If you’re good at what you do, you shouldn't need to do marketing, right? Wrong. If you're a consultant, speaker, author, thought leader – or anyone who makes a living being paid for your expertise – then you should be engaged in what’s know as ‘authority marketing’. But what exactly is authority marketing? And why should you be doing it?
In this post and on this podcast episode, we explore the What, Who and Why of Authority Marketing. You’ll discover how it really is the most simple, inexpensive and effective tool you should be looking at right now to grow your authority based business.
Here’s the thing. No matter how good you are at what you do, you can’t assume it makes you memorable. These days, with information bombarding us from all angles, there's always someone else in your industry vying for attention. If they’re banging a similar drum to yours but a bit louder or a bit more regularly, people will tune into that instead. It’s human nature.
That's why you need to care about marketing even though it may seem like a drag or take you away from what you love to do or what you’re best at. At the end of the day it is essential if you want to take your business to the next level.
Authority marketing is a type of content marketing – so we need to get clear what content marketing is first A search on Google came up with, ‘The creation and sharing of online material such as videos, blogs and social media posts that don’t explicitly promote a brand, but are intended to stimulate interest in products or services.’ The key word here is sharing. Content marketing is all about sharing information.
Now, there are a lot of people who are very good at producing information, via blogs or YouTube for example, but that’s where it ends. Most content marketing efforts are wasted because people aren't actually doing what really matters – promoting it. So, we’re more specific in our definition of content marketing:
‘To increase awareness of your business by producing, publishing and distributing content that others find valuable.’
It might be valuable in the sense that it's useful for others and they're willing to invest their time digesting that content. They may be willing to pay money for it. They may be inspired by your content to come and do business with you – but either way, offering value is the function of the content.
So, back to the definition of authority marketing. In the Huffington Post, Brian Horne gave this definition from Dan Kennedy, (aka The Godfather of Direct Marketing):
‘The simple truth is, if you aren't deliberately, systematically, methodically – or rapidly and dramatically – establishing yourself as a celebrity, at least to your clientele and target market, you’re asleep at the wheel, ignoring what is fueling the entire economy around you, neglecting development of a measurably valuable asset…
This is the basis of what is now known as authority marketing. In essence, authority marketing helps entrepreneurs leverage their knowledge to gain authority status in their industry. This authority status then allows them to dramatically amplify the message and convert the new audience into higher paying customers.
In other words, it's the The use of content marketing to position yourself as an, expert, authority or even a celebrity in your marketplace.
Now that’s a definition we can get on board with.
Both Dan and Brian mention celebrity and that’s a term some people find intimidating. Just to be clear, we're not talking celebrity status in the vein of the Kardashians. Not at all! We like the term Taki Moore uses (Million Dollar Coach) – the ‘micro celebrity’. A micro celebrity can walk down the street and nobody knows him. But if he goes to a conference where his peers are, a good portion of them will recognise him. Being known in your industry is one of the goals of authority marketing.
If you can elevate your position to a micro celebrity status, it will put you in demand. It's not about domination or about becoming a Kardashian in your marketplace (though if you want to, that’s fine!) It’s about standing out from 95% of your industry peers. If they're not doing much to stand out, they don't. And so, the catch cry we use here at Help Me Leverage, is that we help smart people stand out.
Think of that as your goal for authority marketing. If you're a smart person, (and let's face it, you're reading this blog post so you’re already a cut above the rest), and you want to stand out, then authority marketing is a tool that's well worth looking at.
As we said at the start, if you're a consultant coach, author, speaker or a thought leader, basically an expert in any field who makes a living from their expertise, then authority marketing is for you. The distinction between authority marketing and content marketing is that authority marketing is all about elevating the person or personal brand, whereas content marketing is more broadly used for promoting a business or a brand (although some large businesses make use of authority marketing too).
There are several compelling reasons for using authority marketing:
There is a cost to authority marketing, but it’s in time and effort rather than dollars. There's no real cost for the broadcast of your material. You can publish on your blog or LinkedIn and then promote your content on social platforms for free.
Authority marketing is not interruptive. Robert Collier talks about entering the conversation that’s already going on in your prospect’s mind. With authority marketing, you're addressing problems or goals that your target audience already has. Your information supports them, it's part of a learning journey, whereas traditional advertising is mostly interruptive (think of adverts on TV). People don’t like being interrupted. So, already, two big advantages.
The other advantage of content marketing is that it generates interest with a lifetime reach. Once you’ve broadcast an advertisement, it's gone. There’s no ongoing reference point for it. By contrast, with a blog or a YouTube video for example, it's there for life.
You could have a post you produced 10 years ago which still generates business for you today because it's out there in the ether. In fact, the longer it's out there the more valuable it gets, because Google and the search engines acknowledge the age of a piece and give it more credibility over time. That’s valuable..
With authority and content marketing, you can create enormous leverage from your time. You might spend 10 or 15 minutes dictating to a voice recorder or doing a podcast and out of that produce a video, some blog posts, social media posts, slides for SlideShare, or syndicate several articles. Just from that initial 10 or 15 minute investment of time, you can have content out there working for you on multiple platforms. Great leverage opportunities is a massive advantage of authority marketing.
Another benefit of authority marketing is building what we call the KLT factor – Know, Like, Trust. When someone is aware of you, perhaps signed up to your list or following you on LinkedIn, and over time sees you sharing your wisdom and your expertise, you're giving them multiple opportunities to know, like and trust you. Those multiple opportunities are key. It's very rare that a prospect will engage with someone after just one exposure. You need repeated exposure in order to get to a point where they want to engage with you, and that’s exactly what authority marketing provides.
Now a word of warning – authority marketing doesn't actually make the sale. There is still work to be done. I come across clients who expect the selling to happen automatically and sadly, this is not the case. You've still got to have a sales process in place. You've still got to be nurturing leads once you've attracted their attention. So authority and content marketing is all about building the ‘attractor factor’ but around that, there's work involved in building the relationship. (Here’s a tip - try the good old fashioned way, pick up the phone and talk with them!)
You mustn’t expect that having a blog post or three out there means you can sit back and watch the money roll in. But yes, authority marketing is enormously beneficial to those selling their expertise and wanting to build their personal brand. It is low/no cost, it does have accumulating lifetime value and, if you’re prepared to put in the time and effort to bang your drum just a little louder or a little different, it does deliver unquestionable returns.
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