By Neil Patel
Whether you’re a brand, a webmaster or a solo blogger, it’s essential your audience takes you seriously.
You need to prove you know your stuff.
But in a world that’s become increasingly saturated with self-appointed “gurus,” it’s become incredibly difficult to separate yourself from the masses.
That’s why authority and credibility have become the name of the game.
How do you achieve authority and credibility?
It’s not something you can buy. It must be cultivated, and that takes time.
You can’s just go from being an unknown to being a top industry expert overnight.
But I’ve learned over the past decade that there are several ways to expedite the process and attain expert level status within a reasonable amount of time.
In this post, I would like to share with you some lessons I’ve learned, top strategies I’ve used as well as some specific tools you can use to become the world’s number one expert in your niche.
You need to be all in
Before you do anything, you need to make sure you’re truly interested in and passionate about the niche you’re focusing on.
Let’s be honest.
It’ll be an uphill battle if you’re only lukewarm about the topic you are choosing.
Talking about it, writing about it, vlogging about it will inevitably become a chore, and you’ll lose momentum.
I can’t tell you the number of projects I’ve abandoned over the years simply because I wasn’t fully invested in them.
I lacked the passion.
And as Gary Vaynerchuk would say, “Passion is priceless.”
What I’m saying is before you get in too deep, make sure the niche you’re focusing on is something you’re deeply interested in and passionate about.
This is the key to sustaining you for the long haul.
Quite frankly, this has been a huge factor in my success.
It’s not by chance that my niche is digital marketing.
I truly love it. I eat, sleep and breathe digital marketing.
Talking about it all the time doesn’t feel like work. It’s fun.
That’s how I’ve been able to write over 4,000 blog posts over the past 10 years.
I would have never made it otherwise.
The bottom line is you need to be all in before anything else.
That’s a prerequisite.
And here’s a little slice of advice.
The smaller your niche is, the quicker you can build influence.
In fact, a study by Technorati found,
more than 54% of consumers agree that the shorter the community size, the greater the influence.
Keep it in mind because “niching down” is often a good idea when you’re seeking to attain expert status in a hurry.
Make learning a habit
Before you can share your knowledge with others, you need to accumulate your own pool of knowledge first.
The quickest way I’ve found to build a solid body of knowledge is to surround myself with the topic I’m interested in.
In other words, you need to get in the habit of learning continuously.
Fortunately, the Internet is the ultimate vessel for building your knowledge.
It’s simply a matter of finding the best possible resources for research and learning.
This usually starts with blogs, slideshows, infographics, etc.
But I have a little trick for streamlining things and finding some of the top resources quickly.
Here’s what you do.
Let’s say you want to become an expert in urban farming.
First, go to BuzzSumo.
Type in a search phrase.
Then click on “Content Analysis.”
Now click on “Search.”
You’ll get a bunch of results.
Next, scroll down to the section called “Most Shared Domains by Network.”
You’ll be able to see which websites, blogs and publications are receiving the most shares.
The pie chart on the right will give you a visual perspective on things.
For instance, it’s clear that inhabitat.com is killing it in terms of shares relating to “urban farming.”
It’s definitely a site I would want to check out.
You can also scroll down to the bottom to see the top 10 pieces of content for the moment.
I’ve found that BuzzSumo is absolutely perfect for identifying key resources for research.
Build a hub
There’s a lot I love about content marketing!
But what I love the most (besides increasing sales) is that it has allowed me to build my reputation and establish a loyal audience.
When it comes to boosting your authority and credibility, I can’t think of a better way than simply creating great content around your niche.
It’s the perfect way for putting your money where your mouth is and proving you truly know what you’re talking about.
Create your personal “hub,” where you use a variety of different mediums to discuss your niche.
Allow me to use NeilPatel.com as an example.
I use it to show potential clients I’m legit in a few different ways.
First, there’s my blog.
I make sure it stays populated with high-end, in-depth posts on everything digital marketing.
Next, there’s my collection of videos that I refer to as “Neil Knowledge.”
Here, visitors can watch brief videos where I share my knowledge on a variety of digital marketing topics.
Then, there’s my podcast that I call “Marketing School.”
At the moment, I have nearly 350 podcast sessions that run the digital marketing gamut.
This is a model I suggest you follow because it’s your key to being recognized as an expert.
Building a hub such as this gives you an opportunity to cover your niche in great detail and share your knowledge with visitors who are eager to learn.
This isn’t to say you need to use the same mediums I do.
In fact, I recommend experimenting with different formats to see what works best for you and what resonates the most with your audience.
Here are some ideas:
And the more high-quality content you accumulate, the more seriously people will take you.
Connect with other influencers
At this point, you should have chosen a niche, learned everything you can about it and created a hub where you can share your knowledge.
The next step is to start forming relationships with other influencers in your niche.
Why is this important?
This is one of the best ways to get your name out there and to increase your brand equity.
Being associated with other major players enables you to siphon off some of their “street cred” and get your audience to take you more seriously.
Let me give you a quick example.
Awhile back, freelance writer Jorden Roper launched her website called Writing Revolt.
It serves as an online hub for talking about everything related to freelance writing, including ways to thrive in a competitive market.
She was an up-and-comer and had some loyal followers, but it was a fairly small following.
She connected with Bamidele Onibalusi of Writers in Charge, one of the most popular resources for freelance writers.
Bamidele talked about her journey, the way Jorden created a nice living for herself through writing and her tips for making it as a freelance writer.
Just like that, her brand equity skyrocketed, and she gained a massive amount of respect as an expert in her niche.
To me, connecting with relevant influencers like this is the quickest way to gain recognition and have your name associated with a particular topic.
After all, if a trusted name in your niche gives you their stamp of approval, it will inevitably have a positive impact on you.
How do I connect with influencers?
For starters, let me suggest an incredibly old school yet (sometimes) effective tactic.
And that’s to simply get in the habit of consistently leaving high-level comments on top blogs in your industry.
You might be saying, “Neil, that seems so primitive and antiquated!”
Perhaps it is.
But it can still be a great way to get on someone’s radar.
Here’s an example of a comment from one of my top commenters, J. Ustpassing:
Besides potentially building a relationship with a key influencer, you can also gain the attention of their readers.
And as long as your comments are legit, they will elevate your authority.
Another brilliant way to find influencers to connect with is to use BuzzSumo.
In fact, the “Influencers” feature is one of the top features on this platform.
I won’t cover the entire process here because I’ve already went over it before, but you can find all the details in this post.
For more on influencer marketing, I suggest checking out this article.
Finally, I would like to point out how great Quora is for building credibility.
This is one of the most high-end question-and-answer sites, and I’ve used it extensively.
At the moment, I’ve answered 287 different questions, and it’s helped me gain 8k followers on Quora and 47k answer views this month alone.
I’m telling you, Quora gets results and can be incredibly potent for you to position yourself as an expert in your niche.
I find it ideal for imparting my knowledge.
You can learn how to use Quora in this post.
I’ll be the first to say there’s no magic bullet that can turn you into a top expert in your niche overnight.
It’s very much a process that takes time.
Fortunately, you can accelerate that process significantly by following the formula I covered here.
With the right approach, you can gain serious recognition and make your name synonymous with your niche.
This, of course, can yield a host of benefits, e.g., increased brand equity, continual leads and higher conversions.
Which niche would you like to achieve expert status in?