You wouldn't ask a random stranger on the street which car tires they recommend, right? Chances are that you'd go to a repair shop and inquire there.
When looking for advice, people naturally seek out those who are perceived to be authorities on the topic at hand.
Similarly, expecting online users to do business with your company based solely on your word is unrealistic. Positive, unbiased reviews help, of course, but what if you don't have any? The solution lies in creating authoritative content that establishes you and your company as an authority.
Make your content pull double-duty for you by keeping these credibility-building tips in mind:
Keep it Niche
Instead of writing broadly about every subject under the sun, limit your content to topics about which you are extremely knowledgeable. Your expertise will shine through in your writing, and it will lend you instant credibility.
As your audience grows, expand upon the topics that you cover while maintaining a detail-oriented approach.
Keep it Simple
In an effort to come across as being highly educated and exceptionally knowledgeable, online writers often go too far. They load their content with industry-specific jargon and annoying cliches that leave their audiences scratching their heads.
Instead, maintain an approachable style and tone throughout the content that you produce. Before publishing anything, run it through the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level scorer in Microsoft Word or through an online portal.
Quick tip: aim for ninth or 10th grade reading level to appear to a wider audience.
Use Informational Keywords
Demonstrate your authority to search engine bots by optimizing your content with informational keywords. I'm referring here to long-tail keywords that include phrases like, "how to," "instructions" and "steps."
This won't lend you instant credibility, of course. What it will do is give the search engines a head's up that you are providing actionable information for readers.
Work on Earning Inbound Links
Another way to establish authority with the major search engines - and, by extension, online users - is by generating links to your website from authoritative sources. As has long been the case, few things boost a site's ranking for a given keyword quite like backlinks from credible sources.
Unfortunately, there's no surefire way to obtain such links. It often occurs long after you've proven your mettle by producing useful, engaging, relevant content that others want to share, so be consistent about producing high-quality content.
Maintain an Active Social Media Presence
You won't become much of an online authority if you stay "behind the scenes."
People love putting names to faces, so come out of hiding by establishing and maintaining a prominent social media presence.
Remember: establishing a following on social media is a two-way street. You must give if you want to receive, so be actively engaged with other social media pages, and make sure to respond to comments on your social media channels often.
Report Emerging Industry News Quickly
Stay abreast of emerging industry news and be among the first to report it to your readers to gain incredible amounts of authority.
Google Alerts comes very much in handy in this regard. Use apps to "listen" for various topics across various social media channels too.
When new news regarding your industry hits, make sure that you understand it well. Next, produce content about it that makes it more approachable for readers.
Show them why it is relevant to their needs. They will return again and again for news from you.
Write Guest Blogs
Seek out blogs within your industry or niche--or blogs that are tangentially related to what you have to offer--and inquire about guest blogging for one another.
This helps to get your name out there while establishing you as an authority about your specific niche.
Publish Long-Form Content
Blog posts and articles are great, but they shouldn't be the be-all, end-all of your online content marketing strategy.
Not surprisingly, the more deeply you delve into a particular topic, the likelier you are to be perceived as an authority on the subject.
With that in mind, occasionally publish various types of long-form content about subjects that you know very well.
From white papers to ebooks, these pieces should reflect your very best efforts and should be formatted in a professional way.
Share Case Studies
Any time you really impress a client, ask them if you can highlight them in a case study. It's always best to get permission because then you can include them in the project.
By including quotes from satisfied clients in your case studies, you will come across as being a lot more authoritative.
Positive case studies covering real-life clients who you've helped go an incredibly long way toward demonstrating to the world that you know your stuff, so solicit them whenever you can.
Host Chats and Webinars
Once you've established enough of an audience, host chats and webinars to further expand upon the topics about which you are the most knowledgeable.
This is a great way to engage your audience. It also allows you to figure out what types of information your audience craves.
At first, your webinars and chats may be sparsely attended. Don't let it get you down. Do it regularly enough, and you will establish a following in no time.
One last thing: none of the above tips will get you anywhere if you aren't genuinely knowledgeable about the topics that you cover.
This is one case where faking it until you make it won't work, so stick with what you know to more easily establish yourself as a credible online authority.