The Authority Marketing Playbook
Be known for who you are and what you do
Get The Authority Marketing Playbook:
Congratulations for taking the first step toward authority. I wrote this book to put everything I know about content marketing and authority positioning into a single comprehensive reference source. Each one of my employees reads it, most of them daily. Why? Because this is exactly the playbook we use here 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 the same issues – Not enough leads. Nobody reads the blog. Nobody even knows who the hell they are.
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. I hope you enjoy reading and using it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Questions, comments, or thoughts about authority? You can always reach me via email – email@example.com – and I’ll be happy to hop on a call with you.
Wishing you the best authority in all your future marketing endeavors!
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.
3 Types of Authorities
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.
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.
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. 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. Part of our job is to help clients find that audience.
Fundamental rules for authority content
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. Publish a blog – Specifically, publish fresh blog content on a regular basis (at least once a month, ideally weekly). Create original articles about topics of interest to your target audience that are related your expertise and positioning. You should publish it in the form of a newsletter.
11. Publish a newsletter – It can contain either original content or well-curated content from outside sources, but were commend 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. Host a podcast – There are several for mats that may work well, depending on your budget and current audience size. Podcasts are a great complement to blogs, although we usually don’t recommend them as your first content stream.
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
Many clients come to us without having any well-defined niche to specialize in. We use the following exercise to help them find a specialization they’ll feel confident and passionate about.
Step 1: Make a list of your strengths
We use the following questions when helping clients discover where their expertise is deep enough to position themselves as authorities. 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. We use this test to make sure clients 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
A. If you haven’t written anything down yet, now you’ll want pen and paper for this last step.
B. For any niches with overlapping topics, subtract one point from their rank since you can probably speak to both.
C. 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.
D. If you personally know 4 or people in a given niche, add one to its rank since you’ll have more competition in your network.
E. 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 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 –
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.
Call for Content V. 2.0
Customer-Focused Content Marketing for Consultants & Coaches
Our goal is to grow the client’s 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” –
- People actually read the content we create and
- Those readers (and many others like them) become valuable leads for our client’s business
Although we mainly work with digital content, our goal is the same no matter the format. We value leads over reads, but both are necessary for authority generation.
About our clients
Our clients are experts in their fields. That means they have track records of doing things and succeeding. Our clients have usually been independent for several years. They own businesses.
Most clients have deal sizes in the 4- to 5-figure range. Some build an entire business on a few large deals. Most of our clients sell to businesses (B2B), usually small or medium size ones.
Many of them use industry-specific jargon. That means that we have to respect the words they choose. Our writing process is designed to keep most of the original tone and word choices.
Since a client’s business identity is so closely linked to their personal identity and reputation, we work to amplify personalities with our content, not hide them. Some clients have little or no content marketing experience before working with us.
Often, they’ve built the business on referrals or networking. We keep things simple and understandable each step of the way.
Quality comes first, SEO is secondary
Before they come to us, most clients haven’t generated any leads with content. Most of them get their work from networking or referrals. Some use speaking engagements and workshops.
Still, using content to position and market themselves is generally a new strategy for our clients. They usually have little or no traffic from search. We use SEO to make sure our clients show up when people Google their niche.
Since most people aren’t looking for them via search engines, and because we’re not an SEO agency, we don’t stuff our content with keywords. Instead, we focus on creating informative, shareable, authoritative content.
By combining excellent content with email capture and social media marketing, we can build clients’ contact lists quickly. Then, as we create content and social proof over time, SEO opportunities pop up. We take them as they come, but never chase them.
Our content strategy summarized
After creating an Authority Roadmap, we interview the client and their best customers to develop targeted content topics, uncover hidden influencers, and find out which communities we should target. For each of these top clients we create a Customer Persona and identify a set of Pain Points.
Next we plan the specific kinds of content and topics we’ll create. We always recommend an email newsletter, as well as a combination of podcasting and blogging for regular content. To make sure people actually read our content, we use community outreach and paid promotions on social media.
As our clients start to build authority and audience, we begin influencer outreach for content and referral partnerships. Since we’ve targeted the right niches correctly from the beginning, clients grow a valuable email list fairly quickly. This list is invaluable because it forms a contact base that we can nurture into leads.
Like any good digital marketing strategy, we track everything using analytics. That means our message evolves over time as we learn to target even better. As prospects continue to engage with the client’s brand, we score their activities and soon begin the sales conversation with an offering personalized to their Pain Points.
We interview each client
Client interviews are designed to provide information to complete a Your Unique Voice document (YUV). It’s a combination of executive summary and brand guidelines for content. We use YUVs throughout the content planning and creation process to ensure the client is represented with content that sounds like them and speaks to their 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
These are the headings we apply when converting interview results into Your Unique Value branding document. We’ve found that summarizing the interview in the format below is the best way to make the information 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
- Kinds of 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
We interview the client’s clients
We interview each client’s 5 best customers, based on the YUV interview. We then create a specific profile for each ideal customer. This includes the biggest problems they’re experiencing (or experienced before working with our client), their social media habits, where they look for advice, their interests, age, and any questions that they’ve always wanted to ask our client but never have.
These Personas and their Pain Points developed in interviews will form the basis for the authority content strategy.
Client’s 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?
C. Are you a member of industry- or role-specific communities?
Customer Persona Template
- 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]?
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Create a content strategy for each client
We develop content topics to address specific Pain Points and concerns brought up during customer interviews. This lets our content speak directly to the client’s ideal audience.
Great content relies more on promotion than frequency to really do its magic. Sadly, few people believe that you can grow really well by publishing only once a month. We recommend starting out by publishing every other week – One podcast and one blog post each month.
By starting with two content formats, you’ll build relationships and authority at the same time. Creating one of each type every month takes most people about 10 to 12 hours, depending on how fast you write.
If you’re pressed for time, consider focusing on podcasts first. They’re faster to produce and, if you follow our recommended formats, just as effective.
How we create content
It’s simple – We get on the phone and interview the customer for about an hour for each month monthly podcast and/or blog post. The interviews cover the same topics as the blog articles and podcasts.
In some cases, we actually interview guests (influencers, prospects, or current clients) instead of the experts themselves. We use this interview as the foundation for content to be created later.
We also make podcasts. Our podcasts are recorded in interview format and run for 30 minutes to 1 hour. They give our clients an opportunity to speak directly to their audiences.
Also, podcasting lets us put our clients on the phone or in the room with potential prospects and partners on a regular basis. It’s a great form of authority marketing.
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.
A simple republishing of any recent features online as well as any new content from the author.
A step up from the Companion, the Standard includes a few curated pieces and possibly a short note as well.
A direct letter to the reader from the author. These act like a more personalized version of the standard newsletter, with expanded thoughts about each article. Alternatively, they could be short thought-leadership pieces aimed at the audience.
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.
A complete documentation of the process used by an expert to complete something; for example, this document, which details our processes for research and content strategy.
Getting Started Guide
A simple guide explaining how to get started with a skill in any field. We focus on bringing unusual skills to the table, like using video production for better sales emails or, for example, what content marketers can learn from painting associations about attracting the right leads.
Philosophical Opinion Piece
A high-level post that explains how a particular expert views their industry or specialization. This is often rife with metaphors to help explain nebulous concepts. We recommend using 2 or more experts in a high- level dialog to keep the piece grounded and increase your authority.
Contrarian Opinion Piece
This content attacks a widely-held belief or best practice in a given field. It must also provide a viable solution.
Case Study – Traditional
Usually this is a short, simple piece of content that highlights a problem experienced by a happy customer before working with the consultant. It also explains the benefits of working with the consultant, and overall helps to sell the product or service.
A complete teardown of a company’s process or strategy by an expert. Depending on an expert’s specialization, these vary in size. They should include both the positive and negative outcomes of the company’s decisions.
Written Content Workflow
1. Listen to the interview while reviewing the transcript
A. Note mistakes or unclear dialog in the transcript
B. Make note of important points and examples
2. Outline the article
A. Send the outline to the strategist and/or client (1st post or by request) for review
3. Add quote blocks from the transcript to the outline (This is the bulk of the content)
4. Edit the blocks for flow and grammar
5. Add the introduction and conclusion, and connect the blocks within the article’s context (First draft)
6. Edit the article using Grammarly and Hemingway for readability, grammar, and flow
7. Format the final post
8. Create or find images and find quotes to share
Checklist before writing
- Which Persona and Pain Point does this content address?
- Am I writing about data which is proprietary to my expert? If not, am I discussing an industry or a person that I have information about because of my experts’s knowledge?
- If you were pitching this article to a journalist, what angle would you use to get their attention?
- What would someone say about this topic in a Tweet? Why would someone share it, and what would they say?
- What will people learn from this article?
Checklist during writing
- Does the introduction/hook compel the reader to read the rest of the article?
- Does the article’s conclusion give the reader one clear takeaway, and prime him or her to share it?
- Can you read just the topic sentences in the body and still understand the article?
- Did the expert provide any visual aids included or referenced in the article?
- Could any phrases or wording be potentially misinterpreted in a negative way to make your expert look bad, rude, arrogant, idiotic, or otherwise offensive? If there is any possibility of this, change the wording.
- Do you make any statements without proving them, or are there any gaps in your logic? Fix them or make a note for your editor
- Is everything 100% correct and verifiable? Would you stake your job on it?
- Is your information valuable to journalists, and will people share it? If so, you have good content.
How we promote customers and their content
Content promotion is where the rubber meets the road. We combine the strategies below with a bit of paid promotion on social media. Authority-building results primarily from content creation, and it’s amplified by promotion.
We design each client’s promotional strategies from scratch, but always include social media and partnerships. Why? They give you the best bang for the buck.
Create a list of all the places and people you’d like to reach
We explore each client’s audience media landscape and build a list of dozens of groups (50 to 100 at a time), organizations, and media outlets that will give us access to their ideal customers. All of our social media efforts are focused on making the client appear active, engaged, and authoritative within those communities.
Next, we 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.
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 with our client.
Social media marketing
We view social media as the starting point for relationships to be further developed through more-direct marketing channels like email. We automate most day-to-day posting processes, so we can focus on engaging with target audiences.
Whenever possible, we automate the process of following and viewing targeted profiles as well. This frees up more time to focus on engagement, relationship- building, and creating the best content.
Recommended posting schedule
A. 6 to 10 posts daily
B. No more than 1 every 30 minutes
C. At least 50% curated content
A. Daily content-sharing with paragraph comment
B. At least 50% curated content
A. 3 times weekly, or daily shared content with paragraph comment
B. For LinkedIn First Strategy – Monthly article
C. At least 30% curated content
What’s a “paragraph comment”?
You should never just share an article or piece of content. Whenever possible, build your authority by including commentary. Write a few sentences to explain why you agree (or disagree) with the topic of the content.
This is the key to priming online discussion about your new share. Think of this as a “mini post” augmenting the content you’ve curated, which builds your own authority.
Targeted promotion and community engagement
Our content analytics show which content resonates best with a target audience. We then focus our targeted content on a few communities. This system is designed to make the process of finding and engaging digital communities easier and more replicable. We use group-specific links to our content whenever possible, in order to increase the details from our analytics and home in on the most valuable communities.
Community Outreach Plan
Setting the bar
- We’re looking for communities with regular activity – ideally daily; if they’re centered around a weekly/monthly event, then our engagement will need to planned on that timeline.
- Ideally, communities should be receiving multiple posts daily.
- We look for groups where people share and comment on posts.
- Avoid groups with lost of posting but little engagement.
Day One - We’ve found a gold mine!
- Read 6 recent posts from the most recent 20.
- Like, comment, or share each one
- Don’t just go for the most-recent posts, spread them out a bit.
- Target posts from people on your influencer list.
2 or 3 times weekly – Continued engagement
- Comment on 1 or 2 new (past 24 hours) posts.
- Engage in an ongoing discussion.
- During these days, pick out a few highly-regarded members to share from in the future.
Once weekly (beginning on Day Four) – Share and Share Alike
- Share a recent post from of the other group members, particularly an influential one. Look for something they may not have posted themselves or bring an old one up with a question to them about it.
- Alternatively, ask the entire group a specific question. Be sure to follow up on interesting answers.
As needed – After Week One
- Share a recent piece of content designed to fit this group, and be sure to include a description of why you think it was helpful. Use several sentences to explain why the piece made you think of them/want to share it. Avoid sharing the client’s content every time.
Goal – Reach out to 5 groups each month and focus on those with the highest engagement.
- If a community doesn’t drive quality traffic (reads + leads) then it’s not worth being a member for purposes of authority marketing.
Influencer and partnership outreach
Our influencer outreach plan is focused on developing content and referral partnerships. We like to start on social media before moving to email, but we still see results without that step.
In any partnership agreement, you should outline in detail the commitments for both parties regarding promotion (channels and frequency), creation (promotional materials and content), and prize-related responsibilities. It’s best to include a budget for any paid promotion and content production that you can’t do alone.
Most content partnerships are focused on events or downloadable content which give each other’s audiences a chance to opt in.
Day 1 – Initial engagement
- Follow the influencer on any relevant media outlets, and subscribe to their email list if possible.
- Identify a recent feature by the influencer that “introduced” you to them.
- Comment on one of their recent posts (ideal within the past 6 hours on Twitter, or 24 hours onothersocial media) and be sure to thankorcompliment them if it’s their own content.
Ongoing — If you see a post from this influencer in your feed, like or share it.
Day 1 to 12 — Increase engagement
- Send the influencer a question based on a recent post, or on their specialization.
- If they respond, be sure to thank them.
Day 15 – Guest invitation (when applicable)
- Invite the influencer to do a guest post on your blog or be featured in your podcast.
Day 20 – Partnership offer (when applicable)
- Reach out to the influencer by email with a specific partnership offer.
- If they’ve already been invited to be featured, we wait until after that appearance to send the partnership offer
Combine some of the partner’s existing content and repackage it for your audience. We like the ebook format. When possible, we combine content for increased authority through dual authorship. This can be scaled to include multiple people, or for guest series, and almost any other sort of static content.
Combine forces to create a prize(s) for a special contest promoted to your audiences. A joint authority teardown with a live broadcast is our favorite – but the prize can be anything.
Whether on Facebook or on a live stage, your joint live presentation, webinar, or workshop is a great way to engage with an audience. Be sure to record it so you can repurpose the content later – we recommend saving them for exclusive authority content in the future.
It’s simple – You and your partner each write a post for the other’s blog. It’s traditional guest posting.
Podcast Guest Exchange
Like the above, but with podcasts. You each feature the other on a podcast, usually several months apart.
You and your partner should each have a clear idea of the ideal kinds of referrals. Both of you should know plenty of qualified potential referrals. Be sure to discuss the process for making introductions, and referral compensation if any.
We track prospects’ interactions with our client over time so that we’ll be notified when their engagement increases. Depending on how they’re engaging with our client, we’ll either increase engagement with them on social or offering exclusive content. If it looks like they’re ready to buy, we’ll even start the sales conversation for them with a personalized email.
Content Isn’t Fast
Even our best work may take months before it returns. We recommend 6 months for an initial engagement. For exactly that reason we use partnerships and outreach to speed up the process, but building authority still takes time. The research and creation we do when starting out can often take a month, so most work doesn’t even take effect until the second month.
How We Measure Success
The goal of our analytics is to make sure we are providing our customers with a positive ROI. Our work isn’t marketing if it doesn’t make them money. We track customers and leads using a combination of CRMs, Google Analytics, and content specific systems. This allows us to watch them as they move through our engagement funnel and into our client’s sales funnel.
Devesh Khanal at Grow and Convert wrote a fantastic guide explaining how to measure ROI for content marketing by calculating customer acquisition cost. Since this is much more technical than the rest of our work, we won’t dive into it here.
Customer Journey Breakdown
No Time to Do it Yourself
Call For Content will be happy to do it all for you. We designed our process to save our clients the time, money, and stress of trying to run their own content marketing team. In as little as 2 hours each month, we’ll create awesome content for you and make sure it gets in front of your ideal clients.
We were founded with the mission of providing top notch content marketing for the businesses that big agencies just couldn’t serve. Most firms aren’t able to take clients under $3,000/month, so we decided to price our services to start at $1,000. We’re able to price so differently because we work differently. The strategies and tactics that work for GM and Salesforce aren’t the same as the ones that work for an independent consultant.
We offer our customer research and content strategy services as a one time starting-at $2,000 engagement. You’ll get your YUV, Customer Personas, and 12 piece Content Strategy. Everything you need to get going with content.
If you’d like to work with us, please message us using the system in the lower right of this website and Michael will reach out with next steps after reviewing your submission.
Get the full Authority Marketing Playbook as a PDF.
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