Establish authority without being an expert
Every email, facebook ad, or landing page you go to seems to be run by experts that have been doing this for years.
Gurus and originators of certain techniques, methods, and philosophies.
How in the world is someone just getting started supposed to compete with someone that is so renowned and is absolutely everywhere?
The fact of the matter is, everyone begins somewhere, and over time, they develop their skills and either become successful, or fade off into something else.
But success doesn’t mean fame and notoriety.
There are many copywriters who have a great deal of success that aren’t broadcasting their talents all over the internet and that you may not know if you were sitting next to them on the bus.
But how then do you establish your authority on a subject if you don’t have enough experience, or, like so many others, don’t want to broadcast to a celebrity status?
Well, if you have spent any time in your work stressing about establishing your authority in an area that you haven’t worked, don’t worry. That’s exactly what we’re going to talk about today.
Authority is not based around you, it’s based on the perceptions of the audience.
Well that’s nice, but what does that mean?
It means that there are a lot of ways that you can establish your authority while being green or not having any history in the niche you’re currently working in.
Authority by Proximity
When I started copywriting, I wrote for a survival brand and had little experience with surviving and outdoors past Boy Scouts.
One of the first things I did was to align myself with those who did have experience.
I contacted those that I perceived as authorities with the filter of the market that I was in.
- Professional Survivalists
- First Responders
Anyone with a good story and experience in the realm of survival and tactical gear were my go-to authorities to find out what they thought about products, training, services, and so on.
Establishing and growing relationships with those in your field isn’t just good advice for the newbie, but for anyone who works in a niche.
Having real life experts that can add a credible voice to your copy will be an ace in the hole for testimonials.
When I would establish a story in my copy, I would do so through the eyes and experiences of my experts. Retelling their stories was both entertaining and a way to build authority and credibility with my audience.
Not only were they true, but so was the person.
A face could go with a name.
Celebrity Status as Authority
Whether you like it or not, people listen to celebrities.
Because they are a face we recognize, we often fall victim to a cognitive bias of familiarity. Since we recognize this person and, in some ways, want to be like them, we take their word as an authority.
Just recently, I saw an infomercial with Donny Osmond promoting a CD Collection of 70’s music.
This is really a great choice for the infomercial since he was a child star, he still has a recognizable face and name, and he recently appeared on The Masked Singer, all giving him more credibility because of his celebrity status and proximity to 70’s music.
If you’re a Vegas fan, you also know he and his sister have been a staple performance for years.
Even if there is a limited amount of connection between the product being sold and the celebrity, an endorsement from a celebrity will give you a great deal of authority.
Keep in mind, we aren’t just talking Hollywood - every niche has their own celebrities that bring their own claut and often their own audiences to products they endorse.
Tap into the celebrities of your niche and pull on their authority to boost your own.
This can be a double-edged sword for many.
Reviews can often be dismissed as fake and because of this, actually hurt your credibility.
Not only are fake reviews often easy to spot, but they can often be more damaging than having no customer reviews or even negative customer reviews.
When you have good reviews, you should show them off. Never be afraid to ask people for their reviews after a positive transaction.
But don’t be afraid of the negative ones either.
When you get a negative review (and you will), do everything you can to solve it - and be open about it. Own the mistake and do what you can to make it right. When you do, broadcast how and what you did to highlight your dedication to your customers.
Amazon has done a great job of conditioning us to look for reviews, and while we all may be skeptical of some, there’s no doubt that they are powerful and help us to buy-in to a sense of community around an offer.
Do What’s Right
Above all else, do what’s right for the customer.
Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in copywriting for decades, doing what’s right by the customer is always going to give you the most authority.
This is what brings customers back time and time again.
Establish early on that you are a voice that they can trust. Make their desires you own and always put your audience first.
Before Moving On
Over time, you can establish your authority as a voice in a community. One that your audience can trust and look forward to hearing from.
But don’t think you have to rely on one method alone.
The more you can integrate into your sales copy, the more powerful your copy will become.
Even after several years of writing, bringing in other authorities to my sales copy and addressing their stories and endorsements made for powerful sales copy and entertaining writing.
With time and work, you’ll establish your authority. Don’t rush it, nurture it.