Building Your Personal Brand
Step 1: Establish Your Authority
Authority is a kind of power. It is the right to determine what others do. But it’s more than that. It also includes the ability to do so.
In order for you to establish authority in your niche, you need to expand your knowledge of the industry. It’s not enough to understand your niche. You must know a great deal more than that.
There are three steps that you go through in order to earn that authority, but you only have control over the first one. The other two will develop on their own. But, you can’t skip the first one in the hope of gaining the second or the third.
That first step is research. And this is where so many Internet marketers fall down. They hate research. They dislike reading, most of them, and their friends feel tired before they even begin to analyze what they’ve learned.
Research feels too much like school, and most entrepreneurs couldn’t wait to leave. They wanted to do, rather than to learn.
But the problem is that without the research, all you ever see is your niche. Perhaps you do know more about it than anyone else. That’s fine as far as it goes, but the thing is that that’s something that anyone can do; and they do. So simply being knowledgeable about your niche doesn’t make you an authority. Instead it just means that you’re like everyone else.
If you do enough research, however, then you begin to move ahead of the pack. You learn about context. Context is the environment in which your niche lives. Within that environment there are other niches; some that complement yours, and others that are just on the fringes. But the power of that broader picture comes from understanding how they all work together.
And when you know that, then you can lead the thoughts of others. That’s the third step: Leadership.
True leaders have willing followers. If no one is following you, if no one is adopting your suggestions, and if no one is interested in your opinions, then you’re not leading them. And therefore, you have no authority.
But, when people start to listen to you, to consult your opinion before taking action, then you can say, hand on heart, that you have authority in your niche. Because it’s only those who do who can influence others to act according to their wishes.
How to Optimize Your Online Presence: Demonstrate That You’re an Expert
Experts have a depth of knowledge in their niche like no one else. They are miners of specialized information, and what they don’t know about their niche doesn’t matter. They’ve separated the slag from the ore.
They learned how to do that by asking better questions than their peers. Like everyone else, they started by learning what to do. The learned every part of every process. They left no stone unturned.
They learned how to implement what they learned, first in the ways of others before them, but then through trial and error developed more effective methods which produced greater results.
And as they learned what to do, and how to do it, they asked why some things were done and not others. Why these tasks? Why these steps? This enabled them to ignore the dross, and focus on extracting the gold.
Their questions got better, too. Why do some sign-up pages work better than others? Why do people buy from one sales letter, but not another?
Indeed, why do people buy at all? And the more they asked why, the purer their gold became: 9 ct, 18ct, and finally 24ct.
Experts do more than just sink a giant shaft into the body of knowledge on their niche. They also share their equipment. They teach others what they themselves have learned about their niche.
And that’s because they know that there’s so much gold in “them thar hills”, that they wouldn’t live long enough to mine it even if they tried.
But that’s not all. Experts also get satisfaction from helping others to succeed, too. And so they flood the field with what they know. They’ll tell anyone who will listen.
They’ll write articles, blog posts, record audios and videos, contribute in forums – they’ll do all that so that others can experience the same success.
The funny thing is that the more they share their wealth, that wealth of knowledge, the more their expertise shines through. One of the reasons for this is that only real experts do this.
Would-be experts don’t know very much, and so they don’t say very much. They can’t because they have nothing to say. Instead, they say what they think will make them look like an expert. But, the only people who are fooled by this ruse are those who make a habit of it.
Be willing to do the research. Be willing to share the research. People respect that and start to view you as an authority.