An embarrassing story from my early marketing time:
When I started out in the content marketing business, I had… well, I’d bought into the hype. I’d learned that businesses are desperate for good marketers (which is true) and content marketers can make great livings in their spare time.
So I built my website, optimised it for search engines and patted myself on the back. Then I wrote a few articles showing off my knowledge and skills.
And… that was about it. I was on Twitter and Facebook a little, but not much.
But even if I’d grinded social media, it wouldn’t have changed much. That’s a common timesink for entrepreneurs, both established and aspiring.
Either way, I wasn’t thinking about it too deeply. The hype was seductive enough that I thought I’d plonk myself on the internet and people would find me.
I know I’m not alone with that. Many entrepreneurs do the same thing.
But as we all learn quickly enough, a digital presence isn’t enough.
You need something more if you want people to find you.
And if you want readers to become clients.
That takes being a digital authority.
Think about it from a potential client’s perspective. They want help with something, and they’re looking for someone to help them.
Could you be the one?
Probably, but so could dozens of others. If you’re a coach with little more than a website, you’re interchangeable with every other coach… plus hypnotherapists, wellness consultants, astrologers, reiki practitioners, performance optimisers and anyone else your client thinks could help them.
If you’re a digital authority, though, those others fade into the background. People choose you because they can see you’re different.
They see you know what you’re talking about and have the power to solve their problems.
Here’s how to cultivate digital authority:
Amateurs write whenever they ‘get inspired’.
Professionals show off their knowledge in weekly informative-but-probably-unengaging blog posts.
Digital authorities, though?
They constantly entertain and inform their market.
To the untrained eye, they’re pitching them.
Offering goodies and delights to sell.
Which… well, they are.
But they’re also ensuring they’re never far from their prospect’s minds.
Think about it – you and folks you know have problems. And you’ve met professionals who could help you solve them.
But one of the obstacles that stops you reaching out is… you’ve forgotten them.
Maybe you met the professional at a party two years ago.
Maybe you saw their ad, once, last fortnight.
I’m not saying you’ll never remember some old chance encounter – but it’s far less likely than someone you regularly read and enjoy.
This is how expertise becomes authority – by coming to mind when you look for a solution.
Anyone can talk a good game.
That’s what experts and snake oil salesfolk have in common.
What separates them – and what authorities do – is the experts can demonstrate their skills.
Demonstrations are the finest form of proof. If you can have your reader experience what you can do – even just a taste – it’s even better than word of mouth.
It’s easy for me to demonstrate my marketing skills – by publishing every day, I prove I can write a lot and write well.
As for my hypnosis skills…
If my writing isn’t enough to inspire even a little change – which, for most folks, it is – I give away eight hypnotic audios to anyone who wants them. All they need to do is sign up to my email list.
Valuable Gifts for Subscribers
Amateurs give away stuff for free, but professionals know the value of information. That’s why so many sites offer bonuses to anyone who signs up to their email list.
Everything that doesn’t cost money on my websites serves some purpose. The articles promote my offers, while the bonus reports and hypnotic audios get folks on my lists.
The great thing about this is it lets prospects experience you firsthand. If they like what they see, they’ll be back for more. If not, they were never right for you in the first place.
Anyone who’s a published author has instant authority. There’s a lot of prestige that comes with that.
Even though these days, it’s absurdly easy.
Take 50-ish pages of useful solutions around a common theme, bundle it into an eBook and sell it – either as a PDF/epub file on your site or through Amazon’s self-publishing platform.
No need to impress publishers these days.
Although publishing a book is easy, it still takes commitment. Apart from the prestige, it shows you know enough to fill a book and are dedicated enough to write it.
This one is my favourite.
Not just because it immediately builds authority… but it can earn you a lot of money too.
Having some high-end product or service instantly makes you an authority. While everyone else sticks to eBooks and low-ball products, you show you’re elite by charging elite prices.
The only thing to watch for:
Your offer has to be worth what you charge.
You could easily slap a thousand dollar price tag on a whitepaper… just make sure it delivers ten times that in value.
And, of course, your marketing must make that value clear.
Inflating your fees makes you look ridiculous and can destroy your reputation.
But charging a lot and delivering even more?
Why, only the top 5% of any field can do that.
So show that’s where you belong by creating and selling something at the high end.
Some prospects will buy it, while making your more affordable offers look… well, affordable.