When you start a business, it’s essential to recognize your place in your particular market. In order to become — and stay — relevant and profitable, you need to identify something about your company that can set it apart from others. There will always be problems that need to be solved. To grow your business, you must figure out how your efforts are applicable to your target customers. This is what’s known as product-market fit.
It would be nice to think that once you’ve achieved this, your company would enjoy smooth sailing and ever-escalating profits thereafter. Alas, it’s not as easy as that. You may have an offering that solves your target audience’s problems, but you still have to convince them of that. Fortunately, there’s a proven way to do so. Producing meaningful content that addresses consumers’ pain points is a huge step toward building recognition for your brand.
By creating content that answers your audience’s burning questions, allays their concerns, and helps them resolve issues, you’ll build trust with them. By doing all this better than your competitors do, you’ll become consumers’ go-to resource in your sector of the market. Want to know how to accomplish this? Let’s jump into some ways you can stand out in a crowded market and build authority in your space.
Conduct a Competitive Content Analysis
Sure, you can run a business without a website these days, but why on earth would you? When seeking a solution to their problems, the internet is increasingly the first place consumers go to discover one. If you’re not there with content that matches their search intent, they won’t find you. If your competitors are, they’ll do business with them instead.
That’s why improving your ranking in the search engine results pages is so important. While your content may be reasonably solid, there’s usually something you can improve on your site to increase your SERP position. To guide your efforts, perform a competitive content analysis, which will reveal the strengths and weaknesses of your rivals’ content. It will also inform you of holes in your site that you might not have considered.
With this information in hand, you can introduce improved versions of the components that are allowing competitor sites to rank highly. For example, you might find that your closest competitor gets lots of views for its comprehensive FAQs page. You could take this cue to make yours even more informative and entertaining to boot. You can also pounce on the gaps they are leaving unfilled. The dry step-by-step procedure manual for their product will be no match for the engaging how-to video you create for yours.
Use All The Channels at Your Disposal
While onsite content is crucial for establishing your expertise and reaching your target customers, it’s far from the only channel available. There are numerous other ways to connect with your audience, from posting on social media to hosting webinars. You can also bolster your personal brand via a robust presence on platforms like LinkedIn and guest appearances on industry-relevant podcasts.
One highly effective tactic for building authority is guest posting and garnering brand mentions in trusted publications and industry blogs and podcasts. When you appear in respected media outlets, their credibility rubs off on you. Building these relationships will bolster your reputation and convince people you have something to contribute. If you can earn a backlink in a high-authority publication, use it to link to a valuable content asset on your own site. Providing an informative ebook or helpful online tool will further establish your expertise with your audience.
And, of course, you can’t neglect social media platforms. More than three-quarters of North Americans use these platforms, so establishing your brand voice on social media is well worth your while. Engaging posts, videos, and even infographics can inform, entertain, and cement your authority with your audience. You can also use your social media channels to point followers to the credibility-boosting content you’ve created for third-party publications and your company website. Responding to user comments in a prompt, helpful manner is yet another way social media lets you project authority.
Becoming a Thought Leader
The business world is full of authorities who compel audiences’ attention for a variety of reasons. Steve Jobs did it by giving consumers the iPad they didn’t know they needed. Warren Buffett does it by being the voice of sound financial reason in an often volatile economy. Mary Barra has done it by steering GM to increased profitability and posing a vigorous challenge to electric vehicle upstarts. These individuals have accomplished big things, and the public has taken notice.
If these paths to industry guru status sound overwhelming, don’t despair. You can become an authority in your space without helming a Big Three automaker or boldly going where no business leader has gone before.
True, you do have to establish product-market fit and produce an offering that satisfies your target consumers’ needs or wants. From there, it’s largely a matter of developing a content strategy that makes you visible to your audience and lets you demonstrate your expertise. Fortunately the tools that make this possible — competitive content analysis, content marketing techniques, social media — are within easy reach. To begin to realize your goal of industry thought leadership, all you need to do is to pick them up.