16 Tactics to Build Brand Authority
Brand authority is ever more important today as any consumer can virtually find hundreds of competitors within every niche with the click of a button. If you haven’t dedicated time to build your brand authority you could be missing out on revenue, website traffic, partnerships and even media appearances. And this translates into a smaller market share, having a harder time converting your prospects, selling to high level prices and struggling with your own productivity, joy in life and in business.
So what is this brand authority that so many marketing professionals like to talk about? Brand authority is how consumers, partners, and the general public perceives a company. It is desired to be perceived as an expert within your industry or topic to be able to grow your business with ease.
And while this is something all companies strive to achieve, it is not something a company can confer on itself (even though some dare to call themselves the #1 in a field, only to read the small print and found that they’ve assigned that title to themselves without any market research or validation from its customers)
Brand authority is essentially about being perceived as an expert, a provider of quality service and a company that can be trusted to deliver on its promise. It is an endeavor that takes commitment, time and actual actionable steps. The very good news is that achieving expert level in the public’s eye isn’t out of your control.
Here are sixteen tactics that will help you build brand authority and establish yourself and your business as experts in your niche.
1. Create powerful, niche content
Content marketing is a great way to establish brand reputation, however you need to dig really deep into who your ideal client is, what are their pains and how your expertise can help them find a solution. Avoid general content because there are thousands of websites focusing specifically on that. In other words, if you want to set yourself apart and show up as an expert move away from general 4 tips to succeed online towards more powerful, and niche content that your client needs to sooth the pain.
2. Make your website user friendly
This is something that most businesses and professionals tend to overlook. Your website might represent your brand but if you’re using it to sell (promote) your products and services the user experience is for your visitors (thus potential client) and not yourself, or your team. So even if you might be a fan of bold purple and yellow, your clients might hate it. Same goes for bulky elements, all kinds of effects and bulky, busy website themes. Keep your website clean, simple but effective in guiding your visitors to finding what they need.
Ideally you would hire a brand strategist and a website designer (or developer) to put that into effect. The more user friendly your website, the easier it is going to be for visitors to become leads and clients.
3. Use Testimonials & Case Studies
A great way to establish your brand authority is to use testimonials and case studies to create validation and proof of your systems and innovative thinking. It’s word-of-mouth that builds trust, creates awesome keywords for your SEO strategy and it triggers potential customers by showing them you can solve their problems too.
While this is a pretty basic strategy to build brand authority, not many businesses actually do it. Oftentimes, businesses don’t use testimonials or case studies in their visibility strategy because of two reasons: they don’t know how or they believe they don’t have any really good examples.
4. Apply to become a guest on podcasts
Building brand authority is essentially about how others perceive you. If you want more of your ideal clients to know about you and what you do, then a PR outreach campaign should be part of the visibility strategy. The easiest way to get started is to reach out to podcast hosts in your specific niche and ask if you could be on their show.
This is a tactic that will work only if you do your research ahead of time. Do not apply for every podcast under the sun. Spend time and listen to at least one episode, get a feel of the host, look at the number of episodes they have out, check out previous guests and the topics covered. Think about what you can bring to the show that would be of value to its audience and make sure you include that in your pitch.
5. Hunt a guest blogging opportunity on a website important to your target audience
I know you’ve heard about guest blogging before, and chances are you’ve likely tried it yourself. But how about some high level guest blogging opportunities, like being a contributor for the likes of Forbes, Entrepreneur.com or Inc? Sounds like a dream? Well it’s a dream that can be achieved and this one is linked directly to how you show up as an expert in your field.
There are various way to attempt and get a contributor collaboration with a high level website. Most of them have information on how to become a contributor on their websites, but the best way to secure a spot is to build your reputation up to the point where you can easily say “I am the expert in this niche”.
6. Be visible on social media, but choose your channels with attention
When someone gets started in business, they usually attempt to be visible on all social media channels at the same time. Obviously that is time-consuming to say the least. The other downside is that you’re spreading yourself thin, your message gets diluted and you’re not spending enough time where your audience not only likes to hang out, but it is also open to receiving ideas and information.
Let’s say you are a business owner in a B2B company (marketing, advertising, consultancy agency) and are looking for ways to build your reputation among other business owners in the niches you serve. You plan on doing that by sharing case studies, strategies and other educational content in the B2B field. Social media is part of your communication strategy but you need to choose your channels with attention. An interaction on LinkedIn is pretty different than an interaction on Facebook, or Instagram.
Find out where your ideal clients like to hang out during and after business hours and discover how you can adapt your message to various channels. Ask yourself what would give you the most bang for your buck in the next year? Would it be developing an Instagram page where your company shares lifestyle moments, or would it be developing a strong LinkedIn presence for yourself as the brand owner, and your team of experts?
7. Write a book
It’s never been easier to write and publish a book. Whether it is an eBook or a hardcover one, there are multiple ways to make the process 100x easier than it was 10 yrs ago. Amazon now allows self-published authors to upload their manuscript on KDP and publish as an eBook or sell it as an actual print book, without you having to buy any product.
You don’t even have to spend time writing the actual book, publish or promote it. You can hire a coach to help you draft out the essential, outsource the actual writing to a ghost writer, hire an editor to oversee the process and at the end leave it to a marketing professional to do the publishing and the promotional campaign.
If you know your stuff really well, if you have plenty of case studies under your belt and you feel that your ideal client could benefit from a book covering specific aspects of your niche, it’s time to start thinking about this opportunity to build brand authority.
The only thing left that could be preventing you from planning out this objective would be mindset. If you believe your experience isn’t good enough, you might want to work with a coach to figure out what your mindset limitations are and how you’ve used those presets to self-sabotage your own success. Yes, this is a real thing and it’s happening to all of us. The good news is that it’s not a permanent state, and you could even change your beliefs by yourself. If you want it to happen faster and with long term results, I strongly recommend employing the help of a mindset coach.
8. Launch a course
Building brand authority if oftentimes linked to upgrading your role from implementer to educator. It can be a daunting process if you’re going at it without guidance. Yes, even if you know your stuff inside out, your mindset is still going to make a dramatic appearance and tell you you’re worthless. But don’t leave that stop you.
Writing and launching a course is a great way to build yourself up as an expert, set yourself apart from competitors, attract team members and even get prospects for your business. Your course could be free, or could be paid, it is up to you to decide, but at the end of the day, launching your own course is going to give you the image of an expert.
Make sure your course is valuable though. You don’t want your audience to feel disappointed.
9. Launch your own podcast
Running a podcast is a great way to establish brand authority, set yourself in the field and increase both your visibility and attractiveness. You are no longer just selling, but you are becoming an educator, a facilitator that helps your target client learn how they can solve their problems. You are also giving your audience a new element to your brand identity: your actual voice, which can help them connect with you on a human level, rather than a cold business to consumer (or business) type of communication.
You can talk about how you do what you do, and invite your customers to discuss about their pains and how they found a solution, or have fellow professionals over to talk about various other pains your target customer might have.
Before you jump on board, make sure you know where you’re going with your podcast. Draft the content plan for your first season, and record a couple of episodes before even promoting or launching it.
10. Run webinars & trainings
This is a great way to not only establish brand authority, but to actually connect with your ideal clients, to connect with them on a deeper level, something that it is hard to achieve when only using text (articles, ebooks, white papers). Take it one step further and do some webinars or trainings live, so you can actually interact with your audience and make personal connections.
Another great way to use this tactic is to run offline webinars and trainings, where the one-on-one interaction can be even more powerful and where you can make an even better first impression.
11. Go to meetups & offline networking events
I can not stress this enough: online can take only so far. If you really want to make a dent, especially when it comes to building brand reputation in the B2B world, you need to step off the screen and go mingle.
There are thousands of events like meetups, conference, workshops where you can network not only to promote yourself, but to connect with fellow entrepreneurs, business owners and professionals. Whether you show up for such events as a participant, a speaker or as a host, be present, be appreciative of people who are there with you and always offer valuable insights and advice before you try to make a sale.
In person interactions will always be more of more impact in generating relationships that are based on trust, respect and even friendship. 12. Learn from the best
Mentors, coaches and consultants have become the norm for people in business who want to grow easier, faster, be better CEOs, get better in things like sales, leadership, creative thinking, or have more control of their life, health, and mindset. The word of advice when it comes to progressing in business and in life is to go learn from the best.
Recommended read: 7 Signs You Need A Marketing Coach
13. Partner with powerful players in related fields
A lot of businesses use partnerships to increase their visibility and build authority. It can come in many forms. Sometimes it can be choosing a powerful player selling something that builds upon the quality of your own products or services. Sometimes it can be switching to better, more reliable technology. It can also be teaming up with a professional or fellow expert to build an amazing course, launch a book, a webinar or a series of trainings.
14. Apply for business awards
While some B2C companies might not see the point in this, there are many B2B companies that use business awards as a way to build brand awareness, authority, and to even get clients. This strategy puts you in a room with high-achievers, people who are rocking their fields, just like you. It gives you a chance to network with them, promote your business, make some leads even if you’re not actually winning. If you do, then it will definitely set yourself apart from your competition and tell your audience, your business is not an ordinary one.
On top of it all, most such business awards invest considerably into their marketing and becoming a finalist, or a winner, can actually get your name in the press. How does Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award sound?
15. Get certified
Certifications show your prospects that you have invested in getting the proper training, education, or even equipment know-how to deliver on your promises. You’re taking your expertise one step further with industry-recognized certifications that can attest your level of knowledge, time in business, and ability to use the tools in your processes.
Obviously, certifications aren’t really essential anymore and I do hope I haven’t triggered any impostor syndrome symptoms while you’re reading this. It’s a good thing to have and remember that we’re never really done learning and improving our skills.
16. Join professional associations
Going at it by yourself is one way to make it in the world of business. Another way, a more effective one I would say, is to join professional associations for experts in your field. That membership can bring you more clients, partnerships and will help you increase your brand reputation by building trust.
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