You’re a liar. At least, that’s what you’re afraid people will find out about you.
The smaller your business, the more likely you are to have had this thought at one point: My product/service is just the latest form of snake oil and everyone is about to find out.
First off, take a deep breath.
Dealing with this thought (often referred to as ‘impostor syndrome’) is completely normal. Some of the most talented people in the world have suffered from it. (Tina Fey and Maya Angelou are just a few of the celebrities that have admitted to suffering from impostor syndrome.)
Generally speaking, the harder you’ve had to work in life to succeed, the more likely you are to feel that fear of being exposed as a fraud.
On a personal level, impostor syndrome can be pretty challenging. But on a professional level? Your business (quite literally) can’t afford to suffer from that fear. While it may sound a bit strange at first, understand that if you expect your business to keep growing, you’ll need to have unshakable faith in its validity.
This is about more than just growth within your business, by the way. Your audience respects authorities in your respective field. But your business will never truly be seen as an authority until it embraces one simple fact: it deserves to be here. Hell, it deserves to win!
Once you shake that doubt off, you’ll be one step closer to claiming the throne and turning your business into the online authority it was always meant to be.
Of course, getting over that imposter syndrome issue is just the first hurdle with which you’ll have to deal. If you’re serious about actually becoming the authority in your field, there are a few other authority marketing boxes you’re going to have to check on the list first.
Here’s What it Takes to Really Stand Out
Being an authority is about more than just being popular. Earning the respect of the industry means creating a certain kind of content. Keep in mind that, contrary to popular belief, more data isn’t always better. In reality, you’ll need to provide as much knowledge as your audience can handle.
Back-up all your beliefs with reputable data and make sure that your arguments are airtight. But, realize that when it comes to engaging/educating your audience, there is a point of diminishing returns where data becomes numbing.
Your content starts to feel more like an entry out of a scientific journal than a blog post. Now, figuring out where that point of diminishing returns lies is all about determining your audience’s tolerance for that kind of ‘meta-analysis’.
Go as deep as you have to, but learn to balance that depth with language that your readers can actually understand. You wouldn’t write for the Wall Street Journal the same way you’d write for BuzzFeed, would you?
Keep it niche: your first instinct, when creating content, is going to be to run off in a million directions and tackle every topic under the sun. For whatever reason, people seem to think that this is an effective way of producing content. Newsflash: it isn’t.
Remember: authority marketing is not about getting everyone to care a little. It’s about getting a few people very invested.
Develop a meaningful content marketing machine that your core audience resonates with and, once your audience starts to grow, then you can expand your horizons.
In regard to appealing to your core audience, take the time to explore complex topics. Videos and infographics are great places to start, but they’re far from your only options.
Create something truly useful (an ebook, for example). By showing your audience how much you value in-depth analyses, your company will be one step closer to establishing itself as one of the most knowledgeable voices in the industry.
When it comes to content that establishes authority, there’s nothing quite like a well written ‘how-to’ blog post. When done improperly, it’s a boring, generic waste of time. When done properly (properly researched, engaging language and actionable steps for the reader), a how-to blog post can make your business stand out in ways you never would’ve imagined.
Your content should be a unique/fun experience, not a tedious one. Keep in mind that the content should be purely for your audience. If you try to self-promote throughout your content, your audience will pick up on it right away and you’ll compromise the integrity of your argument.
If you’re having a tough time developing consumer trust, take the time to encourage your audience to be skeptical.
Remember: the goal of authority marketing isn’t to develop a cult following. You’re looking to attract an engaged, social audience that would celebrate your discoveries as quickly as it would call you out on your inaccuracies.
Measure Up photo via Shutterstock
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I found that ‘not faking it’ is the right way to go. As long as you are authentic and provide value to your customers, they will come back. No matter how small you are.
I agree Aira. A lot of people fake it until they make it on the road the establishing their expertise. I believe many have genuine goals of building their authority and content marketing is one way to get there!
Michael: Which company is leader in authority marketing?
Hi Martin – I don’t think any one company has a hold on authority marketing. Each industry has a thought leader. For content marketing, I love HubSpot. But again, it’s very vertical specific. In what field do you work?