Whether you are blogging to build your personal brand or to get the word out about your company, you require authority to earn the attention, affection and ultimately dollars of the people you talk to.
No matter how incredible, innovative or practical your content is, your audience won’t pay attention and take you seriously when you lack the status of a credible expert.
So how do you achieve authority?
Don’t Try to Bluntly Promote Yourself
You can’t just label yourself as an expert on the subject and think that the rest will deem you as one. After all, all moms think that their kid is the smartest even when they are not.
Authority and credibility are earned continuously through backing your claims with action. It is the community that grants you the authority, not the opposite way.
Keep this short tidbit in mind when aligning your entire content marketing strategy. Sometimes, you may even want to go as far as acting against your own self-interests and being 100% transparent both about your product and intentions.
Think of the iconic campaign circa the 1960s when they decided to position their product as the “world ugliest car”. Was it a blast? Absolutely!
In fact, brand transparency has now become one of the most important purchase decision factors.
According to a recent research by Label Insight up 94% claim that they would be more loyal to brand with a 100% brand transparency policy. This stands for complete disclosure of the full list of ingredients; product manufacturing, sourcing and handling processes, as well as detailed product certifications. What is more, the majority of consumers even agree to pay extra (up to 50% of the price) for a completely transparent product.
The bottom line here is – don’t be afraid to add a pinch of salt to everything you are saying. The community should blow the trumpets for you and spread the good word, not you personally.
Don’t Pitch a Sale – Pitch Value Instead
They best way to influence people is to stop trying to influence them that much.
Think about it the following way – you’ve heard two good-looking women whispering that this new cream did a better job than a professional facelift. You are more likely to go to the shop and buy the exact cream compared to when a shop assistant or an ad says that it does miracles to your skin.
Abdullahi Muhammed, content strategists and author of How To Start a Blog Online, explains this phenomenon the following way:
“People don’t like to be told how to act. Instead, they love to think that they have voluntarily come to the conclusion that this product, service or information is awesome and useful based on their research and independent assessment. Sometimes you don’t need to include that sales pitch in each and every piece of content you produce. Create suspension. Encourage the reader to bridge the gap themselves and do the right next step.”
To leverage your authority you need to continuously deliver the good stuff for free, without asking anything in return. Make sure your audience is already impressed and compelled by you before asking them for “one quick favor”.
Toy Around With Scarcity
Rare things seem to instantly appear more alluring to us. Think the Birkin bag, long lines during gas shortage or Black Friday sales. People feel more compelled to get something when they feel like losing it – even if they don’t actually need the thing.
There are a few ways how you can leverage scarcity for your brand:
Do you remember all the ugly fighting happening during Black Friday sales? Humans feel deeply compelled to have the same thing someone else obviously wants or possesses. So, to clear up your inventory or to bump those sales, you may want to launch a limited time promo, which clearly states that approximately 10,000 people are getting the same good deal. We have just 100 products left for this price, so go grab them till it’s all gone.
Booking.com is playing the “scarcity card” all the time as you always see how many other potential buyers are looking at the same hotel offer right now and whether this is the last room for this “super deal” price and how long ago the last booking was made.
Create a barrier to enter
Same is true for the Ivy League universities. Though they do have the entrance exams in place, rather complicated ones, no one heard Harvard ranting about the lack of people ready to cash out $40,000+ per year in tuition fees.
Again, it’s in our nature to want things that would define our specialness and belonging to an exclusive club.
Membership sites or exclusive one-off products are particularly popular for this reason. When you offer something exclusive for a limited time, to a limited amount of people and place the top pricing as a cherry on top, a specific audience segment will be quick to rush in and grab this deal.
Obviously, this strategy works worse for say mass-market brands or those in the lower-price category.
Stick a time sensitive label on it
This strategy never gets old. Everyone from airline companies to shops selling pools successfully deploys limited-time sales or flash sales strategies. They key to success here is to not overdo this, just the same word of caution as for launching sales too often or discounting your flagship products.
What does scarcity have to do with building your authority?
It shows that you and your services/products are hard to get. You are not here to please the customer in every way possible but to deliver undeniable quality that everyone else wants.
Always Sound Confident
The more self-assured your communication appears the more likely people will accept and listen to what you are saying.
This starts with eliminating the weak words out of your writing. Honing your sales pitch to not apologizing for offering top prices or “being beyond someone’s budget”. The more confident you speak and act, the more attention you will draw. And with that attention comes recognition and authority.
Go and watch a TED talk – all the speakers there don’t sound flabby and you don’t question their statements. You savor each bit of information attentively and marvel their expertise. That’s exactly how good writing and good speech should look like to establish your authority both online and in-person.
Image: Author’s Own