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Going Deeper: Online Marketing: How to be an Authority Online

Brand authority is without a doubt your most prized business asset. And why shouldn’t it be? People look up to you as a trend-setter and do not mind paying extra just to get a slice of that high-end product or service.

Building authority online is a time-consuming task which requires not only a lot of patience but an expansive long-term strategy. There are far too many brands today that fall in the trap of mimicking their competitor’s online authority-building strategies; i.e. if my competitor XYZ did so and so, I will surely gain the same success if I follow suit.

This is a mistake, and what you really need to do is follow your own voice and think of strategies to build your own reputation and stand apart as brand experts.

Why is Building Online Authority Important?

It’s no surprise that the internet is the number one medium to grow your brand and acquire customers. Never before have businesses had access to such unprecedented opportunities to reach out to prospects halfway across the globe at a few clicks. Social media, in fact, happens to be the most common sub-medium on the internet through which companies market their content and build authority.

While most businesses understand how important it is to develop an online presence, they often overlook a critical component of the equation: investing in building authority in order to stand out amongst competitors.

Online Vs Offline Authority: Which is More Important?

Publishing content online will certainly get more than a few heads turning and put you in the spotlight as people talk about you and share your content. Active participation on social media channels will get you in touch with influencers and industry leaders who you may probably never get to meet in person at meetings or special business events.

Even though building online authority extends your reach and “amplifies” what your business does on a day to day basis, it does not mean that you focus on online only. Offline authority-building is very effective in deepening the connections you’ve successfully made online over the course of your business dealings. This includes people in your industry such as journalists, bloggers, potential partners, customers or even prospective company personnel.

Here’s our two: building authority online is not a substitute for your offline authority-building efforts and if you’re consistent across both on a year-round basis, your influence, authority and reach will be even greater in the long haul, effectively positioning you as a force to be reckoned with.

However, this article focuses on how to effectively establish authority online, just so you know.

Common Elements Which Determine Online Authority

The following key elements can be used to determine your online authority.

1. Content

Unless you’re producing and marketing content regularly, you’ll have a tough time trying to build authority online. Here’s how you should harness the power of marketing content to build authority:

Kick off a niche-focused company blog

Work on creating highly unique and shareable content – articles, eBooks, white papers and cases studies which are a testament to your expertise

Work out a content development and publishing cycle to repeatedly push quality content

Curate content from high-authority sources in your niche and use it to nurture relationships with industry leaders

2. Links

Google places a lot of importance on links and here’s how you should use them to build authority:

Harness the power of content marketing to promote your brand new content which will attract links from other authoritative blogs and websites

Offer to write guest posts to blogs and websites relevant to your industry

Build relationships with journalists and editors to have opportunities for editorial links

Provide helpful and meaningful comments on your own blogs as well as guest posts to add high value and authority to the ongoing conversations there

3. Social

Having extensive knowledge and expertise isn’t worth much if you’re not willing to spread it through the right channels. If you want to be seen as a thought leader, you need to have a strong social following. Therefore, leverage social media the right way to build online authority:

Build a social following that’s made up of a highly engaged and receptive audience, not one that you’ve purchased by paying people to like or share your posts, for example

Stick to a schedule and consistently update your social media accounts

Capitalize on paid advertising to improve the reach of your social content

Do everything possible to engage other influencers and thought leaders on social media

4. Recognition

One of the fastest ways to building authority online is by gaining recognition from the right sources for the right purposes – leveraging this is a great way of cementing authority online. For example:

  •         Strive to earn positive reviews from customers on Google+ Places, Yelp, Foursquare etc.
  •         Ask for endorsements from clients, partners and associates on Angie’s List and LinkedIn
  •         Position yourself as an industry source for quotes which editors can use for their articles
  •         Compete in online contests by showcasing content that might eventually win awards

5. Offline

Don’t limit your authority building efforts to online only. Building it offline can help you nurture future relationships and get many links and social shares as a result of those relationships:

  •         Participate in seminars and speaking engagements
  •         Host meetups which revolve around your area of specialization while inviting others to contribute
  •         Act as a sponsor for a high-authority business’s conference or meetup
  •         Hold a charity event

Examples:

Some websites that are considered authoritative are: Forbes, Yahoo, Entrepreneur and Inc. These websites have achieved such results by getting help from experts in specific niche and providing true and interesting information.

Top 5 Ways to Successfully Build Your Authority Online

There are literally hundreds of ways to market your business online. The same goes for earning authority online. However, here are five of the most common methods of building your authority online:

1. Participate in Niche Discussions

Share your insights with the right communities and you can effectively brand yourself as an industry authority. Industry-specific forums and Twitter chats are ideal places to engage with people looking for authoritative insights.

Subscribing to niche blogs and commenting on the right posts will project you in a highly authoritative light. Learn to add something of value which makes people go “ahh, so that’s it”. You want to be seen as an influencer, not someone who’s just rooting for people’s attention. Don’t hesitate to share key observations and experiences you’ve learned throughout your career.  

2. Create a Blog with Killer Content

Even though many businesses understand that writing exceptional content is key to setting themselves apart, they don’t necessarily invest in the right resources to put highly engaging and informative content out there. For example, many blogs just recycle old or generic content.

You need people to see your blog as something of high value. You will be seen as an expert if your posts are cited by and commented on by influencers. And, rather than just writing generic pieces, focus on tackling real problems and pain points in your niche that no one else is discussing. Here are some ideas:

Emphasize past successes in your blog to demonstrate to readers that your solutions are effective and practical. Be modest and let the results and your track record do the talking.

When you conduct interviews with thought leaders, it shows that you’re connected to highly credible sources in the industry, which in turn, will boost your own credibility.

While written content is good it can often leave your audience somewhat disconnected from your true brand identity; share video content to engage audiences in a more personalized way, making it easier for them to “see” you as an authoritative voice.

3. Work on an eBook

Writing blogs certainly is a great way to showcase your knowledge and experience. However, there’s a limit to how many key points you can discuss in a single post. To convey your thoughts in detail and get a high level of appreciation for it, write an eBook that talks about major happenings in your industry or handpick a single aspect people want to know more about and shed a great deal of light on it.

This might take you a while to write but will ultimately help you grow your brand and make people see you as a leader. A number of businesses give their eBooks away for free and you should do the same. This lets people share highly valuable information with other followers in the industry, which will only cement your authority further in the niche.

4. Guest-post on Authority Sites

Guest blogging happens to be a very powerful strategy (and often overlooked) for building online authority.

Start with choosing a high quality site that people frequently visit and leave comments in the blogs section. Target publishers that have an impressive social following and once you’ve gained traction with them, start posting.

You’ll need to put in a fair amount of time and energy into these posts as they need to be well-researched and highly quality so that it clearly shows you are a niche expert who takes a lot of pride in their work. This is a great way of branding yourself as an online authority, in contrast to what countless other businesses do: using fairly “ho-hum” content just to gain a few backlinks.  

5. Gauge Authority-building Efforts

From time to time, it’s important to check your metrics to see if you’re making progress. If progress is generally slow or unfavorable, you should ask yourself:

Am I targeting the right audience? Just landed a columnist spot on Mashable.com? That’s fantastic! But is your target audience there? It doesn’t matter how relevant your content is if you’re not building collateral in front of the right audience.

Is my message adequately resonating with the target audience? After all the hard work and long nights, if you’re not getting the desired conversions and lead generations, something is definitely off in our messaging. Try out more varied headlines, call-to-actions and offers by running on-site split testing.

 Is the content unique and interesting enough? Perhaps eBooks aren’t your strong suite. Or a bare minimum of 1,500 words does the trick for your blog in order to keep up with industry standards. You need to survey what others are doing (yes, we did tell you not to copy competitors at the beginning of this piece, but this is one major exception to the rule) and see how you can build on that to improve the quality of your content.

The Future of Online Authority Building

Today’s super-competitive online business landscape demands that you make it a top priority to build a commanding online presence. It requires serious thought, time and effort but pays back generously as you see your list of followers grow and join the ranks of niche leaders.

Keeping in view Google’s enhancements and algorithm updates, it’s obvious that online authority will continue to be important factor to focus on. Google’s Eric Schmidt quotes:

“Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification…”

That pretty much sums it up.

Build Your Future and Online Authority with AOK Marketing

Even if you’re doing everything right, it might take you a while to reach that “authority status”. There are many factors to consider in this regard since multiple businesses are after the exact same thing. Going by faith and patience alone isn’t enough.

Hire the services of a digital marketing pioneer like AOK Marketing that’s been helping online businesses build authority in their niche for nearly two decades. Reach us at 1.888.566.2577 for a FREE consultation to get started. 

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