I am reading an incredible book right now recommended by Mitch Harper entitled, “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” (David Meerman Scott, 2007). I am only a third of the way through the book so far, but one of the main topics has been the importance of establishing authority through the *new* online media.
What is the online media? Well, arguably, the most powerful tool in the new online media is blogging. I have expressed many times that I think blogging is one of the most revolutionary marketing tools we have seen in the past 50 years. Through the vast network that is the Internet, businesses and individuals are promoting themselves and their products and services in every niche possible and with refreshing transparency. Through dedicated and innovative marketing, these pioneers are using blogging as a tool to establish authority in their respective niches and are thereby receiving vital recognition and are raking in incredible profits at the same time.
The Importance of Establishing Authority
Why is establishing authority so important? As I said earlier, through the vast Interweb we have been able to find an audience for every type of product and service. There are now many more business opportunities than there have ever been in the past, all thanks to the new online media. When you establish authority in your given niche, you become an industry leader and, from that, consumers start to seek out your products and services instead of the traditional marketing process, where marketers seek out consumers.
Establishing authority is completely opposite to the old way of doing business. In the past, businesses marketing a product had to interrupt your activity to bring a product or service to your attention. For example, a TV commercial interrupts the show you are watching and may be perceived as an annoyance. Now, for every online product and service, consumers are seeking out the business. When someone types in your product or service into Google, are you on the front page?
There are many examples throughout Scott’s book of individuals and companies who have used blogging, community forums, press releases, and email marketing to increase their customer base and to be seen as an authority in the field. It doesn’t matter whether you sell concrete or provide a freelance service; every type of business or service can benefit from engaging the endless supply of niche consumers that exist online. One business in particular established themselves as the industry leader in commercialized concrete! Who says you can’t sell concrete over the ‘Net?
How Do You Establish Authority?
Authority is not something that comes easily or quickly. However, it can take far less time to establish authority than by marketing to traditional media outlets such as television, radio, and newspaper. Most authorities in the blogosphere, for example, have only been blogging for 2-3 years.
For example, let’s take some well-known bloggers such as Darren Rowse, Shoemoney, and John Chow. All of them have been blogging for less than 3 years, but are linked to endlessly and are seen as authority figures in their respective niches.
Of course, it is not only about the amount of time it takes to be perceived as an authority figure. The creators of the above sites have been blogging with a goal of not just engaging, but helping their readers and by marketing themselves and their products in continually innovative ways.
That being said, three years does not represent an excessive amount of time to become an authority; the time they have spent blogging is more than 99% of us have done because blogging is not something most people work at consistently.
Establish Authority By Gaining Credibility
Many people are now starting blogs to simply “make money online,” but if you can delay the temptation for instant monetary gratification (e.g., Adsense), you will establish credibility and long-term trust at a faster rate. Remember, before you gain authority you must gain credibility. By sacrificing short-term profit, you will show your target audience that you are committed to the greater good of serving your audience instead of bombarding them with ads. Ultimately, to gain credibility, you must help people and not just advertise to them.
Whatever niche you are in, take the time to become an authority. Start by building your community of followers and by implementing an intelligently conceived marketing plan. The barriers to entering the world of online business are extremely low, so more people are hopping onboard everyday. Remember this, and do everything you can to implement your master plan for success!
I highly recommend “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” by David Meerman Scott. Like I said, it came recommended to me by Mitch Harper, who is regarded as a true authority in his given niche (CMS and email marketing webware).
I will be covering more topics that I find interesting in Scott’s book in later posts.