There are so many choices and options today when people are looking to solve a challenge or problem. So just how do they make that choice?
They go to the trusted expert or authority who has built a relationship with them and has proven their expertise on their topic.
So when your community needs someone that offers the products or services that you do, will you be the authority that they turn to?
Perhaps you are unsure on how to establish yourself as an authority on your topic?
I am going to share six guaranteed ways you can position yourself as a trusted authority with your community, industry and/or topic.
6 Key Strategies To Become an Authority On Your Topic
1. Focus on a Niche
Don’t be a Jack-of-all-trades and master of none.
If you want people to see you as authority, specialize in something. Pick a niche that narrowly focuses in on your ideal clients and what they need or want.
For example, while I provide a variety of social media marketing and content marketing services, my specialty and what I’m best known for is LinkedIn. This is where 80% of my focus and energy is spent and what many people recognize me for. In fact, while having lunch with someone recently, they told me “when I think of LinkedIn, I think of Melonie Dodaro.”
The benefits of being so specialized is that you can really focus in on solving the specific challenges and needs of your ideal clients.
With this level of specialization, you are also better able to personalize your message to speak directly to your ideal clients and connect with them emotionally, which is vital to your success in becoming an authority.
Remember, people want and expect personalization today. They want a message that speaks directly to them and their needs.
So how do you choose your niche?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer, but here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you:
- If you look at your industry, is there a gap that needs filling?
- What unique skill or value can you offer your customers?
- What is your ideal clients biggest need or challenge?
- What problems or needs have your existing customers shared with you?
Don’t be afraid to experiment until you find the right niche for your business and community.
2. Choose the Right Channels
Once you have chosen your niche, you must also select the right channels to share your knowledge and expertise. You don’t want to waste your time sharing your knowledge in places where your community is not spending time.
While you will always want to have a website full of helpful content and to build an email list (two things which you own and control), you will need to determine what, if any other online channels are being used by your community including which social media channels.
Do they spend their time of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Snapchat or somewhere else?
You also need to consider how your community prefers to consume content. Do they prefer articles, graphics, podcasts, videos, live streaming, eBooks or another form of content?
Knowing this will not only increase the engagement around your content but it will also help you choose the right social media platforms to attract the right audience.
3. Provide Real Value
What do I mean by “real”?
By real, I mean it needs to be seen as (and experienced by) your ideal clients, existing customers and community at large as being of value to them.
What you think has value is meaningless. It is all about what your community values.
Always ask yourself, “What’s in it for them”.
At the end of the day, people all think WIIFM (what’s in it for me) when they are looking at what you or anyone else is providing.
Think about this from their perspective. If there is no clear benefit for them, then they will most likely not waste their time as there is so much competing for their time and attention.
Depending on your goal, industry and community, some great ways to provide value is to create content such as:
- blog posts
It also means not holding back. Share your best knowledge with your community.
You need to give them your best insider tips and tricks.
Now you may worry that by giving all your knowledge away that they won’t need you or that you might lose potential sales.
The opposite is true.
Those who will take and use your information to help themselves, often would not have been able or interested in paying for your services. But by establishing yourself as an authority to them, they will happily recommend you to others – others who will happily pay you.
By providing those with the desire to pay for your products or services with the information they need to make an educated decision, you have not only established yourself as an authority but also built up the kind of trust that makes you a natural choice when they are ready to buy.
4. Be Consistent
Consistency is a key component to establishing your reputation as an authority and building the trust that comes with that reputation.
Being consistent proves that you are not a fly-by-night operation here to lure them in and take their money.
Reliability shows your community that you are a professional as well as an expert on your subject matter.
You must show your commitment to consistency in several ways.
Start with having consistent brand and a voice that you use in all of your content and marketing materials.
This helps people to get to know you and easily identify anything created by you.
It also requires you to be regular in creating and posting content that helps them to be more successful. Additionally, your community needs to know that they can count on you to reply to their messages and comments in a reasonable amount of time.
5. Engage Your Community
You can help cement your position as an authority with your community by being open and engaging with your community.
This doesn’t just mean responding to comments and answering questions.
You need to ask your community what is important to them and what they need and then follow through based on that conversation.
Make an effort to celebrate the wins of individuals with your community as well as share the content that they create when relevant and appropriate.
Being the authority on your topic does not mean that it is all about you or that you know everything.
Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know the answer to that but I will look in to that for you.”
6. Build Relationships With Experts & Influencers
Finally, make a regular effort to reach out to other experts and influencers both in your niche and in related niches that target the same audience.
There are numerous benefits to this.
As well as aiding and providing additional value to your own community by introducing them to someone who can help them (in an area that you don’t), there is also the chance to be introduced to the community of the expert you are collaborating with. This is a fantastic way to expand your reach and gain even greater authority in the form of social proof and third party credibility.
A great place to begin is by visiting their blog. Check out their content and if you think there is value leave a comment and share that content with your community. This introduces your community to them and is a nice gesture to send traffic their way.
You may then want to reach out on social media, particular on a platform like Twitter where you can start or join a conversation with them in a naturally way.
Remember to approach this process slowly. It can take time to get on their radar and build a relationship with them. But the investment of this time and effort can really pay off in the increased authority and community size you gain.
While it takes time and work to position yourself as an authority on your topic, the benefits you receive will be worth the investment.
As the trusted expert, you will be the first choice in the minds of your community when it comes time to invest in the services you offer. This is because you have not only helped them to know, like and trust you, but you have also clearly demonstrated the expertise that proves you can help them solve their challenge or problem.
What strategies have you found helpful in building authority on a specific topic? I’d love to hear your comments below.