Developing business authority within an industry, niche or sector can deliver numerous business benefits.

Who is a business authority?  Authority is based on two essential factors – experience and trust.

Authorities – experts in their fields – became experts through years of accumulated experience. They’ve faced the full range of challenges successfully, and have drawn answers from real-world experience.  The best of them learn from their mistakes.

Trust is more difficult to define and create. Trust is built over time, within a company, within an industry, or across numerous industries on a global scale. Trust is built when the authority develops and implements solutions that work, whether it’s cutting company shipping costs or introducing a new building material to the construction industry. Trust is based on results.

Authorities write on their business specialties for publication online or in print. They speak at local events and international conferences. They become recognized names – individuals and companies that are knowledgeable and trustworthy.

What are the advantages of becoming an expert? There are numerous benefits to building your business authority and the authority of your company as a whole.

  • Authorities get referrals through word of mouth (WOM). Build the expertise of your business, and more satisfied clients or customers may refer you to their business spheres. Positive word of mouth is based on successful engagements with your customer base.
  • Authorities receive exposure. It can be as simple as a popular blog, or as prestigious as delivering the keynote address at the annual industry trade show. Authorities tend to receive more attention – a positive for growing companies.
  • Authorities are trend setters, bringing up new topics and “shaping” the discussion within their company, or within their profession or industry. Authorities are in a position to effect change.
  • The opinions and thoughts of authorities are sought out by others including the media, business associates, prospects and clients, industry-specific businesses, other experts, academic institutions – people listen to authorities.
  • Authorities tend to be good corporate citizens, sharing well-considered opinions, suggestions and advice, senior level consultation, innovative strategies and other valuable information to the business community.

Public speaking assists in building your authority with attendees, and those to whom attendees speak about your insightful presentation. Once again, positive word of mouth builds authority.

The problem is, too many of us are too busy running our businesses to spend more time building authority. When in fact, there are some things you can do that won’t take much time or money, but may deliver the benefits that authority creates.

Building Authority: A Process, Not a Goal

Building authority is an on-going process. You may notice that the authorities in our lives continue to publish books, appear on morning talk shows, speak at high-level conventions, and acquire additional training and education.

Social Media and Authority

Authorities must build name recognition. The Internet is a great tool to build a reputation. It’s simple, flexible, very cost efficient and it doesn’t take much time.

Social media, like LinkedIn® and Facebook®, can enable you to increase the reputations of yourself and your company. Create personal and company profiles on all social media platforms – from Twitter® to industry websites that maintain blogs, forums, article posting and other opportunities to help your industry, your company, and your professional credibility.

  • Answer questions within your area of expertise on LinkedIn’s Questions and Answers. Individuals posting on LinkedIn select the best answer, and if it’s your answer, it appears on your LinkedIn profile.
  • Tweet informative industry news on Twitter. Don’t advertise your company or yourself with Tweets that are quickly deleted. Instead, provide useful links to helpful information to increase your Twitter following and, as a result, your authority.
  • Create professional profiles (keep them separate from your personal profiles) on all social media, highlighting your business achievements, awards, certifications, licenses, educational degrees, a client list, links to published documents and other recognized indicators of authority.
  • Create a company blog populated with helpful information or if your company maintains a website, create useful articles in the “Library” section of the site. Update often to keep visitors coming back.

Building Authority within Your Industry

  • Attend industry conventions, conferences, trade shows and other gatherings. Carry a stack of business cards and network, network, network.
  • Offer to speak at an industry convention. Event planners look for industry insiders to speak at a variety of events. Register with event planning companies. Now’s a good time to work on a couple of speeches so you’re prepared if you are invited to speak.
  • Write articles, white papers and other useful content for publication on industry blogs, in industry print publications, journals and other media outlets.
  • Submit press releases. Online press releases are picked up by numerous websites and blogs. Submit press releases to industry publications describing current business activity.
  • Appearances matter. Steve Jobs always wore a black turtle neck and jeans. It was his “brand.” Dress appropriately for your audience. If a business suit is the dress of the day, pick up the dry cleaning. If you’re speaking at a company picnic, more casual attire is expected.

Building Local Authority

  • Speak at local, community functions. Local service organizations, chambers of commerce, the Better Business Bureau® – all of these are opportunities to increase business authority across a broader service area. It also generates positive WOM.
  • Teach an adult education class. If you know accounting software, build local authority by teaching it. In doing so, you help increase your exposure in the community.
  • Sponsor community activities like trade fairs, job fairs, health fairs and other local events. Be there. Volunteer your time to help build the respect of others in your community.
  • Advertise on local media. Cable TV can be low-cost, highly-targeted marketing, and useful in creating regional name recognition and authority.
  • Write a column for the local newspaper. If you’re an authority on personal finance, a weekly column in the local newspaper could help establish your expertise.

The advantages of building business authority extend across all aspects of business and individual professional growth. Although it takes time, it’s time well spent.

 

The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice.