Become Indispensable: 6 Ways to Sharpen Your Authority Online
You’re nearing the top of your game. You just wish more people knew it. There’s hope. Breaking through the noise online doesn’t require you to reinvent the wheel or find a “new” way to go viral (if there is such a thing). You just need to invest in proven, straightforward “authority hacks” like these. Control Your Mentions on High-Visibility Directories and Platforms You can’t always control the narrative around you or your brand. But you can control the web properties that you, well, control. The most important of these properties are your social media channels — more on those below — and your high-authority directory listings. The latter, which includes immediately recognizable properties like Forbes, Bloomberg, and Inc.com, occupy valuable space in your exact-match SERPs and push negative mentions off the first page (where the vast majority of searchers begin and end their investigations). They offer a surprising amount of flexibility too. The Inc.com listing for Steve Streit, a fintech entrepreneur and philanthropist, shows what a little planning and creativity can do here. Make Your Professional Website and Blog a Resource for Others You “control” your Bloomberg and Forbes listings in the sense that you can claim and edit them — maybe — but you don’t have a real say in what happens behind the scenes there. Those sites can remove public person and company listings at will, and they reserve the right to discontinue those products entirely (however unlikely that might seem). Not so your personal website and blog. This corner of the Web is yours to do with as you see fit. So don’t waste the opportunity. Make it a valuable resource for people in your professional circle, even if it feels like you’re spitting in the wind at first. Over time, traffic and engagement will follow. Anyway, you pay good money to keep your professional website running year after year. Treat it as such, or at least as more than a digital placeholder. Publish a Newsletter Your professional website won’t ever be visible enough to drive the kind of following you’re hoping to build. For that, you need outside help — not just from Twitter and LinkedIn, but from digital marketing and publishing tools too. If you’re really looking to scale your brand, an email newsletter is a must. Yes, everyone and their dog has a newsletter at this point, but this is one instance where it pays to follow the crowd. The mere act of pushing out a newsletter confers a certain type of credibility, though that’s not to say you shouldn’t make every effort to boost your email list subscriber count. Launch a Podcast Everyone and their dog seems to have a podcast these days. Yet, despite their omnipresence, they can be remarkably effective. The key is to anchor your podcast in your niche — your guests should all live and breathe your industry, if not your specialty — but don’t get too specific. Podcast listeners are curious by nature, so be sure to scratch that itch. Build a Twitter Following No matter how strong your newsletter or podcast marketing game is, lots of people who are nominally interested in your work won’t actually follow through and sign up. That’s where more passive properties come in — specifically, feed-based social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram. Twitter is particularly useful for “serious” professionals, and the short but adaptable content format makes it easy to leverage the content you’ve created elsewhere. Done right, the engagement you get for a 10-tweet newsletter summary could dwarf your seven-day open total. Build Your Byline Portfolio Don’t listen to the naysayers. Guest posting still offers a very high marketing ROI when done correctly — emphasis on done correctly. Early on, you can and should spend a few hours each week reaching out to guest post-friendly publishers and honing your guest posting craft. You won’t ever outgrow the practice — high-authority domains like Forbes and Inc.com have insatiable appetites for guest posts, though they dress up their guest posters as “contributors” and hold them to high standards of subject matter expertise. Eventually, though, you will want to move beyond true guest posting and accumulate traditional bylines. Don’t worry about targeting A-list publications like the Washington Post or the Wall Street Journal; well-read digital publications serving your niche are A-okay. Just be sure to link to your clips from your website and promote them on social media. You might even get paid for your contributions. Imagine that. You’re the Go-To for…Who? For best results, deploy these authority hacks in support of a simple long-term goal: to become an indispensable resource for a devoted group of followers. That’s the secret to effective personal branding — and, likelier than not, professional success beyond your wildest dreams. Maybe you’re not yet the go-to for anybody looking to learn more about your niche. But that can change in a hurry if you put your mind to it.