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This is a subject close to J.D.’s heart as ClearVoice is a content platform that identifies and ranks authors based on the authority of their overall body of digitally published content.
Here’s J.D.’s take on the interplay of authority and influence within content marketing.
I think before we can address the importance of author authority and influence, we need to have an understanding of what each is and how they apply to content as they’re both important in complementary and independent ways:
Author authority is an individual’s expertise and credibility on a particular topic. The higher level of understanding and knowledge one has on a topic determines his or her authority, and we believe search algorithms also make the same consideration. As an example, take a tenured college professor and a graduate student teaching courses in the same discipline. They may be teaching the same material but there’s no doubt the professor has more authority than the grad student. In short, authority can dictate the reliability of information. But what about influence?
Author influence can simply be looked at as an individual’s ability to move mountains and make waves amongst his or her peers through something said or written. A person’s authority can impact his or her influence but it’s not a necessity or a two-way street. Influence has more to do with likability than credibility. The more someone is liked, followed and trusted by his or her peers, the more those peers are likely to be influenced by those authors. Going back to my example, you can see where a student could have a more memorable or impactful experience with the grad student teacher than the professor teaching the same class—likability goes a long way.
When you think about content marketing, and more specifically who will author content, authority and influence should be major considerations. However, the consideration should be weighed based on your audience/customer and what it is you’re trying to achieve with your content. Are you attempting to get readers to adopt an idea? Subscribe to your blog? Start a viral movement? Or are you more concerned with providing a reliable resource? Earning citations of your content? Ranking in search engines? The answer you have to these questions may determine what type of author you seek out.
Influence can be seen as likability and reassurance. When you attach an author with likability to a brand, there’s automatic amplification that goes along with it. There is also a reassurance factor, many people filter content based on trusting the judgement of an author. You can also rely on author self-promotion and that author’s social following to amplify your brand message and campaign. In today’s digital environment, content marketing should start with your author selection process, which is driven by what you’re trying to accomplish with your content.
First, start by guiding your content creators (once you’ve found the right influence and authority) on producing content that’s tailored specifically for your audience and gives them a positive experience without asking anything in return—basically, create great content that’s useful. Then put your nose down and get the word out! Talk to other influencers about who you have writing for you, collaborate on ways to integrate your content in their channels or on new content for them. Create relationships: there’s no shortcut around it. Unfortunately we’re not all as lucky as a 1989 Kevin Costner with a corn a field. Don’t just build it, because they won’t come.
It all starts with great content producers, create a valuable content experience then go out and tell the world. You can follow J.D. on Twitter and check out ClearVoice with its intelligent search engine and marketplace for brands, publishers and writers at www.ClearVoice.com.
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