It’s no secret that the online world is noisy and competitive. Trying to get people’s attention can be a long, winding uphill task if you are not an online authority in your niche. It’s simple:
People buy from brands they trust.
Building online authority is one of the most powerful ways to grow your business and firmly establish your brand.
Brands with a strong online presence enjoy:
- Increased traffic to their website
- Greater exposure to their target customers
- Higher online and offline sales
- Numerous opportunities for profitable collaborations
- A place as the go-to authority in their niche
- Increased customer lifetime value
At the heart of it, online authority is about consistently creating content that your target customer needs. It means providing memorable customer experiences, and building relationships with others in the industry.
If you are just getting started with your online brand, you are not too late. With consistent effort and a commitment to best practices, you can become a thought leader in your niche. You can earn trust, and watch your business grow by leaps and bounds.
This guide will show you exactly what you need to build online authority from the ground up.
Online Authority With a Solid Content Strategy
The one thing that all authoritative online brands or personalities have in common when it comes to creating amazing content is consistency.
Content is the medium through which you communicate with your customers. Without blog posts, articles, status updates, videos, and other forms of content, your customers would not know enough about you to even consider giving you their business.
A long-term content strategy offers numerous benefits including:
- Higher ROI: Producing one-off articles at random times will not get you the results you need. A long-term content strategy, on the other hand, allows you to build a consistent content funnel, providing you better value.
- Improved quality: A lot of brainstorming, researching, and planning goes into creating high-quality content. With a content strategy, you can focus on developing strong content ideas that will demonstrate your expertise in your chosen field.
- Efficient use of resources: Content creation can be resource intensive so you want to be sure that you are putting in time and money in the right processes. A long-term content strategy saves you time and allows you to see what is working and what is not in time for you to change course where necessary.
When it comes to content creation and building online authority, the key focus is consistency and quality. It is not enough to produce a blog post every six months—to be an authority, you must commit to publishing content regularly so your audience can see you left, right, and center.
So how do you build a content strategy that gives you results?
Online Authority with A Blog
A niche-focused blog is the bare minimum requirement when you are starting to build your online brand. A lot goes into getting your blog content to rank on search engine pages and this includes publishing regularly and applying basic SEO best practices.
Whether you are starting a new blog or you already have one, to get the most out of your blogging efforts, you want to take the time to brainstorm, plan, and research for a list of topics to write about. This ensures that you have enough articles to facilitate a regular publishing schedule. Plan for at least 6 months’ worth of content for your blog.
Focus your topics on areas that you are most knowledgeable in. Zooming down to a specific niche will help you create highly relevant content that resonates with your audience.
The content formats that engage audiences the most and get the most social shares are:
- Visuals: Videos, images, memes, presentations, infographics and other types of visual content are highly popular
- How-to posts: These identify a problem and go in-depth to offer a solution
- Lists: Lists break down a large topic into smaller, easily digestible sub-topic.
- Why-articles: These posts support a certain viewpoint and attempt to persuade the reader
It also helps to stay up to date with industry trends and news. This way, your audience will come to trust you as the go-to person in your industry, especially when they want to make important purchase decisions.
Online Authority with Content That Ranks
To earn online authority, you must create content with the aim of ranking high in the search engine pages. Writing authoritative content and applying SEO best practices will make your content more visible.
Creating content can be time-consuming but it is worth it. In fact, this is among the most important metrics Google algorithms consider when ranking content. Authoritative content is both original and in-depth.
Optimising for the search engines is the other half of creating authoritative content. It is not enough to write well-researched and quality content; your target audience needs to find and read the content you put out there every single time. This is how you build authority.
Online Authority by Optimising Your Content For Search
As you build your content strategy, do not forget to conduct keyword research for each piece of content you create. In addition to creating quality content, you will improve your rank and therefore authority by optimising these content pieces for long-tail keyword and phrases, including branded keywords.
Go All In With Your Social Media Presence
No one can deny the power of social media where building an audience and a strong online brand is concerned. If you are not doing social media right, your spectacular content will have very little impact (if any) on your target audience.
Here are a few tips for building your online authority using social media:
Be a Source of Useful Content
Brands with a strong online authority have an unmistakably robust social media presence. Not only do they have a regular posting schedule; they also post highly valuable content that resonates with their target audience.
Your content strategy should go hand in hand with your social strategy. Use the many tools available to help you schedule and regularly distribute content across all your social profiles.
Share Other People’s Content
You should definitely share your original content whether that is videos, blog posts, ebooks, etc. In addition, you also want to share other people’s content.
You become an online authority by sharing valuable information with your audience and some of this information may not always be about you.
Sharing other people’s content is also a smart way to start conversations and build meaningful connections with others in your industry.
Participate In Conversations and Engage Your Audience
An important determinant of brand authority is your ability to build a thriving social media community. The way to do this is to engage your audience. This involves investing time in not only sharing valuable content but also in replying to comments, addressing users’ concerns, as well as starting and participating in conversations.
Expand Your Network
A large part of building your authority online involves making connections with others in the industry. The quality of the connections you make will play an important role in growing your business through joint ventures and strategic collaborations.
Find influencers and thought leaders in your industry and reach out to them. Follow them, share their content, retweet their status updates, and comment on their posts whenever possible. With time, they too will do the same for you, helping you grow your online brand organically.
Consider Paid Advertising
Social media platforms are incredibly noisy and it can be difficult to attract attention only through organic means. Investing in paid advertising campaigns can be an effective way to promote your content, make your brand more visible, and cement yourself as an authority even in highly competitive industries.
Like content creation, building a strong social media presence requires a well-thought-out plan backed by consistent effort.
Supercharge Your Outreach Efforts
Relationships are the secret sauce for building your online brand. You might have all the right intentions and do everything by the book but without the right connections, your website, content, work, product, and business will just be a drop in the vast and competitive online world.
What is outreach?
Outreach is a marketing strategy that enables you to develop mutually beneficial relationships with like-minded individuals or businesses with the goal of building your brand.
Outreach primarily involves link building tactics such as guest posting, content promotion, brand mentions link building and others. The attribution links that you receive from these efforts can be especially helpful when it comes to boosting your ranking and brand visibility.
Regardless of the specific tactic used, outreach offers clear benefits to your business including:
- Increased exposure: Your content and in turn your business will gain greater reach beyond just your regular readers or customers. By guest posting, for example, others who are not following your brand can learn about you, which increases your potential customer base.
- Higher traffic: Exposure to other audiences beyond your own translates to more traffic, which improves your ranking.
- Greater credibility: When influencers and other online authorities link to your site, your rankings on the search engines improve significantly and this not only makes your brand more visible but trustworthy as well.
Here is what you need to deploy an outreach program that will take your online brand to the next level:
Identify Your Prospects
Your prospects are individuals or businesses that could potentially benefit from linking to or promoting your content. These could be in your niche or a closely related niche whose audience could benefit from the value your brand offers.
If you are wondering what kind of prospects you should be looking to engage, consider people who have their own blogs and those who write on well-known media sites.
Local online platforms such as your local newspaper or business association can also be good sources of links, especially if your brand has more of a local presence.
Research Your Prospects
Not every prospect on your list will be a fit for your link building efforts. As such, take time to sort through your list to find quality prospects whose sites boast a significant number of subscribers and a high domain authority.
This process is important because the quality of the links pointing to your site will have a direct impact on your credibility and ranking.
Once you narrow down on the most relevant prospects, you want to learn more about them so that you can craft highly relevant outreach messages to each one of them.
Find out about their business, industry, motivations, objectives, interests, and target audience. This way, you can show the site owner how their business and audience would benefit by linking to your content or publishing your guest post, for example.
Craft Your Message
Your next step is to create a custom outreach message to each of your clients, asking for a linking opportunity. For best results, be sure to personalise your message, comply with the prospects’ website guidelines, and observe general email etiquette.
An important element to include in your outreach email is a call to action (CTA). A CTA not only emphasises to your prospects how they would benefit by linking to your content; more importantly, it tells them the next steps to take to link to you.
In cases where you are looking for guest posting opportunities, a good CTA tells the webmaster the benefits of accepting your guest post and invites them to respond to your request so you can iron out the next steps.
Outreach marketing can be time-consuming but when done correctly, it can take you from being an unknown brand to a sought-after thought leader.
Become an online authority
In the internet era, your success will largely depend on how hard you work to build your credibility and boost your visibility. In the end, the two cornerstones of building online authority are content and relationships. Remember to:
- Invest in creating well-optimised expert content
- Engage your audience on their favorite social platforms
- Use social media to help others and to build your network
- Seek publication opportunities in high ranking sites