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So You Wanna be an Online Authority? Here’s How to Get Started [Part 2]

Do you ever look back on your career and wonder, “How did I get here?”

You might chalk it up to dumb luck. Maybe you just happened to be at the right place at the right time.

Or maybe, just maybe, it’s because you’re exceptional at what you do, and people notice. Unaware to you, a rich foundation of knowledge has been building from every experience, informing your expertise. And now you’re here, looking back and realizing:

“I really know my stuff!”

And that’s when you know it’s time to start positioning your business as an authority online – an expert source of information for your prospects and customers to depend on.

As we’ve highlighted before, anticipated changes to the Google algorithm make it more beneficial than ever to build an authoritative presence online. It can translate to higher search rankings and improved customer trust.

Previously we laid out the first 3 of 6 steps for getting started:

  1. Determine how you will help your audience
  2. Assess your resources
  3. Build an authoritative blog

These are foundational for an authoritative presence with clear goals and identity; the next three steps help ensure that the Internet world hears about it and you reap the benefits.

Without wasting another word, let’s crack on:

4. Talk like an expert

Last week we suggested searching through LinkedIn Groups, Quora, Yahoo! Answers, and other user forums to discover the questions your audience is asking online. Now we’re suggesting that you to go back and answer them, as an expert who’s keen to help.

Find the groups and topics that suit your specific area of expertise, and become a regular contributor.  Thoughtful dedication attracts attention; users will be more inclined to learn more about you and your business if you put the time and effort in.

Social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter are also crucial spaces for having your voice heard, so make every tweet, update, and conversation reflective of the reputation you want to create.  Share industry developments, contribute to discussions with thoughtful critique, and engage with other users’ content to demonstrate your involvement and learn new things.

You can connect with other industry leaders and influencers on social media platforms, too. Interact with them by asking questions, sharing content, and responding to their commentary. Make it worth their time to respond to you, and eventually you’ll be part of the club.

5. Share your authoritative content

When it comes time to share your content online, it makes all the difference to have nurtured an authoritative presence through social media and question-and-answer websites. The blog posts, infographics, videos, ebooks, and whitepapers you create are not going to promote themselves. You need all the help you can get.  Get your social followers and fans to spread the word.

But before you hit the platforms where you know your target audience hangs out, sign up for Google+. This is technically Google’s social network, but it does so much more.  Unlike Facebook and Twitter, Google+ automatically indexes content shares, so your authoritative blog posts are immediately visible to Google.

This matters to us authority builders because there are speculations that Google could implement a ranking signal that is based on the reputation and credibility of the author of the content. It’s called Author Rank. In practice, every piece of content you post to your Google+ account informs your reputation in the eyes of Google, and influences your Author Rank signal. We still don’t know its launch date, but it’s clear that Google intends to up the standards for authoritative content.

OK, now you can head over to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and wherever else your audience frequents. Share your content there. If users think your content is so killer that they want to share it with their followers and refer to it in their own blog posts, you’ll be rich in inbound links.

Inbound links have massive value for building authority online. As Hubspot contributor Corey Eridon says, “the more inbound links you have to your website from other authoritative sites, the more search engines consider you an authority, too.”

Yes, your kindergarten teacher was right: sharing is caring.

6. Plan for growth over the long-term

“Becoming an authority is a long process,” says Kissmetrics contributor Zach Bulygo. He’s right.  Building an authoritative presence online does not equal immediate and extravagant ROI.

But by making an effort to provide consistent contributions to your industry online, through authoritative content creation, conversation, and sharing, you show search engines and web users that you’re passionate about your business. And that’s a brilliant first step. It’s a step that leads to higher search rankings and greater visibility amongst your competitors.

Plan to stick around for a while. Here are some tips for the long-term:

  • Routinely audit your blog content for any outdated information. Add updates as necessary and re-post new versions.  Show your readers that you’re on top of the latest news in your industry.
  • Check in with the content other industry influencers post on Twitter. Read as much as you can.  Comment and re-share to nurture social relationships.
  • Start reaching out to journalists who can help you promote bigger content pieces such as whitepapers and ebooks, and demonstrate to them that you’re a reliable source to turn to for commentary on events related to your field.
  • In all your online interactions, be genuine. Fake identities are exhausting to maintain, and web users catch on to the game pretty quickly. If you don’t know the answer to something, ask! Learn and grow. If you keep it real, your users will be excited to learn with you.

Try out authoritative content sharing- tweet this article and post it on Facebook to get some feedback from other business owners. Get the conversation flowing!

See Also

How To Make Online Marketing Work For Your Small Business

Bulygo, Zach. “How Being an Authority Can Boost Your Online Sales.” 10 May 2013.
Eridon, Corey. “11 Ways to Use Content to Build Online Authority.” 13 January 2012.

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