If you are having trouble selling your products or services to your target audience, the issue may not lie in your core offers themselves, but rather how well you are known in your niche. Authority can be the difference between a $1,000 a year and $100,000 a year or even $1+ million dollar year. If you want the latter, then you need to establish yourself as an authority in your niche. In this post, I’m going to give you the steps you need to take to do just that.
Step #1: Create a Branded Online Presence
The first step in establishing authority in your niche is creating a branded online presence. If you don’t have anything in the way of a domain or social accounts, start by going to KnowEm and entering your name as a username, like geoffronning. KnowEm will tell you if there is a .com domain and usernames available on just about every social network out there, starting with the main ones. The goal is to create a personal brand that is as strongly recognized as a corporate brand. Take Macy’s as an example. They are Macy’s everywhere. macys.com twitter.com/macys macys.tumblr.com pinterest.com/macys facebook.com/macys instagram.com/macys plus.google.com/+macys Using KnowEm will alert you to any usernames that are not available so you can find a username that is to use on your website and social profiles. Don’t be the person that has a dozen different usernames on every different platform. Be Macy’s. Confused about whether to go with personal profiles or pages on networks that offer both? Here’s my advice. On Facebook, do both. You’ll need a page for advertising, and you’ll need a profile to create the page. Open your personal profile up to followers in the settings. Use the privacy settings and friends lists to keep personal things private and things that build up your personal brand public. For the username, either add fan or page to the end of your username on the page or add your middle initial to the profile username since you can’t have the same username for both. On LinkedIn, all you will need is a professional profile. On Pinterest, set yourself up as a business account for advertising purposes. On Google+, most individuals use a personal profile. But note that you can’t use any social media management tools with profiles which means you’ll have to update it separately. Once you have purchased your name domain, set up hosting, installed WordPress, and claimed your social profiles, make them outstanding from the start. Get some professional portraits of yourself – look at the websites and social profiles of other authorities in your niche to see what you need. Choose one that will be your main profile photo across all of your social profiles and anywhere else that asks for a photo of you. Next, if you have the budget, get a custom website design and custom header images for your social profiles using that professional portrait. If you don’t have the budget, buy a professional WordPress theme like The Get Noticed theme, Identity, or any others that focus on personal branding. For your website, set it to a static homepage or about page to start with if you don’t have any blog content. You can update it later. Also be sure to create an email list (you can see companies I recommend on the StealthSeminar homepage) and integrate an opt-in form on your website using your WordPress theme or plugins like OptinMonster.
Step #2: Share Great Content in Your Niche
To get the ball rolling, start by finding the top authorities and publications in your niche and sharing their content on your social profiles. This has multiple benefits. It helps you get on the radar of other authorities and writers in your niche. It helps you learn more about what types of topics people in your niche are interested in. It keeps your social accounts active. And it provides value to the audience you will build in Step #3. Social media tools like HootSuite, Buffer and Sendible give you the option of creating a schedule so you can add updates to the tool and it will post them to your social media accounts at times you have set in your schedule. This would allow you to spend an hour each week searching for great content that will keep your social accounts active throughout the week.
Step #3: Grow Your Social Media Following
You’ve likely come across plenty of advice about how it’s not about the quantity, but the quality. And yes, quality is important when it comes getting leads and sales from your audience. That said, there are lots of things that makes authorities in a niche stand out from the rest – one of those things is a large audience. Where most people go wrong on this is they go from 0 to 100,000 followers, fans, or connections overnight. That kind of activity on some platforms is publicly traceable and completely unnatural, with exception to celebrities that just joined a social network. So here’s what you want to do. As you are following the next steps in this post, you will steadily build a natural, quality audience. Supplement that audience growth with paid followers and fans in small doses. There are tons of services that can help you do this. If you have a big budget and want to build a quality social media audience, you can do it through social media advertising by promoting your account on Twitter and promoting your page on Facebook to a specific audience – the audience that you will ultimately promote your content, products, and services to. For those with a smaller budget that want to boost numbers, you can use platforms like Fiverr to buy Twitter followers, Facebook fans, Pinterest followers, Instagram followers, YouTube subscribers, and just about anything else you can think of. Aim for gigs that will give you an audience from your country when possible. They are still likely going to be from fake accounts, but at least they are somewhat relevant fake accounts. Alternatively, you can search Google for targeted Twitter followers, targeted Facebook fans, and targeted Instagram followers, you will find even more services that will help with each of those respective networks. Again, aim for services that will give you an audience from your country and, preferably, with specific interests. Again, the key is slow and steady. Add 50 – 100 followers and fans per week. It will add up quickly over time without looking fake.
Step #4: Network With Other Authorities in Your Niche
You can never start networking with the best people in your niche too early. You’re probably already following their blogs if you implemented Step #1. Start commenting on the posts you read by them too. Next, follow those authorities on their public profiles and pages. Then look for opportunities to have some quality engagement with them. Offer positive feedback about posts they share, answer questions when they ask, and engage in some intellectual debates. You don’t have to always agree and kiss up to them, but don’t go too far and piss them off. To get even more quality networking in with these people, look for opportunities to join them in private groups. A lot of authorities in your niche are likely in social media groups, masterminds, and communities for their products and training courses. In some cases you’ll have to buy your way in, but it will worth be worth it as they will be more likely to respond to customers.
Step #5: Publish Authoritative Blog Content
Now is the part where you really start to ramp up your authority. Start blogging on your personal brand domain and start submitting blog content to authority sites and publications that accept content from guest contributors. You can start with smaller blogs and work your way up to the Forbes and Entrepreneur-like publications in your niche. If you’re not a writer, don’t sweat it. Blogging doesn’t have to involve hours spent typing into a Word document. You can record yourself talking about an idea and have someone transcribe it for you. If you’re better on camera, you can move on to Step #6, record some great video, then have it transcribed as a blog post. You can even hire ghostwriters to turn your topics and outlines into amazing blog content. Just remember to spread your content around. Don’t just put it on your own website and don’t just publish it elsewhere. You want authoritative content on your own domain to share with everyone who clicks through to your website from your author bios and social profile links. And you want authoritative content on major publications in your niche to get the attention of new audiences. Also, remember to promote it. There’s no point in writing amazing posts and then not telling people about them.
Step #6: Create Professional Video Content
YouTube is the third most popular website / search engine in the world. That’s why you need to cater to it by creating professional video content. Depending on your budget, you can do anything from setting up a webcam and a video backdrop to recording yourself in a rent-by-the-hour conference room to a full-blown shoot in a recording studio. Skip the “I recorded this in my basement” look and aim for a well-lit environment with quality sound. What you do in your video depends on your niche. You can talk about the latest news and trends, teach, whiteboard, or do presentations. If you don’t have any good video-specific ideas, lean back on your blog content and create videos based on the topics you covered on your blog. This allows you to reach people who like to read and people who like to watch video in your niche. In other words, it allows you to connect with most people, no matter how they like to consume content. Like your blog posts, you’ll have to promote your video content to ensure that they get watched. You can even buy YouTube views on networks like Fiverr to inflate the statistics on your videos so that people who find them will be much more likely to watch them too.
Step #7: Create Valuable Webinar Content
Webinars are the next level of content. They don’t have to all be focused on sales – they can simply help you demonstrate your authority through teaching. If you’re not comfortable in front of the camera, webinars give you the option to keep the viewers watching your slides or on-screen demo versus your face. Creating a series of webinars available for replay will impress new visitors on your website as they will see that you have a history of creating amazing, educational content in your niche. Having an automated webinar will even give them a chance to join you for a “live” session, which should add to their excitement of discovering you.
Step #8: Answer Community Questions
Once you have some content in place (think about five blog posts, five videos, and at least one replay or automated webinar), you should move on to becoming a helpful member of your niche communities. Start finding opportunities to answer questions in social media groups, forums, Q&A networks, other blog’s comments, and any other area that gives people the chance to ask questions. Going out of your way to find and answer questions about topics pertaining to your niche will help you build authority by offering value. Side effects of this tactic include growing your social media audience, getting traffic back to your website, and becoming a well-known name in your niche.
Step #9: Answer Roundup Questions
When you start getting asked to participate in roundup posts (also referred to as expert answers, crowdsourced, and other types of posts), you will know you are becoming an authority. Answer these posts to get your name included alongside other authorities in your niche. You’ll build links to your website in the process and get the chance to say that you’ve been featured with other niche experts and influencers, opening the door to new networking opportunities.
Step #10: Accept Podcast Interviews
Starting to get invites to podcasts? Congratulations! This is usually a good sign that you are becoming an authority in your niche. Most podcast creators aim to invite people who are well-recognized in their niche and who have large audiences. When people start asking you to be on their podcast, that means you’ve made it! Participating in podcast interviews opens the door for you to reach new audiences and allows you to present new content to your own audience – content that will take you only 30 to 60 minutes to create. In addition, you’ll get to promote your own business, content, products, and services. It’s an overall win!
You’ve Made It
At this point, you should have a strong online presence, large social following, library of written and video content, webinars, and invites to participate in activities alongside other authorities in your industry. From here, you should be able to launch your products and services with success to your audience and easily find new audiences to promote them to. You can continue boosting your authority through physical book publishing (with well-known publishers) and speaking at events in your industry. This will cement your authority in your niche, allowing you to gain even more exposure and further grow your audience. Don’t hesitate to get started. Take action NOW! Have you had uncommon success using any of the above or something different? Love to hear about it below.