Online authority is the keystone for a variety of different marketing strategies. When your algorithmically determined domain authority is higher, you’ll rank higher in search engines, which means more traffic for your business and therefore more revenue. When public perception of your brand is higher, people will have greater trust and respect for you, and that means they’ll be more likely to buy from you in the future. When your social influence is higher, you’ll have a greater recurring audience for your news, deals, and promotions.
Authority is near the top of the wish list for most online marketers, but it isn’t easy or straightforward to build. If you’re just starting out, your brand is going to have next to zero authority, and it’s all on you to build up your influence from there.
If you don’t have much (or any) authority to work with, follow these steps to earn your reputation as a major online influencer:
The first, and perhaps most important, step is to build your website. This is going to serve two main purposes, both of which are vital in your pursuit of greater online authority. First, it’s going to serve as a research ground for anyone who found out about you on other mediums or heard about you from someone else. These people will come to your site to see if you’re all you’re cracked up to be, so make sure your site has clean, aesthetically pleasing branding and an intuitive navigation to help seal the deal. Second, it’s going to be where the majority of your impressed audience members convert, so make sure you have plenty of obvious conversion opportunities, whether that’s an interactive e-commerce platform or ample contact forms throughout the site.
Even if your main strategy is to build the authority of a corporate brand, it’s a good idea to leverage the power of individual personal brands in order to do it. Develop a personal brand for your founder or your CEO, and if your company’s large enough, develop personal brands for other major players in your organization. Use these personalities to publish content on your website, use their social profiles to syndicate that information, and use their identities in subsequent steps to build relationships with other individuals and organizations.
Once your personal brands are developed enough to put them to good use, start blogging like crazy. Before you move on to the other steps in this authority-building strategy, you’ll need a sizeable archive of reputable posts. Focus on the quality of your pieces before the quantity, and make sure you capture a wide variety of different formats. You’ll also want to make sure your content is 100 percent original—don’t go repurposing or mimicking the content strategies of your competitors. Once you have a good few dozen posts in your archives, you can start using them as fuel for subsequent phases of your authority development.
It’s a good idea to syndicate your posts through social media whenever possible; you should make sure and push them out whenever they are published for the first time, and you should also set up a recurring publication system to syndicate older blogs on an occasional basis. Hopefully, your content will be good enough to attract an initial audience, and from there, you’ll be able to network with influencers to grow your audience even more. Communicate with major social players in your industry—you can share content with them, share their content, or just open a dialogue. No matter what you do, you’ll get a bit of their attention and a bit of the attention of their audience, and you might even build the makings for an ongoing professional relationship. Whatever the case, your audience will be sparked and start growing faster.
Once you’ve got a baseline of social authority, you can start shopping some guest posts around to other blogs and websites within your industry. You can start by asking your target influencers for any guest posting opportunities they might have. Use your existing blog as an example of what you’re capable of, and be open to any opportunity (as long as the site has a decent reputation of its own).
This step is difficult, and some brands never quite make it this far. Once you’ve established a significant resume of onsite blog posts and guest posts within your industry, you can start shopping your material around to major publishers. These are typically news outlets, national publications, and other high-authority, high-profile sites. They’ll do wonders for your authority, but the flip side is that it’s extraordinarily hard to get your content featured there. In order to be considered, you’ll have to ensure your content is top-of-the-line, and that your existing online presence leaves a great first impression.
After all’s said and done and you have strong personal brands, a great onsite blog, and a presence on both industry-related and national publications, your job is to keep circulating thought-provoking, original content. Keep your momentum going, and gradually ratchet up the size and trust of your audience.
It’s easier to nurture an existing level of authority than it is to build new authority from scratch, so once you’ve reached an ideal level, kick back and put recurring processes in place to ensure you don’t lose your position at the top. Take regular measurements of your audience size, traffic level, and conversion ratio, and keep making adjustments until your authority-based lead generation strategies are nearly perfect.