According to Danny Sullivan, founder of Search Engine Land, in order to gain the trust of your readers, you need to provide “original, thoughtful commentary or material on a subject that attracts attention and respect from others.” If you don’t know what you are talking about, your readers will be able to tell, and if you aren’t honest and authentic, your readers will lose interest. The secret to becoming an authority in your industry lies not in tricking your readers into buying your services but in inspiring them to trust you, whether they buy from you or not, so they will pass your words on to others.
Methods for Becoming an Authority
Becoming an authority in your industry is not something you can make happen overnight – it takes time to create quality content and to cultivate the trust of your readers. There are several tools you can use to help foster your authority, including blogging, podcasting, and posting videos to YouTube.
Blogging – Blogging is an excellent platform to provide your readers with valuable content that will also help establish you as an authority in your industry. Take the example of SearchEngineLand. SearchEngineLand is a daily publication that provides valuable information to readers about all aspects of the search marketing industry. This publication covers everything from breaking news stories and industry trends to product changes and tips for digital marketing. Since its founding, SearchEngineLand has used blogging to become an authority in all things search-related.
Podcasting – Podcasting involves recording digital audio files and making them available over the Internet, often in a series of related content, to which individuals can subscribe. In essence, podcasting is the audio version of blogging, and it can be a great way to establish yourself as an authority in your industry. Take the example of health and fitness expert Ben Greenfield, who provides his followers with valuable fitness information in podcast form. Greenfield was recently nominated for the 10th Annual Podcast Awards Ceremony within the Health and Fitness category.
YouTube – As an alternative to blogging and podcasting, or as an addition to these platforms, you can provide your followers with valuable content in video form by publishing videos on YouTube. Gary Vaynerchuk of WineLibraryTV provides commentary on various wines, and he has gained more than 80,000 followers. What makes Vaynerchuk an authority in his field is not only his expertise when it comes to wine, but also the fact that he doesn’t just tell people which wines to like – he encourages individuals to trust their own palates and helps them find the wines that are right for them.
Becoming an authority in your industry is a status that is earned, not given. Unless you put in the time and the effort to prove to your readers that not only do you know what you are talking about, but also you practice what you preach, you will not gain a following. Founder and CEO of Copyblogger Media Brian Clark stated that, “online authority is about demonstrating expertise instead of merely claiming it.” If you can prove to your readers that you are authentic and experienced, they will be more likely to take you at your word and to take action. If you are serious about becoming an authority in your industry, it all starts with gaining the trust of your readership.