What It is, How it Helps You, and How to Get It
Authority is your core asset as a consultant, making it easier for you to reach your prospects and customers. It enables you to earn their respect and trust, so it is crucial for maintaining long-term relationships. Authority means that whenever someone has a question or problem in your area of expertise, they come to you first.
Authority helps you carve out a space for yourself and build a better business. It's the reason prospects hire you. It gives them the confidence to say “yes”. Authority boils down to Audience, Search Results, and Career. Each one helps build authority in a unique way. Without a combination of all three, you'll be hard pressed to established yourself as a true authority in your field.
Do hundreds or thousands people listen to your opinions? If they do, you’re already on your way to becoming an authority. However, people just listening to you is not enough. They must also respect you as an expert in your field.
If you’re in social media, then you want to be known as a social media expert, not a general marketer. You want to specify your authority, because that opens up clients to come to you for that specific topic, rather than not really knowing where your true expertise lies.
If your audience doesn't have easy and regular access to your expert thoughts and opinions, will you be the person they call when they need help? Without regular communication with your audience, it will be extremely difficult to maintain and grow your authority. The simplest way to keep contact these days is via email or social media, but many consultants find success through speaking circuits or by hosting meetups as well.
What shows up when somebody Googles you? What about when they look you up on LinkedIn?
When somebody searches for an authoritative figure online, they’re not looking for just anybody, they looking for somebody specific. And when they search for you, you want them to see that you’re somebody who knows their stuff. If the only person they can find when searching for you is dentist two states away, then you're going to have a hard time proving your authority.
Having a website or blog allows you to own a platform to demonstrate the experience you have. They will also help in building an audience via email or social media.
Another area where people tend to generate quite a bit of authority is with career success. This is true whether you are working in a corporate setting or acting as a consultant. Having high-ranking titles within an organization or a track record of success is an excellent way to establish yourself as a growing authority. For former entrepreneurs, career success comes in the form of long lasting popular businesses or successful exits.
Authority boils down to how well-known you are for doing something.
Essentially, authority boils down to how well-known you are for doing something.
The 3 Kinds of Authorities
There are three core groups who end up considered authorities in their subjects.
The Best in Class
These are people who have risen to the top 1 or 2 percent of their profession, and they are known for their expertise. They go deep in their content, and they’ve earned their authority based on their track record.
The Simplifier takes complex deep concepts, and makes them easy for a wider audience to understand. Simplifiers tend to have a good background in their industry, but have probably been working with clients or other non-experts for several years to help hone their ability to explain concepts.
The third class of authorities are Innovators. These are people who are constantly pushing the edge, and theorizing about new topics and ideas in their market. They often appear contrarian or “out there” when it comes to their methods, but they get results.
For digital marketers, these are people who lay down and apply theoretical concepts that they tested on various apps. They may be someone showing off new strategies for high-speed Instagram growth. Or they may be the person who works back through a complicated algorithm, and shows you how to optimize your content for it.
Innovators come up with new ideas and bring them forward, but the Best in Class and the Simplifiers don't necessarily have to have brand new ideas. Most authorities are not talking about new concepts or ideas, but excel at explaining complex ones in creative ways.
The Real Key to Authority
The secret sauce of what makes an authority is personality. It’s who you are. If your personality is missing in your content, then you are never going to be able to attract a dedicated audience. Personality is something that's really difficult to describe in terms of what works and what doesn't, because everyone has their own preference.
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When creating content, focus on bringing your personality through. It will help you develop a more authentic and dedicated audience than you could otherwise.
How To Generate Authority - A Super Short Overview of Content Marketing for Authority Generation
The three most important parts of authority generation are:
- creating the right kind of content
- placing that content in the right places
- strategically promoting the content to generate the maximum amount of authority
The Right Kind of Content
Craft content that fits into your audience’s existing routine. Creating a two-hour-long podcast makes little sense if your audience is made up of busy professionals with barely 15 minutes to spare. Determine how much time they spend consuming content and create yours to fit their schedule, authoritative content is useless if nobody reads (or watches or listens) to it. Topics should be thought out around the subject matter you want to be an authority in, and you should avoid going off into areas that aren’t important to your audience.
Too many business bloggers end up spending their time writing listicles about productivity, when they don't really show that they understand the nature of their business. They need to create educational, informative, and interesting content. Instead of their top 10 favorite productivity tools, they could describe the exact process they go through to plan their weeks and days.
Educational content means that when somebody sits down to read your article or watch your video, they should come away knowing that they are a little better than when they started. That content must be easy to read and easy to share. Content is easy to share when it makes the person sharing it look good when they do.
Content should be broken into several small chunks in a structured manner. When reading online, people tend to first skim through an article to make sure it is about what they want to be reading, and then they go back and dive in. When creating content, be sure to make it easy for your audience to get an idea of the piece before devoting their valuable time to it. This means show notes or summaries on every podcast or video.
Choosing the Right Channels
A channel is any method of communication between you and your audience. Common channels include email (both personal and newsletters), blogs, as well as social media like Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Less common, but still popular channels include conference circuits and podcast appearances.
Finding the right set of channels is an art because you want to balance competitive audience-rich spaces with the smaller niche areas. The smaller channels where you’ll find the people who need your advice the most.
One important thing that a lot of people miss when choosing channels is that they must be easy to subscribe to. If you can't get somebody to subscribe or follow you on your channel, it's going to be almost impossible to build an audience.
The third factor in choosing the right channel is making sure that you can measure and analyze it effectively. Most authorities-to-be fail to track metrics on the content they create. Without measuring how your audience interacts with your content, you’ll have no idea what they’re doing, if you’re making the content they want, or if you’re even reaching the right people. Measuring and analyzing your channels allows you to hone your content and voice over time to speak to the audience you want. Speaking to the right people in the right way is key to becoming an authority in their eyes.
The third and most important factor in generating authority is promotion. You have to promote strategically to gain authority, by making sure the right audience. We recommend a combination of online “guest appearances” and paid promotion.
Posting as a guest on someone else’s blog will help you gain some dedicated readers and boost your Google ranking as well. More importantly, it will help you generate authority. When you guest post, you associate yourself with another authority, or with the publication you are posting on as a guest. That association brings you more authority.
Authority can only be shared; it can never be taken.
That being said, you should be careful when guest posting. Writing about diet tips on a business blog won’t bring in any advantage or authority. Sharing your audience and borrowing from the audience of the person/organization you are posting with should benefit both parties. The same goes for speaking engagements and podcasts as well. Seek out other authorities in related fields so that you can partner with them to create and distribute unique content.