How to Actually Become an Online Authority
Every time you read a guide on how to build a successful blog, it probably includes something about becoming an online authority in your industry. Everyone who knows about online marketing, selling a product or building a blog says you need to be viewed as authoritative to stand out from the hugely crowded blog world.
That’s great advice and absolutely correct, but you may find yourself scratching your head and wondering what exactly an online an authority is, and how you can become one.
Neil Patel defines an authority as someone who’s able to gain the trust and confidence of readers and visitors, and he points out examples like Dr. Weil, whose products and advice are widely recommended. Another example of an authority reported by Patel on Kissmetrics.com is Nate Silver and his FiveThirtyEight Blog, which has become well-recognized for a tendency to make election forecasts using his own predictive model he based on the game of baseball.
So what are the specific benefits of being an online authority? First, as mentioned above, you’ll gain the trust of your audience. Trustworthiness is one of the best ways to build a personal relationship with readers and help yourself stand apart from the rest of the online “noise” that’s out there.
When readers feel like they can trust the information you’re providing and what you’re saying, they’re going to become loyal to your blog and keep visiting it because they have a lot of confidence in what you’re going to say.
People are more likely to buy products from you, and also recommend your products to others if you’re seen as an authority. As a blogger, these products could be your services, other people’s products, or something as simple as an e-Book you’ve written. Whatever it is, selling products is an essential component of creating a blog that makes money, and when you have authority, you’re boosting your sales.
Building an authority-based online reputation that will help your blog gain readers and make you money.
That all sounds good, right? It is, but there’s a missing piece of the puzzle for a lot of bloggers.
How do you actually become an authority?
Know Your Stuff and Back It Up
A significant component of becoming an authority is as straightforward as it might seem: you need to know what you’re talking about. You need to not only post content that’s based on facts, information, and in-depth research, but you should back up what you’re saying.
Don’t just throw information out and expect your readers to take it as fact.
Build credible content by linking to studies and research, third-party articles that support your own ideas and content, and include quotes whenever you can. Authority blogging is a lot like those research papers you thought you’d left behind after graduation.
Guest posting is relevant not only to get links but also just so you can build your reputation and get your name out there, both of which are essential to becoming seen and recognized as an authority.
Not just any old guest posting will do, however. Try to find places to post that are within your industry and your particular niche. You should also try your best to guest post on high-authority, reputable sites. If you’re unsure, do you research to make sure the destination site is one that’s worthwhile for you.
When you’re guest posting, you should always make sure that you’re creating content that’s relevant to your audience and will bring them value as well, if you want to develop a sense of credibility around your name and your content.
One aspect of becoming an online authority is certainly joining in other conversations as they’re happening in your niche, and just generally trying to create a presence, but at the same time, you also want to be someone who’s creating your own conversations.
Some bloggers hear this and try to build controversy for controversy’s sake. That’s not a good rule of thumb. Instead, try to offer your opinions and pushback on what others think because it’s what you believe in, not because you want people to comment on your site angrily.
If you want to be an authority you’ll have to take a position, but it needs to be a position you really believe in.
Don’t Be Afraid to Give and Take Criticism
Criticism is not a word a lot of us like to hear because it makes us nervous to offer up to other people, and unwilling to accept about ourselves.
However, if you ultimately want to be an authority that people listen to, follow and read, you need to be willing to both give and accept criticism.
To the first point, if you’re one of those bloggers that only expresses love and admiration for everything, no one’s going to care what you have to say. Yes, if you have genuine praise for something, by all means, share it, but don’t be afraid to criticize things as well, including products. It’s your willingness to criticize that’s going to show readers that you’re honest and you’re different from many of the other bloggers out there.
While you’re dishing it out, you also need to be able to take it. As you get more popular, undoubtedly the criticisms will come. That’s a fact of the internet and blogging, and the more you can take the criticism and use it to your advantage, the easier it will be to build your credibility and authoritative reputation.
When you receive criticism, don’t back away. Instead, respond to it. That doesn’t mean you need to get into a blowout with people who criticize you or that you need to agree with their assessment, but you can have honest conversations that speak to your convictions and build a further conversation.
These are just some of the fundamental building blocks you can adhere to as you work to create a reputation as an authority blogger. Once you’re able to do these things, you can move on to more specifics, such as gaining those all-so-valuable testimonials that show your audience other people think you’re as great as you say you are.
Image: authority concept
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