While it may seem that technology has completely changed how we do business, there are many aspects to business marketing that will never change. These are things that are at the very core of what business is: the humanity that guides and defines every business transaction.
From a marketing and branding perspective, one of these core aspects is the importance of being recognized as an authority in an industry or field. The modern techie buzzword for this is “topical authority”, and while the process of achieving authority may have changed somewhat with technology, the importance of it has not diminished one bit.
Why is Authority so Important?
Simply put, being recognized as the expert in your field helps gain the trust of potential customers or clients. Not only will they trust you with their time, but also their money.
If you own an automotive repair shop that specializes in one specific brand of import, you would obviously want to be recognized as the most knowledgeable and skilled shop working on those particular cars. If you have a retail craft store, you would want to be known as the place to go, not only for supplies, but for advice and tips on every type of craft project under the sun.
In both of the instances above, the authority that brought the customer to the business was most likely known beforehand through word of mouth or local reputation. The internet, however, offers a uniquely easy way for a business to gain authority with a potential customer by interaction, without that customer having any prior knowledge of that business. This is precisely what that “Topical Authority” buzzword is all about.
What is Topical Authority?
When people have a question or problem these days, the very first thing they usually do is go to Google or YouTube for answers, advice, or help. Often that answer comes in the form of a video or article (a.k.a. a blog) on the specific topic, and if that content is helpful, the searcher will quickly find the answer or help he or she was looking for. Google and YouTube both ensure that the content they serve up in their search results is helpful, well written, and well formatted through the use of algorithms. This last part is the key to topical authority.
Basically, if your business creates the very best blog on a very specific topic that helps a lot of readers, you will rise to the top of search, not only getting your business seen by more people, but also developing authority and trust with those readers whom you’ve helped or educated. The caveat here is that creating good quality, meaningful content isn’t always easy.
Building Topical Authority for Your Business
We’re not going to get into the details of writing and formatting a blog or producing a video for YouTube here – there is plenty of advice on both our website and around the web. What we want to focus on is the humanity we first talked about which lies at the very core of the process. Content that lacks humanity will most certainly fail to establish authority or gain trust with anyone.
So think of the following list of tips as simply ways to build trust with potential clients. That word “potential” is incredibly important here. The advice we are giving is not based on anyone knowing your business’s reputation beforehand or even having any idea that your business even exists. Your goal is to build authority with potential customers by giving them a positive firsthand experience interacting with your business. You truly can win their trust and maybe even loyalty without having ever had a business transaction with them.
Answer People’s Questions. Providing an informative answer to a common question your customers ask via quality content can help you reach and earn authority with others who are Googling or perusing YouTube looking for an answer.
Solve People’s Problems. This isn’t much different than the above except for expediency. If you are producing content aimed at providing a solution to a known problem, keep it succinct and stay on topic. Any digression or effort to entertain will almost always backfire.
Educate Potential Customers on a particular Product or Service. This is a tricky one. While you may be tempted to guide the reader or viewer directly to your business or away from another, don’t. Only offer truly helpful information that will be of value to them wherever they take their business. They will respect and trust you all the more for offering helpful advice without turning it into a commercial.
Show Potential Buyers How They Can Save Money. This is a great way to earn trust and authority! Any purveyor of a product or service who tells potential customers ways to save money is showing that he or she is on their side and looking out for them.
Be Humble. Being an authority is not about being boastful or looking down on your customers or competition. It is about confidently conveying that, not only are you an expert in your field, but you actually care about the experience of those interested in what you do.
Be Respectful. Lastly, and most importantly, be respectful of your potential customer’s feelings, time, and money. Respect is a two-way street and it always needs to be earned.
If you want help using topical authority to promote your business online, call us at (941) 548-9950 or reach out to us via our webform. We look forward to hearing from you!