Build Authority with Your Target Audience

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Being a Trusted Authority in your industry is a huge key to business success.

Whether you already have some good, solid authority or have yet to build it—there are many ways to increase your authority with your target audience.

What or who is an Authority? Someone others look to for answers, approval, direction, correction—someone who’s a leader.

Building authority isn’t a one-size-fits-all event. It’s an ongoing journey that can take many forms and use a variety of tools.

Some are easier than you might think!

Here are some ways to build authority with your target audience:

Offer social proof

“Social proof” is when other people say your organization is great:

  • Testimonials
  • Word-of-mouth referrals
  • Honest reviews
  • Social media shares, likes, follows and comments

Follow up with your customers. When you get positive feedback, ask for a testimonial.

Have customers sent emails or posted on social media telling about a great experience they had with your company? Reply to thank them, then ask if you can use their comments in your marketing.

Happy customers are eager to share their experience. When your customers applaud your business, it increases your authority.

READ: How to Quickly Build Trust with Your Audience for more details about testimonials.

Publish case studies or success stories

A case study (or success story) is a testimonial times 10. While a testimonial might be 2-3 sentences, a case study can be 800-1,200 words. It’s the story of a customer who used your product or service and was thrilled about it.

A typical case study describes:

  • The problem the customer faced…
  • How this problem caused either a personal or business struggle he couldn’t solve himself…
  • How your product or service solved his problem and what the results were.

A case study is proof you’ve made a difference for that customer, which builds your authority.

Publish guides, ebooks, checklists

What do you know about your industry that your target audience wants to know? How can you package that so they have easy and free access to that knowledge?

The more you offer your expertise to your audience, the more they’ll come to recognize your authority. And you don’t have to be The #1 Expert. You just need to communicate what you know to your audience and offer it to them.

Write blog posts and articles

81% of buyers research online. When your website has the answer to the questions your target market is asking, it sets you up as an authority in their eyes.

You can write for others, too. Write a guest post for another website. Write an article for a local newspaper, or for an industry journal.

SEE: How to Know if You Need a Blog [Infographic]

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Produce how-to videos and slide decks

If you’re more into visuals, consider producing videos that demonstrate your expertise. Post them on YouTube, Vimeo and your own website. Or turn a PowerPoint presentation into a slide deck and upload it to SlideShare.

Use these visuals to show your audience how-to…why-to…offer information your audience wants to know…answer the questions they have. Doing so demonstrates your expertise and sets you up as an authority.

READ: Repurposing Your Content to SlideShare

Speak at an industry event

If you’re one those who loves speaking in front of people, this is one of the very best ways to build your authority. Even if you don’t love it you can learn how to speak publicly. Start small.

One of the copywriting mentors I follow tells how he got a last minute chance to speak at a major industry event many years ago. He was scared stiff! But he said “Yes,” changed his schedule, bought a plane ticket and spoke at the event.

It was a turning point in his career—from then on he’s been looked to as an authority.

Write a book

That’s what I said—Write a book! Self-publishing has reached full-term. You don’t need an agent or a publisher. You don’t even need to sell the book.

I’m hearing of business owners who team up with an experienced writer and designer to self-publish a book they use as a heavyweight marketing piece. (And if you can sell a few copies, all the better.)

There’s something about having your name on a book—a real book with paper pages you hold in your hands—that says: This person knows enough about her field to write a book about it. She’s definitely an authority.

What else?

There are other ways to build and establish your authority, too:

  • Start a podcast…
  • Offer interviews with media publications locally and in your industry…
  • Connect with and establish relationships with influencers in your industry. Interview them in a blog post, a video or a podcast…
  • Serve on the Board of a non-profit you believe in that’s related to your field.

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The point is, there are many ways to build authority. Some are easier than others. Some cost less than others. Some are more powerful than others.

Is this something you need to work on? Then take a step today. Choose one or two of these and get started.

If you already have a solid foundation of authority, how can you build higher? What’s the next step you can take?