The Power of Authority: What it Means
People have always looked up to experts and authority figures, seeking them out for advice and following their recommendations.
The word of an established authority weighs heavy for anyone who’s trying to make a decision, be it something personal or something for their business.
That’s probably the reason why many medicine commercials feature a person dressed up to look like a doctor – a trusted expert/authority figure. Even if he’s not actually a doctor our subconscious can’t help but see him as an authority figure and trust his advice.
That’s the power of authority.
Essentially it’s all about combining expert knowledge with a consistent personal branding effort. You simply need as many people as possible within your field to recognize you as one of the leading experts, and someone they can trust. Just having the knowledge and doing good work isn’t enough – if no one knows who you are you’ll never gain authority status.
Becoming an authority in your field is rarely easy, however. In many ways it’s similar to becoming a celebrity, and anyone who sets out to establish themselves as an authority in their field needs to be prepared to put in the work and realize it doesn’t happen overnight.
The good news is it’s not a situation where you’re a 0 for a long time and then suddenly “make it”. You’ll start seeing some benefits early on your journey, providing you’re doing it right, and those benefits should be more than enough to keep you motivated to continue climbing.
Why it’s Important
In our daily lives we’re constantly bombarded with people and ads telling us what to do, what to think, what to buy.
Thankfully we’re usually able to filter out information that we deem irrelevant or not trustworthy.
We don’t listen to just anyone. If a random person on the street told you he’s going to invest $15,000 in a specific stock you’d probably wish him good luck and count yourself lucky that you’re not the one gambling your money away on the stock market. But, if that person was Warren Buffett you’d probably be on the phone, calling a stock broker two seconds after the conversation ended.
Why is that?
It’s simple really: Warren Buffett is an authority. Over the years he’s built a reputation that makes people see him as an expert investor. You know he’s the real deal, and if he was to give you a top secret, insider stock tip you’d probably listen to every word he had to say.
The same is true in any other field.
The word of a reputable expert is always treated like gold, whether that expert is a plumber, a doctor or a personal development guru. And, it’s the person who’s put in the effort with personal branding that is most likely to achieve that expert status.
Steps to Become an Authority
Becoming an authority, in any field, is not easy.
Not only do you need to know more and have better skills than everyone else in your niche, but you also need to market yourself properly and network with other authorities in your field.
Here are suggested steps that everyone who’s trying to become an authority in their field should consider.
Write and Publish a Book
If you want to be treated like an expert in your field, there is arguably no better way than writing a book and having it published.
Nothing wrong with Kindle books and information products, but a real hard copy book is a lot more impressive. Even if it doesn’t sell great, you can still benefit from the status of having a book published.
If you’re lucky enough to pull off a bestseller in your niche it will open a lot of doors for you.
Start a Blog
Writing a blog is a great way to show off your expertise and personality. Fact is, if you want true expert status in your niche, you’ll find it very difficult to reach your goal without a blog. It will act as a “business card” of sorts where you can refer people you meet. Don’t worry if you don’t consider yourself much of a writer – as long as you’ve got something interesting to say, people will listen. You could also consider outsourcing content creation.
A common problem with blogs is that after a couple of months (sometimes even weeks), the owner runs out of topics to blog about, or simply gets tired of the constant writing. This is something you should plan for and avoid, as it’s without a doubt the most common reason why some promising bloggers never reach their full potential.
Guest Blog and Publish Articles
When you’re just starting to build up your authority status, chances are you’re an unknown nobody in your niche. Even if you have a ton of interesting insights to share on your blog and social networks, you need to draw traffic and eyeballs to them somehow. Guest blogging and writing articles for other websites are great for that!
Usually you’ll start writing for some smaller sites, as the larger and more popular ones will probably want to see other articles you’ve had published before. You can then refer them to your articles on those smaller sites, and slowly work your way up to the most visited sites in your niche. It may take some time but along the way you will gain recognition.
Build a Social Media Presence
If you want to become an authority then you need to build a social media presence, there’s simply no way around it. That doesn’t mean you have to spend 4 hours every day interacting on social networks, but you should at the very least try to participate once a day.
Which sites to use depends on where your target audience is. In some niches LinkedIn is king, others seem to prefer Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter. If you’re uncertain of where to put in most of your efforts, just look at what other authorities in your niche are doing.
Are they spending most of their day tweeting, discussing in Facebook groups or something else?
Participate on Industry Forums
If there are any active forums in your niche you should become a well-known member of them, perhaps even a moderator.
Forums might be considered “old school” by some, but the fact remains that many of them get thousands of visitors every day, and members who take the time to participate can quite easily build up their authority on that particular forum (and in the niche in general).
The same basic rules apply as on social media – try to login and participate in discussions at least once per day.
The more the better, of course.
Yes, it is definitely time-consuming but the potential rewards are great.
When you’re an established member of a forum you’ll enjoy plenty of perks, such as the ability to draw traffic to your own blog/site. You can also use the forums for announcements, like if you were to write a book and wanted to announce the launch.
Network With Other Experts in Your Niche
Just associating and networking with other experts in your niche will do much for your reputation and authority.
It is also a great way to stay up to date with the latest developments in your niche.
Many highly successful experts participate in mastermind groups on a regular basis.
Usually people in mastermind groups are very helpful, regularly exchanging knowledge and favors.
For example, how much would it help to have one of the largest bloggers in your niche plug your own blog on their social media accounts?
It could potentially send thousands of visitors, and have you go from a complete nobody to a recognized authority overnight. That’s just how powerful this can be. As always though, you will probably not be able to jump straight into the elite layer of your niche, but rather start small and work your way up.
Webinars are different from in-person events as they require much less effort from the audience because they don’t have to show up in person.
They just have to logon to a website, see what you have to say, and if they don’t like it they can just close the browser window.
That said, don’t think marketing a webinar is super easy either, because it’s not. This is where already being an established member of a forum, having a successful blog, or being active on social media can really pay off, as you can market your webinar through all those channels.
However you choose to become an authority, be prepared that it will take a lot of time and effort before you’ve built up your community to a decent size, especially if you’re in a smaller niche and starting from scratch.
Like most things though, it’s something you can take one step at a time.
It doesn’t have to go from zero to super popular in a week!