How To Recognize And Create Authority Content To Build Your Brand

How To Recognize And Create Authority Content To Build Your BrandPart of branding online is to claim your presence and establish the fact you are an authority in your area. Unfortunately, far too often, online content – blog posts in particular – are created for the sake of having something to post so the results are generalized, and not great for building authority.

How do you know if you’re creating creating authority content on a consistent basis or not? The good news is, these type of content and websites leave big clues.

Go Deep, Take Many Words As You Need

General (non authoritative) content, tend to be about 300 to 400 words. They cover a very small piece of the topic. And that’s their goal. To get ranked for a keyword or phrase on the search engines.

Authority content on the other hand, isn’t concerned about keywords at all. They are usually painstakingly researched and immaculately written, going beyond generalities, even when they are focused on only one small aspect of a topic. Typically, these type of content run well into 700+ or over 1000 words.

Here’s a great example by Neil Patel, founder of KISSmetrics, who by the way, is a natural at authority content. When you read his posts, notice also how he provides examples, and screenshots to back it up? While screenshots don’t make authority content, most of them have it. It boils down to communicating well and communicating with clarity.


If you can substantiate your point by showing people examples, it shows you know what you’re talking about and not just pulling this stuff out of the air.

Content That Earn Their Links

Authority content has a tendency to focus on putting useful, relevant content on its own site, and curating other informative content. This piles up credibility as other people link to it as a resource without being asked.

Content That Covers a Variety of Keywords

Ok, earlier we talked about not focusing and keywords and now we throw in keywords? What’s going on? Simply this. They rank, without even trying.

Think about it. If you are an authority on fitness. You’d know the right exercises to perform, the intensity, how often, when you should take it easy, You’d also know what types of foods to eat before and after so you get the best work out, the foods to avoid. You even know a lot about equipment.

An authority site is no different. They’ll have content pertaining to all aspects of a niche and not just a micro portion. Because of that, it is possible for each subpage and subsection of an authority site to rank high on search engines.

Backyard Chickens is a great example of such a site. Not only do they have great content on raising chickens, but they also have reviews on breeds and supplies, and they don’t just talk about chickens but cover other poultry too.

When searching for “how to breed your own chickens”, I find not one, but two listings for them on the first page.

Bottom line: keywords are used only to guide the writer.

Internal Links

As you study more authority sites, you will notice they have a tendency to link to their own content. Look for ways you can connect your older but relevant content to the new one you are writing. If the older content is already ranking for a different word or phrase, that is even better.
Also focus on going wide in your topic. Create more content surrounding more phrases and words and connect the relevant ones.

Forget Algorithms

Many content site owners and bloggers fear search engine algorithm changes. The cold truth is, if you adopt dodgy practices, you should cringe. For those who adopt the practice of building authority, algorithm changes hardly fazes them because they know their content can withstand it. In fact, some times, the changes are better for them.

Among the best advice you hear from authority content site owners is, create content for people. Not search engines. Besides, search engines aren’t the only traffic source. Major sites like ViralNova were built without much thought to search engine optimization.

Relevance First

If you ever visit Ikea Hackers, you will notice much of its content are how-to’s, examples of what people have done, ideas to inspire others. This drives home the earlier point about writing for people.

When writing your content, focus on how this piece of content is going to

  • Solve a problem for the reader
  • Answer a question
  • Teach the reader something
  • Strike a chord with the reader
  • Move the reader

The last two are particularly powerful because humans are highly emotional – even when we don’t think we are.

Once you have that, optimizing for search engines become secondary. It’s something you can do after the fact, to boost the content’s odds. In short, write content as if you are providing a service to the reader.

Why Branding and Sales Promotion are Not Interchangeable

In the world of promotion, branding has been called anything from a logo, to putting a logo on things, to a general image. If I may be so humble to speak for those those of us who specialize in branding, a brand could replace the word “reputation.” How a customer perceives you, your town , your product, experience, or organization etc. is your brand.

Most marketing people I come into contact with simply don’t get it and arrogantly think that sales promotion is 100% of what branding encompasses. Now, granted the end game in branding is to bring more dollars into the organization, BUT that isn’t soley achieved through sales promotion.

Branding done properly with a skilled facilitator looks at all aspects of your brand to see that all elements are pulling in the same direction. All of this is strategic thinking and much of it exists outside the sales and promotion circles. HR plays a role, business management culture plays a role, even people associated with the organization such as the custodian can affect the brand for good or bad. My opinion here on this blog post affects my brand, depending on my audience’s response to it.

Once you learn to embrace your brand and define it, only then will you appreciate the value it holds in making your entire business a success on multiple levels including but not limited to sales promotion.Why Branding and Sales Promotion are Not Interchangeable-061115

You Can’t Build A Brand On Today Thinking

A few years ago I pitched my branding process to a mid-size Canadian City mayor. Suffice to say he loved the presentation and the opportunities it would open up. The one item that buried the project was his short-sightedness. Knowing upfront that there were deficiencies in the brand, he didn’t appreciate my comment that those deficiencies would have to be fixed so that their brand had a better chance of being authentic to it’s target audience. The fastest route to failure is to tout something powerful and then have your buyer discover it was all just advertising spin. The city can’t walk the walk. Today they’re still just doing advertising but labelling it branding.

You Can’t Build A Brand On Today Thinking-043015

Here in my community we have a city market. The bylaws people saw an opportunity. They showed up early on a saturday morning and went booth to booth gathering business cards from the grannies selling biscuits, young people selling items from their hobbies and other micro entrepreneurs. Satisfied that they spoke to everyone, they went back to their offices and proceeded to send out notices to all these people that they’d all have to buy a business license or shut it down. Their phoney smiles hid the reality of their intentions – more fees for the the city. They didn’t care what happened to these individuals and their dreams. What they failed to see was the long-term benefits of city market vendors. Many of these folks are testing their ideas and planning for the future. A local furniture store just turned 90. It all started with one guy peddling furniture door-to-door. Where would the 4 locations and hundreds of employees be today if the city had shut them down because they didn’t have a $XX business license?

Another new grocery business in Ottawa, Canada ( Farm Boy ) started in their city market and now have multiple locations and are spreading across the province. That equates to property taxes, bricks and motor leases, employment, and investment all started in a small city market. What our city should have done was gone in, introduced itself and offered to help them in any way they could to succeed. They should provide mentors, and business incentives to go beyond the cookies in wax paper to opening a small bakery in an area the city would like to re-new. But, this involves long-term thinking and long-term branding.

Place brands like any other thrive on long-term thinking. Bureaucrats have to start understanding that short-term gains CAN and DO suppress long-term growth. Being smug about shutting down the painted flower pot booth today changed the future that might have been – namely a unique gift shop in a wanting downtown area. All this is branding folks. Doing it with vision creates log-term wealth. Short-term advertising spin is just that.

The World Of Brand Awareness has Changed – Sort Of.

There was a time when you started a business and the first thing you did after putting up the shingle was to start building brand awareness. The first order of the day was to find a location. If it was a business that met with consumers you chose a location that was convenient for them to visit you. If you had a services business you like chose a location that was prestigious and would immediately impress those who crossed your threshold.

Next order of the day was to decorate. If your budget for decorating was several hundred or several thousand it was all to make you look competent and professional.

Brand Megaphone Advertising Product Awareness Build LoyaltyThe on of course came your logo and marketing materials that you would distribute manually and using direct mail. You’d hire a professional graphic designer to help your brand image look like the large players in your category. It was key that a prospective customer have the right gut reaction when they first came into your circle. Brand image was recognized as essential for business success.

Then came along the “advertising budget.” How much were you willing to spend to build awareness of your new business? The marketing plan. Who are these people who will make your business a success? How do you reach them? What will it cost? I used to look at it from an individual cost perspective. I’d ask the question – “How much are you willing to give someone so that they become aware of you? Are you willing to give them a dollar, 50¢ or 5¢?” This was of course determined by the budget. If you had an audience of 10,000 people and a budget of $20,000 then you’d expect to pay 50¢ each and so on. How you spent that 50¢ was key. Was that 50¢ a one-time thing or would it have to spent over 6 months or more. No matter the size of the business it was an expensive process. But done well and by those who were well seasoned in the exercise, it could prove very effective over time. Brand awareness was and still is a long term strategy.

THEN, every small business played that game. Some were great at it and some sucked. It made brands and killed brands but the common denominator was brands had to spend money building awareness or fade away and their dreams with it.

TODAY, every business can play on the same playing field to some extent. Thanks to the web, businesses can build brand awareness for free. They can join other players on dozens of social media channels and build incredible opportunities. Free is a relative term on the web though . Free as far as parting with coin but not free in dedicating time. To run socially takes an enormous amount of time and coordination. Many businesses are dedicating their whole existence to web-based promotional efforts. And, of course they can also engage the services of seasoned pros who can help assist them at their web efforts and achieve goals in a quicker time-frame.

What astonishes me and influenced this post, are the businesses who in the face of free choose to do absolutely nothing about building brand awareness. Nothing. Then when nothing happens, they blame the economy, their customers (or lack there of) – never the fact that their frugality and lack of confidence is killing them. They continue to dream of course – that’s really all they have. You see them all around you.

Go to any live networking event – they’re the ones swimming the room, politely smiling but have nothing to add to conversations. They view networking as showing up and trolling the attendees and desiring new bodies each time they go – failing to understand that when all the same people keep attending the better it is to build relationships that will extend to referring you to their networks. Most of these events are free or close to it. They only want to do business with those attending. BIG brand awareness mistake – short sightedness.

To make brand awareness really work for you, you have to have a dynamic on AND offline exposure. They need to compliment each other. Together they are like a 1-2 punch. You have to be flexible enough to see opportunities and be willing to engage them. Don’t base your planning on what’s free or not. If you won’t invest in yourself why should you expect your customers to? As a friend of mine says, “If clients witness a lack of confidence they couple that with a lack of competence.”

Oh, so true.

How To Use Instagram To Promote Your Brand

Social networking has created helped level the playing the field for many small business owners. While Facebook and Twitter has always been the giants, the world of social networking is constantly evolving’ and smaller, somewhat newer networks such as Instagram has some great opportunities to offer.

Photo Credit ©

Photo Credit © gustavofrazao

If you don’t know already, Instagram is a photo sharing app, with a social networking component. Since pictures are easy to take and have a low barrier of entry, they also make it a wonderful tool for promoting your brand without a ton of work. Here are some effective ways to use Instagram.

  • Show off your products. Instagram is perfect for promoting products with visual appeal. For some brands, Instagram is used much like a catalog. All you find on their profile are photo products. While that can be effective, a better approach is to demonstrate your products in action.

For example, cosmetic companies could showcase customers using and wearing your products. These photos help the customer visualize herself using your products.

  • Demonstrate the end results. With some products, it’s all about the visible results they create. Weight loss products and the classic before and after are the perfect example here.
  • Liven it up with your personality. If you have a business that provide a service or something that isn’t easily photographed, nor look appealing when photo graphed, that doesn’t mean you can’t use Instagram. Take and use photos that showcase your human side. These can be photos of you and your team in action. It doesn’t have to be serious all the time either. Add a fun or thought-provoking caption to these photos. Also, when you engage in charitable work, post those pictures. Finally, don’t forget, post photos of your employees or clients along with brief profiles. With their permission of course.
  • Get your community to help. Still stuck? How about a photo contest? These are great for getting noticed on Instagram. First, come up with a theme. Next, ask users to post images using a unique hashtag. Whether you offer a price or feature the best photos on your site is up to you. Although one would think you’d get better traction with a prize. Can’t afford to run a contest? How about a simple email to your customers asking them to show you a photo they took using your product. Give them a mention and shine the spotlight on them.

This helps create a better connection between you and your customers and takes almost no time nor money.

Unlike many other social networks, Instagram is among the few that doesn’t require a large amount of time or commitment. Do you already use Instagram? Show us how you do it. Share your best photo.

5 Things That Determine Your RETURN On Investment?

When companies of any size spend money they expect (or at least) hope to get a rerun on that investment. It’s not too much to ask. Of course the trick is to determine “what” will bring in the greatest return. You have to be honest with yourself and recognize that that return isn’t always about the money. We know the end game is money but the road to getting there – the motivator, is often times something entirely different. It’s usually some event that motivates brands to take a hard look at themselves and determine whether or not a brand needs an over-haul.
Five influencing facts might be:

ONE: Low hanging fruit – let’s say it is the money.
They want more of it. They want to increase the brand’s market share. A tell-tale sign is that sales are flat and the sales staff have hit a wall. This happens when brands follow perceived industry leaders and the sales staff are having the same conversations with their clients that their competition is. They have no differentiator. Sales needs a reason to sell, to draw their customer base to them. This attraction would be their ROI

TWO: Succession.
What becomes of a brand when the leadership decides to retire or there is a death? They chose to re-brand to make sure the brand is seen in it’s most desirable light. This makes it to be more desirable to a buyer. It doesn’t matter whether this new owner is from inside or outside of the company. Desireabiility is the ROI here.

THREE: Buy-out.
If someone approaches them to sell – the decision makers choose to re-brand so that they are ready to sell if that sale becomes an actuality. They want to be perceived as powerful. Perception is the ROI is this case.

FOUR: Culture.
This comes up if the staff are not so motivated anymore. Internal communications are lacking and the general atmosphere needs an energy pill. Each company’s culture is unique and affects the mechanics of the brand – it works in unison. That energy would be their desired ROI.

FIVE: A negative Event
Maybe the brand was recently part of a scandal, the stock nose-dived or some other catastrophic event. The leadership wants the brand to regain it’s power position. If the brand is powerful, it is able to withstand these overwhelming events. The ROI hoped for here is power in the comeback.

There are whole number of reasons why you and many other companies like you might desire a closer look at their branding. These reasons each carry with them an expectation for ROI. Addressing them is the sign of a very pro-active brand. One that refuse to accept the mediocre and strives to be the best in their category.

Get Real! Brand Authenticity and You.

Today’s marketplace is a great place for brands and their advocates to exist. Traditionally, prior to the web, all a brand could do was to make their consumers “aware” of their brand was using advertising channels such as bill boards, transit, radio, TV and public relations. Once a consumer got wind of the brand that interested them, they would have to physically visit the bricks and mortar location for more information. Or they could look in their mail boxes for flyers, or their daily newspapers for inserts and printed ads etc. The entire buying cycle was initiated by the brand and reacted to by the buyer. Very straight forward and not very deep.

Get Real- Brand Authenticity and You-012815

In today’s marketplace the consumer has a limitless access to the brand’s environment. Brand’s can more easily form strong relationships with their customers. Some would say today’s digital environment makes loyalty tougher. I believe it to be easier, so long as you’re willing to engage customers with a genuine brand experience. If the brand chooses to try and manipulate the experience based on an unrealistic expectation, they will more likely be viewed as not being authentic. That authenticity is a hallmark of proper branding.

But if your brand strives to provide an authentic persona, it’s a great platform to engage customers. You’re able to feed them your expertise on many levels. This acceptance allows you the potential to charge more for your services. If you’re a services based brand this open environment allows you to properly exhibit your expertise and this draws customers to you. Your are perceived as the expert your brand touts you to be.

The bottom line is to embrace the opportunities the digital world is serving up. You make think that there’s no space for you to play or that it’s over your head. Toss those barriers aside and embrace the web. You will be shocked with the results of your efforts over time.