Do You Have a Content Marketing Strategy to Build Your Authority?

Content marketing strategy to build authority with GoogleHave you noticed that the Internet is all abuzz with stories and advice about content marketing?

Social Media Examiner convenes its Content Success Summit today, stamping content marketing with its imprimatur.

What is Content Marketing?

To quote Michael Stelzner on the Summit’s website, “…content marketing involves creating content people love to share and using it to draw in your ideal customers, generate leads and build a platform. The result: you’ll increase your exposure, grow a loyal following and achieve sales growth.”

No less an authority than Brian Clark, founder and CEO of Copyblogger Media has joined the conversation with his usual excellent analysis in a brochure entitled A Content Strategy That Works.

He puts forward that it isn’t just enough to create excellent content. The route to getting your content shared is to establish your authority on a topic.

“When you’re looking to influence people and build a powerful business online, authority is the way to go. People respect other people who have authority, expertise, and impressive credentials just like they respect people in lab coats and police uniforms. And they respect authority even more when you demonstrate it rather than claim it,” he says.

How Do You Become An Authority?

Let’s face it: most of us aren’t stars in the mode of, say, a Seth Godin. We may excel in our business niche, whatever that is, but so do many others. To quote Brian Clark again, “What other people say about you is more important than what you say about yourself… The key to becoming an authority in any area is to learn all you can, and share all you can.”

The way people find you and perceive you as an authority is largely through Google, that 800-pound gorilla that tells people what they will see when they enter a search term.

Google, as most of us know by now, changed its search algorithm last year so that it can separate quality content from the trash. How do they know? By the number of links from other authorities to your site and by what people are writing about you.

You also need to establish a presence on Google+ because the search engine takes into account your activity on its social network along with your other content in ranking your authority.

Writing guest posts on authority sites is a proven technique to drive traffic to your site, more evidence that Google rewards what it perceives to be your authority.

Does it Matter?

Please excuse this convoluted post, but I’m trying to work this out myself. If you’re not perceived as an online authority does that mean you’re a failure? How about the old-fashioned notion of writing books and making speeches to influential audiences who are the exact target for your business?

My nephew is a highly successful management consultant who isn’t active at all on social media. He feels he doesn’t need it. He’s figured out the formula that works for him. Write best-selling books and speak at prestigious conferences. I think he may be an anomaly because more people than ever use the Internet as a source of information about people and companies.

I’m a blogger and I don’t consider myself in the same league as Brian Clark or Chris Brogan. But firms hire me because of the deep portfolio of blog posts I’ve written over the past four years. As Brian Clark says, I don’t claim to be authority, but people perceive that I understand how to write a quality post.

If you want more information about how to develop your own content marketing strategy, check out the Content Marketing Institute. I subscribe to their daily blog which is chock full of useful information about content marketing.

Do you have a strategy for content marketing? How have you established your authority? Please share your thoughts in the comment box.

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  1. Jeannette, as far as I’m concerned it’s not about how you establish yourself as an authority. The main thing is that it works. A lot of people that are considered authorites online are faking it.

    • Catarina — sad to say, but true. I sometimes read the blog posts of “authorities” and can’t believe how ordinary they are.

  2. I would have to ask authority to who and in the end you have to back it up with what you sell. Many things in industries are talked up by others in the industry and other believe it. It makes me remember when companies selling shampoo talked up the point that you need to change your shampoo regularly. It was said so many times by the industry that consumers believed it although it was not true.

    Being a little cynical those saying things about content and the need for more and become an authority have a vested interest in others believing it. What I would like to see are case studies that back it up over a period of time.

    • Susan – you make a good point. If you have many links to authority sites and do a lot of guest blogs that drive traffic from Google does that you make an authority — or expert in your niche? Maybe, maybe not. Your shampoo example is right on target because I remember those ads, too.

  3. I’m trying to market my editing skills by writing critical book reviews. I figured there are so many sites that offer writing and editing advice, but I haven’t seen nearly as many that offer reviews that focus on analyzing the craft of writing as opposed to offering plot summaries and reader-response (emotionally based) responses. So far, that seems to be working. As for establishing myself as an authority as a writer of fiction… only time will tell. I really like learning about marketing though. Yet, that’s the story of my life, I have too many things I want to do!

    • Jeri — I think you’ve found an excellent niche. I enjoy reading your analyses. We all have too many things we want to do, but if you don’t push to reach your goals no one else is going to do it for you!

  4. First of all I see you as an authority. However, what you say is so true. How we are perceived is important. There is an old saying; “fake it until you make it”. I’m not implying that we should mislead, but I am saying we should act and display success and then we have to opportunity to draw success to us.

    It is so hard to determine how we are perceived online at times. For me, the best way is to keep getting my name out there in a positive giving way and that will hopefully draw people to me. Just my thoughts. 🙂

    • Susan — Thanks so much. I appreciate your confidence. You make a good point that we need to act successful to be successful. That means believing in yourself and putting yourself out there in a thoughtful and giving way. To return the compliment, I admire how you have built your blog in only a year and your own authority.

  5. My strategy is always evolving for marketing, online and in-person. Some things remain the same, but some things change so I change.

    Being an authority is one step ahead of being a self-proclaimed guru, or a worse word in my opinion, expert. I consider my authority established: other people who work with my niche come to ME, radio show hosts come to ME, the Wall Street Journal comes to me, potential clients contact me, etc

    I like what you said about your brother who isn’t even online: “He’s figured out the formula that works for him.”

    I’ve always been of the opinion there is NOT one right way to do anything.

    You are definitely an authority Jeannette! You have CLIENTS coming to YOU because of your – established authority.

    Great post even though those content success summit speakers don’t have all the answers either. They are great for us to make us think, agree and disagree.

    • Thanks, Pat, I’m flattered. You are quite right. We all have to figure out what works best for us. Like you, I dislike anyone who calls himself or herself an expert, especially in social media. It’s changing everyday and no one can keep up with everything new.

  6. Jeannette, I just joined a brand new community on Google+ called Content Marketing. I joined because I follow Mark Traphagen – he is a knowledgeable, friendly person who shares useful Google+ information.

    Jeannette, that’s great that clients come to you consistently! I am working on ideas to develop authority locally, offline. For example, I plan to do another blogging workshop at our library.

    • Leora — Thanks for the tip about the Google+ Content Marketing community, which I will definitely check out. Another way to build authority is to write guest posts. I used to do that with some frequency but I’ve slacked off. Something I need to start doing again.

  7. Jeannette,
    I wouldn’t say I have a specific strategy for building authority other than to abide by the general rules that I’ve applied throughout my adult life. To me, working and networking online is no different from working and networking face to face. I try to treat everyone with the same respect that I expect to be treated with. I also follow the age old rule that everything we do is either a relationship builder or a relationship destroyer. If we follow these simple rules, people will trust us and I believe that inherently builds authority.

    Your nephew is a great example of being a successful consultant without being active socially online. If/when he decides to be active online, I’m sure he’ll continue his success (and possibly bring it to another level).

    As for “content marketing”, to me that translates to adding value which brings me back to building relationships. 🙂 Thanks for another thought provoking post. It’s good to read through the comments!

    • Thanks, Sherryl, for sharing your point of view on building authority. I was intrigued by your line “Everything we do is either a relationship builder or a relationship destroyer. That’s so true. In the client service business respect is the backbone of every relationship.