A lot of people today are launching websites “on the side.” By that I mean that while they hold down “regular jobs” – or raise their families – they launch a website with one or more of these goals in mind:
- It will be an outlet for their creative energies
- It will provide extra income
- It will eventually evolve into a full-time business venture.
All of these are great goals and they aren’t mutually exclusive. For example, many blogs launched as a form of self-expression have evolved into full-time businesses for individuals. No matter where you see yourself fitting into this “continuum” there is a common key to success: establishing yourself as a “local authority.”
“Authority marketing” is an area within public relations that is growing in importance everyday and you don’t have to be the next Ann Tran to use this tool in a way that promotes your success. Establishing yourself as the local “go-to” guy or gal in a specific commercial realm can prove to be very profitable.
And if you’re that person who is holding down a full-time job and hoping to establish a presence on the Internet through a website, your current position within your company is one of the places you can start building this authority.
Let me illustrate this. In almost every working environment, certain people establish themselves as the authorities to ask for help on various issues. You may have worked in an office where there was a resident Excel spreadsheet expert. If you ran into a problem designing a spreadsheet, you went to this person and he or she would show you how to solve your problem.
In other words, you can begin to establish yourself as a local authority, by establishing yourself as the authority where you are working right now. Your next step would be to start spreading the “street cred” you have developed at work to the Internet via your website. By the way, if you’ve successfully established your authority at work, it shouldn’t be difficult to get some support for your website from your coworkers, or other business contacts.
If you aren’t taking a business skill and working to build an Internet presence around it, there are probably other areas where you have “built-in” fans for your talents. These could be friends, family members or social media connections.
Whether you use your professional connections or family and friends as your starting point, think of this group as the “core of the snowball” around which you will build your local authority. Here are some tips that will help you take this effort further:
- Volunteer guest articles for local publications. Prepare some articles for the town newspaper, even if it’s a freebie.
- Contact local talk radio hosts. Some of the smaller local radio stations use volunteers who are always looking for guests to interview.
- Give a talk or workshop at a local college. Saying you spoke at a college or university looks great on your resume and will help open doors for you.
- Contact higher-level influencers through Twitter. Ask specific questions and cultivate relationships.
- Network at conferences. Develop new relationships at conferences and expos. Get to know the experts who are conducting the major workshops.
- Guest blog for these higher-level influencers. Once the relationship is established, offer a guest blog. Also, ask permission to reprint things they have written.
This is a process. No one was recognized as an authority overnight. Gradually build your authority and the number of ways you can monetize it will grow as your authority grows.
Photo Credit: [School Of Open Workshop WMDE], by Elly Köpf. CC BY-SA.