How to Create Engaging and Authoritative Content – Part 2
In the first article of this series, we discussed the 80/20 Rule and how content creators should properly approach this strategy in order to enhance both the quality of their content as well as the authority that they project towards their readership.
We also discussed how the great debate over whether your website should be a “niche website” or an “authority website” is a false dichotomy and a red herring argument. You need to be both, as well as embracing long-term strategies that strengthen both the knowledge of your niche, as well as the authority you receive from you audience when writing and speaking about it.
In this essay, we will discuss some of the strategies content creators can utilize to accomplish both of these goals.
I) When becoming an industry authority, armchair critiques will only take you so far. At some point every content creator has to make a decision. When it comes to the industry that you’re writing about, and which you claim to be an authority on, are you content with simply being an outsider looking in? Or do you want your readership to view you as an industry expert and insider that has the latest updates and insights on your market niche?
If you want to be the latter, then you need to start finding local and regional conferences, workshops, and seminars that you can attend and write about. This proactive approach has several advantages to it; the most obvious being that such events provide outstanding content for your website, while also showing your readership that you have a finger on the industry’s pulse.
Second, while you’ve committed yourself to being an online entrepreneur, please tell me you have not forsaken the old fashion business tactic of carrying business cards. When your attending such events, network, network, network, and then network some more for good measure. These events are an outstanding way to not only build up your readership, but also provide great content opportunities through interviews, guest bloggers, keeping up to date on industry trends, as well as profiling some of the leaders within your field.
II) When there are no conferences or seminars to be had, seek out local experts and leaders in your niche. Whether they be academics at your local university, a local business leader, or the president of your local chamber of commerce, the old saying “think globally and act locally” is the real lesson here. Being online entrepreneurs, we often lose site of the fact that one of the most effective ways to build up a solid readership is to walk out the front door and shake hands with your neighbors.
However, you shouldn’t limit yourself with this strategy either. There’s absolutely no reason you can’t have a Skype interview with an industry expert halfway across the world whose business is based in a completely different country (and in doing so, building up a truly global readership and audience).
One of the best ways to net these types of interviews is to understand that…
III) Simply being a content writer isn’t good enough; to succeed you need to become a multi-faceted content creator. There are several advantages to elevating your professional identity, and one of the most obvious is flattering the egos and vanities of prospective academics, business leaders, and organizational leaders by promising recorded interviews rather than simply quoting them in an article.
Academics are a perfect example. Even the modest ones nonetheless have a vanity that’s closely associated with lecture halls, and promising a taped interview that gives them the chance to hold court and offer an expert lecture on a subject that they’re knowledgeable about is too good of an opportunity for most of them to resist.
Beyond being able to net more interviews and create more content opportunities, being multi-faceted in your media platforms offers several pragmatic advantages. The most obvious is that recorded interviews give you a chance to harness and monetize media platforms such as YouTube, which can be an incredibly powerful tool when trying to funnel web traffic to your site in order to boost Google rankings and sales conversions.
When it comes to your readership, offering video postings is not only a great way to “spice up” your content and keep them engaged and coming back, but if you’re smart, you should take your most loyal clients and ask them to do videotaped endorsements of your website in order to boost the trustworthiness and authority of your website (if you can’t get video endorsement, then written endorsements are the next best thing).
But when it comes to reconciling being a multi-faceted content creator with being a niche/authority blog, a word of advice would be….
IV) High quality writing needs to be coupled with high-quality images, photos, and videos. When it comes to images and photos, please don’t get me wrong. I have used Wiki Commons so many times for free photographs that I have folders filled with them. If you’re just starting out, it’s a great resource for free images (as well as making sure you don’t run afoul of copyright laws).
But it has to be stated. Outstanding writing that’s coupled with shoddy and cheap-looking photos, images, and videos comes across as amateurish and “bush league.” At some point you have to “up your game” when it comes to this important and often overlooked component of content creation.
If you become proactive and try to transform yourself into a mover and shaker within your niche, then conferences and interviews can offer a boon for quality photos and images, although that also comes with a word of advice.
I know that both the photo and recording capabilities of smart phones have come a long way and can produce excellent visual content, but the question you have to ask is how using a phone camera to take pictures and record interviews comes across to a prospective client. That’s especially true for older clients who are not nearly as knowledgeable and tech savvy as the younger generation, but even a younger client might view it as being cheesy and amateurish.
Investing into quality equipment comes across as more professional (even if you buy it second-hand at a pawn shop), and the more professional you appear to a prospective client, the more the client in question will not only agree to an interview, but the more likely they are to tap into their own networks in order to let others know about it.
Please note that I didn’t call them a “guest” or an “interviewee.” I called them clients, because that’s exactly what they are if you do your job properly. You win thrice with these clients. Not only are you creating quality content, but the more professional you come across, the more likely the interviewee is likely to become a reader as well as use word-of-mouth advertising in order to let others know about your website. Using quality equipment will also ensure your photos, images, and videos are also top-notch, thus enhancing your website’s visual appeal and readership engagement.
Conclusion – If you’ve truly committed yourself to creating a niche/authority website that will have the ability to create quality and engaging content over the long-term, then at some point you have to make the conscious decision to get into the game and become proactive in regard to your niche and industry.
Making the jump is well worth the reward in regard to the boon it could provide for profitable content, the massive increase in readership through concerted networking, the transition to being a multi-media content creator, and of course, drastically enhancing your company’s long-term profitability.
This step is undeniably what separates the “wheat from the chaff” in regards to online companies who are able to make it over the long haul. The decision you must make is a very simple one. Are you simply a content curator or are you a genuine content creator?
Being a content curator has it’s place (and it will be discussed in the next article), but establishing your website as a genuine authority on your niche means at some point you have to make the transition from rehashing what other respected authorities say and instead becoming a respected authority yourself.