Anyone with enough Twitter followers, a sizable number of Facebook fans or a couple of thousand ‘likes’ can be an online authority right?
The number of people raving about you, following you, or liking you may be a sign of your ability to socialize and connect. But, vanity social metrics do not amount to being a respected authority online.
At the heart of it is the ability to showcase your expertise. An online authority is essentially a credible thought leader who can package the information and knowledge they have in a format that is palatable to a targeted web audience.
In any niche, the most outstanding authorities always have more business, forge successful partnerships, have a loyal customer base, have solid conversions and attract more traffic.
Here is a 6-step guide to positioning yourself as a respected thought leader online using the 3Cs:
There is no way around it—content is the soul of online authority building. The more people find, read, listen to, and watch your content, the more they identify you as the go-to person for rich, valuable and consistent information that can help them solve specific problems.
Blogging in a niche area is one of the most effective ways of showcasing your expertise. Yet online users are not looking for more content per se; they are keen on fresh perspectives, something unique, something that will show them a new or easy way of solving problems. It is ultimately important to understand your target audience to deliver blog content that fully resonates with them and meets their needs.
To build authority, you need to be versatile enough to deliver content in different formats, i.e. you need to be a great storyteller using different tools. Variety will engage your audience and people will eagerly want to be the first ones to share your content.
Maximize your content marketing efforts with videos, infographics, webinars, podcasts and books as well. Writing a book is in fact one of the most authoritative ways to gain respect and create buzz in your niche. With self-publishing tools and many mainstream publishing opportunities, there’s no excuse for not delivering your message and expertise in a book.
Did you know that your level of success, both offline and online, is equal to the size of your network? Look at the most celebrated entrepreneurs, personalities and thought leaders—they are connectors and as a result, they are able to get almost anything they want just by a phone call or a quick email.
Generally, to appear on any media, whether TV, radio, magazine or newspaper, the editors have determined that you have something valuable to say. Frequent media appearances offer an excellent platform for demonstrating thought leadership and generating visibility for yourself.
Nurturing long lasting and mutually beneficial relationships with journalists and editors will ultimately be helpful in creating buzz for your products and services, while other marketers struggle with getting this kind of mass publicity.
Social media and tools such as Help A Reporter Out (HARO) have made it so much easier to find and connect with journalists, who are always on the lookout for a credible source of information.
Influencers are online authorities in their own right—they engage a large number of followers and fans, they are active on the online scene and they are effective marketers.
Given their reach and level of impact, influencers are instrumental in helping you boost and maintain your visibility in an otherwise crowded online space, by sharing your work, mentioning you and collaborating with you in mutually beneficial projects.
Few people become known by hiding under a rock and maintaining minimal interaction with the world. Conversations, debates, knowledge-sharing, and storytelling are hallmarks of the vast, varied and vivacious online world. To build authority, you need to be out there talking, listening, sharing and engaging.
Do you want your message to reach the largest number of people possible? When used strategically, social media can put you at the front, back and center of hundreds and potentially thousands of people interested in your message.
Just like content marketing, consistency and variety are vital when using social media to connect and engage with your audience. A solid content and social media plan is a sure way to demonstrate your expertise, build an audience and become the go-to person in your niche.
The integration of events and social media has turned events into super interactive sessions where online and offline audiences from all over the world can continuously interact, share and engage throughout the event.
This means that even when a thought leader speaks at a TedTalk, for example, their content will still be propagated online. At the same time, online authorities typically have vast opportunities to share and inspire others outside the online sphere.
Leverage all possible opportunities to create epic content, to connect with others and to trigger conversations that inspire others; you will gain the respect, admiration and following of a true-thought leader.
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