are trying to improve their positions on search engine results pages. As such, establishing E.A.T. will help you with your SEO efforts, but that’s not all that it does. It has real benefits in how customers will see the business, too.
Breaking it down point by point, the E in E.A.T. stands for expertise. Effectively, this is how well you are able to demonstrate to your audience that your brand knows what it’s talking about when it comes to the subject matter you should be an expert in. If you know enough about what you do that customers should trust you, you may need to demonstrate this expertise to them before they take the step in trusting you. Showing what you know is more crucial than ever on the internet, where the physical separation serves as a constant barrier and a content marketing agency can help with that. Working with you, they can use your expertise to create targeted and valuable content that people are going to read. Once they read, they get to see that you do, indeed, know what you’re talking about, building the rep you need.
Disseminating content that makes good use of your unique expertise will help you establish some brand authority, to some degree. However, authority is mostly about showing some form of leadership and taking your place above others. Aside from showcasing your expertise, a great way to let your authority show is to let others speak for you. You can encourage your audience members to leave reviews and write testimonials. As well as the following you build with a social media campaign, these efforts are going to establish positive social proof through word of mouth. In effect, other people that you want to reach will be able to see that there is already significant support for your brand, so they are more likely to trust that the brand is more worth supporting.
If you are able to demonstrate your expertise and show a certain amount of authority in your field, then trust is more likely to follow. However, when it comes to trust, what might be most important of all is that you don’t break it. There are a variety of ways to ensure this doesn’t happen but keeping your customer or client’s experience with your business as safe as possible is perhaps the most effective way. So, for instance, securing your website, making sure that you keep any data they provide safe, and implementing technologies like encryption and multiple point authorisation logins on the website can all make it seem like your site takes their security more seriously and thus earns more trust.
Now that we have explored each of the three keys of E.A.T. above, we can look a little more closely at great ways to establish it further. One of the barriers between your brand and the kind of inherent trust that you want your customers to have is that you might be a complete unknown to them. Anonymity does bring with it certain advantages in online business, but if you’re not willing to show who is behind the curtain to some degree, it can stop you from building the trust that you want. A detailed and helpful About Us page can clear a lot of the mystery, and it’s a good idea to make sure that any content published on the site has the author name and picture visible, too.
Your brand’s reputation is only as good as its ability to keep and maintain it. One of the easiest ways to lose the trust and authority that you have established is to completely change your tune. From your messaging itself to the style in which you present it, inconsistency is a brand killer. You should establish a brand guideline that ensures that anyone who works with you on marketing is put on the same page so that they’re not saying or showing anything that is drastically different. You can change your brand over time, but it’s important to make the transition carefully so that you don’t lose the people who have been with you up until now.
It’s about more than the algorithm
As mentioned, E.A.T. was established by Google as a way to help brands better focus their SEO efforts, so that they could get away from practices like keyword stuffing that didn’t serve search engine users or Google well. However, the lessons learned from it can be applied to online branding in a much broader way. In particular, it also highlights the importance of being able to get your audience invested in your brand. When they are, you will be able to lead them down the conversion funnel a lot more easily and to establish a reputation that makes them easier to retain.
Establishing expertise, authority, and trust is how you get people to stop and take your brand seriously. It’s a measure of how good your brand’s word is, effectively, so it’s important to do what you can to use it to your benefit.