Trust Agents Book Summary - Trust Agents Book explained in key points
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Trust Agents summary

Chris Brogan and Julien Smith

Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust

17 mins
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    Trust Agents
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    The internet has spawned a new kind of marketer: trust agents.

    We all know how profoundly the emergence of the internet has affected our daily lives, but how should marketing techniques adapt to this major shift?

    The most obvious effect is that the increased availability of information has led people to be less trustful of companies and products.

    Just a few decades ago we tended to trust advertisements and salespeople – we had no choice. They were pretty much the only sources of information about products. These days, however, we can do our own research via Google, so we don’t need to trust advertisers anymore.

    However, even in these distrustful times, there are still some individuals who are trusted by their customers, and are thus very influential: trust agents.

    Though trust agents represent companies or products, they build up trust by being knowledgeable, yet also warm, human and community oriented. This is especially true in the realm of new technologies, where trust agents use their expertise to show customers how they can use new, unknown technologies to better their lives.

    Trust agents generally build up their influence over the web.

    For example, let’s say you want to become a trust agent. To get started, you set up a public blog about your field of expertise, e.g., digital photography. This allows you to share your expertise with potentially millions of photographers, and since you wouldn’t be selling anything, they would also see you as trustworthy.

    But even though trust agents don’t really sell things, at the end of the day they are marketers and able to spot business opportunities that they can take advantage of thanks to the social capital they have built up.

    For example, if your photography blog has lots of followers, you have social capital: People know you, respect you and are grateful to you for sharing. One way you could capitalize on this would be to publish an e-book based on your blog, as your loyal followers would probably be happy to buy it.

    In the following blinks, let’s look at some of the key traits of trust agents and how you can emulate them.

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    What is Trust Agents about?

    Trust Agents describes how anyone can use the web to become a trust agent – meaning someone who is well-versed in the tools of the web and who is very influential and trusted because of this.

    Best quote from Trust Agents

    In a way, the web is like your Hollywood agent: it speaks for you whenever youre not around to comment.

    —Chris Brogan and Julien Smith
    example alt text

    Who should read Trust Agents?

    • Anyone who wants to understand what successful marketing looks like in the internet age
    • Anyone who wants to greatly expand their influence

    About the Author

    Chris Brogan is a well-known American blogger, journalist and marketing consultant. Julien Smith is a consultant, speaker and CEO of the start-up Breather, a company that rents out rooms for work and relaxation.


    © Chris Brogan: Trust Agents copyright 2010, John Wiley & Sons Inc. Used by permission of John Wiley & Sons Inc. and shall not be made available to any unauthorized third parties.

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