How to be an Authority in Your Niche/ Market in 10 Easy Steps

Wednesday, October 31, 2007 at 11:30pm by Site Administrator

Writing does not come naturally to most people, but the activity in the blogosphere might suggest otherwise. Unfortunately, regular fresh content is crucial for building up a website, especially for businesses – whether you selling products or services online. Many entrepreneurs have selected blogging as their delivery vehicle for content, both for the informal style of writing needed, as well as because blogs enjoy special “relevance” status in many top search engines.

If you’re in this boat and don’t know how to get started, here are my suggestions:

  1. Get started. Launch your business website, if it’s appropriate to do so. This is the general online face of your business and encompasses all online activity that represents your company.

  2. Add a blog. Your business blog, if you have one, will be a less formal connection to your website visitors. Add a blog to a subdirectory, not a subdomain. So use mysite.com/blog instead of blog.mysite.com. You can call the subdirectory anything, but I suggest “blog”, “journal”, “notes” or something of that sort.
  3. Determine readershp. Whether you do the blogging or hire a professional, be sure to offer a consistent schedule. That’s more important than blogging daily. But be sure to consider who your audience is. Will your blog readers be other bloggers in your niche, potential customers, your (future) competitors, casual visitors, etc. Who should they be depends on your objective for your blog.
  4. Use reportage. If you don’t yet have an editorial calendar and are not sure what to write about, or don’t have time for indepth content, start by reporting on happenings in your niche.
  5. Add your voice. Gradually add your own commentary to your reportage. Base what you say on your knowledg of the niche. However, be careful not to be insulting or nitpicking. The average blogger can get away with this, but you cannot – not if you’re representing your business. The other thing you can’t do is talk “at” readers. If you’re going to sell, be indirect.
  6. Expand your coverage. As you gain confidence in your writing voice, expand your posts. Add original information, share your experiences in your industry, write more of what you know. Just remember who your audience is; this will determine how you write about a topic.
  7. Build your authority. Always deep-link to relevant posts you’ve already written on your site, as well to authority sites/ content elsewhere. This helps build your authority in search engines.
  8. Show your authority. As you gain even more confidence in writing – as well as website authority in search engines – create original content such as e-books, screencasts, video, audio, indepth articles and reports. Teach what you know. Show your authority.
  9. Promote your content. There are a number of ways to promote your best content online, but one of the most effective ways is through social media sites. These including bookmarking and voting sites, as well as Stumbleupon. Keep in mind, though, that social media site members do not like to be promoted to. Some topics are difficult to promote through SMM (Social Media Marketing).
  10. Advertise your site. If social media promotion is not appropriate for your  niche, consider advertising, possibly through PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising campaigns or some other form of advertising. Don’t look at the campaign cost on a per visitor, or you’ll lose money. If you need 1,000 visitors to make 5 sales, divided the advertising cost by 5, not 1000. If you can’t justify the cost of advertising, rethink your blogging plan. Consider hiring a blogging consultant for some advice.

If your business has nothing to do with selling expert content, then that’s not something you want to add to your website or blog. If you have the urge to monetize a website, do it on a separate domain. Your business should not be perceived as trying to make money both through your regular products or services offerings and through advertising – unless of course you give your products, such as software, away free.


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6 Comments »

  1. Great points. I find that I’m always impressed when a business starts a blog and gives away valuable free content in their posts. This leads to higher trust and more mindshare, which translates to many sales in the long term.

    Thanks for the link too.

    Comment by Dee Barizo — November 1, 2007 @ 7:31 am

  2. Raj:

    Another in a long line of helpful posts for budding entrepreneurs working on their web kingdoms. I especially like your recommendation to move the advertising part of the effort to a separate cover, so as not to spam the customer right from the get go with flashing “Click here!” ads. I cross-posted on your piece to http://blog.innovators-network.org The Innovators Network is a non-profit dedicated to bringing technology to startups, small businesses, non-profits, venture capitalists and intellectual property experts. Please visit us and help grow our community!

    Best wishes for continued success,

    Anthony Kuhn
    Innovators Network

    Comment by Anthony Kuhn — November 1, 2007 @ 9:19 pm

  3. Hi Dee and Anthony, thanks for dropping by and commenting.

    Dee: The question is, do people trust free content enough to attribute it the value it deserves? Sometimes not. But yet, a business’ blog is not the place to test the paid model, so only the free model is left. However, that doesn’t mean there can’t be some sort of additional membership offer. It just has to be offered carefully.

    Anthony, thanks as always for the link nod.

    Comment by Raj Dash — November 1, 2007 @ 10:13 pm

  4. Raj,

    The authority site building usually assumes that the blogger is an expert in something. What do you think of a site that takes the angle of saying, “I’m not an expert, but I know a few things. Let’s become experts together.” I’m thinking of doing something along those lines in a near future project.

    Comment by Fiar — November 2, 2007 @ 12:50 am

  5. Fiar, thanks for stopping buying. I think that’s a wonderful idea. I actually wrote about how to approach a new niche over at Performancing:

    http://performancing.com/how-to-blog-a-new-niche-5-steps

    Comment by Raj Dash — November 2, 2007 @ 12:56 am

  6. Thanks for the tip, Raj. I just started up the new site over the weekend. I’m not ready to start linking it yet though. It’s just barely up and running.

    Comment by Fiar — November 5, 2007 @ 3:25 pm

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