Building authority. We all want to be known as the authority on whatever our expertise is, right? When I first started my business I got super frustrated because I was putting good, informative content on my website (that no one looked at) and sent content-rich emails to my list (of, like, 40 friends and family) but nothing was happening and no one knew I existed.
One lesson I’ve learned over the years is that building authority is a long game, and efforts don’t always reap short-term benefits.
But an even bigger lesson I’ve learned?
Efforts ALWAYS reap longer-term benefits.
A couple examples from my own business:
First. I sent a cold email to a dream client, telling them why I liked them, who I was, and why I thought we could be a good fit. They eventually responded and we got on the phone a few months later. A few months after that, they decided to go another direction. OVER ONE YEAR LATER, they emailed me that they were now ready to work with me. Long-game? Yup. But now, we’ve been working together for over a year, they are one of my highest paying clients (not to mention, one of my favorites) and their work is super fulfilling to me. Worth. The. Wait.
Second. I did my signature talk at a conference of hundreds of nonprofit leaders. I sort of hate big conference networking, so did the bare minimum. Weeks after the conference, I got a LinkedIn message from someone who attended my session and wanted to talk more. I immediately followed up, but we didn’t end up connecting for four more months, when I was in their city. But as soon as we met in person, they were ready to jump on as a new client and we’ve been happily working together all year.
So, as long as you’re prepared to make building authority a long-game and put in the efforts now for results later (sometimes MUCH later), it’s a worthwhile use of your time.
Before we discuss how to build authority in your niche, a few reminders of what building authority is NOT:
- Spending scads of time stalking people on Instagram – be strategic and start with the biggest ROI
- Looking for the instant financial payout or for something in return
- Trying to become well-known without any meat behind the notoriety – you want to be known for your expertise, not just become famous
Ready to build authority in your niche? Here’s how:
Nail your niche. Have you heard the phrase, “the riches are in the niches”? There are a ton of resources out there talking about why it’s important to define exactly who you serve so you can attract exactly the right people for your services or products. When you serve everyone you truly serve no one. So define your niche, become the go-to person for that audience and build authority from there, on that one specific thing.
Networking. Thank god that networking no longer looks like a crowded hotel ballroom filled with suit-clad people hawking business cards. These days I do most networking online – Instagram DMs, LinkedIn messages, and Facebook groups are where many of my people are hanging out, so I hang out there too. I find people with common interests, say hi, and engage authentically.
So much about social media feels super inauthentic so I make sure that every single I action I take on those websites is genuine to who I am. For example, if I wouldn’t do it in person, I don’t do it online. If I would not compliment someone’s shoes in person because I really don’t like them, I wouldn’t do it online either. People can sense authenticity (and the opposite) through an iPhone screen.
That being said, one example of social media networking done right: I connected with an woman on Instagram whose business model I liked, we sent each other a couple DMs, and she eventually asked me to speak to her mastermind about financial management = building authority.
Offer to share your knowledge for free. Everyone, everywhere is looking for good content to share. Especially in a world where we are inundated with information, the brightest thought leaders are looking for other bright thought leaders to contribute. Just this year alone, I have done four webinars for the audiences of big companies, all because I offered to do so. This put me in front of hundreds of people I didn’t know before, and has given me the opportunity to be affiliated with these big companies and build my authority.
Same with guest posting. My friend, Susie Moore, is the queen of guest posting and her name is all over the biggest media outlets: Forbes, Business Insider, you name it, she’s written for them.
While I’m not writing for Forbes (yet!), I have guest posted on several industry-specific blogs. My posts have garnered dozens of comments and interactions with new people and I can share them all over my own media too. The best part? All I had to do was ask and almost everyone said yes!
Reach out to speak on podcasts. I’ve been a guest on a dozen different podcasts this year, all because I reached out and offered to share my story and expertise. Those podcast opportunities have resulted in more networking, more opportunities to share my knowledge, and overall more credibility and references for even bigger speaking opportunities.
Apply to speak at conferences. In the last year or so I’ve spoken at half a dozen conferences around the country, all the result of submitting a proposal to speak and being accepted. One conference alone generated a coaching client, several prospects (again, a long-game), a podcast opportunity, and maybe most importantly a bigger, deeper network, solidified with in-person connection.
All of these methods build your notoriety and authority in your field, and most can be done from behind the comfort zone of your laptop, no travel or stuffy business suits necessary.
Here’s the kicker. It takes time.
I recently did a time study of how I spent the last six weeks and I found that, on average, I spend 3-5 hours per week on authority building activities, including networking, speaking with prospects, podcast guesting, writing guest posts or speaking proposals, preparing for and presenting webinars, etc.
It’s not a minimal effort, right? But is it worth it?
YES. I’ve seen a financial ROI on the activities above.
AND. Building authority by speaking to small and large groups, online and in person, has helped me hone my message. I’ve iterated the same slide deck dozens of times and each time I feel like it gets better, my message is even clearer, and I can see more light bulb moments in the audience and through the screen. Building authority is an opportunity for me to get outside of my comfort zone and refine my signature talk.
Building authority in your niche is a surefire, yet long-term, strategy for growth that we prioritize over here at 100 Degrees Consulting and have watched it pay off!
How do you build authority in your business or niche? Want to talk about how we help service business owners scale their businesses, including building authority? Grab one of our free Strategy Sessions here! >>>