In the digital realm, “authority” isn’t so much about following orders as about credibility. Professionals with more than their due share of “authority” are known as “thought leaders” because they’re perceived as experts in their respective fields. Audiences listen to them because they know what they’re talking about (or do a very good job of convincing others that they know what they’re talking about).
One doesn’t become an authority figure in the knowledge economy overnight. It takes lots and lots of hard work. That’s the bad news — the good news is it’s not particularly difficult to get started. Begin with these five easy ways to increase your authority online.
- Start a Medium Blog About a Subject You Know Well
Medium is a plug and play blogging platform that makes it easy for non-experts (and non-writers) to build and engage loyal audiences with compelling content. In other words, it’s the perfect place to begin building your authority online. And it’s free.
- Turn Your Personal Website Into Something More Than a Placeholder
Your personal website should never, ever be an afterthought. Nor should it be strictly personal. Transform your personal website into a hub for your professional life, showcasing every aspect of your career that furthers the perception of credibility. For example, this professional website showcases the subject’s public speaking engagements, making it clear that her insights are very much in demand.
- Contribute Short Explainers and Answers to High-Visibility Sites like Business.com and Quora
Create free accounts with high-visibility professional content platforms like Business.com and Inc.com, as well as general-interest platforms like Quora and Answers.com. Don’t spout off on topics about which you’re not an expert (or in which you have an opinionated interest only). Do craft high-quality answers to questions relevant to your target audience, especially those that attract lots of search interest.
- Turn Your LinkedIn Page Into a Resource for Junior Decisionmakers
You were one, once. And you probably wish you’d had a virtual mentor to guide you to wherever you find yourself today. With this general goal in mind, reimagine your LinkedIn page as a resource for younger, less experienced professionals in your field; you’ll build an inordinate amount of goodwill this way.
- Sell or Give Away Your Insights
Why stop with a blog or LinkedIn resource? Make the time, or devote the resources to pay someone else to make the time, to publish longform content that furthers your authority. Ebooks make the most sense in the context of a digital thought leadership strategy. Whether you sell or give away your book for free is your call.
Authority Figures Are Cool Now
Okay, so you never considered yourself much of an authority figure. Many of us don’t. Who wants that rap?
Actually, lots of upwardly mobile professionals do want to be seen as authority figures. Those already at the tops of their respective fields certainly do too. The thing is, the authority figures we turn to for professional insights and advice have seen their stocks steadily rise in recent years as the knowledge economy has grown more complex and inscrutable.
Authority figures, it turns out, are cool now.
And now you know how easy it is to increase your authority online, or at least the perception that you’re authoritative. Time to show the rest of the world just how much you know.