How to build your brand authority through content marketing

30-second summary:

  • Brand authority can make a huge difference in whether someone decides to buy from you or not.
  • First you have to examine what your current brand recognition is like by seeing how you’re talked about online. This can help you identify opportunity areas.
  • Then you can dive in deeper and start researching typical questions your target audience has. Why? So you can answer them.
  • Finally, you’ll set out to answer the questions you collected in an authoritative way to start building trust.

Please forgive the fact that I’m tweaking a tired adage, but the message is true: Building your brand authority doesn’t happen overnight.

I was reminded of this fact very recently while scrolling through LinkedIn: 

Ongoing marketing efforts are needed to tell an authoritative story and build trust in potential customers. It can always make a difference when someone is deciding between two companies, and it’s even more important with B2B, since those products/services tend to involve a higher cost.

Here’s how you can go about utilizing digital marketing to increase your brand authority.

Note: I’m going to focus on the content itself, but earning backlinks — which is significantly easier to do with high-quality content — is a primary way to indicate to Google that other sites trust you, which signals that you’re more authoritative. Prioritizing your backlink portfolio will dramatically help you in all other authority-building efforts.

Gauge your brand authority level

Don’t assume you already understand how you’re viewed by your audience. Instead, before launching into any marketing strategies, check the data to get a sense of how you’re being perceived.

  • Have your branded searches increased or decreased? What search terms are people pairing with your brand? 
  • How are your customers or leads finding out about your brand? Was it from authoritative interviews or content you put out there or some other way?
  • Are you ever mentioned in the media? If you haven’t already, set up Google Alerts for your brand name and any prominent, public-facing employees. 

Another interesting consideration is: Who are the current authorities in your space? Are you aware of them all?

Brand authority through content marketing

The first way to identify this is to type into Google the phrases you wish you ranked for and see who is ranking for those terms. Sometimes it’s the competitors you knew about, but sometimes other sites have climbed up the authority ladder.

Additionally, you can use tools like SparkToro to search your topic area and see where your audience is going for information. 

Gauging brand authority through tools

If you search for your vertical, you can then see the most popular publications, podcasts, social channels, and more visited by the audience interested in your vertical.

Then the question becomes, are you on these lists? If not, who is and why? What are they doing well? You can aim to be featured on these different media outlets, as you know they appeal to your target audience.

Identify your audience’s questions

If you answer your audience’s questions, they’ll start to trust you and see you as an authority.

The concept sounds simple, and it is. But the execution is harder. First, how do you find out what their questions are?

Here are a few ways:

  • Tools like Answer the Public and BuzzSumo’s Questions will show you what people are asking based on different keywords you enter. 

Snapshot of BuzzSumo’s Questions tool

  • Keyword research can reveal the types of challenges people are facing. Don’t just look at keyword volume — look at “People also ask”. Get lost for a little while, clicking on various questions and related keywords. (Keywords Everywhere is a cool tool for search volume/competition, as is Keyword Surfer).
  • Talk to your sales team about what common questions are coming up. Have you answered these with content? Do they speak to the greater problems your audience faces?
  • Brush up on your audience personas. Different segments of your audience may have different problems. See if you’ve been accidentally neglecting a segment.

Once you have a solid list of the questions your audience has, you can work on effectively answering those questions.

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