How do people gain credibility so fast?

No one just “goes viral” on social media. No new small business has an early explosion of customers. And no one gains credibility overnight. Behind every meteoric rise is a person who found help through message amplification—many have no idea.

Everyone, including you, is surrounded by trust channels in the form of contacts, media, service providers, NGOs, or even political parties. Trust channels are often people, but can be organizations too. Without knowing it, all new information is validated through these existing relationships or channels. Any new ideas received through a trust channel are immediately accepted. Ideas received outside of one’s trust channels are rejected.

The same sales person I trust is met with suspicion when she cold calls another company, for example. I have multiple examples of trust channels here.

How people gain instant credibility

If Tim Cook, CEO of Apple talked about how incredible you are in an interview tomorrow, would you gain credibility instantly? Yes. He would be an incredible trust channel. Obviously, getting Tim Cook’s endorsement isn’t easy—but lucky for you it’s also not necessary for you to gain credibility in your space. The key is to find channels trusted by those you seek to impact.

People who gain instant credibility in their space or achieve overnight stardom have strong relationships within trust channels. Period. But many folks who benefit from high-value trust channels have no idea. That’s a problem when they are trying to educate others on their process, but it’s also a problem for them.

Not knowing your trust channels is a problem for you.

One entrepreneur I know left their corporate job to go out on her own. Her rise was incredibly fast and she was making 6 figures in about one year achieving incredible reach on LinkedIn with every post. What was her secret? “I post great LinkedIn content,” she told me. But that wasn’t all.

At a workshop, we dug in to the details. I pushed and prodded and she finally asked why finding her trust channels mattered. “Because if you know, it becomes repeatable,” I said. She did the work and what she found was incredible.

After a few months time she discovered her entire LinkedIn reach came down to 4-6 well-established individuals and a tight knit business community (her former employer) she was a part of. Although I’m not at liberty to disclose this community, being in this “in crowd” was certainly like striking oil. She had tapped into an incredible trust channel.

But even tapping into a key trust channel alone isn’t good enough. You have to position yourself, and provide relevant information in advance. She achieved this via LinkedIn. Her content was truly exceptional, but what she didn’t know until she had time to ruminate is that it closed so many deals for her because people already trusted her. The last time we spoke, she was putting tools in place to ensure these trust channels stayed open—including sending some nice referral gifts.

The same story is true of Jake Slatnick the CEO of FreePower. When I asked about how he achieved so much press during an interview on my podcast, his response was that they had developed a great product. While this was certainly true, only after I pressed him did he realize he intercepted tons of journalists at CES, demoing the product in front of them. When they wrote about his product, he tapped into their key trust channels.

If you want to know the power of trust channels, just ask any former journalist. When they’re actively writing for a major publication, getting return emails or phone calls is immediate and easy. I remember by time writing for The Washington Post. One phone call to a comms team would yield an immediate reply almost every time.

That’s why many former journalists are shocked if they leave their roles. Suddenly, their cold reach outs are met with the same cold reaction most of us accept as normal. I remember a a few friends of mine recalling the moment they left their jobs writing for respected publications—they noticed a stark difference—they had no idea it was unusual for people to simply respond to a cold email. (Seriously)

Knowing your trust channels

Tapping into key trust channels is valuable, (more on how to do that here) but identifying those channels is of equal importance. You must ask every customer how they discovered you and trace back their journey to the first point of interaction they had with your brand.

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Hi, I’m Justin Brady. I amplify inventive companies (and their people) to new audiences by identifying and utilizing their customer’s trust channels. I wrote for The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post and I hosted the founders of Starbucks, Hint and on my podcast.
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