Categories
SEO

Content Amplification to Become a Recognized Authority

To add to your attractability, you need to position yourself as an authority in your field. And the best way to do that is by becoming a recognized expert, which you can do through, among others, vertical specialization.

But once you do, the next step is to communicate and amplify your digital marketing company. It makes no sense to become a recognized expert when no one recognizes you — or better said, when no one knows you or knows enough about you.

There are many ways to do this, and content marketing is one them. But there are quite a few more. And I did promise you that I would write about them.

So here it is.

Before I dive in, I know you may be doing some of these already. But, and forgive me for sounding a bit Coveyvian, if you do them without doing the first things first, many of your efforts may be in vain or with less ampleur.

So here are some of the most common authority-based activities you can do to help market yourself and become a recognized authority in your field.

1. Claim Your Expertise

By far, this is the most important step to follow.

Branding, particularly personal branding, is not for the sake of getting your ego in the spotlight. In fact, your unique expertise is attached to you, what you do, what you offer, and how you do it. So your unique expertise is your brand.

But creating an identifiable and distinct brand around your expertise adds value because it generates top-of-mind awareness, communicates inherent competitive advantages, and above all, feeds your SEO machine.

People who get to know you and hear about you will feel an affinity with who you are and what you stand for. So they will remember you, look you up when they need you, or tell others about you openly. And often.

To claim your expertise, you need to brand yourself as an expert. “Claim your crown and assume the throne,” as Lisa Sasevich says in Meant For More.

But you don't do it by yelling “I'm an expert!” You do it through implication, and remember that implication is more powerful than specification. You do it by labeling yourself in a way where your expertise is implied.

You do it through your branding, tagline, position statement, and names on your business, products/services, and processes (including your work processes as well as your thought processes, such as your intellectual property).

For example, if people don't know you or they only know your credentials, then saying you're “an authority on hair transplants” is nothing remarkable, and may even seem suspect and self-serving.

But if you said you're the creator of the Microfollicular Redistribution™ process, then you are an authority because you appear as an industry pioneer.

You're instantly claiming your expertise without having to flaunt it. And instead of going up against other surgeons in an already highly competitive and overly saturated hair transplant category, you are creating your own category, and becoming the leader in it because no one else is competing with you.

Nevertheless, once you claimed your expertise, don't forget to promote your brand in everything you do, say, and write. That includes your style, your logo, your tagline, your color scheme, your voice, and all those things that add attractability to your expertise.

Use it in all your collateral materials, in your content, and with your people. For example, each time Seth Godin ends a book or presentation, he signs off with “go make a ruckus.” That's his thing. His signature. His purple cow.

2. Create Your Content

Content marketing is by far the best and most productive way to communicate and amplify your expertise. While the first one above was “claim your expertise,” I could have called this one “share your expertise.”

The goal is create content assets that you can leverage and disseminate. There are many types. You can write or create:

  • Print books
  • Blog posts
  • Ebooks
  • White papers
  • Newsletters
  • Kindle books
  • Reports
  • Tipsheets
  • Cheatsheets
  • Checklists
  • Templates
  • Case studies
  • Quickstart guides
  • Slide decks
  • Infographics
  • Carousels
  • Social media posts
  • Video recordings
  • Audio recordings
  • Podcasts
  • Web apps
  • Phone apps
  • Guest posts
  • Transcripts
  • Infoproducts
  • Courses

This is a partial list. But of all these, writing your book is definitely a priority as it is one of the most effective tools for establishing yourself as an authority.

Authors are instantly perceived as experts on their subject matter. But your book also creates a domino effect and helps other areas (including those I will cover in this article), such as building a following, attracting media attention, creating speaking opportunities, and of course, selling yourself to ideal clients.

3. Speak Your Authority

An expert doesn't have to speak publicly to prove their expertise. Their written, audio, and video content should communicate that. However, proving their authority can often be better communicated in a live, public setting.

There are many reasons for this.

I understand this is not for everyone. But public speaking, though it's a fear for many, is an incredibly powerful tool to communicate your authority.

It's about having the courage to speak your truth and the ability to speak on your feet. Because that is what communicates authority: your ability to speak authoritatively, which can be hard to appreciate in a written format.

While public speaking can be prewritten and rehearsed, the ability to speak in front of others, in a live setting, adds an extra dimension to your content.

It doesn't matter if it's from the stage, lectern, podium, or pulpit, or if it's in an auditorium or in front of a camera, you can truly judge someone's level of expertise, knowledge, and authenticity when you see them speak live.

You can perceive the meta-messages, the messages beyond the message — the subtle cues and nuances you wouldn't be able to capture in written text.

Body language and vocal characteristics — like posture, stance, mannerisms, pitch, volume, inflection, and so much more — offer clues as to the person's level of credibility, clues that are often perceived unconsciously.

More importantly, these clues also convey the level of confidence, belief, and conviction they have in their expertise, knowledge, and point-of-view.

Sure, an expert can be incredibly knowledgeable in their field but still sound dry, boring, or dispassionate. (I know of a few college professors who exemplify this quite well, thank you very much.) And you certainly can communicate your expertise without uttering a single word in public.

But to be a recognized authority, you have to be able to sell ideas, as well as your services, in a public setting. At least in a face-to-face situation.

Also, you don't need to learn public speaking skills. As a former executive speaking coach said, “Speaker training is helpful — if you want to be a professional speaker.” As she said in this article with which I agree wholeheartedly: “Authenticity overrides form.” I also like this passage:

Watch a few TED talks. You'll find plenty of reticent, wonky presenters who are fascinating. What makes a person a strong presenter is that their presence shines through, showing their passion and expertise for their topic.

Kristi Hedges

So grab every chance you can to speak. Host live events, such as YouTube and Facebook livestreams, which you can restream with tools like Streamyard. If you don't know what to say, do live Q&As, opinion pieces, or Zoom meetups.

Of course, there are live teleseminars and webinars, too. While you could (and should) record these to use as additional content assets, they are first done live and provide that extra dimension I talked about.

4. Build Your Following

Social media is definitely important when it comes to amplifying your content. But the true power of social media is reaching your audience and creating a following — people who are genuinely interested in what you have to say.

Some professionals have audiences so large that they've reached influencer status. But you don't need to rise (or stoop, as some might argue) to the level of a Kardashian. And you certainly don't need to create a cult of personality.

But having and leveraging a group of people who follow what you say, post, do, or share can help augment and propagate your expertise.

Whether it's on third-party platforms such as social networks, or on your own platforms such as your blog or email list, building a following along with a connection with your followers also creates a valuable, leverageable asset.

Your followers will resonate with you, write content about you, refer others to you, evangelize for you, and even defend you if your integrity or credibility is ever questioned let alone attacked.

Speaking of third-party platforms, remember that the second largest search engine in the world is YouTube. People search YouTube as often as they do Google to find information, particularly how-to information.

It goes to reason that you need to have video content on YouTube as well. However, the secondary benefit is the ability to create a loyal fanbase of subscribers who are eager to watch every video you publish.

Often, people share videos they find (or from channels they follow) on other platforms — including in their social media feeds, on their blogs, to their lists, or within their own content pieces.

Which brings me to the next point…

5. Form Your Alliances

Without question, owning your own content assets is essential. They, along with your following (such as your list), are assets you can leverage to help promote your expertise and authority. But often, you can leverage other people's content assets, platforms, or followings, too.

One of the many tools I used when I first started out, for example, was creating strategic marketing alliances. I was fortunate and grateful to have created some richly rewarding partnerships and joint ventures that allowed me to tap into other pools of clients, leads, and followers.

Early in my career, I learned from marketing guru Dan Kennedy to “be prolific.” And it is as effective today as it was back then — even with the Internet.

Being a prolific author often means to have a large body of work. But being a prolific authority is to be ubiquitous, too. To be everywhere (that counts).

One way to expand your reach is to run your own affiliate program. Having affiliates is one of the easiest ways to proliferate your authority, which is just a way of paying others a finder's fee or commission for referring someone to you.

But for many licensed professionals, doing this is highly regulated, discouraged, even prohibited. However, there are ways to create alliances and leverage other people, without getting any kickbacks or offering any kind of incentive.

For example, offer your expertise they can use in their content assets.

Offer to write guest posts, contribute to their newsletters, become a guest on their podcasts, respond to their interviews, help in causes important to them, create your own association (or at least join and help them), and so on.

Other publications, blogs, and shows are desperate for content. Make yourself available or offer to provide fresh, unique content they can use.

While you can contribute to others who appeal to similar audiences, don't ignore mainstream media. HARO, or “Help a Reporter Out,” is a great service that allows you to connect with reporters who need experts like you.

Then there are third-party learning platforms you can sell courses on or publish free courses to. There are many, but some of the most popular ones are Udemy, Teachable, Thinkific, Podia, LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, and Skillshare.

There's also marketing and affiliate networks you can sell courses through, like Clickbank, JVZoo, ShareASale, and many others (and let's not forget Amazon).

When you create courses, you certainly can host and sell them yourself. But by also using these third-party platforms, you can leverage their existing exposure, affiliate programs, and database of ready-to-promote affiliates, as well as their existing traffic and clients.

Finally, don't forget to be active on other platforms as well. Engaging others on social media platforms, blogs, emails lists, or livestream events, such as asking questions or commenting on other people's posts, allow you to piggyback on other people's brand and level of reach.

In short, you're demonstrating your expertise to an already captive and targeted audience — even if it's not yours, as long as it is ethical to do so.

A final word.

Being an expert is relatively easy. Being an authority can be just as easy. But being a recognized authority takes work. It's not an overnight process, I agree, But it doesn't have to take as much time as you think.

Just create content assets and use platforms, yours as well as those of others, that allow you to amplify your expertise so that people can find you, learn about you, follow you, buy from you, and tell others about you.

In other words, be become a recognized authority, you need to amplify it.

Categories
Marketing

Don’t Be Transparent, Be Authentic Instead

Some people tend to tweet, blog, post, and status-update their little hearts out. Be it on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, their own blog, or whatever. They say it's all about being “transparent,” and transparency is good.

But I think we need to be careful.

Transparency may seem trendy. It may seem noble or humble. But it's not necessarily wise. While we may be opening ourselves up for the world to see, we may be opening ourselves up a world of trouble, too.

In the mid-2000s and with the rise of social media, everybody and their dog seemed to be blurting out everything about everything. They were trying to “be transparent” without care or thought about the consequences.

Transparency Can Be Dangerous

Some dangers are obvious, like being robbed after publicizing you were out. Others are not as obvious, like being reprimanded for saying something you shouldn't have said, or even being fired for insulting your customers.

My contention is, too much transparency can come back and hurt you.

I agree that social media is a great place for developing and nurturing relationships, both with friends and clients. That's what the word “social” in social media means. Or what it should mean, anyway.

But as with all relationships, even when continuous, open communication is an important component, there should be a little mystique to “keep the flame alive.” A little room to allow for exploration and discovery over a period of time instead of all at once. Even in business.

In today's open world, privacy is more crucial than ever before. Why? Because transparent or not, everything you say online is permanent. It can be found and can be easily misinterpreted. Especially when taken out of context.

For example, I love Twitter's character limitations. But when a tweet is published as part of a succession of related tweets, as a response to another tweet, or as part of an ongoing conversation, a general search will turn up an incomplete message that may be misleading and counterproductive.

Candor and Honesty

The key is to know what to keep private and what to reveal. And whatever you do reveal, to think strategically so that what you say is properly said.

In short, it's knowing what to say and how to say it. To reveal the right things, in the right way. (Sounds a lot like copywriting, doesn't it?)

Do you need to tweet or blog about your failures? Not all of them, and not all the time either. Same thing with your successes. You don't want to give away the store — much less give away any ammunition that can be used against you.

Why is that? It's because, saying more than what you need to say makes you vulnerable and open to criticism, which in itself is not bad. But it may also communicate the wrong message to your audience.

There's a difference between authenticity and transparency.

Being transparent is fine. Being too transparent is not. Sure, go ahead and project trustworthiness, authority, and a willingness to share. Be candid and forthright. Be genuine and direct. Be humble and vulnerable.

But be strategic. Think twice about what you say. Because remember, scammers and competitors are watching you, too.

Perception of Transparency

Don't forget your clients, prospects, partners, and affiliates, too. If you're too open, you may be communicating you won't value their privacy, you can't keep secrets, and you're opening yourself up to abuse.

I call this an unconscious paralleled assumption. If you're too open with one thing, others might unconsciously assume you might be too open in other areas, too. You then seem like a greater risk to them.

Aaron Wall, author of The SEO Book, said it best: “Appearing transparent is profitable; being transparent is not.”

There's a difference between being open and being perceived as being open. Between being transparent and communicating a sense of transparency. Between being authoritative and being seen as defensive or self-absorbed.

Authenticity is saying things right. Authority is saying the right things. But transparency is saying everything. And saying nothing at the same time.

You don't need to say everything to be transparent, and you don't need to be transparent to be authentic and authoritative. Just say what you mean and mean what you say.

But don't say everything or else what you say will mean nothing.

Categories
Copywriting

Your Reader Wants To Know These 5 Things

The other day, one of my readers asked me the following question, which I found rather interesting: “Why should the author of a product be included in their sales copy?”

Seems like a pretty redundant question, right? Especially to any veteran copywriter or marketer worth their salt.

But the question didn't stop there. The reader offered the following insight, which explains why this issue was such an important one to him, and why I felt compelled to answer:

“Specifically, why do my readers need to know who I am or what I bring to the table? How does telling them my qualifications increase the strength of my copy? My product solves a medical condition. But I am not a doctor and I have never had this condition myself. I've spent a year researching the best method to cure this condition. I have a list of 20,000 people with this condition and converse with them a lot. I know pretty much everything there is to know about this condition and have made it into an ebook.”

The answer is quite simple, actually. In fact, in his attempt to defend himself (i.e., that he's not a doctor but has lots of experience and specialized knowledge about his market), the reader answered his own question. Let me explain…

Why should people buy from you?

This is not some new concept. John E. Kennedy, a Canadian fireman back in 1905, was the person who coined the term “Reasons-Why Advertising” in a book of the same name. (He was also the person who coined the famous term “salesmanship-in-print.”)

I'm a big fan of reasons-why advertising.

I always try to add as many reasons as possible in my copy, such as why the offer is made, why the author is making it, and why it's important to the reader.

Good, successful copy tells the reader why right upfront because they always ask. If you don't tell them, the irony is they're left wondering why you left it out. It is almost always a direct advantage to tell your prospects why they should buy from you.

Additionally, people want to know five different types of reasons. They are:

  1. Why you (the reader)
  2. Why me (the author)
  3. Why this (the offer)
  4. Why now (the urgency)
  5. Why this price (the value)

1. Why You?

Your copy should qualify the reader for the product you're selling and the offer you're making. As part of this qualification process, it should address why the reader is targeted to, and suited for, them — including in reading the copy in the first place.

For example, why is this important to them? Why is this copy, product, or offer perfect for them? Who is it not appropriate for? In other words, who should not read the copy?

2. Why Me?

Credentialization is an important element in copy. Your credentials — as the author, seller, or provider — are immensely important to build credibility and lower buyer resistance, particularly in this day and age of scams, cynicism, and competitiveness.

Tell your readers why they should read what you have to say. Whether you're an accredited expert or not, the more reasons you give, then the more credible you are, the more believable your copy is, and the more apt people are to buy from you.

(This is the section to which the reader's question above relates, and I'll come back to this in a moment as it is important — especially as it pertains to the lack of credentials.)

3. Why This?

Are you selling this product just to make money? Perhaps. But whether making money is the main reason or not, either directly or indirectly, your product exists and your offer is made for specific reasons. So why not put them in your copy?

Don't assume your reader knows or doesn't care about them, no matter how trivial you may think they are. If you don't include them in your copy, left to their own devices your readers will be the ones making assumptions. (And they won't all be positive.)

4. Why Now?

Jim Rohn said, “Without a sense of urgency, desire loses its value.” Whether it's direct (such as a deadline or limitation) or implied (such as missing out on something important), adding scarcity and reasons to act now is important.

But by itself, urgency is almost always suspect. So back it up with reasons why your readers should act now. Don't be shy in explaining why they must take advantage of the offer immediately, or what the consequences are if they don't.

5. Why This Price?

Why did you price your product or make the offer the way you did? Perhaps your price is based on industry averages. Or you're doing a clearance sale to make way for new stock. Maybe your product is new and you're offering an introductory price.

But do your readers know? Do they, really?

Don't be afraid to tell your readers why they should pay what you're asking for. Why is it valuable to them? At least compare your price to the ultimate cost of either buying an alternative (perhaps even competing) product, or not buying your product at all.

The bottom-line? The most important word in persuasion, according to Dr. Robert Cialdini, author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion , is not “you” or “free.”

The most important word in persuasion is “because.”

Now, let me go back to the original question…

In this case, this person has quite a distinct selling point. They are what is referred to as the “anti-authority.” Non-experts. Lay people. And the fact that they are not a doctor, which means they are more like their readers, can be positioned as a major advantage.

They did all this research from a layperson's perspective. They did all the legwork for their readers, which not only saves them time but also is perceived as less biased.

They did all the searching for them. They analyzed all the data (from an outsider's vantage point) and cherrypicked the best answers. And they condensed and distilled their findings into one, easy-to-read, easy-to-find place.

Add to that the fact they conversed with over 20,000 people afflicted with this condition and know almost everything about it, makes them a lot more credible than some general practitioner who may have come across just a few hundred cases in their practice.

So this person is loaded with credentials, particularly unique ones, that definitely shouldn't be avoided or hidden from the reader. In fact, it should be not only communicated but also highlighted as a major benefit in the copy.

So, to the question “why you?” Because in the mind of the reader, you are the expert on this subject. Use your unique credibility and experience as a major selling point.