October 6, 2016
Have you heard? Content marketing is dead, or so they say.
“There’s too much content out there, and more pouring online every day. You’ll never get noticed!”
Apocalyptic, isn’t it?
Luckily, it couldn’t be further from the truth.
While it’s true that the waves of the content sea keep lapping at the shore, people are getting smarter, and the “bad content” detectors on the average consumer are getting stronger.
Because of this, content marketers far and wide need not be concerned about the frantic shouts that the field is dead – they just need to focus more on content authority.
When a brand’s content has a high level of authority, it allows brands in all industries to stand out from their competition and to be one of the companies that manages to stay afloat on the content sea.
What is Content Authority?
Content authority is that little something extra that makes readers go, “Yeah. This is good stuff.”
Brands with a high level of content authority aren’t just writing to fill blogs and webpages. Instead, they’re digging into topics that interest their readers, providing unique information, conducting their own case studies, creating their own graphics, and doing all manner of things that make content stand out.
While content authority serves to increase reader trust in a brand, it also strengthens the brand itself. By creating high-authority content, a brand establishes itself as an industry leader and manages to enjoy a spot of prominence online.
In the world of content and inbound marketing, brands like HubSpot, BuzzSumo, Copyblogger, and Search Engine Journal all have high levels of content authority. We trust what they say, and we understand the content they put out is just as important to them as it is to us.
Because of this, we keep coming back to these platforms, and it’s partially because they’ve established such a high level of content authority that they manage to be so visible online.
How to Build Content Authority: 3 Smart Steps
While any good brand needs a high level of content authority, building it is often easier said than done.
For one, content authority doesn’t happen overnight. If you think about it, building content authority is essentially building trust with your readers, and building trust takes time. Because of this, brands that want to create a high level of content authority must first brace themselves to spend lots of time on the process. It doesn’t happen overnight. Once you understand this, though, you can move on to the next three steps of content authority:
1. Focus on collaboration and connectedness
Content marketers don’t exist on an island, and focusing on building collaborative, connected relationships is one of the best ways to immediately boost content authority. If you think about it, examples of this are everywhere throughout music, entertainment and marketing.
If you’ve ever been to a concert, you know that a smaller, less-known band often opens for the headlining act. While this warms the audience up and makes the headliner’s job easier, it also provides invaluable exposure for the smaller band. By partnering and collaborating with the larger band, the smaller group gains exposure, views and fans, which help boost its recognition in the community.
The same thing goes for content. By working to collaborate with influencers, large brands, and idols in your industry, you can easily create quality content with a high level of authority for your users.
2. Be willing to work
Great content is made, not born. Even the best writers, thinkers and researchers have to put in time, effort, and concentration to develop excellent content with a high level of authority. With this in mind, it’s time to lace up your boots and get to work. If authoritative content were easy, everyone would be at the front of the pack, and this would make it that much harder to get noticed and carve out a spot for yourself in the industry.
Luckily for you, authoritative content is hard, and only the brands actually dedicated to mastering it will excel. While it may take some time for the authority of your content to catch on, you’ll begin to build an audience and gain a prominent spot online as long as you’re willing to continue working (and working hard!) at it.
3. Be as flexible as possible
What doesn’t bend breaks, and one of the best-kept secrets about authoritative content is that it’s born from a willingness to be receptive and flexible. Think, for a moment, about a cartography company that has remained convinced the world was flat, despite ample evidence to the contrary. Nobody would buy its maps, and it would become the laughingstock in the industry. Nobody wants this. To avoid this outcome, it’s critical to be receptive to new information wherever possible.
Content marketing trends change, new tech is released, consumer preferences switch at the speed of light, and marketers in today’s day and age are being flooded with new information on a near-daily basis. Prevent yourself from becoming outdated and irrelevant by being willing to keep up with these rapidly changing trends. In addition to showcasing your flexibility, this also helps you to cater more efficiently to your readers and create a brand identity that’s associated with being flexible, reasonable and willing to learn.
Content Authority: The Key to a Lasting Online Presence
Content authority is a difficult thing to create, but it’s a goal you need to remain focused on. When you dedicate yourself and your brand to quality content, beautiful things happen.
In addition to creating a more beneficial selection of online content, focusing on content authority also allows you to strengthen your brand voice and connect more efficiently with your customers. This, in turn, helps you become a long-lasting and reputable company that’s poised for long-term success in your given industry.
Julia McCoy is a serial content marketer, entrepreneur, and bestselling author. She founded a multi-million dollar content agency, Express Writers, with nothing more than $75 at 19 years old. Today, her team has nearly 100 expert content creators on staff, and serves thousands of clients around the world. She's earned her way to the top 30 worldwide content marketers, and has a passion for sharing what she knows in her books and in her online course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course. Julia also hosts The Write Podcast on iTunes.