Proof matters. It matters because the gap created by a lack of proof, is usually filled with doubt. In business, you really don’t need people doubting you or your message.
People typically want to believe you, but they like to have proof as a way to justify their belief. These days it’s usually pretty easy to provide that proof, particularly online. If you get a mention in a national or regional newspaper, there’s usually a link you can provide, to show your coverage.
For example, I provide a lot of proof on the about page on this blog. I include 5 different links to mentions of me that appear in The New York Times. There’s also a link to the website of my friend and former client; Grammy Award winning producer, Bruce Elliott-Smith, as well as my current AdAge Power150 listing etc. I use the links to help provide proof to new readers and prospective clients, that my narrative is genuine.
The problem with proof
Today, if you get mentioned in just about any regional or national newspaper / magazine, you can provide readers with a link to it on that publication’s website. However, most of the mentions of you from 8 or more years ago in the press, are probably gone without trace. You may have a hard copy of the article that says how great you are, but nothing you can link to, which shows it on the newspaper’s own website. Equally, appearances you made on TV or great radio guest spots from back then, are also hard to prove.
The challenge here is that in the age of click-able proof, many people expect proof to be available on the website of the newspaper, magazine, radio station or TV station etc. Not simply on your site.
In my own case, I have appeared on dozens of BBC radio shows, with nothing I can link to as proof. I list the BBC in an image on my about page and hope that my transparency and click-able proof are enough to build the trust required. You know what? For many who don’t know me, it won’t be. They need that click. To be honest, I understand them too! I see mentions some bloggers make regarding coverage they have received, and find it hard to believe, based on the quality of their content. Others I believe instantly and feel no need to click anything, because their content / work is clearly extremely good.
Maybe there’s a lesson there too: That people are less willing to believe someone who claims high level media coverage, when the quality of their content seems pretty average?
In my experience, if you can link to your mentions in the media, you should. It removes doubt and encourages trust. If you have enough credible mentions, which are easy to prove, you may find people are more likely to believe those achievements, which can’t be proven instantly with the click of a mouse. Here are some tips on how to get more high quality media coverage, if that’s a challenge for you right now.
What are you thoughts?
I would love to hear your opinions on proof and how important you believe these issues are. What are your experiences? Please share your thoughts.
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