Building brand authority for your service based business is a long-game marketing strategy. But, these 7 actionable ideas can be started today.
Brand authority is a tool that can be an amazing tool to leverage if your business is selling a service, an idea or an expertise. Whether you own a social media marketing company, a personal brand that speaks on stages or an author who sells their written word, building your brand’s authority is a great way to support your business goals.
But what does it even mean to have brand authority? Isn’t it just the latest buzzword?
The not-so-secret, secret? It doesn’t happen overnight and it’s not something that you can 1-2-3 step your way into.
There are, however, a few strategies and tips to keep in mind as you work towards building brand authority in your space.
So today, we’re going to explore all things brand authority – what it is, how to build it and why it matters.
In This Article
>> What is brand authority?
>> Why do you need it?
>> Determine what, in fact, you want to be known for
>> Publish valuable content on a regular basis aligned with your brand’s expertise
>> Have a consistent and cohesive brand presence – internal and external
>> Make guest podcast appearances on related podcasts
>> Speak to relevant groups about an area of your brand’s expertise
>> Showcase client testimonials, results and work related to your expertise
>> Pick a marketing strategy and stick to it
>> Additional brand resources
What is brand authority?
Here at WCO, we define brand authority as the earned perception of trust and impact, within a particular area of expertise, that a brand has on both its customers and industry.
And just like building a brand, your brand’s authority doesn’t happen overnight – perception is a long game. Additionally, you don’t have 100% total control over how reliable, experienced, credible or trustworthy your audience thinks your brand is. They determine how much brand authority your business has and more often than not, it’s dependent on how much trust, respect and connectedness they have with your business.
Why do you need it?
As a service provider or brand selling an expertise, consumers are looking for industry experts they can trust and rely on. To know that their investment is going to be a resource well spent.
So, how do we determine what’s a good investment and what’s not?
When we have so much information to take in, it can be overwhelming to compare and contrast dozens of options. This overload leads us to people and brands that we can trust to be that voice of reason in making a decision – and that’s where brand authority comes in. The goal is to be trusted enough to hold that perception in a person’s mind as a support for decision making.
Determine what, in fact, you want to be known for
There’s an exercise that we go through with clients and it’s all around this idea of defining and getting clarity on the one thing they want to be known for. Because, it’s really, really hard to be perceived as an authority in #allthethings.
The goal here is to think about how you want people (ideally, your right people) to perceive your brand and your work, and determine what it is that you want to be associated with. To have brand authority in what space, area, category, etc.
Think about how you work, who you’re a great fit for, the results that you deliver, the experience that you provide – what comes to mind when you envision two people having a conversation and someone saying, “Oh, you have to go to [your business] because they’re so great at [xyz thing]!”
The idea being, once you determine what you want to be associated with most, you can then work to build brand authority for that thing.
Publish valuable content that’s aligned with your brand’s expertise, regularly
Regularly is chosen intentionally because it’s a subjective word – it can mean every day, every week or every month. The idea, though, is that you are picking a cadence and sticking to it. Often, we’ll come outta the gate with the expectation that we’ll post 3, 4 or 5 days per week but after a few weeks, that number slowly starts to creep down. Instead of having that drop off, pick a doable schedule from the start so that you can maintain it for a long period of time.
The other piece to this is sharing content that’s valuable and aligned with your expertise, the thing you want to be known for.
Determine what valuable means to your brand and keep that in mind when you show up to share. For example, perhaps valuable to you means sharing a vulnerable story that builds connection but to someone else, it means sharing an actionable tip that can be acted on that day. There’s no right or wrong answer here, but rather, to get clear on how you’re defining valuable content and showing up in alignment with that determination.
Have a consistent and cohesive brand presence – internal and external
Inconsistencies do absolutely nothing for building trust and connection. Whether it’s inconsistent internal communication (within your team, behind-the-scenes) or external communication (what your market sees), when the brand experience has significant differences, it ends up confusing the recipient. And, confusion does not lead to feelings of trustworthiness.
Now, this isn’t about being perfect, but rather, having the systems and structures in place to maintain a solid status quo of consistency so the recipient can build an expectation. Because when we meet that expectation, especially over multiple occasions, the trust and connection goes up and that perceived authority.
Make guest podcast appearances on related podcasts
In 2021, I started intentionally pitching myself as a guest on podcasts and it has been so much fun.
Not only is guesting on other podcasts a great way to build your network, it’s also a natural opportunity to practice talking about and sharing your expertise with someone else’s audience. When you determine the area of expertise that you want to be known for, you can create topics from that area and pitch yourself to relevant podcasts.
The key word here is relevant.
On one hand, you can guest on any and all podcasts. But if you’re wanting to use it as a strategy to build your brand authority, be intentional about where you’re showing up. Make sure the audience aligns with your market, the topic is in the realm of what you’re specializing in and the format makes sense for your topic.
This doesn’t mean you can’t go rogue and be a guest on a podcast that has nothing to do with your brand or business or area of expertise. What I hope is coming across is that when you’re strategic and intentional about which podcasts you guest on, it can be a great way to build your brand’s authority on that desired area of expertise or thing you want to be known for.
Not sure how to pitch? Check out this great podcast episode on lessons learned from pitching 100+ podcasts.
Speak to relevant groups about an area of your brand’s expertise
The same thought applies to speaking as guest podcasting – if the intent is to build brand authority, it’s important that the speaking opportunities are relevant to the area of expertise and align with what you want to be known for.
And the topics that you pitch to podcasts can also be the same topics that you pitch for speaking opportunities. That way, you’re not having to do double the work. Smarter, not harder, right?!
Looking for support with creating that signature talk? Check out this podcast episode and blog post.
Showcase client testimonials, results and work related to your expertise
Again, this comes back to first identifying the thing that you want to be known for or the area of expertise that you want to build the brand authority in. Once you determine that, share experiences from past clients, as it relates to that ‘thing’.
So rather than a generic testimonial, ask questions that allow the client to speak to the expertise or, if you’re doing a case study, talk specifically about that area; paint a strong before and after picture for the viewer/reader/listener/watcher.
Pick a marketing strategy and stick to it
Are you a chaser of shiny objects or the latest-and-greatest thing? While I understand how fun it is to try new things, when it comes to building and creating brand authority, switching it up all the time doesn’t do much for building trust and connection with your audience and your brand.
I’m talking to the people who jumped on Clubhouse because it was the latest and greatest, and then after hearing someone talk about Pinterest, abandoned Clubhouse to get over to Pinterest, and then they heard someone else talk about TikTok, so they jumped ship to that platform.
On one hand, I understand the importance of staying relevant and up-to-date on the latest trends, especially if you’re a social media manager or in the digital marketing space. However, brand trust and connection is something that’s built over time and if you’re continuously switching your strategy, you’re not giving your audience ample time to connect with you.
Now this doesn’t mean you can’ switch anything, ever. But rather, be intentional about defining your strategy, create clear goals, and then measure and test to see how that strategy is panning out. And if/when you realize it’s not working, then you can switch it up. The idea being that you’re making a change from a place of strategy and not a haphazard action because it’s what you saw/heard/read/watched someone else do.
With that, happy branding 🙂
All my best,
Additional brand resources
Discover how brand personality plays a big role in creating a strong brand that your audience can truly connect with.
Learn three common brand mistakes that hold back business owners from achieving their version of success.
Learn why brand consistency is the key to effective marketing and how to get your brand there.
We jump into three key elements for maintaining brand consistency to help solidify your brand.