Let me give you an illustration of the importance of words in inspiring trust.

Driving down an unknown road, you pass an airfield, dotted with light aircraft and gliders. Up ahead is a large sign, which says, in huge letters: ‘Turn here for flying lessuns!’

Would you turn?  Would you trust your personal safety to a business that can’t get a simple word right? Of course you wouldn’t. Flying is a dangerous business that requires the skills of a professional. If they can’t spell, how can they keep you safe?

A rambling country farm might be able to get away with a handwritten sign on a gate that says ‘Fresh vegtubles for sale’ – it could add to the charm – but even so, the misuse of words hardly inspires confidence in the expertise of the farm as a provider of good food.

In any business, including the creative industries, you promote yourself as an expert – whether you are providing a service, producing entertainment, or selling a product. From the first point of contact (usually your website!) building trust is how you build the client relationship. And trust is easily broken, by the smallest of things, misinformation being one of them, awkward and clumsy language being another.

Of course, the issue is often time. A new business creates a website (and if not, why not?), but who in a new business has the time to craft it, and then update it, all of it, all the time?  If the basic information is there, surely that’s enough, it says what you do and how, after all. They just have to pick up the phone.

However, if someone is interested, they will look further than the home page and contact details. And any out-of-date information – ‘Coming soon in June 2014!’– implies you are not trustworthy; at best too busy to need new business, at worst too casual in attitude to pay attention to detail. No one wants an overstretched or casual expert. If you never get a second chance to make a first impression, remember that nowadays that first impression is not provided by you, but by your website – so it needs to be up-to-date.

It’s only words. But words are all you have.

Jacky Thorne

Cultural Tourism Lead for Culture+

Contact us to speak to any of the Culture+ team about developing your website or marketing skills for your creative enterprise.


Jacky has worked with arts and tourism organisations in Dorset for over twenty years, principally with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and the National Coastal Tourism Academy. In addition to working with the Culture+ project she is Fundraising and Development Manager for Dorchester Arts; and has her own copy-editing business, Wordsmith Services. She represents arts and culture on the Board of the Dorset Tourism Association, and is a Trustee of the Bournemouth Parks Foundation.