Leveraging Original Content to Build Engagement, Expertise and Trust
So many people and businesses are online today and that means there are a lot of options out there for people to choose from when they have a problem to solve or need some information. It may seem impossible to get yourself to stand out as someone who has authority. But with a little hard work, it is possible.
The key is to focus on turning out original content. Sure it’s easy to share links from other sources or @mention others, but if you really want people to view you as a trusted source for expertise in your field, you need to prove it. And to prove it, you have to show that you know what you are talking about by putting out your own original content.
Before you start pumping out a bunch of original content, there are a few key points you should understand. First, focus on a niche. If you want people to view your brand as an authority, you need to specialize in something. So don’t be a jack-of-all-trades because you’ll be seen as a master of none. Instead, narrowly focus on what your ideal clients want or need.
Second, understand that becoming an authority takes time so you’ll need plenty of patience. This is a marathon and not a sprint; so don’t rush to get a bunch of content out to gain a faster following. Your content will just look unpolished and seem less trustworthy.
Third, set yourself some measurable goals. Not only will it help you to have some patience for the long game, but it will also help your brand post meaningful original content instead of posting aimlessly. Make sure your goals are specific and measurable but also be sure they are relevant and achievable. These goals should help you take small steps toward becoming an authority on social media by posting meaningful and relevant content.
Now, on to the best practices for creating and sharing that original content!
Aesthetics are Important
First impressions are important. This is because it is the source of attraction for many. Think of it this way, would you want to take advice from someone who just rolled out of bed or from someone who looks more put together?
To create the right aesthetic, make sure that you choose a nice profile picture and cover graphic. You also want to make sure that you create a look for your brand. Colors and fonts should be the same over all your graphics to create a cohesive look. It will also help people identify content that is from your brand.
Don’t Be a Spammer
It’s important to build trust, not just make connections. This is where having some patience comes into play. Don’t spam people with a bunch of content in the feeds or inboxes. Doing so will just turn people off.
Instead, focus on creating a meaningful schedule of content. Create a monthly schedule of social media posts. For example, each month you share one blog post a week. Then as part of promoting those blog posts, you have two scheduled social posts about each of those blog posts per platform: one that promotes the blog the day it goes out and another that promotes the blog post again later for those who may have missed it the first time around. By having a monthly schedule, it will keep you from going overboard on creating and sharing content. It will also mean that you have more time to focus on creating meaningful original content.
This is probably one of the most important aspects of creating original content—it must provide value to your audience. When creating content, always ask yourself, “What’s in it for them?” Always look at your content from the audience’s perspective and how they can benefit from it. If they don’t see value in what you are offering, they will turn to someone else who does provide value.
Here are some creative types of content that are sure to provide value for your audience:
- Blog Posts: this longer content style allows you to share your own expertise in a thoughtful way. Be sure to choose a smaller topic within your niche to focus on each post.
- Podcasts: podcasts are making a resurgence and can be audio only or video (YouTube is a great way to share your podcast as a video). Like blog posts, focus on a smaller topic within your niche. You can even invite on guests who are seen as experts, lending you credibility and authority.
- Videos: this content form is one of the most engaging and can be very personable too. Whether you are sharing a few quick tips or a tutorial, you can offer a lot of quality information and content this way.
- Infographics: people love infographics because they are a handy visual aide. They are great for including in blog posts or sharing on platforms like Twitter and Pinterest.
- Downloads: there are a variety of things you can share that your community can download, whether it is a handy checklist, a set of custom labels for organization, an ebook or even reports with helpful information.
What this all means is that you must be willing to share your best knowledge with your community. Don’t hold back. Instead, give them your best insider tips and tricks and provide them that value.
Don’t worry; giving away all this knowledge doesn’t mean you will lose potential sales if that is your bottom line. The opposite is true, in fact. Those who take and use your information may not have been able to pay for your services, but they do view you as an authority and will happily recommend you to someone else who can pay you for your services.
Just like you want to be consistent with the visual look of your brand and posting schedule, you also want to ensure that you have a brand voice as well. Your writing style should be consistent from your blog to your social media posts. Having a consistent visual look and writing style while sticking to a niche plus posting consistently will help your community begin to see you as a reliable source of information. And when a core group of people begin to view your brand as an authority, others will follow and your community will grow.
Make it Engaging
Focus on making your original content engaging. The most engaging content are photos, graphics and videos. So include these items in your blog posts and be sure that your social media posts to Facebook include a photo or video as these posts attract more engagement from users.
In some instances, it will be okay to have a slightly less polished look. It depends on what platform you are using or what you are doing in your video. TikTok is known as a very casual platform so users don’t always expect your material to be highly polished. Instagram, on the other hand is the complete opposite. The more professional your photos and videos look, the more they will capture peoples’ attention. If your video is filmed ahead of time, make sure that you use good lighting and colour correct. However, if you are going live spur of the moment to show people what you are up to, just go with the flow.
It’s also important for you to be open and engaging to your community as well. Be sure to respond to comments and answer questions, but also ask what your community wants or what is important to them. It lets them know that they are important to you and that you want to focus on their needs. And remember, it’s okay to not always know the answer. Don’t be afraid to say so but that you will look into it.
Build Relationships with Other Experts and Influencers
Don’t forget to reach out to other authority figures in your niche that target the same audience. You may think this is counter-intuitive to befriend the competition, but relationships like this can be mutually beneficial.
One way to benefit from these relationships is to do a collaboration with them. This gives you an opportunity to be introduced to their community and they to yours, allowing you to grow your audience. Collaborations also give third party credibility and social proof.
To build these relationships, start slowly, and build trust. Begin by checking out their blog and if you find value in it, share it with your community to start sending traffic their way—it’s a simple gesture that can have a big impact. Later, begin to reach out on a platform like Twitter or Facebook where you can start or join a conversation with them in a natural way.
Becoming an authority doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time to build trust and relationships and requires consistently providing value. In the long run, all the investment will be worth it. As a trusted expert, you will be top of mind in your community when they need someone to go to for information.