Peter Daisyme is the co-founder of Palo Alto, California-based Hosting, a hosting company specializing in helping businesses with hosting their website for free, for life.
While it certainly has its challenges, I would prefer becoming an online authority in a new niche rather than trying to gain the thought leadership position in an existing one, where many already claim to be experts. While running my current business, I've been able to create a large following and shed light on online invoicing solutions. This has also helped to propel the Hostt.com brand into a more well-known and admired name.
However, reaching this authority status didn't happen overnight. Here's what I did to get that top spot:
Give your new niche a definition and value proposition. In existing niches, it is a matter of educating yourself and researching the topic. Also, I needed to understand how to position the new niche. I learned what customers were using for invoicing processes and platforms so that I could get a better idea of what was working and wasn't, and speak directly to these needs and challenges. As a leader in the industry, creating this vision is an excellent way to immediately establish authority. However, I have to keep on top of changes or shifts in order to hold onto that authority position while continuing to evolve the definition and value proposition.
Teach others about this new niche to help them make smarter decisions. Taking on the role of a teacher through my blog has provided a learning arena for others. On my blog, I share that information to illustrate ways in which readers can improve their invoicing methods, speed up payment, and address non-payment issues and other problems that impact their business cash flow. There are many small-business owners and freelancers who are looking for this type of guidance. In teaching them about online invoicing, I become a mentor rather than the salesperson they are trying to avoid. Being a teacher requires ongoing professional development.
Be authentic. Your audience wants to hear the truth and they want to know that they can trust your ability to supply them with the information they need. This ability to be authentic is especially important when trying to be an online authority, where you are a virtual version of yourself and people can't see your expressions. I have to imbue my personality into what I share online so they feel the real me coming through. To help with this, I have made many online videos and shared them on my website and social media channels, and have made myself available at industry events.
Conceptualize and write relevant and engaging content. When it's a new niche, the idea of creating that "wow" factor content seems a bit easier than trying to stand out in a sea of existing content. However, I quickly learned that there still had to be just as much time, effort, research and creativity devoted to a new niche as to an existing one. In order to be that authority, I had to provide a lot of content that informed and offered solutions in a digestible way so that the audience could understand and use it. If I put up something that isn't relevant, that reputation as an authority is essentially lost. Like everything, it takes a while to build a reputation but only seconds to completely destroy it. I make sure all content is meaningful to my audience.
Find places that are in need of content related to the niche. Beyond my blog, I know that to be a real authority in this new niche, I have to get this relevant content in front of others who may not have discovered it. That means offering to provide guest posts on other sites, including business publications, where this content can be shared.
Tell others about your content. I'm not shy: I shout the information I have from every platform I can, including LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. I've also created a team of influencers who are willing to evangelize my content among their social networks. These followers also illustrate my leadership position when they tell others how and why they believe in what I'm saying. The viral nature of social media spreads the content quickly, which also helps to boost my authority figure.
Leverage other areas of established authority to build a personal brand. Beyond just showing that I'm an authority in this new niche, I integrate my other authority figures. Having these multiple authority positions helps bolster my position in online invoicing. My entrepreneurial background and experience has developed into a personal brand that I can leverage to nurture a reputation in other new areas.
Slow, steady and consistent wins the race to the top of the heap as the online authority figure in a new niche. Of course, when you get people willing to tell others about your knowledge and capabilities to lead, you can move the process forward more quickly. It takes many channels and significant amounts of engaging content to develop the authority that puts you in the enviable position of having followers from the beginning, rather than having to try them to win them away from the competition.