Authority marketing is how small experts can stand out among the ever growing sea of consultants and coaches out there. Authority marketing doesn’t care about the size of your operation or how long you’ve been in business. I’ve managed to land numerous podcast interviews and article contributions without “years of industry experience.”
You don’t need a degree or 25+ years of experience in your industry. You need a few other things.
An interesting story.
Passion for what you do.
And the most elusive of all…. Confidence.
What is Authority Marketing?
Authority marketing is simply promoting your expertise to establish your authority in your field or industry. What truly makes an authority marketer stand out is that they do things that others in their industry aren’t doing.
Consider how you feel when you attend a conference and see someone you’ve never met go up on stage to talk about a topic that matters to you. Or when you listen to one of your favorite podcasts and you hear an interview. You give that person a pretty high amount of credibility that’s basically theirs to lose when they open their mouth.
So many people are afraid of public speaking or feel like they don’t know enough to do podcast interviews or guest blogs. Authority marketing plays in those fears by taking advantage of what many of your competitors won’t do.
In order to build thought leadership, you have to be willing to speak up.
What If You’re Not an Expert?
Like I said, this is self-defeating internal monologue. If you aren’t expert enough to do a 30-minute podcast episode, what makes you expert enough for people to pay you for your services? If you’re confident enough in your skills to ask for money, you can write up a guest blog article.
Most of the time, we have to niche down to create an audience we can effectively target in our marketing. So maybe you aren’t an expert in ecommerce supply chain. But if you primarily target fashion companies in your marketing, you could certainly position yourself as an expert in supply chain for clothing ecommerce companies.
You don’t have to be the only expert either. You just want to position yourself as an authority in your target industries or niches.
Another great example? Defy The Status Quo. We work almost exclusively with B2B consulting firms and digital service companies. I’ve honed my expertise to focus on content marketing as it’s best leveraged by these types of businesses. As a result, everything about my marketing becomes more targeted and more effective.
How Can Authority Marketing Improve Your Lead Generation?
Why does authority marketing help you sign more clients? Well, they hear about you through a trusted channel or see that you’ve been called upon for your expertise. Then they have to wonder about your competitors. Are they considered experts in exactly what your prospect needs?
Your perceived authority and expertise also gives you room to charge higher fees. After all, if you’re confident enough to speak on stage, you must really be good, right? Lead generation for consultants is always a top concern, and who doesn’t want to earn higher fees?
Of course, this isn’t really the case, but the two do seem to often go hand in hand. Particularly in the professional services space, most people won’t do an interview of any kind unless they’re confident in their knowledge and skills.
A study conducted by Arch G. Woodside and J. William Davenport Jr. concluded that you could see as much as a 45% (or more) increase in sales by marketing your authority and inspiring confidence in your prospects. They called the study The Effect of Salesman Similarity and Expertise on Consumer Purchasing Behavior.
What it means is that the good ol’ Know, Like, and Trust we marketers often harp on is TRUE! When someone likes you, feels like they know you, and trusts you, they’re way more likely to buy from you over your competitors.
How Can You Market Your Expertise?
All right, so this is all well and good, but how do you actually DO authority marketing? You can’t just run around saying “you’re awesome” right? Who’s going to believe that? We’ve come up with a three-pronged approach to authority marketing that relies heavily on content marketing and what some call online public relations.
But first, we’ll talk about the general ways many consultants market their authority to build their industry credibility.
Content Marketing to Demonstrate Your Knowledge
I know it seems like everyone and their mom talks about content marketing, but most just think that it means blogging. This can’t be further from the truth. Content is everything you create online, which could include:
- Social media posts
- Blog posts
- Case studies
- Research reports
- White papers
- And so much more
What really makes it true content marketing is when you have a strategy that allows all of these elements to work together. Your strategy should also include data-focused search engine optimization (SEO) and competitor analysis, but that’s another post for another day.
Why You Need to Build Up Your Content Library
Before you run out trying to get on podcasts or speak, it’s a great idea to build up your content library. This helps establish your authority for anyone you pitch to. Now you may be able to get in front of a few different physical or virtual audiences thanks to connections in your network. You always want to take advantage of what your relationships can offer you.
But if you’re going to be sending people to your website, you want that website to be working hard to help turn those site visitors into leads. That’s the whole point of this.
If you’re comfortable on video, then you could record educational videos that demonstrate your expertise. You could also write blog posts just like this one. Perhaps you want to start your own podcast. The only thing that matters about your content format is how your audience prefers to consume content.
Blog posts are easy to scan, so it can help an event organizer, blogger, or podcaster make up their minds about you quickly. They don’t require as much time and effort to produce as high-quality podcast episodes or videos. So that’s usually what I recommend for my clients who need to build up a content library.
Another advantage of a great content library is that you’re in control of it. When you pitch to guest blogs and do interviews, you can get turned down. If you want to publish a new blog post or record a video, who’s going to stop you?
Public Relations for Credibility
According to my knowledgeable friend Jennifer McGinley, owner of JLM Strategic Communications, “public relations is reputation management, community outreach, and media relations. My goal with all of my clients is increasing their connection, visibility, as well as credibility. I think that’s the summary of what I do.”
“Public relations is reputation management, community outreach, and media relations. My goal with all of my clients is increasing their connection, visibility, as well as credibility. I think that’s the summary of what I do.”Jennifer McGinley, CEO of JLM Strategic Communications
It’s really about building solid relationships between you and the community you want to/are working in. When you consider traditional public relations, you may think of the news and media publications. That’s pretty accurate, and people pay attention when you end up in the newspaper.
The reach of a news publisher can be anywhere from local to global, and it carries a lot of credibility. So it’s wonderful if you can get a PR spot like this. However, like Jenn tells us in her interview, getting these spots is incredibly difficult. You need the right connections, the right experience, and no newsworthy emergencies.
Thankfully, business people like us have other options for marketing our authority while borrowing other people’s audiences.
Online Public Relations
Online public relations embraces all of the ways that we can collaborate with content creators as a means to connect. That includes guest blogging, podcasting, video shows, Facebook Live, and whatever other burgeoning communications methods you can think of.
The number of podcasts is staggering. According to Podcast Insights, there are over 850,000 podcasts. Sure not all of them are super popular, but research has shown that podcast listeners are incredibly loyal, and upwards of 80% listen to every episode.
The hosts become micro-influencers in essence. They may have small audiences, but their level of influence with that audience is high.
Additionally, the number of “entrepreneurship” focused podcasts grows all of the time. If your business involves helping other businesses run better, then you have a potential overlap with the podcast host!
Many Facebook Groups owners enjoy bringing in experts for Facebook Live interviews and then repurpose the content across their other channels.
Getting in with these hosts isn’t nearly as difficult as trying to be interviewed with your local news station or newspaper. If you haven’t done any interviews before, you should target new and small shows or groups.
You have something to offer each other. They would likely struggle to land the headliners they’d love to have on their show one day. On your side, you won’t be able to get on the huge business podcasts without some interviews under your belt. They get to show off their host skills, and you get to show off your guest skills. Win-win!
Public speaking terrifies people. Even if they aren’t terrified, they don’t have the confidence to do it. I think that public speaking is the penultimate in authority marketing. You’ll really know you’ve made it when you’re being paid to speak and you’re being requested to speak at various events.
Until then, take advantage of all of your local networking events who host speakers. Be sure to ask someone to take photos. Ideally, you’d have someone record it. Photos and videos allow you to take in-person content and put it on your virtual channels.
This is a great time to create a gated content piece that you can offer to the audience. If you announce to the group that you’ve created a special ebook or white paper on the topic you’ve just discussed, they’ll almost certainly be interested.
Even better? Asking the event host for the email of everyone who attended, so you can remove friction from the customer experience and send them that awesome ebook without any more effort from them.
Stick Around After You’re Done Speaking
I’ve attended events where the speakers left right after they finished speaking. I guess that’s all well and good if you’re Tony Robbins or someone, but if you’re just getting started (or you like building relationships!), then you should stick around.
The attendees who just gave you their attention will almost certainly have something to say to you. They may have questions about what you talked about. They may have questions about your services! These face to face interactions can turn members of the audience into your raving fans.
Fans who comment on all of your social media posts, sign up for your email list, recommend you to their network, and attend your other events. If you publish a book, they’ll buy it. If you start a podcast, they’ll subscribe.
Your entire audience won’t be like this of course, but anyone who builds a community (and that’s what you’re trying to do) will tell you that they have these super cheerleaders on their squad.
Staying after you’re done speaking also shows appreciation for the event organizer and gives you a chance to network with the event sponsors as well.
Why Do I Recommend Authority Marketing to DTSQ’s Clients?
I recommend authority marketing to our clients because it’s a much faster way to land clients with the budgets you’re dreaming about. It’s not precisely attributable, like paid advertising. But it’s one of those things that builds momentum as time passes. With authority marketing, much like regular content marketing, you see compound growth over time.
The amount of search traffic you see from 10 blog articles is nothing when compared to 100 blog articles. 100 quality blog articles anyway.
When you’ve interviewed on 10 podcasts, not only will it be easier to get on other podcasts, you’ll get on higher-profile podcasts.
What all of this means is that people will start to perceive you as an expert. As humans, when other people believe something, we at least like to research why they believe to see if we agree. If your collective online presence does nothing to dissuade the notion, then more people will believe in your expertise.
Higher perceived expertise + likability = Landing more clients with higher fees
We expect to pay more for quality. What are you doing to show your prospective clients that you’re a high-caliber consultant?
The Expert’s Authority Marketing Method
Our three-pronged approach tackles authority marketing from a variety of sides. We really focus on helping our clients position themselves as experts while combining competitor analysis and search engine optimization (SEO) to help their websites become 24/7 salespeople.
Our method consists of Construct, Create, and Cultivate.
- We need to Construct the content foundation.
- We’ll Create intellectual property.
- And we’re constantly Cultivating credibility.
If you want to learn all about the EAMM, then download our ebook Authority Marketing for Experts: Signing More Clients By Promoting Your Expertise. This ebook includes this blog post as well as 10 additional pages devoted to describing the EAMM in detail as we execute it for DTSQ’s clients.
We’ve also included polls throughout the ebook so you can see how you measure up against other consultants and professional service providers.