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You're Not Fooling Anyone: Why You Can't Fake Authority


Nike is an authority on sportswear. Apple is an authority in the field of technology. Google is arguably the authority on search engine optimization. What is your area of expertise? When building your brand, both online and offline, focus on becoming not just good at what you do, but an authority in your field.

Last year, Google's Matt Cutts revealed that an impending update to Google's algorithm would focus on finding authorities in their respective fields and giving them a ranking boost. Cutts explained that these types of sites (sites that are seen as an authority) should be given a preference in rankings to deliver better search results to users. The larger point here is that people trust authorities. Authorities are, by definition, the most knowledgeable in a particular subject and consequently able to offer the best products or services.

Why You Can't Fake Authority

There are plenty of reasons why faking authority isn't a good idea and will not work as a strategy for growing your business, but here are three:

  • If you don't know what you're talking about, you'll run out of things to say before you have a chance to build an audience.
  • If you're faking authority, your message will be generic. Generic messaging does not stand out, is not unique, and will be passed over quickly by potential customers.
  • Faking authority is a shortcut that will not result in any lasting reputation. You can't become an authority in your field by cutting corners. This takes time and hard work to build.

Ways You Can Build Authority

The Importance of Blogging
If your content is compelling, covers a wide range of topics in your field, and offers a unique perspective on your subject, it can not only increase traffic to your site but also increase the chances of converting traffic into customers.

Social Media Cannot Be Ignored
This can work in all verticals. If you are not doing social media, you may be missing out on one more opportunity to build your brand's image as an authority.

Local Event Marketing
Speaking engagements, seminars, and sponsoring events are all great offline ways you can build brand awareness and authority, but local event marketing has a twofold benefit. Growing your presence offline can also result in online citations and links.

Become the Best at What You Do
When it comes to strategies for becoming an authority in your field, nothing holds a candle to positive customer experience. When you're good at what you do, people will respond to that. Look at any top business in a given industry, and you'll realize that they got to the top and stayed there because they are the best at what they do. Building a strong presence both on and offline will not benefit you if you can't back it up with a great product or service.

It has been said that you should write what you know – but why? Because no one will buy it if you're faking it, at least not for long. If you are not an authority in your field yet, don't give up. The best way to build authority is to avoid the temptation to fake it and focus on becoming the best in your field.