How to build your authority

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In this super actionable episode Ross and Talia talk about the importance of building your authority around a specific topic in your industry and how to do it, of course.

Let’s dive in:

Ross: So if there was one topic, outside of marketing, outside of the wonderful world of testing, conversion, et cetera, psychology, and all of the wonderful things that you know about marketing and how to get people to do the things that you and your clients want them to do, what would you say is the one thing that our listeners probably don’t realize you’re an authority on in terms of a topic?

Talia: I’m going to have to say, Harry Potter.

Ross: I love it. I love it. I had a feeling that would be your answer because I’ve heard multiple Harry Potter references throughout our dialogue and conversation. So, I love that. How long have you been obsessed with Harry Potter?

Talia: Oh, geez. Almost a decade.

Ross: Amazing.

Talia: Right. It really is an obsession. I’m at the point where I have a tattoo of Harry Potter and I’ve read each book so many times and, yeah.

Ross: That’s cool. That’s awesome. So a lot of our listeners are probably thinking, “Why are you folks talking about Harry Potter right now?” And I think the key is because today’s episode is about building authority on a topic. And I think very much, regardless of the topic, whether you’re talking about marketing, psychology, business, growth, content, SEO, you name it, or even Harry Potter, anyone can become an authority online today if they take a few key steps. The first thing that we should do though, is to define what does it mean to be an authority? And for those who are unsure of what it means to even be an authority, authority just means that you are positioned in the market as somebody who knows a lot about a certain topic. You’re seen as an expert on a certain topic, and people look to you for guidance, advice, thought, leadership, and insight into a certain thing.

Ross: So if I, for example, who is a newbie in the wonderful world of Harry Potter, was to ask you what, I think they’re called schools? What school do you think I would belong in if I put on that hat? You, as an authority, should be able to tell me what that school is. Is it a school? Am I even right?

Talia: It’s not a school.

Ross: What is it? If I put on the hat, what am I joining? A tribe? A group? Something.

Talia: So it’s a house.

Ross: A house. There you go.

Talia: There are four houses in Hogwarts, and I feel like you would be a Ravenclaw. That’s a good thing. I think all houses are good, even Slytherin, but, you see, I’m going to start really [inaudible 00:02:45]. You would be a Ravenclaw, which are very well known for just being super smart and very wise people.

Ross: I appreciate it. Which hat do you wear? Or is it called a hat? No, a house. What house are you in?

Talia: I’m Hufflepuff.

Ross: Okay. Interesting. So I have no context of what any of these means, but essentially over a decade, you’ve been able to kind of build up expertise that can tell you, after just talking to someone, what group you think they would be in. But I don’t think, for folks listening, it doesn’t necessarily need to take a decade for you to build authority. I think you can build authority in a relatively short amount of time by just creating content and doing some of the things that we’ll talk about today. I was able to build my first kind of moment of authority back when I was probably 22, 21, writing about fantasy football. And I was a kid living in my parents’ basement, writing about sports, and people from all over the world started to read and make decisions on their fantasy sports lineups, based off of what I was writing about and what I was advising they do.

So I built up an authority on a topic that I really had no credibility in that space, but just because I was passionate about it. And I think folks can do that in any niche, any industry, but there are some shortcuts that you can leverage and that you can kind of steal to make sure that you are able to do this. So, what we put together are a few different tips and techniques that people can use to build their authority today. So let’s jump into them and hopefully folks can take some inspiration around this and become authority folks in their industry or in their niche when it comes to building their personal brands and building their reputation. Before we do jump in, is there anything that you want to add?

How to build your authority

Talia: Yeah. I actually want to say that I think the key, before everything we’re going to say here today, is the one thing that you mentioned and that is passion. When you are passionate about Harry Potter, or fantasy football, or I don’t know, PPC, whatever you are passionate about, that’s where you will excel. So trying to build an authority on something, I believe you can really tell when someone is passionate about something. That’s one of the, probably, the biggest feedbacks I always get about when I run presentations. You’re so passionate about this because I really am. So I feel like that is the key to building your authority is being passionate about it. And that’s what will carry it on for like a decade.

#1 Create in public as you learn

Ross: A hundred percent. No, I think that’s the key. I think it’s all about figuring out what you’re passionate about and then becoming an authority in that space. So, all right, with that all said, let’s jump in. The first piece of advice that I would say for folks who are looking to kind of build their authority if it’s something that you don’t even know a lot about is to create in public as you learn. So, when you are trying to become an authority on a specific subject, you want to create things about that subject as you’re learning about them.

So for me, as a marketer, I can remember being fresh out of university and I didn’t have a job in advertising, but I wrote a blog post called 10 Books that Every Advertiser or Marketer Should Read Before They Get a Job in Advertising. And I didn’t have a job yet, but I created that because I thought these were great books that anybody should read, and that helped me establish a bit of authority in the wonderful world of marketing early on. Over to you. What else should folks be thinking about when it comes to building authority?

#2 Create content on your area of expertise

Talia: I would start working on blog posts about the specific area of authority that you’re trying to build that you’re focusing on. When I founded my first agency, the first thing I did because I didn’t have a lot of experience when I started out, what I actually did is I created a series of blog posts. It was just case studies. And it was me talking about the different things that I’ve tried, failed, or succeeded with. And from there, I started developing content about these things that we’ve tested and we’ve seen that work. Every single blog post was super, super actionable because it was just me writing these articles about the things that I was doing. And it turned into something that a lot of people were reading because it was hands-on material. And I think that one of the first things I would focus on is writing these blog posts and starting to create them and kind of establish yourself as the go-to person on a certain topic when you have this blog.

#3 Develop a YouTube channel on your area of focus

Ross: I love it. That’s awesome. I 100% agree. I did that exact same approach and I think it’s a great one. Another opportunity that exists is to develop a YouTube channel on your area of focus. So similar to the same strategies you would apply to creating a blog post, you can launch a YouTube channel if you love being on camera and you’re able to do it well. I would strongly recommend embracing YouTube as an opportunity today. It’s the second most popular search engine in the world. People go to YouTube to find things and to learn things. So folks, if you are someone who likes the idea of being in front of a camera, then I would recommend you embrace and try YouTube as a channel for establishing authority.

Talia: And you can also take the blog posts that you’ve already written and maybe record a two, three-minute video, just introing or focusing on the most important parts of that article, and then you have both the article and the YouTube video.

#4 Launch a niche Twitter account

Ross: I love it. So, another one that I’ve recently started to see folks do, and I think it’s a clever idea, is launching a niche Twitter account that is tailored just to this topic. So let’s say, for example, you’re trying to build up authority in the world of interior design. You’re going to create a entire Twitter account dedicated to just interior design. The handle itself may not even mention your name. It might be @interiordesignrecipes or @interiordesignhacks, whatever it may be. And every day you’re just going to put out content and interesting stories and relevant information around interior design. And then in the bio, you might say this is a account managed by Ross Simmons or managed by Talia Wolf, whatever that may be. You put that in your bio and then people are going to find you through association. Launching a niche Twitter account is a very interesting idea that I’ve seen starting to take off, and it’s something that I’m keeping my eye on as a potential opportunity for myself and clients down the road.

Talia: I love it. To add to that, you could also do that on Pinterest. So depending on how visual your content is, you could do the same on Pinterest which is known to drive so much traffic. And maybe we’ll do an episode just on Pinterest, but that could be a fantastic approach, launching a niche Pinterest account tailored just to that specific topic.

#5 Create a podcast

Ross: Awesome. So another idea would be to do exactly what we’re doing, which is creating a podcast. So you develop a podcast that is highlighting something that you’re interested in, marketing, growth, interior design, Harry Potter, whatever it may be. And by developing a podcast and you’re creating this content, people are again going to associate you as an authority on that topic because you’re creating content about it. So a podcast and talking about a certain thing is also a great way to develop your authority.

#6 Create content for others

Talia: I love it. One of the final things that I probably want to add here is that along with all this content that you’re creating for your own website, your own YouTube channel, your own newsletter, Twitter account, Pinterest, the other thing that you want to do is start writing and producing content for other blogs. So you could reach out to industry leaders, different blogs, and guest write for them. You could pitch yourself as a webinar host, host a specific training around your passion, and you could even go on podcasts and get interviewed for them, and the idea here is that you’re tapping into other audiences that you wouldn’t necessarily have access to. And the cool thing is that if you’ve created this content already on your own site, you have that proof to say, “Here, I’m writing about this. People love this content. I’m known as an authority on this specific subject. You should have me on your blog. You should have me on your podcast.”

#7 Be consistent

Ross: Amazing. I love that. I think it’s a great idea. And the podcast option just levels this up even further, you’re bringing on those guests, bringing on people. If you are a very much a newbie, it makes complete sense to do that. But across the board, I think one of the key pieces that folks need to remember is whether we’re talking about blogging, we’re talking about a newsletter, a Twitter account, Pinterest account, you name it, the most important step in all of this when it comes to building an authority on a topic, is consistency. You have to be consistent. You have to be consistent in terms of creating pieces of content that talk about that subject, pieces of content that are relevant to your audience, your listeners, and consistent with creating content that adds value. And I think a lot of people oftentimes forget the fact that you have to start somewhere.

And if you just know a little bit about a topic, more than most people who know nothing about it, that’s enough to start building your authority. You might not be a pure, 100%, the best marketer in the world today, but by just creating content and knowing a little bit about marketing and sharing what you know, and you’re doing that consistently, you’re going to help those who know nothing. And by doing that, you are an authority on a topic. So be consistent, create that content, and use it to build your career, and build your authority within your space. So to be consistent with the way that we wrap these up, I am going to say, folks, I hope you enjoyed this episode, hope you leave us a great review on whatever episode streaming service that you’re using to listen to us. Please, if you are using Apple, please don’t forget to leave us a five-star review. We would love that and much appreciate it. And also don’t forget to join our Facebook group, We would love to chat with you and see you inside.

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Ross & Talia
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