Authority Marketing Playbook

Be known for who you are and what you do


Congratulations for taking the first step toward authority. I wrote this playbook to put everything I know about content and authority marketing into a single comprehensive reference source. Each one of my employees reads it because it sets the foundation for the approach we take at Call for Content.

When I left my job and started working as an independent marketing consultant, I didn’t know how to attract high-quality clients. In fact, I didn’t even know how to explain my work to people. Taking a page from my previous boss, I made myself known to my target market.

Over time, I began speaking at small events and networking in start-up communities throughout the South. Soon I had new business opportunities coming to me without chasing them. During the past few years I’ve worked with a variety of media companies, small businesses, and other consultants to develop new ways to grow their companies.

Time and time again, I found businesses facing the same issues – Not enough leads. Nobody reads the blog. Nobody even knows who the hell they are.

Most of the individuals and businesses I’ve worked with are experts in their fields. That means they have track records of doing things and succeeding. Many of them use industry-specific jargon, so this playbook lays out a content process that is designed to keep most of their original tone and word choices.

When they come to us, some clients have little or no content marketing experience. Often, they’ve built their business on referrals or networking. Most clients haven’t generated any leads with content before working with Call for Content. That’s why we keep things simple and understandable each step of the way.

When it comes to authority marketing, good content changes everything. And, the greater your authority, the quicker your results. Hopefully, this playbook will give you the tools for changing your own business.

Questions, comments, or thoughts about authority? You can always reach me during my office hours and I’ll be happy to talk through authority marketing and your business’s approach.

Wishing you the best authority in all your future marketing endeavors!

-Michael Greenberg
Call for Content Founder

 

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What is Authority? Why do I want it?

Authority is your core asset as a consultant, making it easier for you to reach and influence prospects and customers. It enables you to earn respect and trust as well as income, so it’s crucial for developing and maintaining long- term relationships. Authority means that anyone with a question or problem in your area of expertise will come to you first.

Tangential to authority is persuasion. You can’t build authority if you can’t persuade your audience that you’re worthy of it. According to Dr. Robert Cialdini, the foremost expert on persuasion, authority is one of the six principles of persuasion:

  1. Reciprocity - People are obliged to give back to others when they’ve received something first.

  2. Scarcity - People want more of the things they can have less of.

  3. Authority - People follow the lead of credible, knowledgeable experts.

  4. Consistency - People like to be consistent with the things they have previously said or done.

  5. Liking - People prefer to say yes to those that they like.

  6. Consensus - People will look to the actions and behaviors of others to determine their own.

Using the  tactics of persuasion within your authority marketing strategies can help you influence potential customers.

3 Types of Authority

Best in Class

These are people who have risen to the top of their professions, and they’re known for expertise. Their content is deep, and they’ve earned authority based on a track record.

The Simplifier

A Simplifier makes complex concepts understandable for a wide audience. Simplifiers tend to be proficient in their industries. Yet, they’ve probably also honed the ability to explain concepts by working with clients or other lay people for several years.

The Innovator

Innovators constitute the third group of authorities. These people are constantly on the edge, pushing the envelope by developing and testing new ideas for the marketplace.

Innovators often appear contrarian or “out there” when it comes to their methods,but they deliver results. In digital marketing, these are the people who use apps to test theoretical concepts.

For example, an Innovator may show off a new strategy for high-speed Instagram development. Or, it might be someone who shows you how to use a complex algorithm to optimize your content.

Innovators bring forth new ideas, but the Simplifiers and Best in Class don’t necessarily need to have new ideas to be successful. Most authorities are not talking about new concepts or ideas, yet they excel in explaining complex topics in creative ways, so that valuable information is more accessible to a wider audience.

The Real Key to Authority

The secret sauce that makes you an authority is personality—or under Cialdini’s principles of persuasion, likeability, and consistency. It’s who you are. If a unique personality is missing from your content, then it will never build a dedicated audience. Personality is really difficult to describe in terms of what works and what doesn’t, because everyone is different.

Each person has an individual voice that can best reach a specific audience. An important part of authority marketing is finding that voice and the audience it speaks to.

Fundamental rules for authority content

Specialize

If you don’t have a specific niche, then nothing you do will truly grow your business. If the message you’re sending your audience is cluttered, your authority won’t grow quickly enough to matter.

And, your message must match the audience. Until you’ve clearly identified the target audience, your authority won’t grow. Specialization sharpens your message so it reaches the target audience with pinpoint accuracy.

Authority is Relative

Authority is about who you interact with. A veteran barista might know the name of Starbucks’ CEO and consider him an authority, but he probably doesn’t know very many tech gurus.

Similarly, the barista is more impressed by a skilled brew than a stellar earnings report. That’s why specialization is so important – Your authority must be relevant to your audience from the outset.

At the same time, this also means you can tailor authority to fit your target audience. For example, if you’re a marketer for lawyers, you don’t care whether other marketers know who you are. You only need to get your message to lawyers.

18 Authority Plays We're Already Using

We break our authority-building plays into 2 broad categories. Education and Career plays tend to be things you already do to gain authority. Content and Community plays are generally ongoing activities that build authority over time.

Education & Career

1. Go to a big-name school – Harvard, MIT, Oxford and similar well-known schools listed on your resume will give you more credibility in any field. You’ll get a little more authority for passing through their rigorous qualification process. Even the MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) from a prestigious university can bring you a bit of their authority, for a fraction of the cost. To boost your authority even further, you can tie together MOOCs for certification from that school. (See 3.)

2. Get an advanced degree – MBA, JD, or Ph.D. lend credibility and authority to your name. The most valuable is a Doctorate degree. At least in the US, people tend to trust Doctors of any kind.

3. Become certified – CPA, Inbound, Google Partners, Scrum Master, or any other well-known certification increases your authority in that domain. Certifications are often niche-specific, so choose them carefully.

4. Sell a company – Don’t just start a company, sell one. Selling a successful business for a profit is the absolute best way to establish yourself as an authority in that that industry niche. You’ll need to use another kind of authority-building play to verify your claims of success, but that’s easy after everything you’ve already accomplished.

5. Hold a high-level position at a well-known company – You don’t need to be a CEO to have credibility and build authority, but you’ll need to be at least a VP at a mid-market company of some sort. If you have a track record of success or attended a big-name school, you can probably still leverage a lower management position.

6. Found or join a venture-backed start up – If you only joined a company instead of founding it, then your authority depends on being an early employee or a top-level staff member. If the company isn’t successful or well-publicized, you’ll need some good war stories in order to create content that builds your authority.

7. Launch a successful public project – You can build authority through anything positive that you’ve done in public view. As long as you’re able to talk about what you did, you’ll build authority with those who hear about it. This authority-generating play must be publicized through outside channels.

8. Teach – Ideally at a university, though a community college is a great starting place. Teachers still practicing their profession are well regarded in the business community and commonly recognized as authorities.

9. Existing content – Maybe you’ve already written a book or hosted a successful podcast a few years back. As long as it’s related or adjacent to your desired positioning, it’s probably worth mentioning.


Content & Community

10. Host a podcast – There are several podcast formats that may work well, depending on your budget and current audience size. Podcasts are a powerful way to build authority—listeners can hear your voice, your passion, and your expertise.

11. Publish a newsletter – It can contain either original content or well-curated content from outside sources, but we recommend original for better authority. As long as you publish the newsletter consistently and it communicates valuable information to your target audience, you’ll build authority.

12. Publish a blog – Specifically, publish fresh blog content on a regular basis. Create original articles about topics of interest to your target audience that are related your expertise and positioning.

13. Publish a book – You don’t need to actually write the words yourself, but the book must contain your knowledge, beliefs, words, and expertise. A bad book makes you look good when nobody reads it. A good book makes you an authority.

14. Create an online course – Much like writing books, you’ll build much more authority if you create a good course. Teaching someone about a topic is the ultimate way to establish yourself as an authority in their mind. Beyond teaching ability, you’ll need a high level of expertise in your field to create a valuable online course.

15. Write for a well-known publication – Forbes, Huffington Post, and Entrepreneur are examples of influential publications. There are dozens of popular online and offline publishers looking for regular contributors. Associating yourself with one or more of them allows you to borrow a bit of their audience to help grow yours.

16. Speak to groups – Whether it’s a Meetup, webinar, conference or networking event. Speaking to a group of people about a topic related to your positioning is a great way to build authority. Double your marketing ammunition by recording the talk and posting it online later.

17. Be featured – In blogs, podcasts, digital media outlets, local radio shows, everywhere and anywhere your target audience is. We strongly recommend choosing and focusing on only one type of feature. That makes it easier to reach the same audience with your authority message again and again.

18. Become active and/or well-known in your community – As long as the community is composed mainly of your target audience, this is a great way to build authority. The activity could be a Meetup, subreddit, Slack channel, co-working space, or even a non-profit board.

Choosing What to Specialize In

When you try to be an expert on everything, you’ll be an expert in nothing. Choose a niche—a focus—and build your authority around that topic. Here’s how to choose a specialty area.


Step 1: Make a List of Your Strengths

Ask yourself the following questions to document and discover where your expertise is deep enough to position yourself as an authority. Deep expertise is shown by several years of experience in a specific field and subset of skills, together with a track record of success.

  • In which fields do you consider yourself an expert?

  • Which topics do you speak about most often in seminars and conferences?

  • What do you love doing most at work?

  • In which field do you want to be the ”go-to guy”?

  • Which types of clients have you had the most success with?

If there’s a particular part of your work that you love more than anything else, add it to the list as well. Try to think of at least seven potential niches before moving on to the next step. We recommend a combination of topics, such as social media lead generation, as well as more general areas with a specific client type, like digital marketing for accounting firms.

Step 2: The Talk Test

At this point, you must pass what we call the “talk test” for expertise for every niche on your list. Are you comfortable preparing a half-day workshop or giving the keynote address at a conference about each niche? If your answer is no, take that niche off the list. This test is to make sure you have the confidence, passion, and experience to create authoritative content in each field.

Step 3: Mapping the Competition

Now that you have an initial list, it’s time to take a look at the competition. For example, if you’re a motivational speaker or life coach, first you’ll write down major names like Tony Robbins, Tim Ferris or Gary V. next to the niche they’re in.

Second, write down anyone you know personally who specializes in one of your listed areas. The goal of mapping the competition for each niche is to figure out where each connection can be tweaked to differentiate you from the pack. Social media marketing may become social listening and lead generation. Sales may become sales management or new team dynamics.

Even after tweaking your niches, you may find that a few of your fields are highly saturated with competitors. That’s OK, it just means the market is big. Usually, the market is big enough for one more – you.


Step 4: Ranking the Options

At this point, rank your top five favorite options with one as your first choice and five as your last. If you don’t have five left, rank however many you have. The purpose is to eliminate any options that you aren’t passionate about.

We recommend ranking the options based on a combination of your expertise and enjoyment of the work, but you should never exclude an option simply because you don’t like it. Once you have your top five options, note any that may overlap.


Step 5: Tallying the Results

If you haven’t actually written anything down yet, you’ll want pen and paper for this last step.

A. For any niches with overlapping topics, subtract one point from their numerical rank since you can probably speak to both.

B. If there were more than 3 major competitor names in any niche, add one to their ranks since your audience will most likely compare you to them.

C. If you personally know 4 or more people in a given niche, add one to its rank since you’ll have more competition in your network.

D. If more than half of them are local, add another one since you’re less likely to get referrals with a lot of local competition.

The lower the score, the stronger the niche.

The exception that makes the rule – Go with your gut

As a rule, we recommend moving forward with your lowest score. But, we also recognize one exception for those people who are head over heels in love with a higher-scoring option.

This can happen if your favorite choice was bumped from first place due to additional competition. Go for it! Your extra confidence and passion will come through in everything you do, which means better content and more authority as a result.


Turning Your Niche into a Positioning Statement

A positioning statement is a single sentence that describes what you do, who your customers are, and why they hire you. Call For Content’s positioning statement is –

We help consultants and business coaches build their authority and business using content marketing.

If you’re having trouble fitting your niche into this format, break it down even further –

I help….

Who are your ideal customers?

solve this important problem….

Why do your customers hire you? What difficulty are you helping them to overcome?

How do you do that?

What do you do exactly to solve their problem? Are you a tax accountant? A content marketer? A sales strategist? What do you do to solve their important problem?

Putting it all together – The Authority Roadmap

If you’re working your way toward authority, at any given time you should be engaging in or preparing several of these plays. When you decide to become an authority, you must first look back for any accomplishments relevant to the audience you’ve decided to reach. As you build authority within a highly-targeted community, you’ll be able to expand your authority over related groups.

How to Use an Authority Roadmap

The Authority Roadmap is a simple tool for evaluating your authority within a specific niche at any point in time. Revisit it once or twice a year to see how far you’ve come and update where you need to go. While it isn’t an in-depth tactical document, the Authority Roadmap is a quick way to make sure you’re on the right path to authority positioning.

How to Fill in Your Authority Roadmap

1. Fill in your positioning statement in the upper right corner of the Roadmap

2. In the What I’ve Done column, fill in any authority building plays relevant to your positioning that you’ve already accomplished. Be sure to include existing content even if you’re still creating for that channel.

3. In the What I’d Like To Do column, fill in any authority-building plays that you’d like to accomplish in the next 6 to 12 months.  Be realistic – If you’re a freelancer with 2 years of experience, you’re probably not going to get an executive role at a large corporation.

4. Finally, fill in your What I’m Doing Or Working Toward column with the authority-building plays you’re doing now.  Compare them to your What I’d Like To Do column and see if there’s anything you need to add so can reach your goals.

AMP Roadmap Update resized.png
 

Call for Content’s Approach to Authority Marketing

Customer-focused Content Marketing

Our goal for the clients we help is to grow their authority and business. We measure the quality of content according to the quality of the traffic it brings. We define quality traffic as “Reads and Leads:”

  1. People actually read and listen to the content

  2. Those readers (and many others like them) become valuable leads

Leads are inherently more valuable than reads, but both are necessary for authority generation.

Quality Comes First, SEO is Secondary

SEO (search engine optimization) is important to make sure the content you’re creating shows up when people Google your niche. When you start using content to position and market yourself, you may have little or no traffic from search. That’s OK.

Most people probably aren’t looking for you via search engines, so SEO is not even close to the be all end all of building authority. So we don’t recommend stuffing your content with keywords. Instead, focus on creating informative, shareable, authoritative content.

By combining excellent content with email capture and social media marketing, you can build your contact list quickly. Then, as you create content and social proof over time, SEO opportunities pop up. Take them as they come, but never chase them.

Your Unique Voice

After creating an Authority Roadmap, it’s time to create personas, develop targeted content topics, uncover hidden influencers, and find out which communities to target. That process starts with an interview...with you!

Have a friend or confidant ask you the questions below and document your responses. This self-interview is designed to help you talk through the information you need to complete a Your Unique Voice (YUV) document. It’s a combination of executive summary and brand guidelines for you content. You’ll use your YUV document throughout the content planning and creation process to ensure your voice is represented and your content sounds like you and speaks to your customer base.

YUV Interview Questions

1. Tell me about your business?

A. Why did you found it?

B. What’s your elevator pitch?

2. What sets you apart from the competition?

3. How would you describe your ideal customer?

4. Which types of customers see the most value in your work?

5. If customers don’t use your services, what do they do instead?

6. Tell me about your most profitable customers?

A. What are their biggest problems?

B. Which are the most important? *(To them, not you)

C. Where do they currently find content about those problems?

D. How are they different from your other customers?

E. What do you love most about working with them?

F. What happens if they can’t find solutions to those problems?

G. What happens in their business that leads them to you?

H. What are some common obstacles in their industry/market?

7.  Tell me about your favorite customers of all time?

A. What are their biggest problems?

B. Which are the most important? *(To them, not you)

C. Where do they find content about those problems now?

D. How are they different from your other customers?

E. What do you love most about working with them?

F. What happens if they can’t find solutions to those problems?

G. What happens in their business that leads them to you?

H. What are some common obstacles in their industry/market?

8. Where (or to whom) do you go for business advice?

A. For other life advice?

9. What’s your favorite part of your job?

A. Least favorite?

10. Tell me about your current marketing strategy?

A. What’s your message?

11. What type of voice do you want to see in your content?

A. Are you more of a glass half full or a glass half empty kind of person?

12. What are your personal/company values?

A. What do you believe in that makes you keep doing what you do?

13. What sort of jargon, slang, or specific phrases do you use in your work?

A. What do they mean?

14. Are there any words or phrases you never use?

15. Have you taken any personality profiles or assessments like Meyers- Briggs, DISC, or StrengthFinders? (Please include them if available)

YUV Headings Outline

After you answer the YUV interview questions, compile the answers into the Your Unique Voice branding document. Taking this extra step of summarizing the information is the best way to make this exercise useful.

  • About [Business]

  • About [Expert]

  • Starting my business – Why, when, and how

  • The business of [industry/market]

  • My 5 best clients

  • Types of engagements and business models

  • My clients - Their quirks, and why I love them anyway

  • The important problem I solve

  • How I market right now, and my message

  • Culture – How I want people to feel when they work with me

  • Writing style + tone – How I like to sound

  • Purpose + Values – What I believe in

  • Language, jargon and specific phrases I like to use, and what they mean

  • Words or phrases I never use

Interview Your Clients

Next, have your friend or confidant interview your 5 best customers, as determined by the YUV interview, and share the results with you.

Based on the interviews, create a specific profile for each ideal customer that includes the biggest problems they’re experiencing (or experienced before working with you), their social media habits, where they look for advice, their interests, age, and any other questions you’ve always wanted to ask you but never have.

Client Interview Questions

1. Tell me a bit about your job.

A. What keeps you up at night?

2. How did you first learn about [Expert]?

3. What is the biggest challenge you currently face?

4. How has [Expert] made an impact on your business?

5. What do you like most about working with [Expert]?

6. Do you read [Expert’s] blog?

A. Again for other content?

7. What other (industry name) blogs or publications do you frequently visit?

8. What type of articles would you like to see more of?

9. What’s the best article you’ve recently read?

10. Why did you choose [Expert] as your business consultant?

A. Was there competition?

11. Which blogs, newsletters, or podcasts do you follow?

A. What about other media?

B. Any other particular influencers/experts you seek out?

12. When you have a tough problem at work, who do you ask for advice?

13. Do you use social media?

A. List networks

B. Why do you use social media? (business or family)

14. Which communities are you a member of?

A. Online?

B. Offline?

C. Are you a member of industry- or role-specific communities?

Customer Persona Categories

  • Name

  • Location

  • Age

  • Title

  • Married

  • Kids

  • Content I consume (Blogs/Newsletters/Podcasts/TV/YouTube, etc.)

  • Which social media do I use?

    • A. How often?

  • Who do I go to for advice?

  • What are my main job functions?

  • How long have I been doing my job?

  • What are my major goals at work?

  • How do I spend my time?

  • What are my biggest pains?

  • What’s my worst daily struggle?

  • How did I find [Expert]?

  • Why did I buy from [Expert]?

 
 

The Types of Content We Create (In-House)

Relationship Builder Podcasts

An interview podcast coupled with a request for a referral to a target audience afterwards. Usually, we phrase the referral request as a way to find additional guests. These quickly build network in a new industry, location, or community, and overall authority.

Authority Builder Podcasts

An interview podcast coupled with content repurposing and paid promotion to help bring high authority guests and grow audience size quickly. This is a great way to create a lot of high quality content.

Case Study - How To/Guide

A case study of a highly specific achievement (good marketing campaign, new product development, blog promotion) combined with a how-to guide based on those practices.

Case Study – Traditional

Usually this is a short, simple piece of content that highlights a problem solved by working with the consultant.

Expert Process

A complete documentation of the process used by an expert to complete something.

Getting Started Guide

A simple guide explaining how to get started with a skill in any field. Try to bring unusual skills to the table, like using video production for better sales emails.

Philosophical Opinion Piece

A high-level post that explains how a particular expert views their industry or specialization.

Contrarian Opinion Piece

This content attacks a widely-held belief or best practice in a given field. It must also provide a viable solution.

Authority Teardown

A complete teardown of a company’s process or strategy by an expert that should include both the positive and negative outcomes of the company’s decisions.


Podcast Production

Our core focus is on creating and producing podcasts that build authority with a client’s defined personas. The most important aspects of this process are choosing the right format and schedule, finding and inviting guests, and actually creating the show.

Show Format

It’s important to maintain a regular show format for your recordings. Keep the outline for each episode generally the same. This makes life easier for you while building a brand for your podcast by establishing what listeners can expect.

Here are some show format examples:

  • Divided into three different topics, separated by music breaks

  • One long conversational interview

  • Begin with a question to think about and end with an application

  • Have 3-5 topics and end with tips or a book recommendation

Another question we get a lot is about scheduling the shows. Should you do seasons? Do you want to go year-round? What works best for your company’s capacity? Whatever you decide, the most important thing is to be consistent. For instance, release six episodes in six weeks every year. Or, one episode per week, every week, year-round. This is one of the toughest parts for anyone with a busy schedule, but planning ahead will save you sweat and stress.

Inviting Guests

Once you have your unique voice and personas created, it’s simple to create a list of prospective guests for your podcast. Inviting these guests can sometimes be intimidating. However, your company has a game-changing offer for your prospective podcast guests: Media exposure. In short: it’s worth it for both parties.

Creating the Show

Podcasts keep things cheap. If you have a laptop and wired headphones with a mic, you’ve got the baselines to record. You’ll also need a decent and reliable internet connection and a professional intro and outro to use with each episode.

As for software, there are a few good options. Zoom is a great choice for a simple and extremely cost-effective tool to get your podcast off the ground. We recommend it over Skype because it has free audio and video recording options plus a call-in function for those who need it.

As far as timing, we try to plan three months ahead. Have a extra few episodes pre-recorded to build a backlog before launch. Reach out to guests 4-6 weeks in advance of recording. This gives a low-pressure timeline for response, follow-up, and working out details. Always have a few episodes in your backlog in case something goes wrong. That way you’ve got some slack and won’t miss publishing due to an emergency or vacation.



How to Promote Authority-based Content

Content promotion is where the rubber meets the road. We recommend combining the strategies below with a bit of paid promotion on social media. Authority-building results primarily from content creation, and then is amplified by promotion.

Classic marketing lore demonstrates that your audience needs to be exposed to a message seven times before it’ll resonate and they’ll take action. In his research, and in the book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Dr. Cialdini found that, “Often we don’t realize that our attitude toward something has been influenced by the number of times we have been exposed to it in the past.”

Your influence and authority are dependent upon being in your audience’s ears and inboxes.

Influencer and Partnership Outreach

Focus your promotion activities on partnerships. We’ve been doing this a long time, and have learned that they give you the best bang for the buck.

Create a List of All the Places and People You’d Like to Reach

To determine the best options for partnership, explore your audience’s media landscape and build a list of dozens of groups (50 to 100 at a time), organizations, and media outlets that will give you access to their ideal customers.

Next, research popular podcasts and blogs for guest appearance opportunities, and to build a list of key influencers. We identify influencers in batches of 100, taking care to note which Persona and Pain Points they target in our customers. And we always focus first on influencers who serve the same Personas and Pain Points outside our own target audience. That way they aren’t direct competitors, so they’ll be open to partnering.

Finding the Influencers

There are 4 different levels of influencer to look for:

  1. Celebrity – Anyone with a huge following. Think, Tim Ferris, Gary Vaynerchuk, etc. A single shoutout from them can lead to hundreds of qualified leads for you. The downside is, though, that they’re busy. The only chance you have to get in touch with them is by doing something creative & tailored to their interests. While this may be hard, it’s by no means impossible.

  2. Influencer – Professionals with a lot of followers, but not nearly as much as a celebrity. They’re significantly easier to get in touch with, given that you get the email angle right.

  3. Micro Influencer – The sweet spot. They have enough of a following to make your outreach efforts count, but not famous enough for them to just outright ignore you.

  4. Newbie – Someone who’s just starting out. Good news – they’ll be more than glad to share your content. Bad news – they don’t have much of a following, so you’re not going to see a lot of traffic or leads coming your way.

Before you even begin gathering the influencer contacts, you’ll need a place to keep track of your leads.

The most basic thing you can use is Google Sheets, gathering information such as…

  • First Name – you don’t really need a last name since that’s something you’ll never include in an email

  • Email

  • Social Profiles – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. If the prospect is being unresponsive on Email, you could always ping them on social media.

  • Podcast or Blog Name – for “Hey [name]! I’m a big fan of [podcast name]”

  • Blog Post Name – tying in the reason for contact. “I’ve read your article on [blog post name] and wrote something similar.”

  • Blog Post Link

  • Personalized Message

Once you’ve got your sheet ready, it’s time to start looking for leads. As we’ve already mentioned, you’d want to find influencers and micro-influencers, specifically, as celebrities and newbies are either impossible or pointless to reach.

How to do Email Outreach (The Right Way)

One man’s blog post is another man’s spam. And no one likes spam.

Even if you have the best influencer list and the right angle, you’re not guaranteed a response. Your email could, for example, just be overlooked. Or it might not click with the person you’re reaching out to. There are things you can do to improve your chances of success.

Outreach Best Practices

If you started going into content marketing outreach on your own, you’d have to do a lot of experimentation to see what worked and what didn’t. Thankfully, we’ve done the experimentation for you – here are best practices that work for us.

Spark Their Interest with a Subject Line

The subject line is the first thing the influencer gets to see. It’s also something that determines whether it’s read or not.

Something like “About your blog post” is too generic and spammy. While it might still be read, it’s something that can really be overlooked, since it doesn’t really say anything.

With the title, you’d want to do one (or all) of the following…

Add Value

Did the influencer miss something important in their blog post? Maybe there’s an easier way of doing something, or a new methodology that simply works better? All of these benefit the

So, let’s say you’re writing an article on E-mail tracking & how it’s useful for landing new clients. You find an article that talks in-depth on the topic, but missing something critical, like DocSend for tracking sent documents.

Your subject line could be something like…

“Re: E-Mail Tracking Article: How to use DocSend to track documents”

Challenge Convention

Do you have a controversial opinion? Maybe something that contradicts the influencer’s own thoughts? At a glance, it might seem like a bad idea – who’d enjoy being emailed just to be told they’re wrong, anyway?

Well, in most cases, influencer’s write about what they care about. Meaning, it’s in their best interests to be proven wrong – they’ll come out of the experience smarter & more self-assured, whether you prove them wrong or not.

So, for example, let’s say the article is about how culture fit is more important than hard skills. You could spark their interest by starting off the email with a contradictory statement straight off. For example…

“How & why hard skills beats culture fit”

Spark Curiosity

If you’re writing an article that’s relevant to the influencer’s niche (which you are. Or you wouldn’t be emailing them in the first place), it shouldn’t be hard to spark their curiosity.

In this case, you can just go for whatever new information your article uncovers. For example…

“Re: recent changes to the Google algorithm”

Be Personal

This is where the “personalized line” on your Google Sheets comes in. If you tailor your email to the influencers interests, you’ll be significantly improving your success rate.

Follow Up

Even if you write the best email ever, it might just slip through the cracks.

So it’s always good to follow up, in case the influencer didn’t get to see the email. Follow up just once, though. Any more than that and you’ll risk ruining your reputation – if they don’t read this email, they might read the next. That won’t happen, however, if you bombard them with emails.

Track Everything

Use analytics to understand which content resonates best with a target audience, then you can focus targeted content on a few communities. This system is designed to make the process of finding and engaging digital communities easier and more replicable. Use group-specific links to content whenever possible, in order to increase data granularity and center in on the most valuable communities.


Call for Content: Authority Marketing Agency

Now that you’re through this playbook, you have a good grasp on how to develop your authority-building content strategy. But, as you can tell, doing so takes a lot of time and work, and there’s an overwhelming number of moving pieces.

Creating good content—and doing so efficiently—isn’t impossible. It just requires your expert brain and an authority-focused content marketing partner.

We offer our customer research and authority content strategy services as a $1,500 / month engagement. You’ll get your Authority Roadmap, YUV, Customer Personas, and a weekly podcast. Everything you need to get going to build authority.

To get started on your road to authority, schedule an office hours call with Michael where we’ll develop your authority roadmap and see if podcast-based authority marketing is right for your market.