Strategies That Build Your Brand, Sales & Credibility.
Looking for a simple, effective and modern approach to market your business? Traditional SEO is dead, SEM costs keep increasing, everyone is overloaded with content and social media is too overcrowded.
The fact is, in today’s world of constant distractions, most business owners struggle to get their marketing messages heard. So what can you do to stand out from the crowd?
You’d have to agree creating Authority is one of the fastest ways to break through the noise. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the owner of a retail shop, financial advisor, swimming pool manufacturer or an inventor with an ingenious product – people/businesses seen as the Authorities in any industry, get the lion’s share of sales and profits.
So how can you get started building up your authority?
There’s no one ‘perfect’ answer here so we approached the best ‘authorities’ we know in their respective industries and asked what they’d recommend.
Here’s what we asked…
Question: If you had 90 days to build authority (expert status) in your industry what would you do? What would you focus on, what would you avoid and why?
Building expert status and authority in and industry takes longer than 90 days… that said, I can definitely point you in the right direction. I made a quick video to explain my strategy further. Watch it below:
My answer to this really aligns with what Tim Ferris said in the 4 Hour Work Week when he defined what an expert was:
“Expert status can be created in less than four weeks if you understand basic credibility indicators,” Tim Ferriss
Some of the steps he outlined were:
- Join two or three related trade organizations
- Read the three top selling books on your topic
- Give one free one-to-three-hour seminar at the closest well-known university
- Give two free seminars at branches of well-known big companies such as IBM
- Offer to write one or two articles for trade magazines
- Join ProfNet \ HARO or similar, which are services that journalists use to find experts to quote for articles
If i were to drill down on the area of “write one or 2 articles for a trade magazine”, i would change that to focus on guest posting, and would recommend doing that by putting up a basic website and creating 4 – 6 posts on your topic with the knowledge you’ve now gained form reading the books etc.
From there, identify 10 relevant sites within your industry with good traffic and social following, and reach out to them to guest post on their site referencing the content you’ve created on your own blog for proof of the ability to create great content.
Find editors at these publications on Linkedin, reach out to them and cite your contributions to the industry relevant sites that you’ve guest posted on, and your own blog posts and offer to contribute some content.
You’re then able to say you’re a contributor at these publications which boosts credibility instantly.
This is all a lot of work, but there was no mention of resource restrictions here so i’ll assume you’ve got some help with this.
But my next recommendation would be to do what Navid Moazzez has has done so well and organise a Virtual Summit in your industry.
Identify the top bloggers and influencers in the industry, reach out and line up interviews with the, on set topics. Then package it all and release it on set dates.
The amount of influence that flows through to you from connecting with these influencers, as well as being the organizer of the summit is huge and is an instant credibility provider, as well as a delivering many other huge benefits.
If I only had 90 days to build authority in my industry, I would create a blog. A blog is the best way to build a brand as it’s a long-term strategy.
My strategy would then focus on guest blogging only. Here’s why
#1. Help increase exposure and builds brand
The greatest advantage of guest blogging is that it helps increase exposure, while at the same time help build credibility, brand, and portfolio.
Imagine getting invited to speak at an event packed with 10,000 people.
Many make a mistake of screwing this opportunity trying to ‘sell’. Instead, what they should have done is add value.
When you do so, then people want to learn from you more.
Continuing this strategy for 90 days will help you build a brand for yourself as people will continue to see your name over and over again.
In fact, last year I did something similar and had people commenting that they are seeing me ‘everywhere.’
#2. Build search engine authority
Another significant advantage of guest blogging is that it helps build links back to your blog.
Since every blog will usually allow one relevant link back via guest bio, this is extremely useful when building authority in the long run.
Having done my own test, I’ve seen that links are still an important factor when determining by Google how well your blog will rank on their search engines.
Shooting two birds with one stone is the best strategy.
Good question. This is a large topic but I’d start off with:
1. Publish content that showcases my expertise – both on my blog and top tier industry blogs
2. Leverage HARO (www.helpareporter.com/) to land PR opportunities
3. Publish a book based around my expertise
4. Launch an online course that takes the material included in the book to another level
I’d focus my efforts on these 4 since I’m more productive as a writer.
I could look at getting featured on podcasts/webinars etc, but I’m not an experienced speaker so it’s unlikely that my authority would shine through in those mediums.
If you’re more of a people person, then podcasts, webinars and speaking at events will be the way to go. Go with the flow, not against the grain.
That said, in an ideal world, jumping outside our comfort zones is a VERY good thing. But, if we’re on a tight deadline, leveraging our strengths is the way to go.
LinkedIn, Twitter, and a blog are the components of my social authority power triangle.
This is an important concept to understand if your goal is to quickly develop a thought-leadership or expert reputation within your industry.
In fact, this power triangle is more powerful than compound interest because the combination makes it possible for you to be found, to find, and to engage your targeted audience from a position of leadership.
Your blog might be part of a (corporate) website that you wish to drive more traffic to. Use your blog posts to showcase your knowledge and personality.
Don’t sell, but use this platform to tell engaging stories that demonstrate your unique understanding of the challenges faced by your target audience.
Offer helpful advice and short antidotes that can be immediately implemented by your readers.
Use your Twitter profile to build and nurture your targeted audience. Spend time searching for and following profiles that match your targeted personas.
You should think of yourself as a “publisher” on this platform. In other words, you want to build a large, but targeted audience, supplying them with content they will appreciate.
Of course, tweets that contain links to your blog posts should be part of that content feed. In that way Twitter will become a main source of traffic to your website.
Finally, LinkedIn is used to firmly establish your industry credibility based on the professional material displayed in your profile.
Your Twitter page should also show your LinkedIn URL in order to make it easy for your Twitter followers to quickly validate your professional background.
LinkedIn also has a feature that allows you to post articles. Don’t hesitate to post your blog on both LinkedIn and your website.
There is nothing wrong with a “write once, post many places” content strategy.
With these three platforms working together it won’t be long before you will see your “expert” reputation grow.
This is my 10-step recommendation for building authority in 90 days:
1. Practice empathy (i.e. put yourself in your ideal customer’s shoes).
2. Spend time where your ideal customer hangs out online.
3. Practice empathy.
4. Offer helpful, no-strings-attached advice to those who have real problems.
5. Practice empathy.
6. Identify the common pain points mentioned repeatedly by your ideal customers.
7. Practice empathy.
8. Invite your ideal customers to join your email list where you provide practical, actionable, results-oriented solutions to the pain points you identified.
9. Practice empathy.
10. Repeat for the remaining 90 days.
In today’s saturated content marketing world one of the first things I would focus on to build authority is outstanding content.
Yes, content is king, and it needs to be epic. Don’t bother writing blog posts once a week. It is a waste of time, and internet storage. Go epic, or go home.
However, a lot of the SEO and content marketing pros will tell you that you need to create more than just an amazing piece of content.
You also need to make sure you cover a topic(s) that is ripe for the picking.
That is, no one has covered it in depth, yet. Then, make it as amazing and detailed, and actionable as you can. Here is an example I created a few months ago on internet business ideas.
As you can see, it goes above and beyond in almost every way (depth, examples, quotes, infographics, 15,000 words etc) and see how many shares it has – 7500. Not bad, huh.
Now that your content is ready, promotion is key. After all, epic content that no one sees is not so epic. So, you need a promotion strategy.
Such a strategy will range from social media, sharing websites (GrowthHackers, Inbound), influencer outreach, cold outreach and anything else you can think of. (Tip: Check out Robbie Richards epic post on promotion – great example of epic too!).
However, and this is the clincher, you won’t get as far, as fast, if you don’t have a solid network of people to help you with the promotion.
Empires are not built by one person. Ask the Romans.
Therefore, last thing I would do, and actually you need to do this before creating the epic content, is to grow your network. Get to know all the “players” in your industry, from big to small.
Find ways to talk to them (Twitter, blog comments, email), interact with them, help them and finally befriend them.
These are your supporters, your future friends and your promoters – when you come out with that epic content.
Don’t fake it. This is “your” industry, and these are not pawns in a game – but your future friends and network.
Earn their trust and respect. (If you want some solid tips in this area, check out Jason Quey and his epic post on SumoMe.)
Last tip. Perhaps long form content is not your thing? Keep in mind that this same style of “shock and awe” (epic) can also be applied to amazing videos, podcasts, social media and more.
Just do more than everyone else. Be better, more helpful, more detailed and more “epic” (sure epic is overused, but it is the right word to use!).
Now, go build that authority.
It takes time and effort to become a true expert in a field, and 90 days usually doesn’t cut it. It took me the better part of 10 years to be considered an expert in my own speciality.
However, if you really only have 90 days, you can use a few fast-moving tactics to make the best of it.
First, you need to realise that an ‘expert’ status is something that others accord you – not something you can declare yourself.
Whether or not you are seen as an expert depends entirely on whether others view you as an expert. So your main focus should be on building a personal brand as an expert.
Start by producing great expert-level content about your industry. Write abour your industry and make sure your content carries authority and insight.
Don’t just produce filler content, but write detailed and insightful pieces. That’s what will get people’s attention.
Then, reach out to others who are already considered experts, and ask for their feedback and opinions. Engage with these established experts on social media.
Comment on their content, asking tough questions and provide your own insight on what they write about. Showcase your expertise to the authoritive voices in your niche.
Towards the end of the 90 days, see if you can get a slot as a speaker at an event.
Use these speaking opportunities as further showcases of your expertise – i.e. don’t use them to sell and promote yourself, but to demonstrate that you truly know your craft inside and out.
Such speaking gigs will further establish you as a trusted voice in your industry, helping build your expert status.
If there’s an emerging trend in your industry that not a lot of people are familiar with, try to establish yourself as an expert voice on that topic.
For example, if you do SEO you could become an expert in the Google AMP standard. Learn all you can about such new trends, and produce helpful and trustworthy content around the topic.
Spread it far & wide using social media, and reach out to other authoritive voices to help spread your content.
But, most of all, realise that you can’t fake true expertise. If you just talk the talk but can’t walk the walk, people will eventually see you for what you are, and you can lose all your authority very quickly.
In fact, most of the true experts I know don’t consider themselves experts at all. They see themselves more as eternal students, always learning and trying to improve.
The old adage “the more you know, the more you realise how little you know” is true in any field. Don’t fall victim to the Dunning-Kruger effect.
Building authority in your niche calls for providing the best answers to the most challenging questions. Your task is to become the answer man, or woman.
Now hustle. 90 days is a short window.
The good news is you probably already are an authority in your industry. So you need not study “your stuff.” You know your stuff.
What you probably don’t know is precisely which questions are burning in the minds of your potential audience. What problems deprive them of sleep or peace of mind?
Spend your first 30-45 days on a mission to uncover these questions. Do the research. Document the questions. Prioritize them. Then answer them.
Do so in the form of a publication or any type of substantial content asset where you’re most confident in your communications skills.
An eBook may be the obvious choice, but it could be a video series, podcasts, microsite, or course. The goal is the same in any case: become an instructor.
Next, instruct. Create a curriculum based on tackling the tough questions with insightful, action-oriented answers. Simplify the things the people in your market find complex.
And here’s a seriously powerful bonus tip…. Rally up other experts to embellish your content.
Create a faculty for which you’re the self-appointed principal. In doing so, you’ll build meaningful relationships, enlarge your reach, and earn even more authority by association.
Got all that? Good. Go. And good luck.
If I had 90 days to build authority in my niche (SEO/web marketing) here’s the approach I would take:
Web Presence Optimization
It is so much easier to do things right from the beginning versus trying to correct things as you go along.
My first step would be to ensure that my entire web presence is fully optimized.
- Website: it should go without saying that your website should be fully optimized according to the best practices in terms of SEO and UX. Your site should be visually appealing, simple, blazing fast, and feature highly valuable content.
- Social: Create and optimize your profiles on all the major social networking platforms: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest etc.
Include a picture, description, contact info etc. Start sharing content here and engaging with the community. Even if you are not fully active on other networks like Snapchat, Periscope, Tumblr etc., you would be wise to set up a profile on these sites/apps for future use.
- LinkedIn: I put LinkedIn in a category of its own, even though it is of course a social platform. Put a lot of effort into your LinkedIn page and make sure it reflects your education, training, certifications, accomplishments, and interests.
You never know when your alma mater or volunteer interests will facilitate a connection with an influencer. Network, engage, and contribute.
It doesn’t matter what great ideas you have running through your brain…if you don’t communicate them to the world, no one will ever know. You need to start creating content on a regular basis.
Content can be anything from a 100-word review to a 2,000 word in-depth case study; a 30-second Facebook Live video to an hour-long webinar; a 3-minute audio walkthrough to a 30-minute podcast interview; a helpful infographic to a 25-slide presentation.
Upon creation, don’t be shy about sharing it with the world. When you produce insightful, original content and know that it provides value, any inhibitions about self-promotion fly out the window.
Video Marketing & Remarketing
Don’t overlook the value of video. In an increasingly mobile world, video content is becoming ever-present.
Plus, as a content creator it’s a lot easier to produce video content than to write it (assuming you know what you’re talking about). Integrate a video marketing strategy with video remarketing.
Outreach & Collaboration
Authority status comes from having other experts in your niche and related industries trust and value your work and thoughts.
In order to reach that point, you have to actively network and collaborate with others.
Start small – follow influencers in your niche, in your city.
Reach out to people who you admire and offer something of value in exchange.
Be courteous and respectful of their time. Make a good first impression.
You’d be surprised how willing people are to lend a hand and help someone on the way up, whether it’s just retweeting a post, guesting on a podcast, or making introductions on your behalf.
Just remember to offer the same opportunities to others when the roles are reversed in the future.
Most of the strategies on this list are completely free, they just take time, effort, and know-how.
Still, there are opportunities where a few dollars here and there can really pay off.
You have to be willing to put your money where your mouth is and invest in your own future.
Use paid social (ie: Facebook likes campaign, boosted post, LinkedIn ads etc.) to increase social following for credibility. Note that this does NOT mean buying fake followers or likes.
Buy some honest paid social campaigns can pay off in a big way with real engagement.
Combined, these strategies can build authority in 90 days, as long as you are actually an expert.
No amount of tricks and mirrors will turn a clueless person into an industry authority if they don’t have the knowledge and insight to back it up.
If you know what you’re talking about, however, these strategies will prove to be effective.
If you’re a beginner, and you’re looking to build authority with a blog or similar, these are the steps I recommend that you take:
The first step is to get in front of experts’ audiences
To build authority, you need to be perceived as an expert by other people.
Simply posting a few blog posts on your own site or sharing articles on social media won’t do.
Most people don’t find their way to your blog or social media page if you don’t have an audience.
Instead, you have to get in front of other people’s audiences. Two things you should do as a new blogger is to guest post on other sites and create roundup posts where you interview experts in your industry.
Focus on sites in YOUR niche
To truly build your authority, you need to get sites in your niche to publish your guest post or participate in your roundups.
This way, you attract the right audience and subsequently, you’re seen as an authority in your field.
How do you do it?
First of all, you shouldn’t get caught up in jumping from one thing to the other (a.k.a. the Shiny Object Syndrome).
But as a new blogger, it can be difficult to take action, stay the course and build your authority in 90 days without a clear road map.
So, here’s one you can use:
Start building relationships with people in your industry.
Connect with them on social media and comment on their blogs.
Read blogs you want to guest post on (and make sure to check that they accept guest posts).
Continue building relationships. When you’ve added value to your target blogs (commented, shared and connected on social media), start reaching out for roundups and pitch guest posts.
Continue working on relationship building, guest posting and reaching out to experts and publish your first roundup. That’s it- you now have an audience, and you’re seen as an expert in your industry.
If I only had 90 days here’s exactly what I’d do – I’d write a two to four page guide chalk full of stats, facts and best practices. This would sit behind a form on a landing page.
Simultaneously, I’d be pitching every prudent online blog, trade pub and publication on letting me write for them.
As I secured bylines, I would write 2k+ word articles while prudently citing the guide’s landing page.
You see, in order to build an audience from scratch these days you have to tap into other audiences and give them a reason to become a member of yours.
To do this quickly you have to scale by writing original content with natural CTAs on websites with prudent robust audiences.
I wouldn’t even start blogging on my own site until I had a few thousand downloads from bylines.
It’s much easier to build authority on an authoritative website than it is from a brand new site.
Just a few years ago we could “build it and they came.” Today’s Internet is different.
Audiences are finite, so taking your content to them is more important than ever.
For most industries, expecting authority and expert status from owned media alone is a thing of the past.
Starting with earned media today is a recipe for quicker thought leader success.
The first thing I would do is learn everything possible about the industry I’m in.
I would model the masters.
Meaning, I would find the industry leaders and try to educate myself on what they do well, read their content, engage with them on social, etc.
I find that offering help to influencers in your niche with no expectation of reciprocation can be very rewarding and educational. In the beginning, I would focus heavily on education.
The next thing I would do is try to identify who my prospective client was, what were their pain points and what do they need assistance with.
By knowing your prospective client you can better serve them with the services you provide.
Pay very close attention to the questions they are asking frequently.
Identify the communities where your prospective clients hangout.
There are 100s of popular social media networks but for your niche some are more powerful than others.
For example, for the legal industry and most B2B businesses you’ll want to have an active presence on LinkedIn.
However, if you’re into DIY or recipes then Pinterest may be a primary focus.
You really need to know where your consumers are hanging out.
After, you’ve educated yourself in your niche, defined who your prospective client is, and where they hangout the next thing to do is to generate content.
The primary form of media you use also is dependent upon your niche.
Video is probably the easiest method of establishing rapport with your audience but I find generating written content on a blog is a great method of becoming an authority as well.
Try to also guest post on industry specific websites as well and some of the big hitters like Huffington Post and Forbes after you’ve established yourself.
I would avoid doing anything outside the scope of your niche. I find that being a jack of all trades is a huge weakness.
Stick to your core competencies and your consumers will be able to identify you as an expert more quickly.
It’s not easy to be a true expert at anything. Unfortunately, many people toss around that label when it doesn’t really apply to them or others.
But, if you wanted to truly position yourself as an expert in 90 days I would focus on these 3 things…
Let’s say you already have your website covered, but it doesn’t have much traffic or content.
I would first identify leading websites in your industry who reach your target audience.
I’d pitch guest post opportunities to them. This approach would leverage their audience to introduce your name to them and your site via a link when relevant.
You’ll need to be sure to bring your best work to position yourself as an expert in the industry – don’t fake it, as you’ll get called out. Be transparent.
Guest posting is going to drive the most awareness for the least cost.
The real cost will be your time if you write the content yourself.
You’ll want to leverage the traffic driven from guest posting to squeeze pages/pages with opt-ins in order to start building your list.
Another way you will want to build up your authority is through social media.
You will want to focus on targeting the channels your audience is on.
Through the use of social media automation tools, this can be a more scalable approach.
Simply provide relevant content, engage, and repeat.
You’ll need to identify people you want to target/engage with and build the relationship to exhibit your expertise.
Perhaps the quickest method to build authority is through the use of search engine marketing.
Of course this will cost some money, but you will be able to target the right audiences and direct actions towards your website.
It’s best to start with a guide or download to these audiences that solve specific pain points they encounter.
You don’t need to give away your biggest secrets, but show them that you know what you are doing and can solve their biggest pain. This will go a long way in helping others brand you as an expert.
You can not only use standard SEM initiatives to target new audiences, but you can use remarketing ads to pitch your guide/ebook to website visitors who arrived to your site from guest blogging or social media initiatives who did not join your list.
These 3 things will entail most of your time, but will give you the best results for a 90 day plan.
If I only had 90 days to build a brand, I would focus on sharing daily content that shares my stories, expertise and is solving my audience’s problems.
Due to the short time frame, I would then focus on distribution – organic social media, paid social media, display campaigns, maybe guest blogging, appear on some podcasts.
Reach out to people who might be interested in hearing from you.
Think of it this way: 50 percent good content. 50 percent distribution.
Building authority is something that normally takes time.
It’s a process measured in months, often years.
Quality of output, consistency and dogged persistence is the key.
But if you want to build authority in 90 days?
Well that’s going to be tough.
Tough as hell. You can forget about your social life, watching your favourite TV shows or sleeping.
I’ll take that back. You can sleep if you have to, just do it at your desk.
If you want to give it shot, here are my suggestions:
1. Write a book. So you have a blog. Well, everyone and their mother has a blog these days.
Publishing a book is going to set you apart.
Authors are granted instant expert status, which can lead to interview requests, speaking engagements and meetings with influencers.
2. Become a professional speaker. If you’re the guy on stage with the microphone, you’re the authority in the room. Case closed. How to get there? Network like crazy.
Start with small local events, build your contacts and go for bigger and bigger events until you’re on the national stage.
3. Get featured in a top publication. If you’ve been featured in Forbes (like my friend Bamidele Onibalusi), you can safely say you’re an authority. Accomplishing this not easy.
You need to dig deep and find your own unique take on your industry. Then you can do one of two things: get your target publication to feature you, or have them publish a guest post written by you.
Hold on a second.
I’ve a final piece of advice for you.
Before you kickstart your journey to fame and glory, take some time for self-reflection.
Who are you?
Why should we care?
The thing is, whichever path you take, you need to build a strong brand that can answer these two crucial questions.
The better your answers are, the more people will be willing give you a platform.
If you want to know more, you might like to read my post on how to create your brand identity.
Find and focus on a single issue or topic and completely master it.
My 90 days would be spent on research, understanding and surfacing of new knowledge that I can bring to the table in a given industry.
This may involve activities such as data and opinions collection, testing, implementation and finally publishing of my final piece, whether it be written word, video, tool or something else.
I’d make sure it’s comprehensive, insightful and highlights new angles or solutions to existing or new problems.
I would donate my services to a major brand (meaning, give them a free analysis of their current properties, complete with mockups, code snippets, and marketing strategies for how they could improve their existing assets) in exchange for being able to do a case study about the experience.
I would then blog and create videos (with an e-mail capture) about the case study and promote those to applicable audiences.
Many people steeped in the tradition of product promotion naturally feel drawn to prattle on and on about their products and services. But I have news for you.
Nobody cares about your products and services (except you). Yes, you read that right.
What people do care about are themselves and how you can solve their problems.
People also like to be entertained and to share in something remarkable.
In order to have people talk about you and your ideas, you must resist the urge to hype your products and services. Instead, create something interesting that will be talked about online.
When you get people talking on the Web, people will line up to learn more and to buy what you have to offer.
This is from my experience based on recent tests I’ve run with different niches. It’s actually just common sense and taking action. I’ll be applying it to my main niches soon.
## The 1st thing: Focus on a niche, a very specific niche.
People tend to jump in and try their luck on a broad niche. This is usually their downfall. Going for something so broad so early can really hinder their growth and motivation the moment they don’t see results.
Try to identify the people you want to talk to.
For example, for an EHR app that I recently launched, I targeted doctors that are really inclined to technology that also has multiple areas of practice in a specific country.
I placed the brand (and supplementary content) in-front of the exact demographic that needed the app and that helped catapult the app to reach users that are outside that specific demographic.
This can be done with your niche, you just have to understand your current audience.
## The 2nd thing: Focus on a single platform, especially those that are just picking up or already picked up but not saturated.
Blogging again? How about jumping into a new platform that’s not saturated?
Podcasting is saturated for certain niches BUT for a majority of niches, it’s NOT.
Jump in there! Audio is big right now.
Anchor.FM, use it! It’s a new platform that’s not saturated with actual users and engagement.
Live Streaming apps, like Blab, Busker, Periscope, heck even Snapchat and Facebook!
These are still not super saturated. Videos? Go jump in!
As much as people talk about video being the next big thing, people still haven’t gotten to it yet.
Get on them early and get the benefits.
Focus on 1 platform for the next 90 days. Plan out your goals for each week and BE consistent with content production and lastly, NEVER forget to promote.
Using JUST your social media following IS NOT promotion. Take it 3 steps further, connect with other people, market to Facebook Groups with your demographics, get in the radar of influencers.
There are so many things you can do, do not skip this part.
That’s pretty much what you need to do now.
Be smart, take action and get motivated from incremental improvements over time.
It’s part of the game. Slow and steady wins the race.
To build authority, you need domain expertise and knowledge, and people need to be aware of your authority.
So, where do you start if you only have 90 days? The good news is that a lot can be accomplished in 90 days.
There are no silver bullets – you can’t just do one thing and think that’s it, I’ve built up my authority.
It’s like chipping away at a large boulder – with each tap from your hammer, it gets weaker and weaker, until it finally cracks open.
Ok, so where do you start?
1) Know your stuff. To have a authority, you need to know your topic from top to bottom.
This means reading everything you can get your hands on, and looking for (and creating) opportunities to apply what you’re learning.
It can’t be purely an academic experience, you need to be reading, applying and learning continuously.
In addition to reading and applying what you’re learning, look for other people in this authority community, either at meet-ups or conferences.
Talk to people, find out what the big issues are, find out what the opportunities are, and figure out how you can stand out in a crowded marketplace.
2) Build your credibility. How do you do this, and where do you start?
The good news is that there are many places you can start.
Blog, guest blog, create videos, become active on social media, speak at a local meet-up or conference.
Volunteer to do free work which will give you experience and can give you credibility (there’s power in being able to say “I’ve helped so-and-so with this exact same problem…”).
Connect with the key influencers in your space.
The ideas are endless, just be creative and you can create a relevant list for your area.
Some other things to keep in mind.
When you’re building your authority, your main priority is to build your authority, not make money.
This doesn’t mean you can’t make money, it just means that the priority is to do whatever it takes to build your authority in those first 90 days. Someone asks you to speak at a small conference?
Just say yes Someone asks you to contribute a guest blog post but isn’t offering to pay you? Just say yes.
Saying yes is what you need to do in the short-term, and in the long-term you can become more discerning about the opportunities you choose
Remember to think about how you will become more visible.
Make sure people know who you are, what you do, and how you can add value to your area.
In an interview, Noah Kagan once used an analogy of a wheel.
He spoke about the importance of being a hub, rather than the spoke.
You want to be a hub, and connect to other people who are hubs.
This will lead to you becoming better known in your area over time.
First, I would spend time researching what current experts are talking about and what credentials they have.
I would then combine this with some audience research and maybe even keyword/q+a research to find out what non-influencers actually want.
If there are obvious gaps between those two, I would focus some effort there and produce content clearly driven by audience language and topics to cover the opportunity gaps.
Once the unique content is complete, I would focus on case studies and real examples of my expertise in practice. You can’t just talk the talk if you want to become an authority.
Evidence is much more compelling, so the primary focus here would be in-depth case studies, endorsements, social proof and reviews.
Now that there is a nice stable full of content I would focus on social media, outreach and distribution in order to get it in front of more people and extend the reach of my brand name (even if it is my own name).
Here I would use all the typical social media marketing techniques to reach a targeted audience both paid and organically.
I would put specific focus on making contact with the previously identified influencers with the unique content I’ve created above to tap into existing audiences. From here on out its rinse and repeat.
What I would NOT do: Specificaly, I would not simply recreate what others have done.
Some people do this with the thought that if it has been successful and I do it better, I will also be successful.
Now, this can work for specific channels (like SEO, aka skyscraper technique), but if the goal is to establish authority and expertise, the key factor is to demonstrate thought leadership.
If you had 90 days to build authority (expert status) in your industry what would you do, what would you focus on, what would you avoid? Why?
Attention is an exceptionally scarce commodity regardless of who you are and who you’re trying to reach.
Going from no visibility to some is easier than broadening existing expertise.
To develop an authority strategy, answers these questions. Don’t rush to do tactics because you’ve got a tight timeframe.
You want to maximize your results and ensure that all of your tactics work together to yield maximum results.
What are your goals? Why do you want this authority? For example, to sell product, get hired or win awards.
Use your response to determine specific metrics.
Who is the target audience for your thought leadership? Create a set of 4 to 6 detailed marketing personas.
Are they different from your current audience (if you have one)?
How you can help solve their problems, fulfill their needs, and gain their support?
Can you attract a group of fans who’ll help your efforts?
What is your current status in the category where you’re seeking to build authority? Think across platforms. Measure your email file, blog (or other media entity) and social media follower reach.
List of your connections to determine the power of other people’s audiences.
You’re seeking guest posts, mentions and other forms of earned media. (In most cases, you’ll need to supply tailored quality content.)
Use every point of contact to support your efforts.
What do you have to offer your audience? Assess your content and other value you bring to potential followers. What do they want from you? How can you package this to broaden your audience?
What’s your budget? Money gets people and resources. More importantly with a short timeframe and turn around, it buys targeted advertising especially on social media like Facebook.
To help you set reasonable expectations, bear in mind that most people underestimate the power of their personal networks. This means include everyone you know (yes including your mother!)
Based on Dunbar’s number, the average person has about 50 close contacts and 150 broader contacts.
Building a quality following takes time and to build up the trust of your audience also takes time.
Sure you could do a few in-depth content pieces/videos, seed your content to some heavy hitters in the Industry and act like a expert in 3 months though in most cases I think it will take longer.
To build up your status quickly I would focus on – forming relationships, developing great content and helping people.
More long term you can focus on speaking at events, speaking on webinars and other brand building tactics.
To build trust in a industry it’s a long term process over many years.
I’d focus on first building relationships with the journalists and writers who would be getting the word out.
I think that we can forget that they have deadlines, quotas and necessary stories they need to write, and sharing an already-finished blog post or infographic isn’t always as helpful as reaching out and asking “Hey, I have a background in X, what stories are you working on, is there any way I can help you out?”
Building this relationship is doubly beneficial, as not only will you get a mention/link, but now you have a better idea of where the industry is heading and what is needed from you.
The strategy I’d use would revolve around building authority in one area of my niche – becoming the “go-to” pro for solving one very specific problem better than anybody else.
I’d start by mapping out my customer’s buying journey, using keyword tools like Answerthepublic.com to see what questions customers are asking at every stage.
Then, I’d pick an evergreen pain point – a problem that customers have all the time – and build content around that.
My first piece of content would be a cornerstone asset – something big, like an ebook or ultimate guide, that requires a lot of research and writing.
Then, I’d plot out how I would repurpose that content into smaller pieces: Blog posts, videos (and transcriptions!), slideshares, social posts, images (for stats and quotes) and other smaller pieces of content that I could use the same research for.
Finally, I’d identify some major hubs in the industry to pitch content for a guest post on the same topic (or an adjacent topic).
The goal of this strategy would be to create as much noise as possible around one very specific question or area of expertise, so people begin to associate my name with solving it.
First, let me say that building your authority is a career-long strategy.
You can “build authority” quickly, but if you do not have the real skills and consistency behind it to sustain it, doing so will not do you any good.
And it is unbelievably easy to lose an audience that you built over time if you become less active and are not speaking with/to them as much.
That said, if I was doing it all over again and building authority in the space, I would focus on connecting with as many people as possible in ways that get them to amplify me.
I did this unknowingly when I attended my first conferences and live tweeted the whole thing.
That got my name out there and amplified to a lot of people, many of whom have become my good friends in the industry.
I would also connect with a few specific influencers who have a great email audience, as that is a great way to quickly get yourself in front of their audience.
Email is not as long lasting as SEO or consistent blogging, but if you already have a home base like a blog then this is a great way to quickly get yourself in front of others.
I would not start trying to “build authority” without already having a home base to send people to.
Don’t build your house (authority) without a foundation already laid.
I had 90 days to build expert status from scratch in any niche, I would start by identifying the influencers who already exist in that area.
I would follow them, read their stuff, and make notes of their most practical advice.
Then I would execute on that advice, share my results with them, and look for opportunities to give them credibility in a way that incentivizes them to share my success.
My friend Bryan Harris calls that the “Poster Boy Formula” and that’s exactly how I got my jumpstart in teaching online business.
Assuming I were starting from zero, I would focus on creating one type of content and distributing it through three channels, as follows:
I would answer questions the people I want to influence have about my industry. If you’re selling something then chances are it’s not a 100% uniform product or service from one provider to the next.
There are going to be differences in quality and price. Do you understand those differences?
Can you give people advice on how to purchase the product or service you provide?
What questions do you get asked by potential customers? By existing customers? By partners?
Answer those questions. Tell secrets nobody else will tell about your industry.
If your competitors are hesitant to speak publicly about their prices, then expose your pricing and everyone else’s. Whatever scares you to talk about, talk about.
1. Video. Do it if only because your competitors won’t do it because they’re scared of it.
But also do it because it works. People are watching tons of video.
Then distribute it however your audience wants it, whether that’s YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook Live, etc. Don’t get fancy, just shoot it on your phone.
Remember, you only have 90 days. You’ve got nothing to lose. Just get started–today.
2. Writing. You don’t have time to set up a nice blog, so start building an audience on Medium.
Do a Google search on how to build an audience and craft viral content on Medium.
But most importantly just start writing. Answer the same questions you’re answering through video.
Link to the videos in your posts. Break up your content.
See what content gets engagement and what doesn’t. Write more of what gets engagement.
3. Email. I recommend using ConvertKit to collect emails from your followers and distribute email newsletters.
I’m not an affiliate, I just love the software.
It’s cheap and you can be up and running in a few minutes.
Don’t worry about sending out nice HTML newsletters, just send out plain text.
A lot of people who can afford to send out fancy emails have gone back to sending out plain text.
That’s what I do. To get more tips on building an email list check out tips from Bryan Harris at Videofruit.com.
Also subscribe to Ben Settle’s free email on how to write better emails.
There’s gold in his emails, even if you never buy the email writing course he plugs in them.
Start on all this today and do it hardcore for 90 days and I guarantee you’ll get results.
Spend 3 hours per day, 5 days a week, and you should be able to easily get a video and a post out every day.
Assuming you’ve got more personality than a wet towel I predict within 90 days you’ll have over 5,000 subscribers to your email list and tens of thousands of visitors per month to your posts who are engaged and excited about your content.
The first and biggest step to becoming an online authority lies in:
Honing in on and finding your right audience.
Knowing who your audience is and speaking to them is key.
Don’t go too broad, like I did at the beginning (it hurt my early overall subscriber and audience growth).
Research and spend time to find your people.
If I could share a key authority growth tip with anyone, that’s my first one. Home in on your audience.
To do that, you need to go as in-depth as you can get.
Use tools like BuzzSumo to search your topics and find out exactly what’s being shared online and talked about.
For example, if you’re a social media marketer, look up “social media marketing” as a topic and look for the most-shared pieces – and dig deeper to see who shared them on Twitter.
It’s a real-life look at your audience. You can even go and sit in to places where your audience lives: a conference in your niche, a college if your audience is full of students—and watch them, interact with them.
Know their language, know their likes and dislikes. What interests them?
Getting to know your audience is like sitting down with a friend at a coffee shop—and it should be that way.
The second key tip I’d share on becoming an expert in < 60 days lies in producing high enough quality content that your audience will want to read.
Why should Google rank yours first, and your target audience read yours first, above everyone else?
Only if you ARE the best.
Don’t hit publish on content unless you know you’ve put forward your best.
Once you truly know your audience, it’s time to create content that will appeal to them so much that they have to read it—above anything else.
It’s getting harder and harder to do that, as content crowds online, so this is where you need to take out time, work hard, and recruit help in order to truly make a difference in your published content, get read, shared, and known as a leading expert.
If I had 90 days I would focus on creating high quality articles that educate and engage my target audience and getting them published in reputable online publications.
I would focus on publishing to niche publications that truly reach my target audience, and would avoid trying to just get “badges” by getting exposure in some big name publications that don’t speak to my industry.
I would also look for ways that I could utilize this content that I create in other channels, such as turning an article into a slide-share, or short video to share my expertise on different mediums.
If I had to build authority in the copywriting and content marketing industry within 90 days, I’d do exactly what I actually did.
And that’s a heckload of smart, consistent influencer marketing, combined with uniquely-branded, value-driven content creation.
Allow me to explain.
Influencers are the online celebrities of your sphere.
They already have shedloads of avid social media followers and blog subscribers, whilst you don’t.
They already have power and influence over your target audience, which you don’t.
They are already known and eagerly-followed authorities in your industry, which you aren’t.
So to gain expert status within 90 days, I would try incredibly hard to gain their attention and respect, and by doing so, gain the attention and respect of their colossal, content-hungry audiences.
And here’s how (in a nutshell):
1. Build a list of influential authority figures and publications in your industry.
2. Follow them on social media.
3. Interact with them as much as possible. Comment on their blog posts and respond to their social updates.
Be insightful, relevant, engaging, inquisitive, charming, smart and funny. Gain their respect and their friendship.
4. Share and curate their content as much as possible, as long as it is relevant to your audience.
Why? You scratch their back and they (might eventually) scratch yours.
5. After building a bit of a bond on social media, reach out to them to ask them to contribute to your blog, e.g. with a list post like the one you’re reading now.
Individual interview posts and vlog/podcast episodes work well too. But make sure you also include yourself in the round-up, or include your own expertise at the start of the episode.
Bring your own angle to the table.
When the influencers share your finished content (remember to ask them to!), and drive oodles of visitors your way – you’ll be there amongst the big guns, sharing your wisdom and voicing your expertise.
6. In the meantime, create your own original content, which is jam-packed full of value, but has its own unique edge.
Something different to other content creators in your industry, and something that is consistently different.
Don’t just be another thought-leader; say something unique or in a unique way.
Brand your blog and your voice carefully, after researching your competitors and gaining buyer insights through buyer interviews to make sure you are truly solving your prospect’s problems.
And then interweave you’re unique, insightful, original content amongst the influencer round-up posts and interviews we discussed in No.5.
7. Do the above as much as possible, and you’ll have a darn good shot at achieving expert-status within 90 days.
Read this post to get a load more actionable tips and tricks for nailing influencer marketing.
I have been slogging it out in the SEO and digital marketing industry for the best part of 20 years now so I know as well as anyone that expert status does not come quickly.
The caveat being that to be considered an expert or authority you really have to know your stuff and that takes time.
Yet, most of the real experts out there are all but invisible beyond their own client base.
So, the real trick here is simply visibility and awareness.
You need to expose that hidden expertise to the widest possible audience.
You have to pull back the veil and let people know that you can talk it like you already walk it.
90 days is not a lot of time. This is a sprint so you are going to have to live and breath this.
- clearly determine your objectives and target audience.
- determine the keywords and topics which your audience are interested in
- list all of the major news / content outlets (blogs etc)
- identify any and all major forums & social groups around your key topic
- identify all existing and topically related major influencers
Your general approach here is going to be based on being hugely visible and building a social and email following.
- Set up ifttt.com to let you know when any of your targeted blogs or news outlets post
- Set up TalkWalker or a similar alerts platform to let you know when your keywords or topics are mentioned
- Set up some social monitoring to be in and around the discussion
- Identify the best and most shared / linked content in your industry
- sign up to all the major forums
- sign up to all the major blogs
- follow all the major players and do some relationship building
- create a simple but very attractive free guide that you share with followers / newsletter sign ups
- run social ads to promote your profiles
- run social ads to promote your lead gen content
You will do the following daily:
- Monitor all your alerts and blogs
- Post engaging blog comments ideally as the first response
- Engage people in forum discussions
- Send out a newsletter & make this super useful
- identify one major outlet and submit a blog post (aiming for 12 big ones over the course)
- identify the biggest, best, most shared and most linked content piece in your industry
- identify all those who have linked and shared to it
- create an even better / bigger / newer piece of content and use paid content amplification to get it out there
- contact all those that linked to or shared similar content
The idea here is to be highly visible wherever your expert topic is being discussed and where your audience are hanging out.
If you can hit the end of 90 days with hundreds of blog comments, forum posts, Q&A discussions, 12 good blog posts on industry sites and one big huge mother of a post that has attracted lots of attention in the forms of links and shares.
You hopefully have relationships with major players and have featured on most of the big sites in your industry. All of which you can leverage for credibility purposes.
This is not perfect by any means and you would want to build a strategy and customise the approach for your own industry and objectives.
Ideally I would tackle elements like the big post first to help get some credibility and leverage that for the guest posts etc.
This may be harder as you have little to start from so those outreach emails may be a harder nut to crack.
However, this framework would give you a solid starting point.
It’s important to note that what works for one industry will not always work in another.
Determine your objectives, create a clear strategy and get to work!
Here’s my take on how to build authority in just 90 days:
SEO is a lot like poker – it takes a minute to learn, but a lifetime to master.
Besides the obvious basics and some advanced technical knowledge, it all comes down to experience.
If you’d just have 90 days to build your authority, it’s essential to go niche and target a specific plattform.
So focus on becoming a Google News / Image Search / Maps / Knowledge Graph or whatever else expert instead of becoming the 10.000th universal SEO Expert, Evangelist and / or Guru on this planet.
You can also focus on a specific tactic, like leveraging content marketing efforts via Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, Snapchat – whichever you find most appealing.
There’s also great opportunity in focusing on optimization for different high-usage search engines, like Amazon, Facebook or various App-Stores.
Aim high, become a real master of the chosen platform or tactic and try to write the most comprehensive, compelling how-to article possible about this topic.
This is how you stand out from the crowd and have a good chance to gain expert status within the SEO industry.
If you told me five years ago that I would be considered an expert in Google penalties and algorithm changes I would have laughed.
At that time I was a full time veterinarian who loved learning about SEO in my spare time.
Today, my life is dramatically different.
I get to travel and speak at SEO conferences, have consulted with hundreds of businesses and even recently had my first experience testifying as an expert SEO witness in a court case involving a Google penalty.
If you want to become an expert, here is what I would recommend based on what worked for me:
- Choose a subject that you are insanely interested in; one that you could read and write about all day long without getting bored.
- Start off by being an information glutton. When I was learning about Google penalties I read absolutely everything Google produced on the subject. I had Google alerts set up so I didn’t miss anything. I watched and transcribed every Webmaster Central Hangout.
I spent several hours a day in forums. It also helped me to write about what I learned. If lots of people in forums were asking a particular question, then I knew it was something good to write about.
- Be insanely helpful, but not overly “markety”. Answer forum posts where you can. Offer to help to the degree that you can. Initially I did not charge money for helping out until I started to feel like I truly could offer value. Then, as I got more experience, skill and success I started to charge for my services.
I didn’t need to market myself. People came to me because they read my forum posts and articles online and felt that I knew my topic well. Now, I am charging a significant amount and turning business away.
- Find speaking gigs. I started off speaking at a local software company’s toastmaster meetings. They learned a lot about Google’s Penguin algorithm, and I learned to speak.
Now I get to speak at places like Pubcon and SMX. Speaking gives you credibility as an expert and also makes you stay on top of your game when it comes to understanding your topic thoroughly.
- Learn to write. Publish helpful posts on your own blog. Submit posts to industry sites. I was so thrilled when my first YouMoz post was accepted. Learn to take editor’s criticism and suggestions well.
Learn what type questions people need answered, teach thoroughly on those answers and answer questions when asked. I still get comments on Moz blog posts that I wrote years ago, and I still take the time to answer those questions.
- Write a book. This is not a necessity. But, I’d have to say that writing my book on Unnatural Links Penalty Recovery gave me a big boost when it came to being recognized as an expert in the field. It took a long time to write.
Book sales did not make me millions, but I became known as the person who wrote the book on Google penalties. It was worth the time and I would and should do it again.
- Have fun. It sounds cliche, but it’s true. I look at my life today and am blown away at how awesome it is to do what I do
I’d try a few things. First I’d run surveys and quizzes on Facebook to build my email list.
I’d then introduce myself and my product with a soap opera sequence.
If money was no object, I’d find the 10 most popular email lists in my industry and pay to advertise to their list.
If I’m on a budget, I’d target blogs instead and offer a bonus in my author bio to draw people to my website.
After I’ve built my list size and guest blog appearances in the first two months, I’d then approach the major industry websites to get a few articles published and cement my expert status.
What I’d avoid is writing content for the sake of it and hoping for the best. You’ve got to have a plan and invest in promotion, otherwise you’re content is just adding to the digital wasteland.
I’ve tried various techniques to increase my authority on the Internet, from public speaking to guest posting on popular blogs to social media and podcasting.
While all of the above-mentioned tactics are worthwhile, I’ve learned that intensity often beats extensity when it comes to be building a brand, and so I think it’s best to focus on one key experience/product/message that will elevate your authority and create an expert aura around your persona.
Understand this: being interesting isn’t just about learning how to become a good conversationalist or writer.
You need stories to tell.
That said, you need to offer your network or your company something of value to differentiate yourself.
How do you become someone worth talking to, or even better, worth talking about?
You tell stories with content, which becomes your work portfolio. It’s your differentiator.
It’s what makes you stand out among the timid masses no matter who you are and where you are from.
It shows you’re interested and involved in the world around you. Shows your expertise.
It’s what makes you interesting in life, and on the Internet.
It’s the message that will make your personal brand stand out, attracting others to become part of your network, and eventually think of you as an ‘authority.’
While blog posts and podcasts help communicate ideas, you only compete for minutes of attention.
Most readers of blogs and podcast listeners will hear you out and move on, forgetting who you are pronto.
Some may share your ideas and even follow you on Twitter, but very few will take a concrete action you desire as a result of a blog post.
A book – on the other hand – creates an emotional bond because you’ll get a lot of attention if your content is good enough for someone to continue reading.
You get an engaged reader for weeks or moths. People still feel romantic about books and becoming a bestselling author on Amazon offers an instant boost to credibility.
The the balance of power has shifted toward content creators in the new digital publishing landscape.
Self-published titles made up 25 percent of the top-selling books on Amazon last year.
Four independent authors have sold more than a million Kindle copies of their books, and 23 have sold more than 250,000, according to Amazon.
You want to build up your authority fast? Launch a Kindle book on Amazon!
Aside from a few exceptions, most people can’t build authority in 90 days.
Folks looking to do this already have full schedules.
However, they can get the ball rolling by contributing memorable guest posts on the right websites.
Tell a story in getting your point across.
Stories are more memorable especially when they evoke emotions.
Since no one can copy your story, it helps your piece stand out in a noisy world.
A post that has people thinking, “I can relate to that!” or makes them mad or laugh is more likely to get shared and talked about.
Why start with guest blogging? Because it gets your name out there outside of your social media circles.
Outside of your website.
And the people behind the website will most likely promote the post.
You get to reach their circles. That’s why finding the right website is key.
Check that website’s social media accounts to see if they engage there.
Before you contact them, do your research. Don’t ask: “Do you accept guest posts?” Questions like that tell them you don’t read their blog or take the time to research.
Once you find the right websites, the next step is coming up with topics to propose.
Look for posts that resonate with readers. Use those topics to come up with yours.
Again, ensure the audience is the one you want and that your topic solves their problem, teaches them something new or helps them look at things differently.
One benefit of guest posting is that you can usually include a link.
Instead of giving them your home page link, send them to a landing page designed with them in mind.
This gives you the opportunity to get their email address and send them useful stuff.
Make it educational and your authority will climb.
If I had to build authority in my industry in 90 days I would focus on one topic that I think is important to the industry, come up with a clear and ideally unique point of view, and then I would write 5-10 articles defining the issue, the solution, and examples.
I would pitch those articles to the biggest publications in the industry.
So for me, that would be CMO.com, CMI, Entrepreneur or Inc. Mag, maybe Forbes.
Any articles that aren’t accepted, I would publish on my site and LinkedIn.
I would avoid pitching any products, any kind of calls to action, or blatant self-promotion.
The best way to build authority is to help people solve a big problem in a way that seems empathetic and nearly altruistic.
If I had 90 days to become an authority in my field the biggest thing I would avoid is blogging on my own site as it takes time to build an audience.
But if you leverage someone else’s audience you can achieve your results much faster
For that reason, I would guest post.
Network with other guest contributors on sites you want to guest post on, give them free advice on their posts and after a few exchanges ask them for an introduction to the editor at that site/magazine.
Some of the authors will make the introduction and some won’t…
But when you get an introduction from an author there is a good chance that the editor will accept you because it is from someone they already work with.
Once you get your guest posts up you should focus on promotion.
Go to buzzsumo.com, type in keywords related to the articles you are writing, and you should now have a list of the most popular articles in your space.
From there click on the “view shares” button and look at every person who shared that piece of content on Twitter.
You can then hit up each of those Twitter users and ask them to share your content.
If you follow the steps above and you do it frequently, you will become an expert in your field.
Some people might not love this answer because my recommendation is tough but write a book.
If you are truly an expert on a subject and want to build authority, their is no better way.
It’s also never need easier to do with all the self publishing options.
Before I wrote my book I had managed marketing for a top 50 web property, created and bought media for one of the most viewed banners in the world, marketing a top 10 dating property, writing thousands of ads for hundreds of companies and more.
I was a marketing expert but had no authority online.
My book “Content Marketing” changed that for me overnight and was one of the best selling books on the subject for a few years.
Writing a book in 90 days is tough but is totally doable – I know because I did it. I wrote for two hours every night after work and four hours each day on the weekend for about 60 days.
I outsourced my editing, layout design and social media (this one was easy because my wife runs http://micromediamarketing.com/).
Within 90 days, my book was flying off the virtual shelves and my authority exploded.
My social media profiles that I had mostly ignored where growing quickly.
I was being interviewed by magazine and blogs on content marketing which was a very hot ad new subject in 2013.
The great thing about building authority is that it’s something that stays with you with whatever you do.
Presently I’m the CMO of HealthJoy.com, a startup that companies control costs and improve employee well-being.
I’ve been able to leverage all my existing authority in healthcare and get coverage in a totally new field quickly.
The first 30 days I would write my own ebook on the subject that I was looking to become an expert in.
This is a lot of work, but it does two important things:
1. Others will immediately look to you as an expert because you have published a book on the topic.
2. You will very quickly become an actual expert on the topic because you’ll write a book that you’ll be putting out into the world and obviously you’ll want it to be written well.
The next 30 days I would spend time contacting others in my industry through email and social media and offer them the ebook for free.
Writing your ebook is one thing, but the only way it will do well is if you tell people about it. The ebook that you share with others is a testament to your expertise and will give your first impression for you.
In this phase you should collect feedback and try to establish relationships with people who enjoyed your ebook.
The last 30 days I would focus on contacting those who you established relationships with in step 2 and see if they know of speaking engagements/guest blog post/podcast guest opportunities.
You typically only need one or two individuals to let you speak to their audience and then you can leverage that to entice more individuals to trust you.
It should be noted that I did this exact process myself for my website, www.JobsForFelonsHub.com, and I now have over 100,000 website visitors each month.
The website is just over a year old and I had no knowledge of the industry prior to creating my website.
Let’s break it down into 12 weeks. The first 2 weeks would be pure study – 8 hours a day, 10 business days.
The 3rd week would be finding influencers and their contact info) (average 1 every 10 minutes, that is 320 contacts) .
The 4th week would be contacting all of them with questions – each gets a unique question you need an answer to, gets 3-5 “yes/no” or “a, b or c” style questions and 2 open ended.
Learn from the answers to the unique questions.
Weeks 5-6 you post a new blog post every day based on answers to your survey questions.
Titles like “75% of Marketers Agree On…” or “What 100 marketers say about…”.
Respond to every comment. Week 7: Pick your best content, improve it, and pitch it to open publications and other blogs – no backlinks needed. In those pieces, quote those experts your initial email survey.
Promote these publications and cc the experts you quoted. Experts now see you in expert publications.
They retweet you and their followers see you as an expert to.
Week 8-12: keep pushing this strategy or start a new survey, always learning, always writing, always responding, always sharing, always moving forward.
I would make guest posting and blog commenting the cornerstones of my marketing campaign in my blogging niche and I’d write in-depth, long form, SEO optimized posts to make the greatest dent in my niche quickly. Leveraging is the answer.
Reaching a max amount of targeted people in a minimum amount of time.
Guest posting leverages your presence like few other marketing strategies.
Instead of writing for just my audience at Blogging From Paradise I can write for Darren Rowse’s 300,000 reader community at Pro Blogger or Harsh’s 800,000 reader community at Shout Me Loud.
Each reader would be targeted too, being interested in my blogging tips niche.
Effective blog commenting would give you instant traction in your niche.
Guest posts rock but you usually need to wait around days or weeks for approval and publish dates.
You can write a 4 to 5 paragraph, in-depth, valuable blog comment on most high level blogs in your niche to both build bonds with influential bloggers and to connect with their audiences.
Writing in depth, 1500 word or longer, SEO-optimized posts draws in short and long term traffic steadily, maximizing your presence online.
I wrote an SEO-optimized post recently that’s been parked on page 1 of Google for over 2 weeks straight, from the day I published it. My post has been ranked between the #2 and #5 positions on page 1.
This drives steady, targeted traffic to my blog around the clock, combined with the 300 plus social shares and initial surge of traffic I’m reaching a high volume of folks relatively quickly.
Each of the above 3 strategies works really well because you’re bringing hundreds if not tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of people onboard to help you spread your word.
100,000 people’s efforts beats 1 person’s effort, especially when the 100,000 folks are motivated to promote you because what you’re sharing is valuable.
I’d avoid trying to do anything on my own, with only my efforts fueling my expansion online because this is a total waste of time.
I grew my Twitter account and online presence to what it is today in 15 months.
Crunching those 15 months of ‘growth hacking’ down to just 90 days I’d maximise what worked best, clump it all together simultaneously and ditch what takes too long to develop.
I’d take these actions for even faster credibility:
1. Social Media Automation
Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook – these are the only platforms I would focus on.
The reason? They fit my industry of Digital Marketing perfectly and have the user base to boot. For more visually orientated industries, it would also be Instagram and Pinterest in addition.
I personally wouldn’t waste my time on any other platform like Quora, Scoop.it, Google+, Tumblr or Reddit unless the actions on there were replicated through automation.
These networks are too cumbersome to crack and the user base isn’t as responsive or large enough.
It just doesn’t make sense to try to run everything manually, especially across multiple platforms.
Who the hell has time for that? That prevents growth. What I do make time for is engagement.
Never automate this – at least to any noticeable or distasteful degree.
Perhaps on the first touch point, but never after that.
So, to get noticed even more, I’d use such tools from the very beginning if I had the knowledge I hold now.
I also wouldn’t be afraid of using words like ‘expert’ or ‘influencer’ in my bio.
Package yourself just like a product. It works.
I estimate this to have a 5x multiplier effect on growth and credibility for the first 3 months.
2. Ensure I Had A Website At The Beginning
It’s pretty crazy that I have been able to leave my well-paying job to run my own business focused on digital marketing…when I still don’t have a fully-functional website! OPTIM-EYEZ doesn’t bring in business yet.
My social accounts do.
So, if I had a website, I could actually have my own branded blog content, push my business and sell more services. Right now, I don’t hard sell and I don’t advertise.
Every client that comes my way is a result of inbound marketing through online presence across OTHER website properties.
I can’t help but think of the potential if I actually had my site live right now…
If I was starting from scratch again, I’d launch a content-fueled website asap and invest a lot more in social ads; especially Facebook and some Twitter.
Facebook is a beast and very cheap if you target your audiences cleverly.
Check out my Facebook page…it’s been live just ~2 months.
I’d also invite plenty of well-known guest bloggers on my site so I became associated with those names.
This has a domino effect. One unlocked door opens many others.
I expect 10x revenue and credibility growth when my website goes live.
3. Ensure Consistent Personal Branding
This is nothing less than essential. Yellow header on your Facebook page, red on your Twitter..?
Blurred profile photo of you and your cat? Are people really going to remember you this way? Nope.
If you aren’t a designer, hire one to make you look awesome and publish variations of your personal branding across every web property on which you are presented. I wish I had thought about this sooner.
Make it stand out and make it your own. Don’t copy others.
Else everybody will just get mixed up about who you really are.
Create an impact for visual recall, recognition and reputation.
4. Engage With The Right People & Hustle
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know…partially correct. You still need to know what you’re talking about.
However, the right people can bring incredible opportunities – a huge network enables this.
I’d reach out to more industry pros, join as many LinkedIn / Facebook groups as possible and spark close relationships.
I’d spend even more time helping them in return for them helping me get featured on reputable websites, podcasts and speaking gigs.
I would grow my network as I have done, but I’d have started much earlier by getting involved in as many authoritative Twitter chats as possible in a short span of time and also by guest blogging on popular websites…more about this next!
I expect this would have helped speed up my growth but also created many more opportunities down the line.
The existing relationships I built have provided this effect already.
5. Guest Blog Even More
On the right sites, that is. No point in going after sites with no rep.
Again, having a decent website of your own definitely aids this process.
I did things the hard way by relying solely on social media presence and sustained relationships.
Getting featured on the right websites can increase follower count and credibility exponentially.
I estimate the effects of this to double growth and status during the first 6 months.
6. Pursue Public Speaking Gigs
It’s the key to rapid growth and acknowledgement.
If you’re known as a ‘speaker’, you can pretty much guarantee continued success and domino-effect opportunities, providing you’re good at it and actually hold the knowledge you portray.
If I had 90 days to achieve status, this would definitely be on my priority list to achieve in month 3.
Public speaking could raise your profile so much, the growth multiplier I expect to be as high as 20x, depending on event size!
Of course, you need to ensure the audience can find you on social media. Present your handles everywhere.
7. Also, Know When To Say ‘No’
I’ve been offered multiple, international public speaking opportunities over the last few months.
I’ve also been asked to write books in partnership.
I’ve even been asked to join company boards and merge my company! All to which, I’ve either 1) said ‘no’ or 2) delayed until next year sometime. Perhaps even longer…
Because they don’t fit with my business plans right now or they simply take too long.
I am incredibly focused on objectives and nothing veers me from what I want to achieve in a set period of time.
Growing credibility in 90 days isn’t my objective. But if it was, I’d conider point 7 and push all actions 1 to 6 above, HARD!
The vision of my business, OPTIM-EYEZ:
A brand which is an extension of myself; straight-talking and personable, OPTIM-EYEZ is a home for business owners struggling to get their brand noticed in an ultra-busy online world.
There’s plenty of hype out there; agency owners and industry experts who battle to be the cleverest or talk the most pretentious vocabulary.
Yes, digital marketing is complex but to gain the trust of those you’re trying to help it’s critical your audience understands what you’re saying.
OPTIM-EYEZ is set to become the go-to solution for business owners serious about their success, to learn about new digital marketing techniques and most importantly; to discover how to turn their website visitors into paying customers.
What’s your personal brand vision? Did my tips help you in some way? I’d love to hear more…
This is a tough answer because true subject authorities are not usually recognized by the major search engines. What search engines measure is popularity…not necessarily authority.
Sometimes, being both a topic authority AND being popular are synonymous.
Most of the time, though, they are not.
Step 1: Verify authority. I would determine if the person or a group is a TRUE topic/subject authority.
This means that the author(s) have original content and do not farm it out to copywriters or ghost writers.
They should have education and/or significant experience in their topic industries.
The proof can be available online.
And it might also be in the Invisible Web. In other words, the “authority” must be verifiable and proven.
If the person or group is a subject authority, then I move onto Step 2.
Step 2: Analyze industry. I would conduct a competitive analysis of what is currently available on the industry topic.
I want to know competitors, keyword phrases, popular topics, seasonal trends, and missed/available opportunities.
To be a topic authority, sometimes the person or group must have content that has already been covered to establish a clear “frame of reference” or context.
For example, the definition of SEO (search engine optimization) has been covered many times.
However, the topic authority should provide his or her definition and explanations, so that the “frame of reference” is 100% clear to users.
Besides, why would a topic authority want to use someone else’s definition and explanation of terminology?
You want to keep people on your website, not refer them to competitors.
Of course, using a definition from a known, established topic authority who is a mentor, teacher, guide, etc. (with proper citation) can add support to the wannabe topic authority.
I look for many different things. I will look for broken link opportunities. I will look for types of digital content assets that can best illustrate the authority’s breadth and depth of knowledge.
I will conduct thorough link prospecting. I will determine seasonal and popular trends on a topic.
I will look for items that other alleged authorities claim are true.
An often overlooked step in the process is having a website that SUPPORTS the addition, editing, and archiving of digital content assets.
Most websites do not have this site architecture in place.
Once I identify opportunities, keywords, trends, then I can move on to implementation.
Step 3: Implement publication calendar and link outreach. Getting people into the habit of publishing (whether it’s a new digital content asset, an updated one, or archived one) is not as easy as it seems.
I try to start people at once or twice a month to get started.
But since your question said 90 days, I would have to insist on having multiple digital assets ready ASAP.
Link outreach begins during the writing/creation process. For example, if I am quoting another topic authority, I might reach out to him or her for a quote or to validate a quote.
I would allow the topic authority to proofread and edit the pre-published content asset.
Link outreach is an ongoing process, though. In 90 days, I hope to establish that habit in others.
I would reach out to the highest valued link prospects, be they influencers, other topic authorities, or an authoritative website. I would be diligent but not annoying.
I will move onto another valued link prospect after 3 attempts.
Post publication, I would implement the social media calendar.
Different content assets require different social media outreach.
For example, if I know my client’s target audience does not use Facebook, for example, I would not waste my time on Facebook.
90 days is enough time to establish pilot tests, analytics (web and social), publication calendars, and social media calendars.
If my client is unable to establish these good authority habits within 90 days, then I will recommend hiring some staff in-house or hiring an agency.
But remember, people want to hear from the topic authority, not the SEO or social media person.
This process doesn’t work very well without the contributions of a true topic authority.
Building an authority status in any industry is simple, but requires a strong commitment.
Here are the action steps I would follow:
1. Grab the top 3 current books in the industry and read them each (twice if possible)
2. Find all the industry conferences “speaker” pages and record the names and social profiles of each speaker
3. Use a tool such as finder.buzzoole.com or Buzzsumo to identify and record the names of industry influencers
4. Use Amazon to grab a list of every book author in the industry
5. Break the influencers, speakers, and authors into niche categories
6. Create Twitter Lists for each category and follow each person
7. Create Feedly groups for each category and subscribe to the respective blogs and YouTube channels
8. Subscribe to the most engaging groups in Facebook and LinkedIn
9. Grind hard for 60 days on everything worthwhile from your lists, groups and feeds; comment, share, and bookmark key threads
10. Use all the data available from the exercise above to identify key problems in the industry
11. Create a series-style campaign of blog post and sharing that solves these problems; recognize the influencers who influenced you on each
12. Repeat daily until expert status is achieved
First of all, there’s a big difference between “becoming authority” and “gaining authority status”.
The latter requires you to go the “fake it till you make it” route – pretend to be an authority and do everything that an authority would do, while not necessarily being one.
While the former requires you to determine what kind of knowledge, experience and expertise you need to get to the “authority” level in your field and then hustle till you accumulate it.
So which road should you take to become an authority in the shortest time possible?
I’d say do both!
Invest a lot in your knowledge – read books, read blogs, work on exciting projects and always apply everything you’ve learned.
You need to work A LOT until you feel that your knowledge and experience is much superior than those of the average person in your field.
And at the same time you should apply for interviews, speak at evens and rub shoulders with top people in your field; and of course put out a lot of “thought leadership content”.
Because you can be the best educated and the most knowledgeable person in your field, but no one will perceive you as an authority unless you’re frequently seen in niche publications and at niche events.
That’s the whole secret to becoming an authority.
Nothing too complicated. Just takes a ton of work, patience and grit.
To build authority I would work on the following:
1. Creating an epic resource (piece of content, tool, etc) and promote the crap out of it.
2. Build brand visibility. Work like a mad man to be seen everywhere. Industry conferences, Industry boards, Twitter conversations, other social sites, sharing, providing insight & value, and getting your name known.
3. Build Joint Venture relationships.
Create relationships and partnerships do that you can position yourself next to those that already have authority built in the industry and “borrow” some of theirs to increase the authority you have.
4. Write a book. Yes, it’ll be difficult to do in such a short period of time, but there are numerous resources out there to help you get it done within 30 days.
5. Create an online course. Even if it’s an entry level course, being an instructor of a course creates credibility and helps cement you as a “go-to” guy (or gal) in your industry.
So there here you have it: 45+ ‘authority building’ experts sharing their vision on the topic. Remember to share this post if you picked up any useful tips – part of becoming an Authority is in sharing great content. Experts curate!
Did we miss anything or do you have any tips of your own? Join the conversation and add your comment below…
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What the experts say:
Founder, Content Marketing Institute & Authority, Content Inc.
“An amazingly helpful guide that will position your company as the authority in your industry. It’s worked for me and countless others… and can work for you as well.”
Author of The Awakened Millionaire and Hypnotic Writing
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Co-author of The Art of SEO, co-author of Social eCommerce and author of Google Power Search
“As Tony Robbins says, “Ask a better question and you’ll get a better answer.” Authority Content forces you to ask the important, difficult questions about your content marketing strategy, and because of this, it helps you get to the core of how to accomplish what you really want with your marketing.”
#1 Bestselling & Pulitzer Prize Nominated Author
“Despite the ever changing nature of online marketing, the constructs found in Authority Content will stand the test of time. David Jenyns wisely takes a holistic approach to marketing rather than chasing the latest shiny object.”
Co-founder of WPcurve
“There’s always been a lot of noise in the SEO world, but as Dave Jenyns points out in ‘Authority Content’, focusing on producing quality content and building authority is one that never gets old. If you want to build your authority, your trust, reputation and your Google Rankings, Authority Content is where it’s at.”