People trust experts. Experts have knowledge. Knowledge comes from experience, but expertise isn’t enough to have authority.
That’s where content marketing comes into the picture. Consistently sharing your knowledge on a specific topic is how you go from expert to authority. Nobody can see you as an authority if you don’t put your knowledge in front of the world.
I understand if this scares the hell out of you. Putting yourself out there is intimidating. I hid from it for 14 years before finally sucking it up and sharing what I know about growing a company using strategy, branding, and marketing.
Helping other people learn from your knowledge on a topic is what builds trust and translates into a desire to give you money. Swallow that fear and get started. There’s limitless value in being an authority on a subject.
This is true for individuals and companies. Hubspot hitched their wagon to content marketing and it put them in the billionaire club. Seth Godin is seen as the marketing guru thanks to his prolific writing. These big success stories are great to show what’s possible, but you don’t need a big audience to see the benefits of content marketing.
My first client from content marketing came when I had a handful of followers at best. That one client has translated into three referrals and hundreds of thousands of dollars of business. All it takes is one person who needs what you share.
I think I’ve presented a solid argument on why you should get rolling. Now let’s get into how to make it happen. Here are 4 content marketing tips to guide your development into an authority.
Tip 1: Pick A Lane
Your brand is your reputation. As Jeff Bezos said, it’s what people say about you when you’re not in the room. Branding is the act of intentionally shaping that reputation. Consistently sharing what you know about a specific topic (aka content marketing) is one of the best forms of branding at your disposal.
The secret to a successful content marketing strategy is to focus your efforts. You can’t write about drastically different subjects each week. Your goal is to be known for something specific. That can only happen if you feed readers a steady dose of consistent value around one topic.
What do you want to be known for as a brand? The answer to this one question is your topic. Define it and then stay in that lane. Use your content marketing efforts to build your brand.
Tip 2: Entertain, Inspire, or Educate
You can’t become an authority if nobody stays awake long enough to finish your articles. Boring pieces typically lack value. They’re written for the author instead of the reader. A simple solution is to make sure every piece you write entertains, inspires, or educates your audience.
Doing all three is the trifecta of perfection, but that’s damn hard. Shoot to achieve all three, hope you hit two, but make sure you do at least one. I start with education as my foundation for every piece I write. I know if someone learns something from what I’m writing, it’s worth their time to read and mine to write.
Will you entertain, inspire, or educate? Again, it’s great if you can nail all three, but make sure you define which will be your foundation. Be realistic with your personality. Don’t try to entertain if you’re not funny. Ride your strengths.
Tip 3: Decide If You’re Creating A Publication or A Library
Not every content strategy is the same. Make sure you have a clear vision of what you want to create. Some people write evergreen articles focused on SEO and other folks write timely pieces they actively promote through social media and email. I like the way Andy Crestodina categorizes the two primary content strategies you can employ.
“The Publication seeks to build an audience of repeat visitors by consistently and frequently publishing topics of broad interest to an industry, promoted to subscribers and followers.
The Library seeks to build relevance on more narrowly focused topics with deeper, more interconnected articles, discoverable through search and there when the visitor needs them.”
Publications feature timely and relevant content with a shorter shelf life that attracts readers through social media and email marketing. It’s all about being the hot source for current articles.
Libraries are typically evergreen content driven by answering questions that get traffic from SEO. These articles go into more depth on specific topics.
Which fits your writing style and the audience you want? It’s a lot easier to write if you know what you’re trying to write.
Tip 4: Set A Schedule
Ongoing effort is the price of authority. Nobody remembers sporadic contributors. There’s too much competition for our attention to remember someone who isn’t reliably there with nuggets of value every week (at minimum). You may be able to back off the frequency once you’re established, but I firmly believe one badass piece of content every week is the absolute minimum to develop an audience that views you as an authority.
In some cases, it takes far more frequency to get traction. Depending on your medium of choice, you may need to go as frequently as daily to build an audience. Find that threshold where you’re putting out the most possible content without losing quality. That’s your perfect content cadence.
A little trick you can play on yourself to make sure you show up each week is to use Robert Cialdini’s principle of commitment and consistency. Make a public commitment in writing stating when and what you’re going to deliver to your audience each week. Let’s say you’re trying to build a thriving email newsletter, put your commitment front and center on your email capture page. Your desire to remain consistent with your promise will drive you to show up every week. This little trick has helped me stay on track for 134 straight Friday emails.
Sharpen That Pencil
You’ve got everything you need to get rolling. Don’t wait 14 years like me. I seriously regret waiting that long to start writing, sharing, and teaching. Aside from the unicorns content marketing walked in my door (fantastic clients that give you money and refer you to friends), it’s just rewarding to write. Put everything in this article together and see for yourself. I promise it’s worth your time and effort.
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