One thing I have been saying ever since I introduced the concept of authority a few years ago - to the point of registering domains of it and creating an annual three-day event on the subject - is that "authoritativeness you cannot attribute to yourself, but it is recognized by your audience."
In fact, it is no secret that it is one of those qualities that you can only boast about if you really have it.
What is authoritativeness?
Being authoritative means being recognized by a fair number of people and in certain circles, as a firm and reliable reference point. Someone to look up to not only with admiration for achievements already made, but more importantly as a true role model to be followed and imitated.
If we think of a few influential people in any field, from sports to business, from culture to art, we will find people who have not only achieved extremely important milestones in their specific fields of endeavor.
These people have quickly become an example to imitate, with thousands of followers-followers-or passionate colleagues trying to replicate every aspect of them: from strategies to habits, from style to behaviors.
I classified authority into 3 stages or types:
- Authoritative expert on results: the one who explains to others what results he has achieved by doing a certain thing, and inviting everyone to do the same.
- Expert authoritative reporter: the one who has studied the market, the players and the events that affect his audience, reports, interprets and explains them, becoming a reference for all.
- Thought Leader or thought leader: the one who has achieved results, studied the subject thoroughly and created his or her own effective model, protocol, system or strategy, which he or she now shares with others.
Why it is important to be authoritative
Authoritativeness is a guarantee of quality precisely because it cannot be artificially bought or contaminated.
Think about it, because you are faced with important decisions almost every day, and the choice always falls to the professional, brand or product that expresses the most authority in your perception.
Some effective examples.
You're sick. Really sick. Who do you turn to?
To the doctor you don't know anything about, or to the chief physician who specializes in treating the disease you suffer from?
You need an advocate to solve a really important problem.
Who do you turn to, the one everyone talks about and considers the "prince of the bar" (assuming you can afford it) or do you randomly walk into the first law firm behind your house?
Yet doctors, lawyers, engineers, architects--they all have the same degree, have gone through the same process, have studied in the same books.
Some are actually better and more capable than others.
However, the fact remains that only a few names resonate and have popularity, following and become a benchmark in their field.
They are authoritative.
Step 1: Authoritativeness and brand positioning
As my friend says. Marco de Veglia In his bestseller "Zero Competitors", if your market is represented by a mountain and on the summit already flies the flag planted by some of your competitors, the only way you can get to the goal first as well is to find-or create-your own mountain.
A peak of your own, which only you know, which is different from the others, which only you will climb and on which you will plant your banner.
It is not difficult but it is essential to do this work: to work on your brand and position it properly so that it is diversified from others and attractive enough for the customer audience you want to acquire.
My brand positioning statement for example speaks clearly and starts just like this:
"Valerio Fioretti is the web marketing specialist for small and medium-sized enterprises."
I don't work-although I don't rule it out, although I do-with big companies.
I don't do graphics and design-although I am capable of doing those tasks.
I do not present myself as an expert communication and performance coach-even though I am hired to solve these problems.
In the eyes of my audience, I deal with a specific coast, and I do it well: web marketing.
You must be able to create an effective, diverse and attractive brand positioning-this is the first step on the road to authority.
Step 2: Create impactful authoritative content.
This is perhaps the sorest note of all but with good strategy, technique and by installing rational (and functional) habits it can be easily solved.
People recognize the authority of a brand or professional if he or she is not just a 24-hour salesman, but demonstrates the ability to give before asking.
There are so many ways to create content, one above all videos, which have the great quality of being extremely versatile and can be squeezed to create an avalanche of content in one go.
I'll explain how.
Yes whether you decide to shoot a video with a webcam, smartphone or professional camera putting your face on it, rather than creating a movie consisting only of slides and voiceover, once the production is finished you will find yourself with a real treasure in your hands.
See how you can take full advantage of a 5-minute authoritative video:
- You can Extract the audio and create a podcast.
- You can transcribe the video, turn it into text, and create a blog post.
- You can capture different still images and use them for your social media posts.
And if the videos start to be a lot, you can put all the transcripts together and create a book with them, just like my friend did Marco Montemagno.
In addition to creating content in different forms from a single source, you also have to think about distributing it properly.
Just to give you some ideas, in addition to the classic social channels:
- Your blog
- Podcast On multiple channels-Apple, Google, Soundcloud, Spotify, Spreaker...
Step 3: Publish an authoritative bestseller
Based on what I explained in the previous point, you can see that creating a book might be a more affordable and easier path than you think.
There are many paths you can take but before we get technical let's look at why it is important to publish a bestselling book.
Since Gutenberg revolutionized printing, making books more accessible, being recognized as an established author is one of the best ways to gain authority in your market.
The concepts are simple: a book does not sell itself, and to be considered a bestseller (or better yet, a long-seller) it is the audience that determines success, it is the readers with their word of mouth that bring new customers, it is the readers who watch your videos, and always they follow you on social media.
As you see, a single book can generate an unstoppable avalanche of audience, customers and authority.
How many advertisements have you seen around of "Think and enrich yourself.", written 100 years ago?
None, yet it sells hundreds of copies every day.
But how can you write a book if you have never written one?
In this free tutorial I explain a lot, but I want to anticipate some strategies you might consider.
1) Ghostwriter. It is my least favorite strategy, but I certainly cannot hide behind a finger. Simply put, you pay someone extremely good and capable to write your book for you.
PRO: super easy, just find the right professionals and pay.
CON: you risk ending up with a product that doesn't represent you, that you don't know is yours, and that Go off the rails.
HOW TO DO IT RIGHT: I have nothing against ghostwriters, there are some very good ones, who have explained to me that the best way is to find a professional who doesn't just write for you but takes the trouble to interview you at length, to ask you over and over again for information and references to read up on, who understands your world and the goal of your book well.
2) Copywriter. This is the right compromise, where you find a person who translates what you say verbally into written words. It could be recordings you send or collections of videos.
PRO: the content is actually your own; the copywriter makes it readable and usable.
CON: you have to work but mostly be precise and follow an outline, or skeleton of the book, otherwise the poor copywriter will go crazy and you will end up with a bad book in your hands.
HOW TO DO IT RIGHT: make sure to carefully plan-before you stand in front of the microphone-each chapter or content you are going to cover verbally.
3) You write it. Here-this is undoubtedly the best solution. Give it a try, it's not that hard, but you don't have to do it all yourself, you can -- in fact you have to -- call the copywriter to get your text fixed and proofread, because no one is born a writer but you want a quality product. Right?
PRO: is your creation, and believe me, when you write the word "END" on the last page, you will realize that you have had a wonderful and unforgettable journey.
CON: It takes time and dedication. It is real work, demanding and many difficulties.
HOW TO DO IT RIGHT: plan the content first by dividing the topics into chapters, paragraphs, etc... that way you will have a path to follow and every day you will know exactly what you need to write about.
Step 4: The audience recognizes you as authoritative
If you have a satisfied audience, you have to give them a way to tell you.
Sure you can always ask for feedback-which will always be private-or tally up your social followers-which, however, whatever they say about you has a very short visibility and shelf life.
The path I chose was to entrust the measurement of my brand reputation to TrustPilot-which I friendly call the Tripadvisor of brands-thanks to which I can collect reviews and opinions about my products without being able to alter or pilot them in any way.
TrustPilot stands up for your customers' freedom of expression, always giving you a right of reply, and setting strict but fair guidelines for everyone: for the brand and for the customer who leaves feedback.
In less than 3 months I have reached-at the time of writing this article-more than 350 reviews of which the 99% are at 4 and 5 stars.
"Valerio but aren't you afraid that someone might attack you and publicly, retaliating against you?"
Indeed the risk is there (my only 1-star review is precisely from a hater) but if you have worked well and built your authority diligently and steadily, you will be fine.
If you are interested in how TrustPilot works and think it may be right for you or your brand, leave me a message here, I can introduce you to the company and give you some tips.
Authoritativeness, along with effective brand positioning, are the best weapons of competitive destruction you will ever have.
By standing out and diversifying yourself, you make yourself unique.
Being rewarded by the public because they see you as a true authoritative, steadfast and insurmountable benchmark represents the ultimate conquest of your niche.
Now I have some questions for you, answer me in the comments:
- Do you think the more "annoying" competitors are really better or just more effective in communication?
- What are your strengths that set you apart from others?
- How are you doing in terms of content? Are you producing enough of it?
I look forward to reading your responses.