Authority marketing is a bit of a buzzword in marketing circles in recent years.
Authority itself isn’t new, it’s been around for a very long time, it just wasn’t used to sell you a TV in the 13th century!
Whether your niche is technology, farming, writing, playing the guitar or playing the game of thrones, having authority in that niche gives you a certain amount of power.
It makes you the “go to” person for advice, guidance, recommendations and products.
I bet when you started with online marketing or even right now, you are scrambling to get traffic to your sites and faces in front of your products.
Having a perceived authority in a niche will mean that more people will start to look for you, rather than you trying to entice people in.
The fact that people will seek you out frees you even further by reducing your reliance on paid traffic, and the ever powerful Google.
Let’s face it though; no one starts out as an authority, so how do people get there?
Well here’s my top tips for starting on your way to becoming a respected authority in your niche.
1. Pick a Side
No matter what you are talking or writing about, there will be different view-points. Pick a side, and stick to your convictions.
If you think a particular industry change sucks, speak out. Don’t sit on the fence; no one likes people that do that.
The fence might be a safe place to be, but becoming a successful entrepreneur and authority means taking risks and being bold in your view point.
Just remember, you can still change your mind if evidence or whatever convinces you that you were wrong. Being able to admit your errors like this can even boost your authority, after all, we are all only human.
2. Share Your Self
The anonymous web isn’t dead, but more and more online personas are the real deal.
Sharing your reality is helpful for building audience trust, and a trusting audience is more likely to purchase from your or buy your recommendations.
I’m not saying that you have to share everything; no one cares if you ate Rice Krispies for breakfast, unless there’s a cat doing backflips in your bowl of course!
However, sharing your story, your beginnings, can help people get in tune with who you are as a person and your world view.
This will help people decide if you are a good fit for them, because people are tribal at heart and they want to belong to a group of like-minded people.
3. Connect with Peers
When I was at school, I was one of the uncool kids. Did I become cool? No, but by hanging around with the cool kids I became accepted (after a long while) which had its own perks.
Surrounding yourself with like-minded peers is essential. It helps to do a couple of jobs:
It helps to expand your reputation, by being associated with other thought leaders in your industry or niche. “Oh hey, you’re Dean aren’t you? You work with Steve from I’ve Tried That. He’s so cool!”. (Disclaimer: no one has said that to me… yet!)
It helps you learn more. By having all these great and yet varied minds around you, some of them there smarts is going to rub off on you.
4. Interact with Your Audience
We live in a connected world; one where connecting to people over vast distances can be instantaneous. Why not use this to talk to the people who are interested enough to follow you on social networks or leave a comment on your blog.
You don’t have to answer every one of them, because otherwise you may not get any work done!
That doesn’t matter though because they act of connecting with at least some of your audience is what counts. It will help to build micro relationships with people, and once more, trust.
Provide help, encouragement, advice and support. And be genuine about it! Nothing worse than false sincerity and it is quickly discovered and will erode your authority.
Above all, be yourself!
5. Join the Community
Being involved with your own audience is awesome, but why stop there? Every niche has a community, whether it’s on or offline. Get out there and get involved.
The benefits are obvious:
- Learn new things from your peers
- Help your peers
- Karma from sharing
- Obtain new followers
All these things will help you to build a wider reputation.
Just take WordPress (a favourite of mine) as an example. While you may never have heard of them, people like Pippin Williamson and Justin Tadlocke are virtual heroes of mine. All because they joined a community and gave back to the community. I found there tutorials, blog posts and videos extremely helpful.
The result of this is that when looking for premium WordPress products I go to those two people and others first, before looking elsewhere, because they have that authority.
6. Play Hard to Get
While being involved is great, you need to remember that your time is valuable and the more you give it away the less you have to build and run your business.
That’s why you can’t respond to every blog comment, why you should spend all day in your niche forums, and why you should consider adding a pay wall to some content.
That’s right, giving content away has its benefits, but keeping your best content behind a pay wall (think membership site, e-book, software, etc) has just as many benefits.
It helps to keep you exclusive and to pay for the free stuff you do give away.
Often, human psychology equates expensive or costly things with quality. People might want cheap of free things, but they subconsciously make the comparison of cheap and poor quality.
By having that paywall or premium services you offset the free things from cheapening you.
7. Walk the Walk
This is important, very important.
If you “fake it till you make it”, someone somewhere will call you out and you will need to prove your worth.
Pre-empt this and prove you have got the chops as you go.
- Coder? Create tutorials.
- Designer? How about a video of you making something.
- Writer? Write about how to write.
- Marketer? A Q & A session on a Google hangout.
There are many ways to prove that you have the knowledge and the skills to be an authority.
The best thing about this is that you can build this as you grow. In fact you should NOT wait until you’re an expert to do this.
We are always learning and our failures and mistakes are part of that, that’s reality and keeping it real is a part of growing your identity as an authority.
As well as all of the above, to become a respected figure in your niche you must produce things. This ties into walking the walk. What good is it to say that you know all about something when you have nothing to show for it?
Instead, start creating things that can showcase your knowledge of your niche. You donät need to code a full program or write the next War and Peace though.
Creating things can be as simple as creating a blog post regularly or producing a series of small e-books.
The act of having products that you have created boosts respect and authority.
9. Curate Quality
As marketers we tend to write a lot of blog posts, articles and e-books, its par for the course. There is also a common tendency to use other people’s content as part of your own. This isn’t copying or plagiarism, but curating.
Curating content is effective as well as time saving (in theory). However you must make sure that you curate quality. People assume a lot when they read or watch your content, so if you curate and therefore promote crap products, that will stick in people’s minds.
So only ever showcase a product service or person that you would be happy to show off to your friends and family with pride.
The Bottom Line
The ever changing world of internet marketing and the internet in general is slowly shifting away from anonymous people trolling everyone, to a world where you wear your real identity with pride. And like with any other real world situation, people will always look to the experts and the go to guys for help and support.
If you want your business to grow and succeed within your niche, you need to start building up your authority today!