You can’t get by running a business today without proving yourself to be an authority in your niche. If you aren’t an authority, why would anyone want to do business with you? Your clients/customers want and deserve to do business with someone who is and is perceived to be an expert. You owe it to them to become that expert, but it’s not enough to simply BE an expert. You have to prove yourself to be an expert, and the best way to do that is to publish authoritative content on a regular basis. But what exactly IS authoritative content?
Authoritative content, or what I call “Authority Content”, is content that you publish through one of several mediums that demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of your subject matter to such an extent that potential customers and clients will want to pursue a professional relationship with you. They want your knowledge and expertise in their corner.
The following seven types of authority content are proven content. They not only demonstrate the author and publisher as a recognized authority, but they are also effective in attracting the kinds of targeted clientele you want for your business. Each piece of content has its own rules regarding best practices, but they are all demonstrably effective in achieving the goal if done with well-polished professionalism. Here’s the low-down on the 7 most effective types of authority content.
Types of Authority Content That Attract The Right Clients
Let’s get right down to the nitty-gritty. Shall we?
- Website content– Website content needs no introduction. We all know what it is. But not all website content is created equal. Some is effective and some of it isn’t. You want yours to be effective.
Effective website content has three qualities to it that ineffective website content does not have. Those three qualities are:
- Authoritative – In other words, your website content must position you as the go-to expert in your field. You must demonstrate your expertise and knowledge of your subject without boring your website visitors or driving them away. This alone takes real skill in content development.
- Search engine optimized – Another quality of effective website content is its ability to achieve respectable search engine rankings. This quality is called search engine optimization, or SEO. More than any other type of content, your website content must attain excellent SEO benefits if it is to attract the kind of targeted visitor to your website that you want to attract.
- Offers a real solution to a real problem – If you can’t identify your customers’ problems, how will you fix them? Your website content must demonstrate that you know how to solve the problem that your customer is experiencing. That means you must be able to empathize with their struggles and show that you understand them. End your content with a strong call to action to close the sale.
If you achieve these three qualities with every page of website content, you’ll attract the right customers and position yourself as an expert in your niche.
- Blog posts – The problem with website content is that it is static. That is, it doesn’t change. You write it, you publish it, then you let it sit. It’s great for selling your products and services after you get potential customers to your website, but you have to drive traffic to those pages and website content alone is very poor for attracting traffic without some sort of promotion behind it.
Yes, your web pages can achieve respectable search engine rankings, but they rarely do it on their own. Usually, SEO requires some form of link building and landing page promotion. Blog posts are excellent to stepping up to the task.
Unlike website content, blog posts are considered “dynamic” content. That means the content changes. But let me qualify that.
In a real sense, the blog posts themselves will rarely change. You’ll write the content and move on. However, if you see a blog post doing well in the search rankings and attracting a certain amount of targeted traffic based on the keywords you are using, it’s perfectly acceptable to work on that content and improve it so that you amplify the benefits of the content. Blog posts make great doorway pages to your website and allow you to drive traffic to your static web pages where you can close the sale.
Like website content, blog posts need to have three qualities:
- They need to be authoritative
- They should be optimized around specific key phrases
- And they’ve got to drive traffic to specific landing pages on your website where you can close the sale. Alternatively, keeping people on your blog to read more is a good quality, but at some point you want that traffic to filter into your static content where you can make a sales pitch and close the sale.
Are you seeing a theme here? Blog post content is website content with a more dynamic approach to content development. Where website content is designed to give potential customers a broad overview of what you have to offer, blog posts tend to get a little deeper into the weeds of your knowledge and experience, taking authority content to a whole new level.
- Trade articles – Trade articles have a different purpose than blog posts. They are designed to demonstrate your expertise in your subject matter, but on another publisher’s website or in a print publication. Traditionally, trade journals were where experts published articles that would reach the audience they wanted to reach with their content marketing. In the Internet age, trade articles can be published online or offline.
The idea is to write authoritative content that attracts potential clients by putting your expertise in front of your audience where they are already hanging out. That could be on your LinkedIn Pulse blog or in a print trade journal for your profession. It could also be on a third-party website within your niche, or even a blog published by an industry insider. A part of publishing your expertise through trade articles is networking with other professionals within your niche.
- E-mail content – E-mail content is a special kind of content that can exist in several different formats. At the heart of it all, however, is to offer exclusive content to a list of subscribers who have given you permission to contact them either once or periodically over an extended period of time. E-mail content may exist in any of the following formats:
- Regularly scheduled newsletter – Most often, e-mail newsletters are weekly, but they can be bi-weekly or monthly and still be effective.
- One-off e-mail blast – Used to promote a particular product or service, e-mail blasts are great for announcing specials or exclusive offers.
- Autoresponder series – Often used to hook new subscribers on your knowledge and expertise so that you can keep them coming back for more. An autoresponder series is a series of e-mails pre-scheduled to arrive in your subscribers’ inboxes in a particular sequence.
- Survey or poll – If you don’t ask your subscribers what you want to know about them, they may never tell you.
- Brochure or other announcement – Just as it says, e-mail can be used to send out a brochure, event announcement, or other news you want your subscribers to be aware of.
This is not an exhaustive list, however, all e-mail content is designed to offer exclusive content to subscribers, so you want to make sure you deliver the highest quality authoritative content you can deliver to those subscribers if you want to keep them. Some e-mail content is offered for free in order to demonstrate your authority and expertise. Other e-mail content may be offered at a premium price, such as an e-mail course where you teach your knowledge and expertise to an exclusive list willing to pay for it.
- White papers/special reports – Curata reports that 83% of B2B buyers consult white papers to make buying decisions. This data is backed up by this survey conducted by Eccolo Media in 2014, which shows that white papers are the most influential type of content among B2B decision makers.
White papers beat out blog posts, e-mail content, website content, and trade articles as the most influential type of content, but that doesn’t mean you should put all of your eggs in one basket. It does mean, however, that you should have some of your eggs in that basket.
A white paper is an in-depth long article that objectively analyzes a particular problem or challenge your target audience experiences. The goal of the white paper is to address that challenge and to offer a solution without making a strong sales pitch. The decision maker should come away with a better understanding of their own problem and a better idea about the path forward to address it. A well-written white paper suggests your product or service without naming it, making it the perfect soft sales tool.
In some industries, however, white papers may be called special reports or backgrounders. The product is the same and the goal is the same regardless of the name.
- Case studies – Right behind white papers in terms of influence are case studies. The Curata report and the Eccolo Media survey both affirm this to be true. Case studies are simply success stories from your customers’ perspective. In other words, the idea is to show how your product or service has helped someone. The case study writer calls your client or customer, interviews her, and then tells her story in such a way that your potential client, or future client, can see himself in those shoes. It’s another powerful marketing tool.
- Books & e-books – Many entrepreneurs use books they’ve authored as calling cards. Ruth Ross published her own book using a hybrid publishing model and went on to greater success in her consulting practice as a result.
Nothing spells authority quite like your name on the cover of a book. Many business people report that they get speaking engagements and more business from their primary line of work from the books they’ve authored. It’s also important to point out that your books don’t have to be in print. Some authors publish solely in digital format.
What a Healthy Content Marketing Mix Looks Like
The most effective content marketing utilizes a mixed approach to publishing content that reaches out to each of your market segments in a way that entices them to do business with you. You should have a website as your central hub and a blog to keep your website updated with fresh, unique, original content. Beyond that, offer exclusive content to subscribers willing to part with their e-mail addresses. From there, incorporate white papers, case studies, trade articles, and books and e-books to round out your content marketing mix and to reach a maximum percentage of your target audience.
Are you ready to boost your authority? Looking for ways to expand your reach and deliver the best content for your niche audience? Download my free report, “7 Types of Authority Content“. Learn the seven types of content that will keep your audience coming back for more and instantly make you an authority they can rely on.