If you’re running a website, a blog, a business, or a brand, there’s huge value in being seen as an authority in your niche. After all, visitors, readers, and customers are more likely to trust (and buy from!) someone who’s established authority on their topic.
For instance, Ford has built the best-selling truck in America for 35 years. That kind of track record has earned them a certain authority on trucks.
In the online media world, John Lee Dumas took his crazy idea of a daily podcast from zero to hundreds of thousands of downloads per month, making him a sought-after authority on all things podcasting — and earning him hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process!
So what can you do to increase your authority, even if you’re just starting out?
Here are 5 ways to get the ball rolling.
There’s a reason the words author and authority share the same root! Even if you go the self-published route, having “written the book on the subject” is a huge authority booster.
For example, my friend Alex Barker (from Episode 40 of The Side Hustle Show) wrote a short book on the topic of forming mastermind groups, and that’s earned him authority on the topic.
Is he the world’s foremost expert on the subject? Probably not, but it doesn’t matter.
He put the effort together to write the book and that makes him the de facto expert. I mean, it landed him an interview on The Side Hustle Show, didn’t it? :)
Podcasting is about making the extra effort that your competitor can’t be bothered with. All things being equal, who has more authority in the eyes of the consumer, the guy who just writes about a topic, or the guy who writes AND broadcasts about it?
Consider Pat Flynn’s approach with his latest Niche Site challenge, which includes a completely new podcast on the topic of food trucks. Three years ago, could you imagine ANYONE starting a podcast for a niche site?
But today, it’s that extra boost, that extra trust signal, and that deeper connection that makes it worthwhile. Instead of some anonymous words on a page, now you’re a voice in someone’s earbuds.
It doesn’t cost much to start and does wonders for your authority.
From personal experience, pretty much no one wanted to talk to me before I launched my podcast. Now I’m the “side hustle guy,” which is awesome, and it’s opened up doors I never even imagined.
3. Interview Experts
This is one of my favorites and a super-easy way to get started building your authority. The strategy: simply borrow someone else’s authority.
Do it enough times and it starts to rub off on you!
Jaime Tardy of EventualMillionaire.com has absolutely crushed it with this tactic, having interviewed dozens of millionaires. She’s successfully translated her authority into a lucrative coaching business and a recent book deal.
Another way to establish authority is to speak on your topic in front of a live audience. Scary, right?
I don’t think it has to be, especially when you can start small at a local Toastmasters or meetup related to your niche. Then, as your comfort level grows and your speaking skills improve, you can aim to be on the stage at an industry conference.
You probably won’t get paid for any of these types of speaking gigs, especially just starting out, but they can be an effective way both to spread your message and to build your authority.
After all, if someone agreed to let you on the stage, you must be pretty knowledgeable, right?
I heard Caleb Wojcik speak on the topic of video production at New Media Expo, and I was impressed — in my mind, he’s now a credible authority on creating high quality videos. (Plus, I like his haircut.)
Since then, he’s turned his knowledge on the subject into an online course of his own, and can certainly use the trust factor of speaking at an industry event to help sell it.
5. Sell Something
What’s the difference between an amateur and a professional?
The professional gets paid!
To put the “buy now” button on your authority is to finally capitalize on what you’ve been building, and it’s a surprising trust signal in itself.
For example, my recent podcast guest Virginia Roberts is an expert in online dating. But if you visit her site today, you’ll notice a prominent “Hire Virginia!” page in which she spells out her coaching services — and their price tags.
The reason selling something is an authority-builder is it sends the simple signal you know enough about a topic to charge money for it.
In fact, just like higher-priced wines are perceived to be better, higher-priced services can establish even greater levels of authority.
Consider the $20 an hour consultant. Don’t you think their $500 an hour counterpart enjoys magnitudes greater perceived authority?
Now it’s your turn! What tactics do you use to increase your authority? Have you tried any on this list?
Let me know which method you use and how it’s working in the comments below.