NOVEMBER 14, 2023

Welcome to The Tilt, a twice-weekly newsletter for content entrepreneurs.

full tilt

Get and Provide Proof

Before an audience can trust you and your content brand, they need to know others already trust you. Among some of the impressive stats:

  • 70% of people trust reviews and recommendations from strangers.
  • 88% of consumers trust online testimonials and reviews as much as recommendations from friends and family.

“In the digital world, where personal connection can be limited, testimonials act as a bridge of trust. When potential audiences or customers see real people vouching for the value of your content, it instantly enhances credibility,” says Dawna Jarvis, a public relations and business strategy expert.

Scott Lieberman, founder of, says he finds testimonials are one of the best ways to sell courses, subscriptions, and more.

“The key here is the testimonial is focused on how the person solved their problem using a new mechanism – which happens to be what you’re selling – be it a course, product, or service,” Scott says.

Testimonials also attract brand partners. “Sponsors like to be aligned with high-quality businesses. They want the halo effect of partnering with a respected content creator. Testimonials add to your credibility,” Scott explains.

How to use testimonials

Write testimonials as mini-stories. Let people see a bit of themselves in the experience. “Aim for testimonials that tug at the heartstrings because we’re all drawn to emotions and real-life stories,” Dawna says.

Highlight in your content. Use testimonials on your website, social media, print materials, book cover, and advertisements. Turn your best testimonials into images or videos to run as ads on Facebook and Instagram, says Jordan McAuley, founder of Contact Any Celebrity.

Scott publishes video testimonials on YouTube and text testimonials on Reddit to reach more customers.

Podcast segments and newsletter highlights are other options shared by Dawna.

How to get testimonials

Jordan’s advice? “Be shameless when asking your audience for testimonials. Don’t assume they will do it on their own. Be vulnerable. Let them know how it helps you and your business.”

Dawna secures testimonials after she wraps up a project. “Timing is everything,” she says. “I usually send over a simple online form or a few easy questions. It’s not just about making it easy for them, but it’s also a great way to get those genuine, in-depth responses.”

Using testimonials as a feedback loop as well as a marketing tool can help the creator refine and improve their offerings to align with their audience’s evolving needs, Dawna says.

“You’d be surprised how much valuable feedback comes from just asking my audience how my content’s impacting them,” she says.

Jordan says you shouldn’t make the testimonial request all about you. “When I ask customers for a testimonial, I tell them, ‘Feel free to plug your project.’”

“In my experience, the reality is most people will write a testimonial because they want to be helpful but don’t usually plug anything. So you end up getting a great testimonial anyway,” he says.

Sometimes, a testimonial manifests itself without your request. Jordan says when a customer sends a compliment, they respond with “Thanks for the kind words. We would love it if you could post a quick review here” and include a link to their Google reviews page.

Jennifer Galbraith, president of Alestra Marketing, offers this handy list of questions to ask when seeking a testimonial:

  • What was your absolute biggest challenge prior to purchasing/joining/attending?
  • How did that challenge make you feel?
  • What changed after purchasing/joining/attending?
  • What specific results can you share?

Just like successful content entrepreneurs publish consistently, you should regularly seek testimonials, Dawna says.

– Ann Gynn

Learn from expert presenters at Content Entrepreneur Expo (May 5-7, 2024). Registration is now open!

we stan Walter Hickey

Entrepreneur: Walter Hickey

Biz: Numlock News

Tilt: Below-the-radar news

Scene: Newsletter, You Are What You Watch: How Movies and TV Affect Everything (book), X (24K), book club

Snack Bites:

  • Five years ago, the full-time editor at Insider News launched his personal content project, Numlock News on Substack. It’s a daily newsletter.
  • Walter offers free and paid versions, giving the latter access to a bonus newsletter and commenting.
  • He continues to work at his traditional content job but managed to release a book this year.
  • Among his advice for newsletter creators is to pick a format and stick with it, as constrictions can produce great writing.

Why We Stan: Walter is a strong believer in a point of view and consistently delivers his content every weekday. Not only does he have a great content tilt, but he tells it in a funny and snarky way that is delightful.

– Ann Gynn

Read Walter Hickey’s story.

Know a content creator who’s going full tilt? DM us. Or email [email protected].

things to know

  • Investor relations: Creators are doubling down in their investments in the creator economy, while traditional investors are more cautious and slowing down, according to ConvertKit’s secondary funding round. (Nathan Barry)
    Tilt Take: Being on the frontlines helps creators see the potential that traditional investors don’t.
  • Bad term: The Washington Post’s tech reporter says the creator economy is “the business of online influencers” who cover every genre and are a $250B industry. (Marketplace)
    Tilt Take: Imagine how much bigger the creator economy really is when you add expert creators and others who operate a non-influencer model.
  • Better smaller: Esports organizations are shifting away from mega-influencers in favor of micro-influencers because they target more specific communities and are less expensive. (Digiday)
    Tilt Take: Niche communities have a value that a mass community never can.
  • Ready for it: YouTube says creators should review their settings and select formats before it rolls out the new for-you section for viewers on Nov. 20. The new feature lets people see a mix of content recommendations based on their watch history. (Team YouTube)
    Tilt Take: Another tool to help get your content in front of a like-interested audience.
Tech and Tools
  • Thumbs up: Thumbnail A/B testing is rolling out to 50K accounts to troubleshoot the tool before it goes out to all creators next year. (Rene’s Top 5 on YouTube)
    Tilt Take: A/B testing through YouTube lets creators test at the same time what you now have been doing manually at different times. The apples-to-apples comparison will be great.
  • End the Thread: Meta seems to have rolled out the option for users to opt out of having their Threads posts pop up on their Facebook and Instagram accounts. (The Verge)
    Tilt Take: More user control is always welcome.
And Finally
  • Bye to this ride: LinkedIn will stop carousels, profile videos, and clickable links in images on Dec. 14. (lipstick social media content agency)
    Tilt Take: If you’re one of the few who used these features, adjust your LinkedIn content strategy now.
  • Good thinking: “Too much emphasis and attention is placed on creator-entertainers and not enough is placed on the creator-educators. The opportunity for most of us isn’t disrupting legacy media – it’s legacy education.” (Jay Clouse)
    Tilt Take: And that’s one reason Jay was the 2023 Content Entrepreneur of the Year.

the business of content

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