5 Easy Steps To Becoming An Authority

Many of you didn’t know this, but the theme on my blog is the first theme I’ve ever hand-coded from scratch (I wanted it to match my resumé). Because I’m a WordPress theme designing n00b I used WPDesigner.com’s WordPress theme tutorial to show me the ropes. It’s a great tutorial that gave me the basics of how WordPress themes are constructed, and I’m already at work on building other themes using the provided knowledge. In fact, his tutorial was good enough that I’m writing this post, in large part, to promote and link to his content!

This experience got me thinking. WPDesigner has an impressively extensive knowledge of WordPress themes. He took that knowledge, broke it down into chunks that are easily digestible for n00bs, and shared it, free of charge. And what has it gained him?

  • He’s getting linked to because it’s great content.
  • He’s getting better search engine rankings because he’s getting linked to.
  • This in turn leads to more links because more people are discovering his tutorial on search engines, finding his tutorial useful, and linking to him.
  • At the end of it all, he’s getting more clients because he’s become an authority by virtue of the fact that he’s posted great content that has become democratically acknowledged as authoritative. This authority gives him credibility, and that credibility gets him business. Furthermore,  people may use his tutorial but find that their technical skill isn’t equal to the results they want. What do they do next? Hire the guy who wrote the tutorial! Talk about good karma for sharing a little bit of knowledge!

Want more evidence? I could substitute SEOMoz.org for WPDesigner in the above story for when I was learning SEO and it’d be about the same. Their awesome free SEO content for n00bs (and even old veterans) drives sales to their premium tools and forum, and gives them credibility to land major consulting clientele.

So what does this mean to you? Try this 5-step process:

  1. Think about what you do. What are your core competencies? What you you know a lot about, or what are you an expert in?
  2. Come up with a body of content. How would you share what you know with someone who didn’t know anything about it, but wanted to learn? What things are helpful, and what things are just too advanced?
  3. Decide how to break up the content into easy-to-understand chunks. Write it as an ongoing series on your blog. Publish it in one chunk as a guide or blueprint. Do whatever makes the most sense. But whatever you do, make sure it’s easy to follow.
  4. Promote your content to beginners. Go to where people are asking questions online (think nicheoriented forums, Yahoo Answers, or LinkedIn Answers). You’ll have opportunities to share your knowledge and point questioners to the resource you created for them. In the process, you’ll be building authority for yourself and for your content. In addition, you should be getting some tasty linkjuice as a byproduct.
  5. Support your content. If something in the industry or discipline, update your content so it remains valuable. That insures that you don’t become irrelevant.

These are my suggestions. What are some other ways to come up with authoritative cornerstone content?

7 Comments

  1. Great post, Nate. How do you become authority when you don’t already have the authoritative knowledge required to build out an entire site’s worth of content? Let’s say I want an authority site, but I’m only 6 months or a year ahead of the knowledge curve. Is it still possible to become an authority and how long should it take and how would you know when you get there?

  2. Bags – thanks!

    Scott – These are some awesome questions. I’ll draft up another post here in the next day or so as a response, because there’s too much there for a measly comment.

  3. Yes, give your best stuff away for free. My most linked to blog posts and ones with the most comments are those that solid advice backed by real data.

    In this guys case he now has a testimonial about not only does he have tutorials but those tutorials work! It becomes more of a fact that the tutorials are useful and he becomes more of an expert than he was before.

    Ever buy a music album for one song, hoping the rest was good? I did back in the day. That one song was their freebie it was their best!

    If the rest of the songs suck then you feel a little cheated but I never took one album back because the price point was too low to bother. But I was always skeptical of buying another album from that band.

  4. I was working on the other post and got bogged down, but as I was doing more research, I came across this post from Aaron Wall over at SEOBook.com. He has some interesting ideas about authority, and probably more credibility to speak about it than I do. Enjoy!

    What is an Authority?

  5. Yes, give your best stuff away for free. My most linked to blog posts and ones with the most comments are those that solid advice backed by real data.

    In this guys case he now has a testimonial about not only does he have tutorials but those tutorials work! It becomes more of a fact that the tutorials are useful and he becomes more of an expert than he was before.

    Ever buy a music album for one song, hoping the rest was good? I did back in the day. That one song was their freebie it was their best!

    If the rest of the songs suck then you feel a little cheated but I never took one album back because the price point was too low to bother. But I was always skeptical of buying another album from that band.

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