Let’s start with a Marketing 101 reminder:
People do business with people they know, like, and trust.
Never has there been a truer mantra, not just for marketers but consultants in particular. As a consultant, likeability and trustworthiness are key to attracting prospects’ attention and turning them into qualified leads and paying customers.
Here’s the thing.
The more credible your brand becomes, the more leads you generate. Commanding authority in the marketplace is crucial for the growth of your consultancy. You want to be seen as a highly informed and authoritative professional, not a tentative amateur.
In this post, we will cover the essentials of authority and how to build it.
What is authority marketing?
Authority marketing is the tactical positioning of a person or brand as the undoubted leader in their industry, so they wield authority and influence over their target audience.
Benefits of authority marketing
So, what’s the big deal about authority?
What do you gain from it?
Glad you asked.
Authority is important because it:
Presells prospectsWhen prospects deem you an authority, they’re already persuaded to do business with you before they reach out to you. They’ve settled in their minds you are the best person to help them solve their problems. The only questions that remain are how and when to work with you, not if they want to partner with you at all.
Acts as a pricing anchor
Consultants normally struggle to convince people about the value of their services. Long pricing negotiations are part of the game. Not so if you’re considered an expert. You can charge higher fees and customers accept them without batting an eyelid. Closing high-ticket coaching offers becomes a breeze. No more haggling over price.
Brands you memorably
Coaching hinges on personal appeal. If prospects don’t like you as a person, they won't do business with you. Authority puts you on a pedestal. You become a widely respected brand and instantly recognizable.
Increases inbound leadsIf you become an authority in your niche, inbound leads surge. Most of your customers come to you. You don’t go after them. Scaling your consultancy becomes easier.
Reduces ad costsOnce you become an authority, you don’t spend most of your resources on advertising so people get to know you. Your reputation does that for you. Brand awareness comes organically. As a result, you don’t spend a lot on advertising.
Shortens the sales cycleThe buyer’s journey can be long, complex, and arduous, especially in B2B circles. But with authority positioning, you can move a prospect from the unaware stage, through to consideration, and purchase stage in a single stroke.
In a nutshell, authority attracts leads like moths to a bright flame on a grim summer night. It’s an invaluable asset for consultants who want to be taken seriously by prospective customers.
With that said, how do you build authority?
Glad you asked.
9 Painless Ways To Build Your Authority
Now that we’ve defined authority and showed its benefits, let’s dig deeper. Here are 9 ways to establish authority in your niche and grow your service-based business faster.
Let’s jump in.
#1. Get recognized through guest posting
Writing guest posts is a proven way to gain industry recognition.
Forget all those posts and forum threads telling you guest posting is dead.
Not by a long stretch.
But not any guest post will do.
Thing is, guest posting has gone mainstream. Everyone’s doing it. So, to succeed with the strategy, your post must be remarkable.
To be an excellent guest poster people revere differentiate yourself in 4 ways:
Go deeper and furtherBe comprehensive. Cover your topic fully and make it the best resource on the subject out there. Distinguish yourself through detail. Value-providers will always have myriad fans who rave about them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. The better your piece, the more persuaded your audience will be of your expertise.
Go against the grainBe bold. Don’t be scared to be controversial and present unpopular truths as long as you back your claims with solid data. When you become a rabble-rouser you gain the attention of both supporters and detractors.
Get into the numbersBe authentic. Everybody has an opinion. But for your views to stick, support them with data. Use fresh, uncommon data from reputable sources, not dated material referenced by everyone.
Go visualBe beautiful. Sometimes all it takes to stand out is to make your post lovely. Eye-catching visuals prove your points. People grasp your concepts better, faster. Plus, visual content is shareable.
Target sites that are:
Relevant to your niche.
Renowned in your field.
Rank high in search engines (high DA)
Reach your target audience.
After you get published, display the logos of the popular blogs you’ve been featured on your site.
You'll convince readers you are the real deal. They will be more likely to convert and do business with you.
Digital Marketing Consultant, Brandon Seymour, of Beymour Consulting, generated a handful of high-paying clients and doubled his monthly revenue as a consultant when he wrote a guest post for Search Engine Journal.
For best results, regularly push intensive guest posting campaigns—a calculated blitzkrieg designed to give you maximum exposure in a short time. Prospects will see you as a big fish because they meet you in all the blogs that matter in your field.
#2. Spread your influence through public speaking
Nothing impresses industry peers and prospects alike than seeing someone speak intelligently about a subject they know intimately.
When you stand on a stage whether it’s physical or virtual, people regard you as an expert. They look up to you and hang on every word you say.
generates instant trust with prospects.
closes leads at a higher rate than most lead generation methods.
opens doors to collaborations.
No doubt, speaking is one of the fastest and easiest ways to grow your authority and get booked solid for months.
However, it’s not enough to receive a standing ovation.
To maximize impact, base your talk around nagging problems you solve for your target audience. If you don’t align your talk to your business goals, you won’t see results. Plus, nudge people into your funnel.
How? Give them a valuable resource.
You can offer them a solid free resource that complements your presentation in exchange for their email addresses. The sooner you get prospects moving down your funnel, the better.
Here’s public speaking tips:
Gain confidence by making short video presentations.
Ask friends to host you on their podcasts.
Look for speaking engagements in local business networking groups.
Turn your most popular post into your signature talk.
Answer FAQ through short video snippets to get your feet wet.
Use Answer The Public to discover the hottest questions to address.
Find out your target audience’s pain points in niche forums to generate ideas for your talks.
Conduct a webinar for your audience.
Host or speak at a virtual summit.
Speaking of virtual summits, nutritional therapy consultant, and mindset coach, Steph Gaudreau got a whopping 19,560 new email subscribers and 600+ paying customers in a very crowded market from her first summit.
Source: Steph Gaudreau
The simple lesson? Public speaking is a lead-gen and authority-building superpower.
#3. Craft top-of-the-pile thought leadership content
Not all content is created equal.
Regular content that clogs the internet doesn’t grow your business. To gain a foothold and establish yourself in your niche, produce winning thought leadership content. What Rand Fishkin calls 10x content.
Come up with remarkable content that makes people take notice and reach out to you for help on problems connected to what you do.
Here are 3 examples of thought leadership content that cuts through the noise and crowns you as a leading voice in your industry.
White papersBy nature, a white paper is an authoritative document. It masterfully dissects a subject and backs it up with rock-solid data sources. Just make sure it deals with a relevant topic and has a sleek pro design. Here are a few white paper templates and examples to help you get started.
Epic blog postsAccording to Internet Live Stats, there are 4+ million blog posts published per day. To stand out from this sea of content and be seen as a market leader, your posts must be stellar. Only the best of the best will do. Good content isn’t enough anymore. To be seen and heard, be epic.
Case studiesNothing shows your expertise than a well-done case study. Not only does it show your mastery, but it also allows you to showcase your process to potential customers. This is vital for service-based businesses as prospects know what to expect should they decide to work with you.
Jacob McMillen, a content strategist and freelance writer coach displayed specialist knowledge about copywriting through his massive 6.6k words post ‘How To Become A Copywriter’. Not only does the supreme piece rank on Google position zero,but it also keeps a constant stream of leads flowing towards his website.
Imagine what 10.2k monthly traffic valued at $42.4k does for his business? How many leads and coaching clients does he land from this single post? No wonder he hasn’t done any outbound marketing or client prospecting in 5 years. He gets all his leads through organic inbound leads.
That’s the outstanding power of thought leadership content.
#4. Win trust through testimonials and reviews
Another straightforward way to boost your credibility is by using testimonials and reviews.
So powerful are testimonials and reviews that 93% of consumers say they are swayed by them when making a purchase decision.
Take advantage of the persuasive power of reviews to bolster your authority.
Build testimonials and reviews into your workflow:
Let customers rate your service once you’ve wrapped up a project with them.
Ask customers for a testimonial based on a pre-approved set of questions.
Reach out to thought leaders who know your work firsthand and ask for endorsements.
Collect organic compliments from clients or influencers that come via email or social media and publish them on your site. With email, ask for the person’s blessing.
Don’t fear negative reviews.
Source: Review Trackers
Interestingly, 44,6% of people are more likely to return to a brand that responds to negative reviews.
The reason? Because your response shows you care—and wins their trust.
Sam Ovens, Forbes 30 Under 30 Entrepreneur and business consultant is an excellent example of how to use reviews and testimonials. He has an entire page dedicated to them.
Why this page is effective:
It leverages the power of numbers (3,745 customer stories).
It includes a five-star rating under each review.
It has a video version for those who prefer watching.
It has a written version for those who love reading.
#5. Cement your expertise with certifications
Every industry caps people who have mastered a specific discipline.
There are many bodies or esteemed brands that can certify you after you go through their rigorous instruction.
When you get certified, you're no longer a dabbler.
You are now a serious, formally recognized pro.
Customers respect certified professionals. They feel comfortable enough to do business with you. They can freely share their struggles. And they take out their credit cards without hesitation.
Some industries require certifications before you practice e.g. the medical industry.
Some certifications are free while others are pay-to-play.
Google certifying bodies in your niche. For instance, here are the results for ‘finance certifications’
It’s staggering how many free certifications for every niche are out there for the taking.
Many new coaches plod along without adding this easy-to-get layer of social proof to their websites or hire-me pages. How tragic.
If you want paid certifications, go for the ones leaders in your niche have.
Why? Because those are the ones people in your niche admire.
Once you get certified toot your horn on your:
About me page.
Social media profiles.
A case in point is Born Fitness who highlights the certifications and education of their coaches.
This inspires confidence in their team. They command authority because of their education and training.
#6. Interact with industry leaders
In every industry, some gatekeepers hold the golden keys to the door of influence in that field.
When you engage with them, they open authority doors for you.
Get your name out there.
Mingle. Engage. Network.
Contribute to the conversation taking place in your circles.
Here are 5 ways to engage with influencers in your niche:
Interviews are an easy and effective tactic of engaging with the big guns in your niche. When people see you rubbing shoulders with influencers, they instinctively confer the same authority on you—a case of authority by association.
Twitter ChatsEvery industry has popular Twitter Chats where gurus discuss hot trends. Add your voice to the discussions. Be visible. And get known because of your valuable, smart contributions.
Blog CommentsCommenting on popular blogs helps you catch the eye of gurus in your niche. No, I’m not talking about the lazy worthless comments like ‘wonderful post’. I mean detailed, thoughtful comments that add value to the conversation.
Courses and productsA sure way of gaining access to influencers is buying their courses and products. Yes, it’s expensive, but it guarantees you their attention and a chance to build a relationship. You can then ask them to endorse you or collaborate on a project.
Sometimes influencer endorsements come organically. Back in 2017, Forbes Top 10 B2B Content Marketer Aaron Orendorff complimented my guest post. I promptly maximized the moment by taking a screenshot of his comments and displayed them on my About Me page.
Who wouldn’t want to work with a copywriter recommended by such a high profile content marketer?
Always be on the lookout for pleasant things big people say about you. And then milk the moment dry. 😀
#7. Boost your clout by publishing a book
Ever heard the saying ‘he’s written a book on it’?
I'm sure you have, many times.
It normally pops up in conversations when people are discussing someone to prove that the person in question is powerful and knows his stuff.
There’s something special about a book. It bestows star status on you faster than you can say Batman.
A superb timely book gives you attention, prestige, and new audiences.
Writing a book sounds like an enormous task. But it isn't. Unless you want to write a 500-page masterpiece and win the Pulitzer Prize.
Publishing is easy and affordable these days. Unlike in the past, you can become a published author fast.
No book agents. No endless pitches. No rejection letters.
You can easily publish a book on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing or other affordable self-publishers.
But where do you get the material to write a complete book?
You have a lot of material at your disposal to write a book in a few weeks, a weekend even.
Here’s how to write a book in record time:
Add flesh to a popular epic post your readers love. Use the research material you gathered when writing the post to fast-track the process.
Combine a series of related posts into a meaty book. Each post can be a chapter or two.
If you'd rather speak than write, record yourself. Transcribe the recording and hire a writer to rewrite the notes, fill in the gaps, and apply the finishing touches.
The best part?
Not only does publishing a book help you to build authority. Book sales also increase your income.
Better yet, a book is a great way to add another income stream to your consultancy.
Leverage your book's influence. Become a paid speaker.
Founder and CEO of Self Publishing School Chandler Bolt grew his book writing coaching business from $0–$16+M in 5 years. Not bad, huh? 😀
The secret to this explosive growth are his six best-selling books.
Talk about walking the talk. The books are irrefutable proof that self-publishing works.
Chandler used them as positioning and lead generation tools.
#8. Showcase your achievements and ascend the authority ladder
Over the years you’re scored notable successes.
Use them to show prospects you have the chops to solve their problems.
There are many ways to showcase your expertise.
Tell potential clients about:
The vast experience you have.
Outstanding results you’ve got for clients.
Well-known clients you’ve served.
Awards you have won.
Press mentions from major publications.
Conferences you've spoken at.
Blogging expert Enstine Muki leads with his experience on his blog coaching page.
This reassures prospects that they are in good accomplished hands.
#9. Position yourself favorably through smart Public Relations
Public Relations or PR is the strategic maintenance of a positive public perception of your brand.
Good PR builds your authority and reputation among your audience.
For your PR strategy to work you must be consistent across all media channels:
Owned- produce exceptional content on your blog: blog posts, email newsletter, social media posts, and podcasts. Little by little, post by post, show after show, you will gain a reputation of being a value-provider.
Paid- give your owned media content some wheels through paid media: Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC), press releases, social media advertising, and influencer marketing.
Earned- do exceptional work long enough and you’ll attract unsolicited rave reviews. Industry publications, customers, and influencers will praise you and your work. As a result, people will revere you.
Consultant, author, and speaker Sonia Thompson has a page dedicated to interviews she has had with notable brands and broadcasters.
The list includes heavyweights like Copyblogger, Business Insider, American Entrepreneur Podcast, and Wisconsin Public Radio. This underlines her authority.
Also, journalists are always hungry for contributions from industry experts to substantiate their stories. Get onto platforms like Haro and JournoRequests to discover opportunities to share your expertise and get your name into the public eye.
Agility is important in PR. You must be quick to respond to any brand mentions, whether positive or negative. Social listening tools like Mention are crucial in that regard as they monitor the web and alert you at once when someone mentions you online.
You can then quickly jump into the conversation to reinforce or refute what’s being said. Good PR also involves admitting wrong when you’ve missed it. That’s more authentic than defending the indefensible. People admire brands that take responsibility for their actions.
Authority Status: Achievable Even for Newbies
Being regarded as an authority and in-demand expert doesn’t have to take a lifetime.
It’s not reserved for veteran consultants who have a long track record and a laundry list of achievements. You can prove your credibility even if you are a nobody right now.
Use these tried and tested tactics to rise to trusted expert status faster than you thought. Become a big kahuna in your industry. Hack your way to the top.
Dominate your niche. Run the show.
Your star-struck prospects are waiting.
According to his cheeky wife, Qhubekani Nyathi aka The Click Guy is irresistibly handsome. He’s an offbeat certified freelance writer for hire who writes zingy long-form content that ranks, drives qualified traffic, and leads for B2B and B2C companies. He contributes to prestigious blogs like Search Engine Watch, Crazy Egg, Smart Blogger, Get Response, and more. Connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.