The team at Target Media Directory determines what it takes to build credibility in today’s changing media landscape.

Technology and social media have streamlined communication across the world, and the wake of this digital disruption has changed many industries – including public relations. While these advancements have made it easier for businesses to share their brand messages, it also allows fake news to spread rapidly.

But that’s where PR pros come in – who better to douse the flames of misinformation and save a brand’s reputation than those whose job it is to spread the truth? Although it takes more than just a PR pro’s skills to stop the spread – it also takes their credibility.

What exactly is credibility?

In a world where just about everything is up for public scrutiny, building credibility is becoming more and more difficult, and therefore, more and more desirable. But before diving into why credibility is so important, let's take a look at what it means.

In the PR sphere, it means building a trustworthy reputation – by doing more than what your job requires. Cultivating credibility will not only let your clients know that you’re good at what you do – it’ll prove it. This title is earned by consistently and unrelentingly putting your best foot forward.

You want your clients and their audience to be influenced by more than just your ability to share a message – and that’s where credibility comes in.

Why is credibility so important?

As a PR pro, your job rests on your ability to persuade an audience to like a brand, favour a product, support an idea, etc ... and you can only do that if the audience trusts you. A lack of trust can cause you to lose the audience, which may result in a loss of clients and professional relationships too.

It’s becoming more difficult for brands and PR pros alike to prove why an audience should believe the information they’re putting out there. This is largely due to the vast amount of data – information pertaining to the daily operations, agreements between brands or even personal details of employees – that’s available online.

That’s why, as a PR pro, it’s key to build this credible reputation so that both your audience and your clients will trust what you have to say.

How do you build credibility?

A trustworthy reputation, like most valuable things, takes time to build – but it’ll be worth more for your career in the long run.

Here are four things you can do to start constructing your credibility:

  1. Be competent – You want your clients to know that they can count on you – and in order for that to happen, you need to prove you’re more than capable of the tasks they set out. You can do this by spending time outside of your regular work day upskilling yourself. For example, learn how to correctly analyse situations and strategies, come up with solutions to problems that haven’t even happened yet and work on communicating more efficiently.
  2. Be accountable – You, and only you, are responsible for your decisions and actions – so own them. If your client points out a mistake you’ve made, take full responsibility and correct it. This will allow your client to perceive you as accountable.
  3. Be consistent – Consistency will set you apart from the rest. Being consistent means working just as hard on the days when you’re not that inspired as the days when you’re overflowing with passion. This will show people that you have what it takes to get the job done.
  4. Be sincere – A major part of building credibility is being sincere. You may have heard that it’s better to ‘underpromise and overdeliver’, but that just doesn't work when it comes to building an honest reputation. You need to clearly communicate to your clients your ability to meet their requirements, deadlines and briefings.