Kris Reid, Founder & CEO, Ardor Media Factory
In the digital age, word of mouth is translated through the buzz created by your blog readers and social media followers when they view content that is worth sharing. Not just any kind; it requires authority – that is, your recognized expertise, positive reputation, and credibility in your field – to create long lasting, impactful effect that will help you stay relevant amidst all the developing technology, the increasing pace of your consumers’ lifestyles, and the changing content marketing trends and Google algorithms.
Why does being a celebrity in your field matter? According to the data gathered by TapInfluence and Influitive for their Influencers vs. Advocates: What’s the Difference? ebook, “92% of consumers rely on referrals from people they know above all else.” Thus, if your target market views you as the go-to expert in the industry, then they are more likely to spend on your products and services than lesser known individuals.
Another reason why authority is important is the content consumption and buying behavior of millennials, who have a yearly spending power of $200 billion and have a greater sway over older generations due to their trendsetting influence spanning multiple industries. According to a 2015 study conducted by Forbes and Elite Daily, not only “33% of millennials rely mostly on blogs before they make a purchase,” but they also “have to trust… a site before they even bother reading the content.”
If you have been building your authority strategy and there is still room for improvement, here are seven ways to remain on top:
1. Redesign your website
Portray your expert status with the right visuals. Content and web design go hand in hand in the digital world. To encourage newcomers to return and to enhance your followers’ experience when they visit your site, reevaluate the overall feel of your design and tweak the weakest areas for a more satisfying view of what you have to offer. There are seven aspects to look into:
- Usability: think of what your audience will be doing on your site and how they can interact with the content.
- Navigation: make your most valuable content easier to find.
- Typography: your choice of fonts should represent your brand or company appropriately; for comfortable reading, text size should be large enough, and your titles and headings should stand out.
- Spacing: how you set the line spacing between text and manage white space will determine the overall harmony of your site design.
- Clarity: great resolution is the key to showing your ideas more effectively, with the right amount of contrast for creating emphasis.
- Consistency: much like a well-written article, coherence should be visible; the best way to achieve it is to create a personalized theme.
- Mobile: stay connected with your audience through their portable devices by giving them the content they trust in a fast-loading mobile-friendly site.
It only takes 10 seconds to make a lasting impression. Welcome your new visitors to your site and give your returning followers something great to look forward to with a polished web design that complements your trusted content.
2. Enhance your social media authority with shareworthy visual posts
In 2016, there are 2.3 billion active social media users out of 3.17 billion internet users. Creating an impact on these individuals to increase your social media authority requires more than just typing a catchy statement in 140 characters. For a more powerful post, pair your words with a relevant image or an engaging video. Here’s why:
- A Buffer Social study in 2015 revealed that “tweets with images received more engagement than tweets without images.”
- In a survey done by Animoto in 2016, 76.5% of business owners and marketers stated that video marketing “had a direct impact on their business.” The survey also uncovered that when it comes to getting information about a product, consumers prefer watching videos than reading.
- People are more likely to remember only 10% of the information given through auditory means. However, they retain 65% of the same information when paired with a picture.
- According to a research conducted in 2016 by KPCB, “video content will represent 74% of all internet traffic” in 2017.
If humor is your thing, you can also include timely memes to tickle your audience’s funny bone. By giving high-quality information, supported by effective visuals, you can effectively appeal to your market’s emotions and needs, and gain more trust and recognition.
3. Learn something new and innovate
World-renowned, three-Michelin-starred shokunin Jiro Ono has been making sushi ever since he left home at the age of nine. Now in his early 90s, he continues to work in his restaurant and is highly regarded by his peers not just for his legendary expertise and the incomparable taste of his dishes, but also for his ability to innovate. In an interview with Rene Redzepi, the Danish chef asked Jiro, “Do you feel that innovation is important?” Always in pursuit of perfection, the greatest sushi craftsman replied: “Innovation is good if it is tastier than what existed before. If it looks good but the taste is degraded, it will not endure. If you are doing something new, it has to be an improvement of what came before.”
In a competitive industry, learning new techniques and offering something fresh are synonymous with survival. As an authority figure in your business, you have the upper hand when it comes to experimenting with new products, services, and ideas… which leads to the next point.
4. Collaborate with your influencers when introducing new stuff
Based on an article that discusses the role of an influencer in the diffusion of innovation theory, consumers are more likely to accept the changes you have made when an influencer shows them the positive effects of your innovative measures. “If they’re seeing positive feedback from the people whose opinion they value and that they pay attention to, they will be influenced to adopt the new thing.”
Aside from helping consumers ease into your new thing, influencers also provide the “fastest growing online customer-acquisition channel” based on a Tomoson study.
5. Stick to the basics of SEO, but evolve with the trends
Being an expert is your business is only the beginning; the rest is about being able to display your authority to your target audience, including Google.
Google’s algorithms will always spawn new updates, but there are three reliable constants when it comes to authority SEO content: uniqueness, quality, and relevance. Continue producing original, thought-provoking, and timely articles for your authority site to flourish amidst all the updates. As for the technical side, ensure that your team of professionals is up to the task of catching up with the latest developments, and can provide a detailed analysis of your authority site, such as:
- Keyword research
- Duplicate content and metadata
- Internal and external link reports
- Mobile friendly responsiveness
- Content review
- Landing page review
- Competition analysis
- rank tracking
These factors will help you increase your content reach when your consumers use Google Search to find you on the internet.
6. Focus on refining your specialization
A huge part of authority marketing consists of educating and assisting your clients within your chosen field. Specialization lets you concentrate on your niche, enrich your existing knowledge, and hone your craft to perfection. In the words of Antoine de Saint-Exupery, author of the Little Prince, “perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
7. Secure your hard-earned influence with reputation engineering
Make it a priority to protect the authority you have already established – because nothing will hurt your relevance more than a ruined reputation. Reputation engineering does that by not only repairing the damage caused, but by foolproofing your reputation management to prevent possible attacks in the future.
A proven business model, authority marketing is more than just PR; it requires being a trustworthy and influential source of high-quality, unique, and evergreen information in a world flooded by an endless stream of content. By establishing your authority, you become the best advertisement for yourself without the cost.
About the Author
After working with Visa Europe, Euroclear, and Sony Research & Development in London, Dublin, and Brussels, Kris Reid founded Ardor SEO. With his work at Ardor SEO, Reid oversees a team of experts in reputation engineering, authority marketing, SEO, and social media response.