Nowadays doesn't it seem like everyone has become an "expert" or the new "guru?" There is a very good explanation for the occurrence. Because the average person in the Western world has more computing power in the palm of their hands (mobile access to the internet) than the President of the United States had just 50 years ago, access to just about any piece of information is just a few savvy clicks away.
As a result, learning how to do something and developing specialized skills has become easier and faster than ever before in our time. This convergence of "knowledge access" and "focused application" has produced a level of expertise among the masses that has never been seen before in an industrialized society.
Even at the consumer level, people are more educated and knowledgable than ever before. This occurrence has consequently diluted the power of the average expert within an industry. Being an expert at what you do is now an expected requirement right out of the gate.
What this means is, if you want to succeed within your niche, especially if your niche is highly competitive, being an expert is no longer good enough. You must become a "trusted authority," not just an expert.
Why Position Yourself as a Trusted Authority?
In every buying decision, be it hiring a consultant or finding a good mechanic, we all want someone who is an expert. That's just a given, right? Even more than that we want someone who appears to have a proven solution and can deliver that solution to us easier, faster, and better than anyone else. No one wants someone who may waste our time and money. More than an expert at what you do, people want you to be someone they can trust to deliver those results for them.
This is why being the "trusted authority" will beat the "expert" everytime! You automatically:
1. Stand Out in a Crowded Market
Without attention, no business can survive. Problem is, you’re probably not alone in your market. In fact, you’re probably one fish in an ocean of alternatives. So how do you stand out? You become the go-to authority. By establishing your brand as the obvious choice for those who are choosy, you rise above the noise and sameness. It happens every time. You become the shining star among the night sky.
2. Become the Prize
Humans want what they can’t–or what is difficult to–have. As you become the recognized authority, you gain prestige and popularity, becoming the prize to be won by your prospects and customers. No longer do you chase leads -instead, they chase you.
3. Get Media Attention
Open any newspaper or scan any news blog and you’ll see references to "authorities" up and down the page. Authority experts are essential to media. When reporters develop a story, they need quotes, opinions, facts, and findings from people who know the topic better than anyone else. And so, they turn to the trusted authority.
4. Deliver Results
We are hardwired to listen to authority figures. By wrapping your particular message in authority positioning, your information will not only get attention but it will also get absorbed and used. Your knowledge will be respected more and to break through the clutter and deliver tangible results.
5. Charge Higher Fees
Sarah and Jane own yoga studios. Sarah is a generalist, offering everything from ashtanga to bikram. Sarah teaches restorative yoga–nothing more. Who do you think is going to charge more for a increased health with yoga? It’s obvious.
Because Jane only does one thing, we assume she does it better than Sarah. In turn, we expect to pay more for the extra knowledge, know-how, experience, and quality. The same is true for you. When you are seen as the preeminent authority, people expect to pay for the extra value, allowing you to charge what you’re really worth.
6. Gain Power Partnerships
The same tendencies that draw people to an authority also attract higher quality business partners. If you want to rapidly grow your business, you need to partner with the other authorities in your field. Arranging these partnerships, however, isn’t always easy–unless you’re seen as a fellow leader. In that case, your positioning instantly grants you credibility and respect, opening the door to new audiences and opportunities.
7. Satisfaction & Fulfillment
When you commit to becoming a true authority, you’re committing to much more than getting into print or associating yourself with success. You’re committing to being one of the best in your field. You push the envelope and challenge the general thoughts and culture of your industry.
This dedication to mastery, while equipping you with master level knowledge, will have a side effect: you’ll be happy. Satisfaction and fulfillment are natural offshoots of throwing ourselves into something we’re passionate about. You’ll constantly be learning new things, solving challenging problems, and immersing yourself in a world you love, and you’ll be the happier for it.
Now that you know why authority positioning is so important, let’s take a look at eleven things you can start doing today to be seen as the obvious authority in your field.
Here's how to Position Yourself as a Trusted Authority:
Many people wait for it, but sadly no one is going to tap you on the head with the expert wand. It’s up to you.
"Authority is not given, it's earned!"
By shining a better and brighter light on what you already have–and filling in some gaps along the way–you can position yourself and your brand as one of the leaders in your field. Listen, the more you speak confidently about a topic or problem and offer practical solutions consistantly you will develop a following and an audience!
So, here's what you need to do:
1. Own It
“But I'm not the best.” Sometimes, this is true. Often, it’s not. Even after spending years in a field and producing consistent results, people are wary of standing up and asserting themselves as true authorities. It can be scary; the pressure to deliver certainly increases when you claim authority status. But if you’re ready, if you can help your audience get the results they’re after, it’s time to share your story and own your authority.
2. Define Your Expertise
Don’t be vague about what you do. Be bold and clear. Would you rather work with the woman who says, “Well, I help people do a lot of things, like get more visitors and stuff like that,” or the one who says, “I help you get more traffic, leads, and sales”?
Don't just settle on being an expert, clearly define your expertise!
3. Create an Authority Hub on the web
One of the most effective ways to communicate your authority status is to create an “authority” website. Many elements are involved, but key among them are professional photos, clean design, Social proof (subscribers, testimonials, third party support), and vector symbols of the places your work has been featured in.
4. Create an Authority Intro
Useful with videos, articles, interviews, and live talks, an authority intro is a powerful tool for establishing your preeminence with new audiences as well as ingraining your authority status in the minds of your loyal fans.
For example, Brendon Burchard begins his videos with, “Hey everybody, it’s Brendon Burchard, author of New York TImes best seller The Motivation Manifesto and founder of Experts Academy.”
Note: You don’t have to be an author to have a powerful opening though. You can state your area of expertise, your tagline, and the name of your product or program (“creator of…”). The goal is to leverage your introductions to preframe how you want to be seen and heard.
5. Share Your Authority Story
Your authority story is critical. It connects your big reason why with why your audience will listen to you. Your authority story establishes your voice, and inspires hope. It makes you relatable and motivates your audience to take action.
How do you accomplish all that with a single story? Simply follow this 3 step framework:
1. Start by sharing your struggle and the pain and loss it caused: this allows people to quickly connect and relate to you.
2. Then describe your discovery and the results it got you: this demonstrates why you know what you are talking about and how you can help them.
3. Finally, explain "That's why now you've dedicated your life to helping other people..."
When you use this simple framework, you'll be able to tell your story in a relevant way that positions you correctly in the hearts and minds of your audience.
6. Go Beyond the Blog Post
There are dozens of ways to share your message outside of your blog, but one of the most effective at positioning you as the authority is public speaking. This generates the obvious credibility that comes from having an audience show up and listen to you speak, but, on a deeper level, speaking in public elevates your status because so few people are willing to do it.
Most are terrified by the idea, so the fact that you’re able to get on stage and deliver puts you on another level. (Pro Tip: Feature shots of you speaking on your website and marketing materials as an added authority boost.)
7. Play Hard to Get
The harder something is to attain, the more we value it. It’s human nature. So while you should be available to your audience, you shouldn’t be too available. A prime example is free coaching sessions.
The non-authority will open the door to anyone and everyone who wants a free session in the hopes of converting a percentage to paying clients. This tactic gives the impression that you’re begging for business. The true authority, the one people clamor for, offers free sessions by application, and with the use of a waiting list.
Strategy calls are important, but leverage an automated funnel to attract only those who are your "ideal clients" and weed out the tire kickers. Ain't nobody got time for that!
8. Get Media Attention
Get in print, on radio, on television, and on other websites, blogs, and podcasts. Then feature the media pieces on your site and in your materials.
Now, working with media can seem overwhelming, so start small. Email small blogs in your industry. Contact local radio stations or newspapers that serve small markets. Reach out to friends who may have contacts in the industry. As you build your portfolio, bigger opportunities will emerge.
(ProTip: As you know, reporters are constantly looking for authorities to use in their stories. A popular method to find these experts is HARO, which stands for Help a Reporter Out. After signing up as an expert, for free, you’ll receive daily emails from reporters looking for particular authorities. When there’s a match, you simply reply by email. You're welcome!)
9. Associate with Success
Authority is like glitter–those who come in contact with it can’t help but leave with a little on their sleeve. If you knew nothing of Oprah back when she was first getting started, only that every leader in their field considers her a friend and brilliant t.v. show host, Oprah would adopt authority by association (and she did); as other authorities mingled with her, she became an authority.
You can gain the same respect and status by associating with the leaders in your industry. Among other things, you can interview them, write guest posts for them, review their products, or invite them to speak at your live or digital events.
Pro tip: Launch a podcast, or internet radio show and interview other experts that your audience wants to hear from.
10. Gather Testimonials & Endorsements
On occasion some dear clients and fans will be kind enough to send unsolicited testimonials. We love those people. But hundreds more are waiting to lavish praise on you if you would only ask. So ask.
Send an email to your list asking about the effects your work has had on them. Reach out to colleagues, asking them to offer an endorsement of your expertise. Offer free coaching sessions to people willing to be part of a before-and-after case study to be featured on your site or blog.
Social proof is among the most powerful authority triggers. Instead of waiting for it to fall into your lap, take an active role and gather as many honest and compelling testimonials as you can. Make this a habitual practice.
11. Create an Organization or Event
Creators of organizations, summits, and conferences have forever been granted instant authority; we subconsciously assume the creator must have the approval and respect of the industry, otherwise they wouldn’t have succeeded in pulling it off. This is one of the reasons why I created the Paid To Be YOU Summit, and host my own live events (Hey, I practice what I preach)!
Chris Guillebeau’s World Domination Summit, and the LinkedIn meetups orchestrated by Lewis Howes early in his career are just 2 examples of industry authorities creating an event and leading a community. If you knew nothing of these men, only that they founded their summits and events, you would consider them experts. Such is the power of creation.
So, what kind of event could you create? If a conference or summit is too ambitious, could you gather a few dozen people together for an evening of industry information and entertainment? Perhaps a digital event run from your kitchen table? Decide what is within your reach and take action.
There you have it, the power of Authority positioning and a few tips to help get you started. You can’t fake experience with authority triggers, but you can explode your business when you use them to highlight true knowledge and ability.
It's time to go from expert to authority!
What is one thing you could start doing TODAY to better position yourself as an authority in your niche? Let me know in the comments below.