authority nicheOnline content is usually created to express opinions or share information with others. For entrepreneurs and web publishers, content is developed as a means to generate direct/indirect income.
However, one should not only view content as a means to receive immediate benefits like traffic or revenue. It is not just fodder for pageviews but a tool to enhance more abstract factors like reputation, reader trust and peer relationships.
Jeff Quipp recently asked what is authority and how do you build it? and I thought it’ll be interesting to examine this question from the angle of web publishing and content development. To reframe the query: what kind of content should you create to position yourself as an authority or expert in your niche?
After looking at the definition of good content, let’s examine how it can be strategically used as an tool to develop the perception of authority.

Defining Authority or Expertise for Web Publishers

authority definition
Image Credit: glimpse…
An authority is someone who has developed specialist knowledge and because of sharing this knowledge, has developed a reputation as an expert in the field.
This definition of an authority is one that is coherent with web publishing. Bloggers or web magazines are in the information industry and their business model deals with the packaging and dissemination of content and ideas.
For niche experts, knowledge only becomes an asset when it is shared. By freely sharing knowledge, experts allow their reputation to grow. Hence, the value in learning how to absorb and circulate knowledge to an audience who wants to develop proficiency or acquire a general understanding on specific topics.
Because we are mainly dealing with information flow and the sharing of ideas, I see experts or authorities as individuals who are somewhat similar to academics. Both are deeply entrenched in the field they specialize in and they provide unique, specialized knowledge gained through their research and experiences.
In my opinion, these are the characteristics of experts:
  1. Well Informed and Up to Date on industry news. The need to be informed cannot be emphasized more because current developments in an niche usually has repercussions for most end users. Experts are up to date on all the latest happenings in their niche because this allows them to comment on issues when questions are posed by clients or readers. Some experts may also break news because of their networks and contacts.
  2. Aggregate and Filter information for readers. Experts serve as aggregators and filters for their audience. They weed out the junk and extract the essence from content circulating around the web. They bring together related discussions by other thinkers/bloggers and provide a coherent overview of how to move forward in scenarios which require solutions/ideas.
  3. Provide a Rigorous Depth of Research. Experts perform analysis on current events or case studies to derive data that may be useful. They study phenomenon more rigorously than others and hence will be privy to research-based data/knowledge that is unique and not found elsewhere.
  4. Makes knowledge accessible for the general populace. The expert knows how to package dense information and make it easily understandable for a non-specialist audience. This includes explaining the impact of events/news for the end user by translating it into something they can immediately act upon.
  5. Expand the Conceptual Field. Experts should change the way others think by challenging traditional concepts or practices that are widely accepted. Because they are knowledgeable, experts will also bring in ideas and principles from other related disciplines, thus expanding both terminology and the sphere of theory. This changes the way others think about key issues.

Content Development Strategies to Establish Authority

niche authority
Image Credit: [K]
To achieve the perceived status of an expert, you’ll need a concrete strategy that focuses on the persistent publication of specialized content: one should consistently write about the same topics in ever increasing depth. Here are some tactics that will quite easily position yourself as a authority in the specific field:
  1. Optimize Your Site Copy. You want to include social proof elements like testimonials from clients, recommendations from experts, awards and professional certifications. At the very least, revamp your about page to emphasize your experience/knowledge in the specific field. If you are offering paid services, ensure that your sales page includes at least a few testimonials from satisfied clients/customers.
  2. Communicate and Invite Queries. The more you help people solve their individual problems, the more you win over people who believe in your ability. Open up the channels of communication and invite people to email or contact you with questions. Create a new page for feedback or put a comment box on your sidebar for questions.
  3. Guest Blog. I think it’s very useful to publish articles on other related websites or blogs because it reinforces your visibility in the niche. Pick the blogs considered to be authorities in the same field. Branding yourself is more critical; the traffic you’ll get isn’t as important. Remember to include keywords in your byline: You want to be associated with the topic as much as possible. Also include a mention of your guest blogging gigs in your about page.
  4. Create an Article Series. Writing an article series is an excellent way to give your website focus and is particularly useful if you feel that your blog is too inconsistent. A good series of articles also provides an entry point for recommendations. Others can easily promote your content when it is packaged in a cohesive framework that thoroughly covers relevant topics. Try starting an article series and publish new articles regularly. Bundle up your article series and display them in a page or a visible area on your blog. For convenience, you may want to use the In Series Wordpress Plugin.
  5. Write an eBook/book. Publishing a book on a topic immediately establishes you as someone who is interested in the field: most amateurs do not cross the line to invest time and energy on stand-alone publications. An ebook is also a way to market your personal brand: they are concentrated illustrations of your knowledge and can be passed around easily from one person to another.
  6. Join Conversations. Try to monitor conversations around a certain topic, in order to participate in them. One option is to actively offer advice on forums or communities in your niche. Publish an article in response to some general queries and drive traffic from these communities to your site. Alternatively, set up a Google Alert for blogs that use keywords in your field. Ping them via trackbacks or write comments on their articles with a link to your own. This is slow but easy way to develop your reputation from the ground up.
  7. Highlight Achievements. People modify the way they think about your brand or site, based on input from others. It makes sense to highlight your achievements in a standalone page on your blog or perhaps in the form of a blog post. This involves the inclusion of your site in ranking lists, special awards, media coverage and interviews on important niche publications. An example: Lyndon Antcliff, a social media marketer recently got a mention in Time Magazine and this is the post he did. You’re not bragging but demonstrating that others recognize your value.
  8. Develop Breadth and Depth. Try to develop the habit of building on your own content by writing articles which reference and expand on certain points or tangents. This increases the overall depth of your focus and takes into account the growth in reader interest as well. Seek to also increase the breadth of your content by writing for audience profiles as they may have different knowledge levels and info needs.
It goes without saying that you’ll truly come across as an expert when you are really passionate or immersed in the field. It is important to nurture the five characteristics of authority mentioned above while combining them with content development strategies that amplify your display of knowledge.
The development of authority may include other factors but I’ve limited my focus to content related issues: all of the tactics and factors listed in this article deal with how content can be strategically created to induce the perception of authority.
There is a lot more to be said about content development strategies and I will be covering the topic of using content as a networking and reputation building tool next week. Subscribe to Dosh Dosh if you don’t want to miss any updates.
How would YOU define authority and how do you become one?


إرسال تعليق