Imagine you’re at an all-things-tech conference for marketers, and the schedule has two talks going on at the same time. It’s your choice who to see.

You can see Person #1, the CEO of the largest smartphone company in the world, whose company also has a music service, produces laptop computers and has built an assistance app based on artificial intelligence. Or, you can head to Person #2, who just founded a startup after being on the exec team of three failed startups prior. Who are you going to see?

If you want to get reliable, tried-and-true insights, you’d no doubt head to Person #1 – the speaker with more authority. This is a person millions of people trust, want to learn from, and will, ultimately, purchase from. Person #2 might have amazing ideas and a product destined to become the next big thing, but the authority just isn’t there yet.

Just like in real life, authority matters in digital marketing, too. The Googlebot delivers the tastiest search results to searchers, based on how much clout the site has based on other credible sites linking to it and how relevant the content is. Sites with content that consumers trust and share with friends rise up the authority rankings. Eventually, sales reinforce authority, and the more knowledge that is shared attracts more sales.

Whether you’re a new business or one that has existed for years but can’t seem to outshine the competition, use these five tips to develop authority online and become the go-to for consumers in your industry.

1. Create High-Value Content

The first step to developing authority is to create expert content. Content you share should be credible, factual and provide value to the consumer. Don’t waste your time creating fluff. If you wouldn’t be proud to share it with the top stakeholders at your company, you’re better off investing in content creation for more meaningful pieces.

Content doesn’t have to be serious or stuffy to be authoritative, but it must make an impact. Your content should make the consumer trust in your expertise and want to come back to you for guidance. Great content will get shared organically. Create content with your target audience in mind, whether it’s how-to videos, whitepapers and ebooks, or detailed blog posts.

A Beginner's Guide to Authority Development2. Optimize Everything

Position your content as a solution to searchers’ queries on search engines. Make sure all headlines, subheads, meta descriptions and other content elements are optimized for search. Avoid getting cutesy or funny with headlines. Not including keywords or positioning a headline as a searchable term may land your content lower in results.

The goal is that even newer brands can still build authority when the content is relevant to the search and provides value. As content gets discovered through search and then shared by users, its reach increases naturally.

3. Make Content Known to Influencers

Give your content a boost by sharing it with top influencers in your industry. This helps your authority in the following ways.

  • The influencer may link your content to their own high-authority site, which helps your own authority.
  • Influencers may share your content on their social media channels, which increases its reach.
  • You may be able to form a relationship with the influencer, where you send them content regularly, guest blog for them, or become a resource for them when they’re creating content.

You can find prominent bloggers and journalists on Twitter, or use these ideas to connect with high-quality, relevant influencers. When you need to build authority, using influencer partnerships can accelerate your efforts.

A Beginner's Guide to Authority Development4. Offer Yourself as a Guest Blogger

Another way to create a presence on influential sites to increase your own authority is to directly contribute content. Look at the top sites in your industry, and reach out to their editors. Offer to be a regular contributor. You’ll get a byline and potentially an author bio that mentions your company. Every time that piece of content is linked to or shared, your branding is shared with it.

Guest blogging for authoritative sites is useful because there may be some keywords that another site has already established authority for. By using relationships to contribute to those sites, you gain the benefit of being associated with a publisher that is already trusted.

5. Share Your Authority Online and in Real Life

In addition to optimizing content for search engines, use other tools as PR for your content. These include:

  • Paid advertising, which gets eyeballs on your content quickly. If the content is high-quality, it will naturally get shared.
  • Social media, which can be beneficial when you have an engaged following. Use your channels as regular content distributors.
  • Conferences, where you can volunteer as a speaker. Even reaching out to relevant smaller local groups can give you the opportunity to share your expertise and build your authority.

Authority development requires you to position yourself as a teacher and guide. It’s not enough to state that you’re an expert on your website home page. You can use content marketing and content distribution to attract more qualified leads who come to view you as an authority they can trust.

Need assistance in establishing your brand as an authority in your space? Contact us for a free consultation.