It seems like there are more media messages and ads taking over TV sets, radios, mailboxes, magazine and newspaper pages, computer screens as well as smartphones than ever before. This article discusses how to stand out above all the noise by using Authority Marketing.
We have now entered the digital age, with an overload of content and information. People are being swamped with spam emails, telemarketing calls, and other forms of advertising and marketing and it’s all taking over television airwaves, mobile platforms, clogging mailboxes and social media accounts. People find it impossible to sort through it all, so they’re simply tuning out.
Conventional marketing has become obsolete. Direct mail pieces are immediately tossed out, emails get ignored or deleted, TV ads are way too costly and mobile apps eat too much of your storage. So how can a business effectively cut through it all to connect with potential customers?
Businesses are turning to Authority Marketing!
Authority Marketing involves a professional or business owner establishing themselves as an expert in their field. They have got to find a way to position themselves as the primary voice or authority on the specific topic or field they specialize in. With people being inundated with so many conflicting messages every day, everyone is on the lookout for someone they can trust, people they can turn to for advice to help them make smart decisions. They want authority figures to give them the information and answers they need on topics they’re interested in.
Establishing Yourself as an Authority in Your Niche
Setting yourself up as an authoritative source doesn’t occur overnight; it takes time, so you may as well begin now. To position yourself as an authority you can start by doing the following:
Identify Your Niche
To be an authority figure you must establish yourself as an authority on a particular topic or niche. The more specific your area of expertise is, the better. Those who proclaim they’re experts on many different things, really are not experts, they just dabble around. To become a true expert you must have knowledge, experience and a proven track record of getting results. You can’t accomplish that by going in many different directions at once. You must be focused.
By being highly specific you can develop into an authority figure in your particular niche. For example, you may consider leadership your area of expertise, but that is too broad. If you narrow it down to nonprofit leadership, you are in a much better position. The challenges facing nonprofit leaders are completely different than those facing military or corporate leaders. If you can become good at speaking to the wants and needs of one specific group, it will be much easier to gain credibility as an authority. You will also find it easier to compile the information and materials most relevant to this particular group and easier finding ways to communicate, connect and engage with them.
Finding your niche and differentiating yourself gives you a distinct competitive edge. Referring to the above example, leadership is a huge area where there are hundreds of authority figures. But by narrowing this down to just nonprofit leadership, you have less competition, making it more likely you’ll get noticed. If you can present a new approach or technique to nonprofit leadership, or reveal interesting new insights in the field, you can set yourself apart.
Describe Your Value Proposition
Once you’ve honed in on your specialty and identified your niche setting yourself apart from your competition, you must clearly define your message and spell out the value you offer. Continuing on with the example above of nonprofit leadership, you could define your value proposition as “developing socially conscious leaders” or “showing organizers how to get their volunteers motivated.” The key is being specific and brief so that you can quickly find your target audience. This helps them to view you as an authority on this particular topic.
Refine Your Message
Once you’ve come up with your key message, you must develop the content to convey the message to your target audience. What strategies, tips, examples and frameworks can you offer that will convey your message and that offers something valuable and relevant to your audience? Can you access important research, statistics or other experts in your niche? Now, gather all your information together, consolidating it into talking points, organized by subtopic.
Find a way to make your points actionable. To do this you will need to synthesize your ideas down into basic steps or strategies that people can simply apply. Don’t get me wrong, ideas can be great, but their true value only comes when people can take those ideas and use them to improve their lives in some way. Using the nonprofit leadership example again, actionable points could be something like “4 Steps to Build Trust Among Team Members” or “How to Successfully Run a Fundraising Campaign.”
Honing in on your message is an ongoing process. Most experts understand how vital it is to stay current and to continually build on their base of knowledge. This not only helps you gain new skills, but also keeps you actively communicating and participating in the dialogue in your niche so that you can add relevant comments and contribute to the debate going on in your field. When you stay current and continue to be involved you will gain media coverage, and in turn grow your audience, clients and customers.
Get Your Message Heard
As you continue to develop your content find ways to get it out to a wider audience, before the public if possible. This must be done in such a way that it’s useful and credible. There are a number of ways to facilitate this:
Write a book
This has been the primary method of sharing information since the printing press was first invented. A book will give you instant credibility and visibility. As a marketing tool it’s a short-form infomercial selling your (the author’s) expertise and informing prospective clients. But don’t dive in head first without doing your research! There are a number of publishing routes available so choose the one that is best for you and inline with your genre, goals and resources. Quality is key and can vary greatly, so take your time doing your homework so you can come out ahead with something you can be proud of.
Although you can start a blog for free, it takes a lot of marketing and downright hustle to grow a following. Still, it’s the way to go if you want to connect with and engage your audience. It offers a “home” for your content, a place where you can be yourself without worrying about whether it’s exactly appropriate for any given media outlet or publication.
You can start writing articles to be published in industry newsletters and blogs. These outlets have an existing readership that is apt to be interested in your topic, and they would handle the marketing. But, not every article is accepted and they will have a strict submissions process that would need to be adhered to. If you are gaining credibility in your niche and have successfully differentiated yourself and your message, there will be a market for your articles.
Become a speaker
Authority figures often find opportunities to share their knowledge with others through trade organizations or local industry groups. You can offer “Lunch & Learns” or workshops to teach others. Create or participate in webinars and other educational channels to reach your audience. These activities build credibility as an authority figure and they also give you additional streams of income.
Offer yourself to the media
You can further build your image as an authority by contacting the media and presenting yourself as an authority or expert on a given topic. Television, radio, print and online media are looking for experts as sources. Contact the outlets directly or use NewswireNEXT to gain valuable mentions and coverage on media sites and business publications. Media professionals tend to prefer experts who have written at least one book they can refer to.
Along the way you will need to offer information that is both free and fee-based. In fact the free content must be relevant and offer something of value, something with “meat on it” before you can venture out and ask people to pay. You won’t build trust by having your hand out to be paid up front.
Be consistent and keep your content new and fresh. Connect with your audience on a regular basis. Continue promoting yourself using social media to engage people and to stay ahead of the competition. Be honest and upfront. People like authenticity and hate a phony. Even when you’re having a bad day and mess up, be straight about it and you’ll build your following.
It might sound intimidating to set out to brand yourself as an authority or expert, but we’ve broken it down for you so you can accomplish this if you put your mind to it. Most successful business owners have done this one step at a time. Do you have a particular area of expertise? You must have passions, hobbies or even an interesting personality! You have all you need to get started. If you make a commitment to hard work, and are willing to accept guidance, you can certainly become the next authority figure or expert people turn to in your niche!