Becoming an authority in your field helps you stand out from your competition. It’s a great way of positioning yourself as the go-to thought leader in your niche and it will unlock a lot of opportunities, providing a level of success you might never have reached otherwise.
Although you hear this advice everywhere – to become an authority, build your personal brand, and stand out, it’s all easier said than done!
These days people don’t need to have gone to school to work in certain industries. For instance, you don’t need a writing degree to become a writer and web designers can create websites without having gone to design school. However, being able to show certifications or credentials is still extremely valuable as it can prove that you have the authority to share information on a particular topic.
In today’s online landscape, readers want to know that they can trust you.
This is hardly surprising since there are so many people who overstate the value of their products and results online.
That’s why it’s more important than ever to be able to show your audience that you’ve got the credentials to back up your brand.
But how can you do all this if you’re just starting out? What is the quickest and most effective way of becoming an authority in your industry without having to spend months (or even years) waiting for other people to recognize you?
In this article, we take a look at five strategies that you can use to engineer authority instantly without having to depend on anyone else.
1. Present a Plan
A great market is one that is aligned around the results or transformation you offer with your product or service. This means that your business, in its entirety, should be focused on getting people to move from one point (their current reality) to another (the new reality). It’s simply about moving them from a place where they are not satisfied toward where they desire to be.
So whichever industry you’re in, instead of simply creating content that talks about the same aspect of the change your customers go through, you might want to map out the overall plan instead.
If you’ve already done this, great. But if you haven’t, now is the time to create a plan that is easy for your customers to understand – a pathway or roadmap that will be the foundation for your own journey to becoming an authority in your niche.
Remember, your prospects and customers are in a state of confusion. If they had any clarity about their desires or needs, they wouldn’t need you and they wouldn’t be seeking out the information you provide. That’s why it’s of the utmost importance to ensure that you have a very clear roadmap that provides order and shows them that there actually is a way for them to get to where they wish to be.
You can even go one step further and simplify your plan and then make it visual (eg. turn it into an infographic). For instance, if you teach people how to make money online with their blogs, you might have a 5-step plan consisting of:
- Step 1 – Learning the Basics
- Step 2 – Doing your market Research
- Step 3 – Creating Your Website
- Step 4 – Systematizing Your Business
- Step 5 – Scaling Your Business
This is a simple and effective way of ensuring that all the products or services you create in your business are aligned around each of the steps in your plan.
2. Answer ALL Questions
As previously mentioned, your market is confused. They have questions – lots of them. Odds are, they are going to ask a lot of the same questions over and over again. Your job at this point is to answer them all. But you’re not simply answering questions, you need to answer a lot of them in absolute ways.
You may, scratch that, you will get tired of telling them the same thing repetitively, but it’s important that you answer them anyway. The question is legitimate for each person who asks it, and to them, the answer is new.
When you’re able to answer their question clearly, you meet them exactly where they are at that time when they are searching for the answer. At that point, this makes you (to them) the automatic expert and sets the mood to further interact with them as they continue engaging with your brand.
The easiest way to answer questions in absolute ways is to create blog posts that offer concrete answers to the most common questions. Another method is to go on sites like Quora and Yahoo! Answers and give answers to questions in your market. Offer great answers to a lot of the common niche questions and you can even add a link to a resource on your own website in the process.
It’s also a good idea to answer those types of questions on your own site as well. On Google, there are a lot of question-based searches, and I’m sure you’ve noticed how Google automatically presents the ‘People also ask’ section that has even more common questions. You can use this section of Google search to get exact questions that you can answer on your own blog.
Another great idea is to brainstorm questions using tools like AnswerThePublic.com or Soovle.com which provide you with ideas for interesting questions that are being asked on a particular keyword or phrase. You can then use this information to craft blog posts that specifically answer those questions. You can even assemble the questions into a handy FAQ.
Don’t forget to include any ‘stupid’ questions that might come up. Remember, although you might think that it’s elementary, and even though you may get bored answering the question, the people you are creating content for are NOT you. To them, their questions are legitimate, so answer them all definitively.
3. Speak in Absolutes
People don’t just want answers to the questions they ask, they want absolute answers. The last thing they want when searching for answers online is to come across someone who dilly-daddles around in gray zones. You need to give absolute answers to all questions. You can keep it simple, but you need to be clear and confident about your answers.
Try not to over complicate things by starting to explore different approaches or multiple facets. In your expertise, you might know that the answer depends on a variety of factors, but now is not the time to dive into all that. Just give them the simplest answer you can and you’ll be able to work the details out later.
Only speak in absolutes!
For instance, in marketing, a lot of people want to know what works best on their website, like what’s the best color to use for call to action buttons? Of course, the real answer is that it depends on a lot of different factors and the best thing to do would be to split test it.
But that’s not an answer that engineers authority – this is: ‘For best results, make all your buttons red.’
Use words that strongly communicate absolutes such as best, greatest, all, everything, none, always, and so on. Just keep in mind that speaking as an authority on any subject comes with some flak. You’re not always going to be right and sometimes you’ll be called out on it. But that’s all right. It comes with the territory.
4. What’s Your Why?
Your next step is to state your beliefs. Your ‘why’ is a core part of your brand. Why do you do what you do? The harsh truth is that what you do just isn’t as memorable as the reasons why you do it.
The people you’re marketing to want to know exactly what you believe. They want to know what it is that motivates you. If they agree with you or if they believe the same, then they will be a lot more inclined to agree with everything else that you say, which makes it more likely that they will follow you.
This is the reason why you should declare your beliefs and state your ‘why’ as the central aspect of your brand’s message. Incorporate that into your sales videos, put it on your website’s About page, and so on.
Stating what you believe and where you stand, planting your feet in the ground and drawing a clear line in the sand is a great way of positioning what you do within the bigger scheme of things.
People follow those who lead and as a leader, you can get people to do things. When those things they do are unique to you, and you’ve altered their routine somewhat – that’s authority.
This can be something simple, like a sticker for a laptop or those refrigerator calendars that you get from home realtors so you keep their brand front and center, or it can be something crazy like putting butter in your coffee so it’s ‘bulletproof’ (we’ve got Dave Asprey to thank for that one…).
It can even be walking on fire just because Tony Robbins said you could!
Now that’s authority!
Although these are weird things to do, people do them and they feel like they accomplished something awesome. Also, it creates a common bond between the people who’ve done it. Whether it’s something big or small, it’s a way of changing their routine or altering behavior.
So, consider what you are doing in your business. What are the ways that you could get people to do something that’s a bit out of the ordinary? What’s the best way for you to get them to alter their routine or change the ‘normal’ way they do things?
The Bottom Line
The best thing about each of these strategies is that you’re able to do them on your own. They have nothing to do with all the other methods of building authority in your niche, such as building back-links, getting published in some other publication, constantly updating your social profiles, and various other things that people do to get others to call them an expert.
You can do all of this ‘in-house’ and you don’t even have to do each and every one of the methods suggested above. Just choose a few of the ones that appeal to you and you’ll be able to create a thriving tribe based around what you are doing in no time.
The important thing to keep in mind is that the majority of people want a leader.
They need to be led and they want someone to tell them what to do. This is not a bad thing – it’s just a part of being human. Those people might be leaders in different aspects of their lives, but in that area, at that moment of their life when they have a problem to solve but don’t know how to go about it, they are not a leader.
It’s why when people have an issue with their body and they go to the doctor, all they want is a simple diagnosis, a label. If the doctor talks about non-specific things or in non-absolute answers, such as exercise, diet, lifestyle change, those people aren’t happy.
They simply want the doctor to say ‘You have [insert name of disorder here]. Take this for it’ so it can fit into a nice little box with a neat bow on it. They want their labels and pills – ANSWERS and ABSOLUTES. And you are going to give that to them.
If you want to build authority in your niche, you have to understand that a leader is confident. A leader has certainty. A leader defines a goal and creates a plan to get there. As a leader, you will have to portray confidence, answer questions, and alter people’s behaviors.
As long as you’re able to do these things, that will go a very long way to engineer instant authority in your industry.
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