Previously we talked about the need for smart content marketing and building a loyal and trusting audience. We discussed why it is important to be the go-to guy in your sphere of business. Now let’s try and figure out how we are going to accomplish all these goals-how to create valuable content and build an audience that promotes your business in the long run.
The first thing to remember is that Authority Rules. If you are the leading authority in your field, then people are willing to follow your advice most of the time. If you want to build a great city, you would desire to hear from His Excellency Sheikh Mohammed rather than any other ruler from Middle East. But if you want to invest in the stock exchange; you are most likely to listen to Warren Buffet than Bernard Madoff. Want parenting tips, then its Dr. Sears and not Britney Spears.
So how do you build authority? Authority is the result of putting your customers before your business. Doesn’t make sense? Actually it makes perfect sense! You have to give people free and valuable advice for ages before they will start to believe you. Once you have your core set of believers or fans, you can go about converting them into customers.
Perception of Authority
Another factor in building authority is the perception of authority. We tend to believe people in authoritative positions. The other day I was watching a television programme where the narrator, dressed as a news reporter with a camera crew, tried to convince people that the Burj-Al-Arab is leaning to the right. More than 90% of the people believed the story. When asked why they were swayed, majority said the professional clothes and camera crew were very convincing. The same narrator tried the act without the fancy clothes and camera crew and could find no takers.
So what does this teach us? It is not enough that you are the best authority; you should be able to convince people of your authority. One way to do this is by sharing your information free of cost. You might be the foremost authority in your field, say Bluetooth, but if your work is all hush-hush, then as far as Google is concerned, you are not the expert. Once you have established your expertise, you can make money by selling products and services associated with your field.
For Google’s Search Engine the road to authority lies in getting the maximum number of links from other sites to point to you. That was the basis of its search algorithm initially. Google looked at the number of links to a site to determine if it was important or not.
With the onslaught of websites in the 90’s, search engines relied more on the amount of content and the number of links to a website to establish trust and ranking. This gave rise to content farming by large corporate sites where low-quality content from hundreds of unknown sources was used as backlinks.
Quality Content and Authorship
Google replied with the Panda update. Google Panda algorithm ensured that low-quality content was no longer acceptable. Quality matters along with authorship of the content. This is a revolutionary new concept in SEO. Site authority is not going to give you top ranking if your content is not top-quality. Additionally, your top ranking will be limited to the keywords that pertain to your website.
The Power of Social Media
Once you build a minimum viable audience, you get the power of social media distribution and direct customer relationship behind you. A minimum viable audience gives you valuable feedback via comments, emails, and other social media networks. It will help you with the organic growth of your audience and give you insight into their problems and what they need to resolve them.
Content Marketing for Authority Building & Business Development
As we discussed earlier, smart content marketing is a continuous cycle of events consisting of primary research, test release, optimization, and audience connection. These steps have to be repeated throughout the lifetime of the website.
Let us expand this content marketing lifecycle to incorporate more details. First of all remember the content has to be agile, quick to change and reactive to market trends. All content should be authentic, based on rigorous research and delivered in a style that appeals to your target audience. Make the matter attractive with catchy titles and headlines.
Next it is time to put things out there and hope for the best. Once you have built a minimum viable audience that is growing organically, start listening and learning from them. Monitor how your content is shared across social networks and analyse product and service ideas.
Build up the authority of your content and website by conducting seminars and product evaluations. Once you are established as THE authority in the field, it is time to reap the benefits with pro-active action. Hint at an upcoming product or service before launch and analyse the feedback. Design a promotional strategy with quality content and offers. And watch the sales pour in!
Now that you have established a customer base, you can step up your business venture with new products, marketing partnerships and better development. You are now well entrenched in your field, with a loyal customer base and steady sales.