A question that comes up a lot is how do you know when you get there. What tells you that you have achieved Authority status?
What is Authority?
Let’s get the point of the article out of the way for people who just want to know what’s authority. When I define authority, I usually say something along the following lines:
That is an authority definition businesses can understand and get behind. Heck, I expect Google will show this as a snippet for people who just want to define authority and then go about their business!
Here is a more formal definition of authority in marketing:
Hopefully, you will stick with me because having a definition of authority is only a small part of the puzzle when it comes to authority in marketing as we will see …
How Authority is Acquired
As I infer when I explain the term authority in the business definition of authority above, in our blogging and marketing context it is not power that is taken but a business influence that is earned through being valuable, trustworthy, and being part of a community.
I see blogging for authority as a journey, a continuous process. There is no endpoint. In fact, if you stop working towards it, or feel like you have “done enough”, that is when you are most likely to lose it.
Marketing authority for me is a combination of the following three factors. Please do supply your own definition, I am interested in hearing your point of view.
- Personality – This is probably the most controversial factor so I put it first. I believe personality is an important component because to gain authority you need to be able to communicate, network, and encourage a loyal audience. Yes, if you can prove a massive amount of expertise despite a lousy personality you might still succeed, but I think people with open and friendly personalities have an easier time.
- Expertise – With the other two traits you will have the capacity to succeed, you only have to look at television personalities and the celebrities that are hounded by paparazzi. With expertise, experience, knowledge, or talent, however, you have the capability to go beyond “famous for being famous“. Expertise is a draw, it pulls people in. Expertise serves a need. Combined with personality so you can explain things in an entertaining, beneficial way, you are golden.
- Visibility – With the other two factors in your favor you should be well placed to develop visibility. By visibility, I mean getting noticed by the right people and building an audience. Probably the main difference between success and failure is the amount of attention you get in the community that you can best help. Of course, attention without substance is no use, so you must have the other two factors to back it up.
All three factors must be there in combination to get real progress, but the most critical are the factors of Expertise and Visibility if you had to choose two.
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How Authority Works in Marketing
Here is an example of how topical authority works in marketing, the face-to-face world, and business networking to be precise.
For you to succeed in business networking you need to have a friendly, approachable personality, and preferably be interesting to talk to. It is best if you can be the go-to person for a particular, valuable thing (experience? expertise?). Ideally, you will get referrals, it always helps if people have heard of you from someone else, but at the very least you need to be invited to the right events.
Expertise (or Value)? Check.
People are more likely to introduce someone if they believe that they are an authority. People are also more likely to accept an introduction about someone that they believe is an authority.
In marketing it is the same, just not as immediate in terms of action and reaction. People overall, and given the choice, want to work with people they know, like, and trust.
Your marketing needs to be backed up by content that conveys your unique qualities, in a confident but not arrogant way, that gets people to know you can achieve what you promise but also that you are trustworthy and likable.
Looking Out for Authorities: Who is the Authority Right Now in Your Niche?
Who is the authority to you, right now? An interesting exercise that will tell you a lot.
- Why did you think of them first?
- Who else did you consider?
- Are there any things in common between the people who come to mind?
- How are they unique? Are those uniquenesses advantages or just differences?
- What would it take for you to stand out in a beneficial way for your specific customer?
- When you look at their writing, their marketing, their content channels, or even their ads, can you identify any elements that show and grow their authority?
One of the easiest ways to spot an authority in your business niche or market is to consider who is finding marketing and sales the easiest. Why is that?
What Authority Means for Business
A person that is seen as the authority in a market becomes the go-to business for that thing.
Consider what that kind of influence would mean to your business, your sales, and your marketing.
You will attract warmer leads and more of them. More referrals, because people know and trust that you can deliver, and heck they like you.
Journalists and bloggers will seek out your opinion, compounding your industry profile, which will lead to invitations to speak, and be interviewed on podcasts … you get the idea.
Grow Your Marketing Authority Now
There is no end point to your authority journey but also you don’t have to have started a decade, a year or even a week ago. Start developing authority in your writing today.
Especially when starting out you have to build each element continuously and incrementally:
- Work on developing your “writing voice”, your writing confidence, and your communication style.
- Blog, comment, link, guest post, contribute to forums and social media, network, DM, and any other way you can think of to get known as a valuable and approachable person with the people you are trying to reach.
- Of course, always make sure you offer unique value, provide hooks or techniques that can not be found elsewhere, and ensure you are up to date on the news and techniques of your niche.