Building your authority and expert status through content

Building your authority and expert status through content -- Mervi Emilia Eskelinen

Have you ever been wondering why some people can sell pretty much anything? They aren't necessarily the best at their field, the smartest, the most charismatic, the most skilful or knowledgeable, or other ways that great. But somehow they just can influence people and make them want everything they offer. It seems like magic.

Well, it's not exactly magic.

The best way to get people to buy whatever you are offering is to build your authority and expert status. Whether you're offering crafts, courses, art, web design, coaching or any other services or products, being an authority of a subject gives you a huge boost.

Strangely enough, you don't necessarily have to be an authority of whatever you are selling to boost your sales. As long as people perceive you as a trustworthy and knowledgeable person.

There's this well known psychological concept called authority bias. It dictates that you are more likely to trust the opinion of an authority figure and be influenced by it. This doesn't stop to more traditional authority figures, such as political or religious leaders, but also many celebrities have a great influence and authority. Additionally wealthy people are often seen as experts of all kinds of things for no real reason.

Authority sells. Having the reputation of being an expert at your field gives you a great advantage. However, authority doesn't magically appear somewhere. At least not for most people.

If you aren't a traditional authority figure, a celebrity or have deep pockets, you need to build your authority in other ways.

A common wisdom says you must show rather than tell. Build a portfolio of amazing work you've done. Show off your skills, not just talk about them. That's true. To a point.

Portfolios, galleries and other means to show your know-how are important and really neat. They just don't fit in every situation.

Are you a web designer? Build a portfolio of your work. Do you make art or illustrations, or are you a photographer? Get that gallery published asap. Do you make crafts or other physical products? Show them off.

In some cases you cannot create a portfolio or a gallery. Coaching and consulting, and other such services don't really work that well as portfolio cases. Therapists, masseurs, and such can't really build a public portfolio of their work.

Luckily, portfolios and galleries aren't the only way for you to build your authority. They are actually just a little part of it. The best way to deepen and widen your authority is by creating informational and educational content. Content that doesn't as much show as it tells. Content that explains how things work, gives out cool tools, tips and resources, and shares ideas. Content that educates and content that shows that you have the knowledge behind your skills.

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Even if you can create a portfolio or a gallery of your work, or otherwise show it off, informational and educational content helps to spread the awareness of your skills. It makes you an authority, not just a maker, of your field.

Creating such content as relevant blog posts, podcast episodes, videos and social media updates, is a great way to show that besides the skills, you also have the knowledge. In case your portfolio is thin, or you can't build one, this kind of content works as a way to flaunt your know-how. It makes you seem like someone who knows what they are doing.

This isn't limited to blog posts and other such content. On your website you can utilise your about page, the services page(s) and other static content, such as a manifesto.

You can create this content in your field or around it. It doesn't have to always fit strictly your speciality or specialities.

For example, as a musician you can create content about music, record reviews, the woes of being part of the music industry or even ways to alleviate stress. Being screwed over by your record company makes you pretty knowledgeable with stress, I'm sure.

Career coach could create content about careers and career changes, being a career coach, work in general, and things to do at a vacation. Cause you know people want a career that lets them have the vacations of their dreams.

Some fields have more obvious topics than others, but there's no legal and morally acceptable field, career or specialty that wouldn't benefit of creating informational and educational content.

While educating people is a good way to build your authority, I highly recommend throwing in also entertainment and getting personal.

Personal, transparent and vulnerable content isn't always perceived completely businesslike, but it makes you seem more human and approachable. In a recent article at A List Apart, content strategist Travis McKnight writes about the untapped power or transparency and vulnerability in content marketing. He points out that it creates a meaningful connection between you and your audience. That connection strengthens trust. And trust strengthens authority.

On top of all that, creating this sort of content can work as a learning process for you as well. When you research the subject, or even just think about it and edit a blog post or a video script, you may have new ideas, learn new things and find out new sides of yourself, your brand and business. Maybe you come up with a new product or service while creating content.

Don't worry about admitting that you are just learning something. You can build your authority this way too. People love to read and hear about learning processes, and by publicly educating yourself you can show that you are capable of growing and evolving.

Gaining authority doesn't happen overnight. It takes work and fails many times before you get there. Creating content is a great way to build your authority, expert status and influence, to create awareness, make an impact, and make more sales.

Do you need help with your content plan, content creation and understanding what sort of content works best for your business and brand? Let me help you.

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