Establishing Authority: How your content makes you an expert

by Carl Natale on May 19, 2011

Do you know how to become an expert?

Do you know how to become an expert? (© Redbaron |

The core benefit of content marketing is that it enables you to show people that you are an expert.

You do this by sharing your knowledge and insight. Thanks to the Internet, we have countless ways – blogs, Twitter, email, etc. – to show that expertise. It also gives us access to audiences at an economical price – almost free. Note I said almost.

Once you achieve the status of expert, your audience is more likely to trust you and like you. That makes it easier for you to ask for the next level of engagement. That next level may or may not be a sales pitch. Depends on your business and marketing plan. But without the level of trust you achieve by being an expert, converting readers to customers is very hard.

That’s just a very simplified view of the process. There is more to it than that. But first comes establishing your expertise. Below is a sampling of views on how to do that. Including one satirical view to keep experts like me grounded.

The 5 Elements of Authoritative Content

A really good post by Tito Philips on ProBlogger about what makes authoritative content so compelling:

  1. Insight
  2. Simplicity
  3. Depth
  4. Breadth
  5. Relevance

The one element that will set you apart from all the other experts is insight. Use your experience and outlook to make your content different from everyone else’s.

HOW TO: Make Your PR & Marketing Believable

This Mashable post by Erica Swallow focuses on marketing and public relations but applies to content in the first post just as well. Because none of it is doing you any good unless it’s believable. Here are the four elements of believability:

  1. Simple
  2. Human
  3. Brutally Honest
  4. Emotional

Notice this is the second time simple makes the list. Makes sense. If we can’t wrap our minds around a concept quickly, we’re going to resist it. That doesn’t mean dumbing down your content. It means making the introductions to your content as simple as possible. That is getting your foot in the door. Then you have the opportunity to explain yourself after your audience buys into the introduction.

I have a problem with the emotional examples given here. They don’t seem to work very well. But the key is that your emotional triggers need to be as simple as your introductions.

How to Become an Expert

This is me showing my expertise on becoming an expert. You’re going to see some pretty good ideas for gaining the knowledge that qualifies you as an expert and sharing it. It’s a column I wrote for employees to increase their value to the company. But the advice is still good for entrepreneurs.

10 Ways to Look Like You’re a Social Media Expert

Justin Kownacki takes some good jabs at social media experts. Or at least those of us who have no business calling ourselves social media experts. Love #3 on his list. “Write list-based posts about the futility of list-based posts. People love irony.”

Like I said, this is just a sample of how to establish yourself as an expert. But this is a good place to start. I hope it helps.

Do you have any good resources on showing expertise?

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