These days it seems like everyone and their dog is a “guru” in something.
It’s so easy to set up a website and start churning out information that it’s difficult to stand out and get readers to stick around for longer than ten seconds.
But achieving “expert” status can go a long way in building your following, boosting your traffic, and generating more sales.
The Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing for Business
Why expert status is important
There’s a term in business called “pre-framing” which essentially refers to how people see you and your business before they actually know anything about you.
If you can position yourself as someone who is knowledgeable on a certain topic in your field, you pre-frame yourself as an expert and as someone to be trusted (and we all know that trust is one of the most important factors in attracting leads and customers).
But it’s not just about how people see you; it’s about the actions they take, too.
Think about it:
How many celebrities get paid an absolute fortune to endorse a certain product? And why do they get paid so much time and time again?
Because they have influence.
Becoming an expert gives you influencing powers which will help grow your following, land you amazing opportunities in your industry, and increase the revenue of your business.
So now you know why becoming an expert can help your business, let’s look at how you can position yourself as one using the power of content.
The 3 types of content that will position you as an expert
1. Publish a book
Let’s face it, whenever anyone says they’re a “bestselling author” we automatically deem them more credible than someone who’s not.
But really, in this day and age, anyone and everyone can publish a book with the click of a button.
You no longer need to go through the lengthy and soul-destroying traditional publishing process, and can instead create a book yourself and self-publish it.
The key here is to create something original and fill a gap that’s in your market; the last thing you want to do is write something that’s been written a thousand times before.
To find a topic that’s missing, do your research.
Check out forums in your industry to see the kinds of questions and conversations people are having or write about a personal experience you’ve had relating to your business – maybe you learned an important lesson, or maybe you experimented with a specific technique that not many people have done before.
On the Content Marketing subreddit, there are lots of questions about visuals and videos in content, which might mean there’s a gap in the market there.
Your book needs to be valuable.
I can’t stress that word enough. Sure, you’ll have to push and promote the book like nothing you’ve ever promoted before, but if it’s valuable it will start selling itself over time.
At this point, becoming a bestselling author shouldn’t be your main focus.
You simply want to teach valuable lessons and use your book as another way to build an audience and establish your brand.
You’ve heard of Tim Ferris, right?
Before he wrote the 4 Hour Work Week, he was practically an unknown in the online world. This was back in 2007 when everyone was writing short, shallow blog posts stuffed with keywords. Instead, Tim Ferris wrote an entire book on the topic he wanted to become known for.
Since its release, the book has sold almost 1.5 million copies and has spent more than 4 years on the New York Times bestseller list – not to mention the authority and expertise its awarded Tim Ferris with.
2. Case studies
They say that the proof is in the pudding, and there’s no better way to prove how much of an expert you are than by sharing case studies.
For many marketers, case studies are the best kind of content to publish to help them reach their marketing goals.
But while case studies serve as an important stepping stone in the sales funnel, they also cement your position as an expert and authority figure in your niche.
Because nothing is quite as effective as sharing real-life results with your audience to show that you can walk the walk as well as talk the talk.
So many brands make the mistake of publishing short pieces of content that readers can’t get their teeth into because they lack depth or don’t offer examples – and that’s why case studies are so effective.
Being able to see the results that you’ve garnered for other brands helps it stick in the minds of other potential customers.
If you can show them the journey you took another customer on and the results your product or service got them, they’re going to believe that you can do the same for them.
Basecamp has an entire page on its website dedicated to sharing customer case studies with new projects. Each case study highlights the particular pain points a customer had before using the software, and the results they got when they started using it.
Jeff has a great piece on how to ask your clients for glowing case studies here.
3. Evergreen content
Evergreen content is something that stands the test of time.
It doesn’t cover a news item or the latest trend and instead is something that will still be applicable in two or even ten years.
Usually, these are things like guides or studies that can be used over and over again to illustrate a point, and they usually deep dive into a topic so are longer than most other posts.
Okay, great. But how does creating something that is always relevant make you an expert?
Most people are going to find you and your site via a search engine.
They’ll type in a phrase or query and click on a link to a piece of content on your site and that’s the digital door they’ll take into your virtual shop.
Because evergreen content is always relevant, it is more likely to be searched over and over again – it’s highly unlikely that someone in five years will be researching the Baby Shark phenomenon, for example, because it’s (hopefully) just a fleeting trend.
This means that your evergreen content is likely to be the first point of contact a new prospect has with your brand, which means you want to make it good.
Great evergreen content not only draws visitors to your site in the first place from search engines but it also deep dives into topics that position you as an industry leader.
For Jason Acidre of Kaiser the Sage, evergreen content helped him become an expert in the industry. He created a number of pieces of timeless content that he consistently shares again and again across social media.
The posts may well be seven or more years old, but they still provide immense value to his readers and continue to bring him traffic and brand authority growth.
Expert status is within reach
Today, it’s not enough to post bland blog posts that have been done to death a million times before. Consumers are less trusting than ever and are actively seeking out deeper relationships with the brands and influencers they invest in.
This means cementing yourself as an expert in your industry is absolutely vital if you want to build a loyal and engaged following.
Guest author: Lizzie creates data-driven content for SaaS, marketing, and eCommerce brands. She’s all about nurturing community and piquing curiosity with words which is why she started Wanderful World, a resource site for freelancers and startups that want to create long-term, lucrative businesses. Websites: lizziedavey.com/ and wanderful-world.com/