“Today, power is gained by sharing knowledge, not by hoarding it” – Dharmesh Shah, HubSpot.
To start with, transparency goes beyond dishing out numbers, metrics and figures behind your performance as a blogger. It isn’t about laying bare every strategy you are planning to take in the future.
In blogging, transparency means visibility. If you aren’t hiding any salient information needed by your audience, you will gain trust and help your audience succeed if they desire to venture into something similar. One of the biggest problems of having to hide realities and telling lies is that you need to keep all the lies close to your heart.
The truth is, in blogging, you’ll need to write and say so much that your lies will get discovered before you go too far. Ultimately, it’s safer for you lay it bare before them.
But more importantly, you need to decide why you are going transparent. Are you truly driven by transparent tenets or you just felt that since transparency has helped others, it will drive your business to success?
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. In fact, if all you have to drive your blog is transparency; no strategies, no experience, no engagement and no content, then, I’m afraid – you’ve got it all twisted.
Transparency comes in after the strategies for your blogging business has been clearly spelt out, and you have your jobs all cut-out. Nothing else will replace the quality content and expertise of a blogger. When you have the right strategy in place, transparency comes in to give you trust and ensure your audience takes you more seriously beyond the surface.
Before we consider the benefits of transparency in blogging, let’s deconstruct the concept of transparency. To run a transparent blogging business, you need to:
- Conduct yourself professionally; avoid awkward financial arrangements that may put your credibility in question
Professionalism helps you to draw the line between the right and the wrong. It keeps you on track and ensures all of your deals are compliant with the ethics of your industry, which, in return, promotes transparency and accountability.
If questionable and dubious financial deals are traced to you as a blogger who has built trust and reach over the years, your business may not recover in decades.
- Address business ethics carefully
Avoid activities that may create conflicts of interest and/or compromise the quality of data and content.
Make sure every business deal is routed through integrity and fairness.
- Give due and accurate references when you use materials from a third party website. Avoid plagiarism completely.
One of the easiest ways for a popular blogger to lose respect and trust is to pass off another person’s work as his own. Adequate credit must be given. Try your best to be original in your reports and posts. In a word, be “forthright”.
Ask yourself a simple question. Why would people appreciate the work you deem to be yours if, in reality, someone else has put in the hours?
- Ensure your content and posts share a global view.
Blogging is a global business. Don’t make a mistake of being culturally biased or disrespectful. Don’t impose a narrow, local perspective on your global audience. Avoid a voice that is stereotyped by race, culture, gender, religion, geography, gender or social status. Use a global voice.
Let your views, discourse and comments be completely evident-based.
- Stick to your niche and let people know what you represent.
Don’t create or entertain any kind of doubts in people’s minds about who you are. Lay bare your thoughts and purpose of every piece of content you produce. Most times, people will find out anyway, and that places a question mark on your credibility if you’ve attempted lying to them.
- Let the strategies that you’ve used successfully be laid bare.
Yes, they may end up using it, but you would have gotten better, and they accord you an invaluable trust and respect.
- Ensure you carefully cross-check the authenticity of information and facts in your posts before pushing them out.
Make adequate efforts to verify the authenticity of the facts and information you are dishing out. At worst, let them know you haven’t been able to confirm the details and will try your best to clarify the information.
Lastly, disclose any sponsorships, affiliate relationships and financial drivers of your content.
Now, let’s consider the 7 benefits of a transparent blogging business
- Transparency helps you to build trust
In blogging, if you manage to build the value that brings you the needed amount of trust, you will be surprised how people and businesses work to complement your efforts. You are far more credible in the eyes of your audience when you are transparent, and your facts are verifiable.
Pat, the founder of Smart Passive Income, has used this method successfully over the years and he’s clearly one of the most successful bloggers out there today. His objective reviews, detailed guides, comprehensive posts and videos are promoted with clarity and unbiased views. This, in return, has earned him trust, credibility and wealth.
Lastly, once there is a mutual trust between the customers and the business, there will be better customer insight through quality feedback.
- Helps Employees to be at their best
Transparency is central to the success of a blogging business. If you are transparent, your strategies are clear and resources are spelt out, your employees will do their best to accommodate and share your business vision.
At the end of the day, who on Earth would want to hide essential information from employees who have the potential of carrying your business to the next level?
- People connect with you more easily
If your facts are truthful and strategies are clean; people will trust you and your business. Successful bloggers have a way of making people connect with them in such a way that they key into their business.
Quality and engaging stories that have real-life implications are one of the ways this can be achieved.
A successful brand is built through quality strategies driven by trust and values over a period of time. Every time you provide a quality solution and do it in a way that people can trust and easily relate to, you become a better person and a better brand.
Transparency will eventually accord your business a premium brand identity.
- Drive Customer Engagement
By all means, ensure your visitors and customers have a seamless, quality experience on your blog. This includes creating landing pages that look appealing, are easy to digest and convert well. Give them systematic explanations, disclose any relevant information and provide quality content, ensuring that it’s accessible by anyone in any location, on any device. See them as individuals and get across as such.
Many bloggers just felt they’re in business and have no interest as to what happens to their audience offline. Some even imply they have no business as to how their engagements translate with their customer in real life. Did you provide enough value to influence their lives in a positive way?
Empathise and let them know you care beyond just making money. Ask them what’s going on with their applications of the rules you gave them and discuss how you can help them further.
As a blogger, honesty will definitely play a key role in both, your traffic and income. The more people appreciate and trust your work, the more they’ll bring to your business.
In the world where word-of-mouth still plays an integral part in any success, being honest with your audience will generate a reverse domino effect.