8 Trust Pillars To Fortify Your Business Content Writing

{ This article is an excerpt from our ‘Becoming A Trusted Expert’ guide, available here }

Trust is a complex human interaction. And an even more complex concept to understand!

Ask ten people to define trust, and you’ll get ten (or more) different responses.

The Oxford Dictionary says trust is a ‘firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something.’ 

Another helpful definition, interpreted by Brené Brown1 from Charles Feltman’s research2, states: ‘Trust is choosing to risk making something you value vulnerable to another person’s actions.’

Thus, in professional business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) relationships, being vulnerable in sharing your valuable knowledge and expertise demonstrates trust.

Accordingly, your partners and customers will see you and your company as reliable, truthful and competent.

Further, the ongoing exchange of ‘what we value’ (e.g., money, time, resources, private data, products, services, privileged information, etc.) between business parties is, essentially, trust-building in action.

Exploring Trust

To clarify how trust forms in business relationships and how you can incorporate trust-building techniques in your written communications, I’ll be examining trust in depth for future articles.

Importantly, I’ve chosen to work within David Horsager’s eight ‘pillars’ of trust3 accompanied by Charles Feltman’s four ‘distinctions’ of trust: sincerity, reliability, competence and care2 to study business content writing and how to better connect with your audience.

To help you appreciate the components of trust within your writing, the eight trust pillars are:

  1. Clarity As humans, we trust clear information and distrust vagueness
  2. Compassion (and care) → We trust kindness and distrust inattention
  3. Character (and sincerity)We trust integrity and distrust deception   
  4. CompetenceWe trust expertise and distrust ineffectiveness
  5. Commitment (and reliability)We trust your word and distrust broken promises
  6. ConnectionWe trust collaboration and distrust alienation 
  7. ConsistencyWe trust continuity and distrust uncertainty 
  8. ContributionWe trust results and distrust indifference

For now, consider how you and your organisation currently communicate through written content to engage with your audience.

How important is content for your business to:

  • initiate, develop and maintain loyal relationships?
  • incorporate trust-building techniques and better connect with your target reader?
  • strengthen your brand’s reputation and customer loyalty?

Building quality business relationships through content starts with a practical awareness of what’s needed to ensure your corporate communications are trustworthy. Stay tuned.


For a deeper dive into writing foundational B2B content that cultivates trust, download your free guide, Becoming A Trusted Expert: How To Create Credible Content That Informs, Influences & Inspires Your Audience

  1. Brown, B. (2018). Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. Random House.
  2. Feltman, C. (2021). The Thin Book Of® Trust: An Essential Primer for Building Trust at Work. Thin Book Publishing.
  3. Horsager, D. (2021). Trusted Leader: 8 Pillars That Drive Results. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.