How to Build Brand Authority Using Content Marketing
Certain words and concepts often come about when talking about brands, especially the process of branding. “Consistency” is one of them – without it, it would be hard to achieve “recognition,” another important term. “Values” are increasingly important to brands, but it hasn’t eclipsed the importance of the classic “awareness.” And then, there’s “authority.”
Some of these words and concepts – traits if you’d like – are pretty self-explanatory. A brand has to be consistent in its representation, otherwise, it wouldn’t be recognizable. It needs to be recognizable because, well, what’s the point of having a brand if no one recognizes it? and how could they recognize it if they’re not aware of it? Values give brands something people will latch onto for purposes of identification.
Brand authority boils down to – trust. When you’re working on building brand authority, you want your brand to occupy a prominent position in your industry. You want your brand to be the brand people turn to when they want information they can trust. In this article, we’ll show you how you can use content marketing to build your brand authority.
We’ll cover topics that include:
Before you even start thinking about using content marketing to build brand authority, you should understand that you have to be in for the long haul if you plan to succeed. Brand authority is the complete opposite of virality – it doesn’t happen overnight, it doesn’t spread like wildfire, and it’s rarely an unintended consequence of creating content.
Here are some of the things you’ll need when building brand authority that demonstrate why authority is the result of a process and not an occurrence:
A content strategy, one that involves not only content creation but also content placement through channels you have no control of.
A budget, because some of the content you’ll be producing to build authority has to show high production value.
Actual authority, as even the best-produced content, will fail unless there’s the expertise behind it.
It takes time to build and deploy a strategy, just as it takes time to become (or hire) an actual expert. When it comes to expenses, spreading them over time makes more sense financially, not to mention that it might often follow the dynamic as set by the content strategy. So remember – authority equals resources spent to promote real expertise over time.
If you’re new to content marketing, one of the first things you’ll have to worry about is how you can reach your audience when you start producing authority-building content. Ideally, you should already have things like social network profiles in place.
If you’ve dabbled in or maybe even mastered email marketing, you might have a mailing list you can use for your authority-building content. You should also consider building a blog of your own, to have a place where you can publish your content whenever you want. This isn’t a requisite, however, as some types of content don’t need blogs – a study might do better with a good landing and a download page.
Then, you have to consider the channels that are completely out of your control. What are the popular blogs and websites where the members of your industry congregate? Are there any industry-wide newsletters you can contribute to? Is there an established authority with some influence that could boost your authority by giving you some access to their platform? You need to identify them and start working on building relationships that will help you get in – but likely only after you’ve demonstrated you have some authority to offer.
There’s no number of channels or goodwill from other authorities or industry influencers that will help you build authority using bad content. Unless you’re the sole operator in a niche, there’ll be someone else working on establishing their authority. You won’t necessarily have to compete with them, but they will set a standard against which you’ll be compared.
Your content game needs to be up to snuff. For building authority, this means producing content packed with value. Here are some types of content you should consider creating.
Content That Directly Answers Your Clients’ or Customers’ Questions
Arguably the easiest type of authority-building content to create is the content that answers your clients’ or customers’ questions. Creating this type of content not only helps you share your expertise and provide valuable information to your customers but also establishes you as a brand that’s open to communication. A brand that’s listening.
It’s important to note that you won’t have any trouble finding topics that cover the things your clients and customers want to know. If you don’t get them from your customers in direct communication – social networks, especially Twitter, are great for that – you can easily pinpoint them during keyword research. Dive into those longtail keywords fearlessly, there is no such thing as going too niche.
Another common way of establishing authority is by demonstrating industry-specific knowledge and expertise. Even if this type of content doesn’t directly address the casual customer of the brand, it still communicates to them, for example, that your brand is a part of important conversations within the industry. That’s not a place you get to without being an authority.
Content that contains insightful commentary on industry goings-on can work well for building authority. If it demonstrates a unique perspective you can skillfully back up, you’ve got yourself a great guest post. You can also create industry overview content that demonstrates your breadth of knowledge.
Content Containing Original Research
Content containing original research is where things get interesting, but also resource-intensive. A research paper, a survey, a good case study, an industry report – any type of content that brings new and original information that relates to the industry will be lapped up by other content creators, members of the industry, possibly even the media. This just might be the highest-value content you can produce in terms of authority building.
The problem with it is that it’s also often the most expensive. It takes time and often money to do really good research. But if you manage to make it happen at least once a year, your brand authority will get an incredible boost.
Let’s Wrap It Up!
To some extent, relying on content marketing to build brand authority is just like doing anything else with content marketing. You see the channels you have at your disposal, the types of content you can create, the resources you can invest into it, and then come up with a production and deployment plan that balances your needs and capabilities.
The way this use of content marketing differs from others is that the bar for the quality of the content, the value it delivers, and the value that goes into creating it is much higher than if you’re just doing content for search engine rankings. The stakes are higher, the investment is larger, but so is the potential payoff.