Brand authority is about far more than just “image control.” It is the culmination of excellent customer service, uncompromising business ethics, and, of course, effective message-sharing. When people consider you the “go-to” company for your particular product, then you’ve got brand authority. This can be hard to measure with any single objective number or metric — but it’s paramount to success, especially in the online world. Let’s take a quick look at a few quick tips that can help you increase your authority.
FIND YOUR NICHE
Brand authority comes to those who are focused in their efforts. Only so many companies can hold strong brand authority for the same services. Don’t go for “we sell clothes” when you can stake a claim on “we sell custom outfits you design for yourself online” instead. In the real world, people may prefer to shop exclusively at Wal-Mart, but with the ease of browsing online, you’ll find many people prefer specialized sites and services.
Of course, there’s always the possibility of expanding beyond your niche once you’ve got your footing. (Remember how in the 1990’s Amazon was just an online bookstore?) Keeping an open mind and listening to your audience can take you amazing places, but even many of the giants of the business world started small with a hyper focus on the customers who would end up getting them off the ground.
ALWAYS ADD VALUE
Original online content can work wonders for your image while also attracting a steady stream of high-quality inbound traffic. Nothing says authority like showing up in other people’s citations. (In fact, this is also one of Google’s key metrics for judging which sites deserve to rank well!)
Getting positive results out of your content marketing strategy is mostly the result of providing information, entertainment, or inspiration that is so good it can’t be ignored. The internet is full of spammy advertisers, fake news, and flat earthers, so many netizens are automatically a tad suspicious of info they see from websites/companies they don’t already know. Providing well-sourced, well-written, verifiable online content is crucial.
- Respond to Comments. Let no question go unanswered. You want to show everyone that you’re their best bet for fast, accurate information about your industry. You should be doing this on social media as well. Be sure to engage with Youtube subscribers and Facebook followers in the same way.
Leverage Guest Blogging. Make a commitment to write guest posts for industry-related blogs on a regular basis. If people see that you’re trusted by other professionals, they’re likely to absorb some of that trust themselves — so make the rounds! Hosting guest bloggers is also a good organic growth strategy. You want people to see you collaborating with industry influencers, after all!Build a Network of Backlinks. Again, you want people to find your content on other trusted sites all around the web. So network with others in your sphere and see if you can get a shout out on their page. (And don’t overlook the SEO benefits of backlinks, either!)
APPEAL TO THE AUTHORITY OF GOOGLE
People trust what pops up on that first page of results. When someone asks Google the who, what, why or how of your industry, make sure your website appears high in the results listing. Go for the gold if you can, and try to commandeer that coveted Google Answer Box.
It pays to think creatively here, too. Remember that not everyone is going to be asking Google for your specific product. Many might not even know you exist yet. So think outside the box when you try to optimize for search engine queries.
It can be tricky to manage brand authority because it’s not totally within your control. It’s something bestowed upon a you by your audience. That said, the digital age provides a unique landscape for building up a positive public perception. To fully capitalize on the opportunities that the world wide web presents, brands should strive to be informative, trustworthy, and genuinely helpful. Do good and good will come for you.