Content authority has long been a buzzword in the B2B vernacular for some pretty legitimate reasons.

  • Content authority helps potential customers find you and get what they need, while you get their business
  • Brands leverage existing cornerstone content to help demonstrate knowledge, trustworthiness, and authority in their field
  • Opt-ins within content really work, giving B2B organizations a viable email list for marketing outreach and sales

These benefits are just some of the reasons content authority is a powerful tool to build an industry edge. But the role—and need—for content is always shifting. For a long time, the focus has been on making more of it: more blogs, video content, social media, and industry-focused events. But more is not necessarily a good thing.

It’s also true that creating too much scattered content with no true purpose waters down the potential for leadership status, and no single piece of content ends up standing out as authoritative. Clarifying key messaging can also become a challenge when content doesn’t have a personalized, carefully curated audience.

Add all these loose strings together and any insights shared through content never quite turn into leadership-level traction.

Creating content authority is about being adaptable and willing to develop something fresh, as much as it’s about using the tools and materials you already have in wiser ways. Brands need to concentrate on crafting a content experience that’s consistent and focused in the right marketing channels to do one very important thing:

Help potential customers feel empowered by your knowledge and ready to take informed actions with confidence.

As a freelance writer, I know a thing or two about building long-term authority through my content. I write for a range of industries on many topics, which gives me a great insider perspective on what makes good, relatable content, and on the habits that help build content authority naturally and consistently over time.

If you’re interested in ways to bulk up your content authority know-how, here are a few things I’ve learned along the way.

Content Authority Basics 

As a brand, how do you define content authority, or know you’ve earned it? The number of likes and shares on a blog post or video? Sales leads? More consistent web traffic from a key target market? Positive reviews and comments?

It’s important to clarify what content authority means to the business as a whole.

True content authority acts as its own growth engine. The content itself is useful and answers key questions in a powerful way that gets likes and shares now—and in the years to come. For example, I write a blog on creativity, and posts from two years ago are still being read, shared, and liked right now. The content is essential to my personal brand, and the blog gives traffic I don’t have to work for now, as I already shared the post when it was new.

Building content authority is about thinking long and short term. How can your brand look at a range of topics to answer questions in a way that’s evergreen and informative? What keywords are linked to the brand as cornerstone keywords that will remain consistent and relevant search terms? Are there industry insights content creators can pair with additional insight or knowledge and then share them freely?

Considering these aspects as important parts of content planning and development is what sets a brand up for strong, consistent visibility on search engines, in social media, and through web traffic that builds organically over time.

Ways to Create Content Authority

The path to content authority is about well-written and developed content as much as it’s about planning. Real-time measurement tools make traffic data more prevalent, but it’s important to leverage it sooner during the strategic planning stage of asset development. This saves time and energy spent on content that’s not hitting key demographics and ensures content is more in alignment with what customers want from a brand presence.

Here are some specific ways to leverage content into leadership status:

1. Refresh Your Point of View

As a brand, you probably already have a lot of content in play. Instead of jumping in to make more, take a fresh look at your brand with an outsider perspective. Then create niche content based on customer feedback, surveys, comments on social media posts, and other insights. Making more of the same, even if you already have earned some leadership recognition through content, is not as important as seeing things objectively to create fresh cornerstone content anchors.

2. Craft Consistency and Set Manageable Expectations

One of the easiest ways to become and remain an authority through content is to show up consistently. Develop an editorial calendar paired with a posting schedule and stick to it, whether you are sharing blogs, video content, or special offers to brand supporters. Create content that speeds up the buyer’s journey or fills in information gaps, while also making it interesting, informative, and easy to access. Don’t forget to address industry news and developments and play off of them within the content.

3. Teach through Content

There’s a reason YouTube is so popular: viewers know they can learn how to do something easily, quickly, and get both written and visual tutorials. Teaching through content is one of the easiest ways to connect, show off that your brand knows a thing or two, and empower customers. Choose relevant topics related to questions commonly featured in customer service transcripts or in social platforms, and create content-focused teaching tools based on direct questions or interests.

4. Diversify Engagement Opportunities

Mixing up what you share online is part of keeping engagement high. Include references and links to cornerstone content in fresh new pieces. Consider collaborating with industry influencers who have complimentary insights that can build on content you’ve already shared. Or, create a new collaborative content series with an influencer to serve as future cornerstone content.

5. Pinpoint and Review Authority Outlets

Building authority in the right places—and understanding why they’re good outlets to begin with—is key to crafting leadership through content.

Which social platforms are part of consistent outreach? Does the brand take time to engage with people on social media? What third-party outlets are credible spots for industry experts to gather or share information? Try LinkedIn or Medium to start.

6. Revisit Keywords Consistently

The beauty of marketing-based data is the that it allows a brand to learn more about what search words get customers to their web pages and which ones create the most traction towards a sale. It helps to mix up the standard keywords with seasonal, quarterly, or new industry terms.

Having clear data insights also offers up keywords that can be used to craft new informational, long-tail keyword phrases based on actual customer search terms.

Don’t be afraid to play with words and see what works. It’s easy enough to try out in a new blog post and see if it lands—before putting together a full-blown campaign around a specific keyword.

7. Create a Community and Contribute

A video is an easy way to jump in on a content trend and build authority online. Developing a web series that invites user feedback or hosting a webinar that features in-house employees sharing useful knowledge encourages audience participation and helps build community and authority through content. The social platforms tied to video content help with likes and shares and get it in front of people who didn’t even know they were interested in a specific topic. Mix it up with pre-recorded and streaming videos, and consider sharing the content in other formats like podcasts or PDFs.

Key Takeaways

With all of these content options to play with, it’s important to keep one thing in mind: always focus on how a piece of content can translate brand authority into action. It could be on a one-to-one level with potential or returning customers or by linking with other powerful brands that are complementary to yours

The overall goal is to take what you’re already knowledgeable about as a brand and use it to create a give-and-take that feels trustworthy and balanced. There’s nothing more powerful than delivering insights that empower customers, creating a memorable way for your brand to be seen as a reliable, quality resource and industry leader. It’s worked for me as a freelancer, and it can work for your brand, too!

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Katrina Pfannkuch

About Katrina Pfannkuch

Katrina Pfannkuch is a creativity consultant specializing in writing, editing, strategy & coaching. She's a bit of a data nerd & loves seeing how pieces of the informational puzzle come together to paint a creative picture. Catch Katrina & her insights on kick-starting creativity at @creativekatrina on Twitter.