Whenever you need some kind of service, you probably don’t rush out and go with the first business you see. Let’s say you need a plumber to fix something in your kitchen. You’ll look up different local plumbers, and you’ll read reviews and testimonials to see how good they are.
That’s exactly what prospective clients and editors are doing when deciding if they want to work with you, and that’s why you absolutely need social proof.
Social proof can make or break opportunities. Knowing how to build social proof is a skill every writer should have in their arsenal, no matter how long you’ve been writing, or how much experience you have.
What is social proof?
Simply put, social proof is credibility from trustworthy people (i.e. experts) or businesses.
There are many types of social proof but, when it comes to writing, there are two main categories: Publication and Testimonials
Publication is a powerful form of social proof because it shows that your writing is good enough for expert sites. That’s a goal that only good writers can achieve so it’s a testament to the quality of your writing.
Of course, the amount of social proof increases with the reputation of the publication, but even getting published at all provides a lot of social proof. Many writers self-publish or maintain a blog and, while this can be useful, it doesn’t provide any social proof because anyone can do it.
Testimonials are also important, especially if you’re a writer or author looking to market your services or products in one way or another. Getting a good testimonial from trustworthy experts in your niche will communicate to prospective clients that you’re excellent at what you do.
What happens if you don’t have social proof?
Many writers have zero social proof. (Or, if they do, they don’t showcase it.) And, you may be wondering what’s so bad about not having any social proof.
With no social proof, it’s really hard for potential clients or customers to evaluate your service and/or products. Most people want experts to write for them and experts always have various types of social proof. If you have none, you’re not positioning yourself as an expert in your subject area.
Obviously the quality of your actual writing matters but, remember, you’re selling yourself, too. You probably wouldn’t buy a product with zero reviews and the same logic applies when you’re marketing yourself.
How to Get Social Proof
Now, let’s look at a few easy ways to build social proof.
The easiest and most important way is to get published. Ideally, you want to aim for authoritative publications in your niche. You don’t need to aim super high but the publications you get in should have some level of influence.
Once you’re published, show it off! Build a portfolio that displays your published work, and put it on your site and/or social media for potential clients to see.
Getting testimonials is also pretty easy. One simple method is to reach out to people you’ve worked with before, and politely ask for a 1-2 line testimonial. Again, you can pop these on your website, or wherever potential clients will see them.
Another way to gain social proof is to establish yourself is an expert by putting out valuable, authoritative content. Think of an expert you follow. They probably put out tons of articles, videos, and social media posts that provide a lot of value. You can do exactly the same thing.
When you provide value for people, they see you as an expert. Put out enough valuable content, and you’ll gain a lot of social proof over time.
Building social proof is something you should constantly be doing. And, if you haven’t started, there’s no better time than right now. So, get to it!
Ian Chandler is a freelance writer and Head Instructor at Writing Launch.
90+ DAYS OF PROMOTING YOUR BOOK ONLINE: Your Book's Daily Marketing Plan by Angela Hoy and Richard Hoy
Promoting your book online should be considered at least a part-time job. Highly successful authors spend more time promoting a book than they do writing it - a lot more.
We know what you're thinking. You're an author, not a marketer. Not to worry! We have more than a decade of successful online book selling experience under our belts
and we're going to teach you how to promote your book effectively online...and almost all of our techniques are FREE!
Online book promotion is not only simple but, if you have a step-by-step, day-to-day marketing plan (this book!), it can also be a very artistic endeavor,
which makes it fun for creative folks like you!
Yes, online book promoting can be EASY and FUN! Let us show you how, from Day 1 through Day 90...and beyond!
7.625 STRATEGIES IN EVERY BEST-SELLER - Revised and Expanded Edition
At this moment, thousands of would-be authors are slaving away on their keyboards, dreaming of literary success. But their efforts won’t count for much. Of all those manuscripts, trade book editors will sign up only a slim fraction.
And of those titles--ones that that editors paid thousands of dollars to contract, print and publicize--an unhealthy percentage never sell enough copies to earn back their advances. Two years later, most will be out of print!
Acquisition Editor Tam Mossman shares seven essentials every book needs to stay in print, and sell!
Read more here:
The Art and Craft of Writing and Editing
Writing is a constant dialogue between author and reader.
The craft of writing involves an interchange of emotions between an author and a reader. An author creates a story line, conflict, and characters, gives his characters words to speak, and then hands off these materials to a reader. This process results in a constant dialogue between the mental imagery produced by a reader and that proposed by the author.
Read more here:
Writing FAST: How to Write Anything with Lightning Speed
A systematic approach to writing that generates better quality quickly!
Chock full of ideas, tips, techniques and inspiration, this down-to-earth book is easy to read, and even easier to apply. Let author Jeff Bollow take you through a process that brings your ideas to the page faster, more powerfully and easier than ever before.
Read more here: