Online Voice and Rhetoric: What I have learned about gaining the trust of my readers

The Nine Muses, Polyhymnia, Rhetoric by Johann Heinrich Tischbein. Source:

1. Be transparent!

When it comes to online content creation, transparency is key. Developing a strong level of trust is an essential skill for any blogger, and it is especially relevant for writers because words can hide so much! Remember that “the Web is active 24/7 and has cameras on all angles,” so there is no benefit in hiding the facts or submerging the truth – one day, it will reach the surface, anyway, because the Internet sees everything (Brohgan and Smith, 2019). Therefore, the best tactic would be never to attempt hiding anything in the first place! Tell the audience your true intentions, and you will be paid back with more trust and support than you could imagine!

2. Build consumer-centric marketing rhetoric! 

  • Focus on language style: study your audience and determine the style that would be most suitable for the people you are trying to reach. For instance, my website relies on poetic language to lure in literature lovers. 
  • Use Emojis! Yes, you’ve read this right: use emojis as part of your rhetoric. According to Ge and Gretzel, over the last few years, they have become “an integral aspect of social media marketing” (2018, p. 1276). Emojis are nuanced and can take the place of “visual metaphors,” encouraging the readers to read further by conveying the author’s tone. 

3. Become a “Connector”!

  • Remember “The Law of Reciprocity”: if someone shares your post, share theirs in return! This law often helps beginners in promoting their content through more “visible” blogs. In other words, create an atmosphere of “reciprocity, compromise, and… equality,” and your audience will grow each day (Lauriston 2018).
  • Don’t forget networking: keep track of your connections and build your social capital by keeping in touch with your contacts. The most important thing is to remember who these people are and how you met them!
  • Lauriston shares an excellent lifehack, “LinkedIn also has a great feature that lets you enter notes on how or why you made this connection,” and it is one of the best ways to keep those you value close, as well as to connect them and become the centre of social connectivity online (2018).

4. Synchronize the use of Logos, Ethos, and Pathos

  • Logos: state the facts, such as what content you produce, what is its quality rating, and how many followers you have (quantitative data works best here!)
  • Ethos: explain the credentials that you have and elaborate on how they make you an expert on the topic you are writing about; list your achievements and awards – now is the time to boast as much as you want!
  • Pathos: appeal to emotions. You want to make your audience experience strong feelings, make them laugh and cry. This is the most effective way to stay in people’s memory! You can follow my style and use poetic imagery in addition to paintings, thus producing an emotional response in your readers, or you could use music and cinematography – the sky is the limit!
  • According to Nichols, “All three must be activated and in sync for the most optimal messaging,” which means that you have to remember these strategies next time you are writing (2021)!

5. Follow the Netiquette!

  • Last but not least, be polite.
  • Nichols suggests that your “tone can be informal with respondents you’ve known for awhile or have contact with, but less so when appealing to new fans/viewers/readers/listeners,” which means that you can be more comfortable with your older followers but, at the same time, it would be wiser to keep a friendly distance with the new ones(2021).
  • In other words, be open and approachable, but not to the extent of sharing inside jokes with someone who is visiting your website for the first time!


  • Brogan, C., Smith, J. (2009). “Trust agents. Using the web to build influence, improve reputation, and earn trust.” PDF.
  • Ge, J., Gretzel, U. (2018). “Emoji rhetoric: a social media influencer perspective,” Journal of Marketing Management, 34:15-16, 1272-1295, DOI: 10.1080/0267257X.2018.1483960.
  • Lauriston, U. (2018). “5 ways the incredibly well-connected build social capital.” The Ladders.
  • Nichols, L.D. (2021). Working in and with Digital Media – Part 2. Lecture. WRI227

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