How To Grow Your Authority Online

A few years ago I was at a really awful networking meeting (I might as well be honest about it) where I ended up literally watching the clock, eating stale bread rolls while making depressing ‘conversation’ with astonishingly boring and self-serving people. Not a great morning.

But the worst part was seeing a guy step up to give a talk at the end of the meeting. He’d obviously been given ten minutes and so spoke at a lightning fast rate that made his talk almost incomprehensible. But after a few seconds it became clear that he was an ‘online marketing expert’ from a local company. And give him his due, he made a couple of comments about mobile marketing that rang true.

What was so awful about all of this? Well, I wished it was me up there. For the first time ever I was professionally jealous of another content marketer (or online marketer, or whatever) and I felt terrible, watching him present as the expert. The authority voice in the room.

It hurt so much because I knew more than him. Not only that, I could easily spend my ten minutes saying less and meaning more. In short, I could add more value to the room.

It really sucks when someone who you know is nowhere near as accomplished as you is given all the plaudits, all the respect. It’s not personal, I didn’t hate the guy. I just hated myself for feeling this way. Like I lacked authority.

There is a way to build authority, but it’s a long road. And it’s strewn with rocks bigger than your car. Lots of them.

Me? I’m going to walk that road because I want to be on a bigger stage one day, talking about my field with real authority.

Here’s three ways to build that authority relatively quickly. See what you think.

Blog until your fingers bleed

Not literally, but close. Blogging is the only way to build a body of work online. The more posts of high quality that you have on your site, the more authoritative you seem when people find out about you.

Keep blogging. Keep getting your ideas out there so that anyone who hears about you can check your ideas and insights out. This way, when you start to think about the next stage of building authority, you have something to back things up with.

Create content. And lots of it. It means you’re serious.

Network online

Use social media. Get on Twitter (if that’s where your audience is) and tweet a lot. I currently tweet at least 20 times a day. And I like to think it’s good stuff. Everything I tweet has gone through a kind of filter in my brain that asks questions like would my audience be interested? Or is it relevant to my clients?

Forget what people say about tweeting less. It’s rubbish. I’ve seen a huge leap in engagement since I started tweeting more. And I’m not about to stop now. I love Twitter and the way it makes me feel like I’m adding value.

Use any social media platform that is relevant to your audience and use it well. Get stuff out there and be present and visible. Keep doing it until it starts to feel like a habit. Trust me, it will pay off.

Approach the big guys

Once you’ve got plenty of content and you’re on social like you mean it, then it’s time to approach other bloggers and ask for guest-posting opportunities. After that, and once you have a few posts under your belt, approach the online publishing platforms like B2C or Entrepreneur (if that’s your market).

We’ll cover how to do this another time but the point is that you should only ‘go big’ when you have the body of content and social media stuff behind you, backing you up. That’s the way to build credibility online.

I’m going to follow this three step process for a few months, see what I come up with. If it gets me in front of a crowd within six months, it will have worked. And if it gets me credibility online, I’ll be deliriously happy.

Anything’s better than feeling like I did at that meeting.

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Sal Ashraf

I'm a freelance writer. This site is all about getting more business, and keeping that business, whether you're a solo entrepreneur, or a large company.

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