Creating digital content is like trying to squeeze blood out of stone for some people. It’s not for everyone. Just like consuming digital content is not for everyone. Believe it or not, there are people who do not have internet by choice or even if they do, they do not take part in the tribal rituals of social media.
There are people who prefer a different type of connection still. A type that is more direct and with an intimate access to the person delivering the content. We have gotten so used to digital content and the fact that we can publish our content online that people are forgetting that there are other ways to build communities and connect with audiences.
There is a mask that protects us as private people, even though we own businesses and our faces and often names are out there as our brands. What about the person behind those fronts? What builds strong communities is authenticity. Such an overused word nowadays. Whatever you call it, people crave it. They crave the genuineness that digitally delivered media often doesn’t provide.
Being able to connect with an audience that is out of your normal comfort zone can be a real surprise for you as well as for them. Not only do you build your credibility factor but you will reach people you normally wouldn’t.
There is no way of growing a business without putting yourself out there. There is no harm in trying things on for size and see what works. You will find that some things work better for your niche than others. You will also discover that there are things you enjoy doing more than others. It’s all about finding that sweet spot where you are in your element while creating a particular type of content or delivery method and your audience is just lapping it up.
6 Non-tech Ways To Gain Authority In Your Niche
These 6 ways to connect with a new audience are not just for the techno-challenged but also for those who want to reach new audiences without the pressure to produce digital content and then having to market it heavily online.
Become a guest speaker
All speakers started somewhere. Even those who are now travelling the world and are making a living out of it. Some make a living with it and there are those who incorporate it into their marketing strategy to grow their audience.
Don’t think in terms of packed stadiums and premium-priced tickets. That will more likely invoke a “hell no!” reaction from you rather than a “yes, I think I can manage that”. Community events welcome guest speakers and are a great way to connect with your local audience. Check out community groups in your area.
Chamber of commerce meetings, non-profit organisations and even your local Rotary Club may have speaking opportunities that are relatively small scaled. These are not only great for connecting local professionals and businesses but also for growing your list. Take your tablet or smartphone with you and use Mailchimp’s Subscribe app to collect your audience’s details straight into your email marketing list.
Don’t forget your content upgrade! Make sure you mention in your talk what you do and if you’re feeling generous, offer your audience something special. A discounted or free session with you, product samples, workshop you’ll be doing etc. Keep in mind though, you’re not there to sell and the focus of your talk is to serve your audience and wow them with your magnetic personality, excellent speaking style and your expertise.
Approach your local media
If you can swing a media appearance here and there, it will quickly increase your visibility. It will make you stand out from your competition as well. The perception is that if you appear on TV or radio, you have a higher authority in your field than others. Even if it may not be the case. It’s just the nature of the beast. It will not only increase your profile but will put you in front of people you may not be able to reach otherwise.
Since these opportunities don’t just fall into people’s laps, if you want to appear in your local media, you need to keep an eye on opportunities that present. Sometimes you need to create those opportunities yourself. Once you are known as someone who is comfortable in their skin to appear in the media, the chances of getting another opportunity will be higher.
Approach local radio or TV stations with your content. Get to know your local papers. Including the people who write the articles in the sections you’d like to get yourself or our business into. Invite them to an event you are holding or participating in. They may not turn up the first 10 times but will for the 11th.
The great thing about media appearances is that you can add them to the Media section on your website. That instantly tells any visitor to your site that you are open to being interviewed for or involved in a media project.
You would have to be a well-known celebrity to make any money from an appearance or interview but there is plenty of return on your effort in terms of visibility and building your authority.
Guest blogging works best when you have high quality and genuine content to offer. When you publish a guest post on someone else’s platform, you are tapping into their audience. This is why you need to be looking at opportunities to guest blog with sites who offer the same high quality and genuine content in a niche that complements yours. With the exchange of backlinks to each other’s sites, both sides benefit. You build great working relationships with individuals or organisations this way.
For this to work with maximum benefit, you need to be clear on your niche. This is generally good content advice. Guest blogging to a site with the exact same niche as yours, you run the risk of preaching to the same audience as your own. Keep in mind that backlinks from your guest blog to your website should lead to relevant content. That set up appeals to Google. Of course, you will need to have your own website with content for this.
To find guest blogging opportunities, you can sign up to sites like Sourcebottle. People often post call-out for guest bloggers in relevant Facebook groups. You can also do the “old-fashioned” way of finding opportunities and google phrases such as “guest blogging” or “submit your blog” and the like.
Do your research about the person, business or organisation you’re planning on submitting to. Once an online association has been made between you and another entity, it will be very hard to unlink on the www if they turn out to be bogus.
Organise or go to a meet-up
Meet-ups, whether you’re an organiser or a guest are still an excellent way to network and expand your circle. Apart from meeting new people, they are fabulous for dropping your elevator pitch in a conversation without being cheesy. Afterall, that is why everyone is there. Introduce people to each other with tidbits about who they are and what they do to get a conversation going will cement your reputation as a thoughtful host.
This type of networking event often includes guest speakers. If you’re a guest, pay attention to what level engagement the organisers need from their guest speaker. You may decide to try your hand at the opportunity to be a speaker at a future meet-up.
If you’re the organiser of the meet-up, take the time to welcome your guest and introduce yourself and your business to the audience. Share with them why you started the meet-ups in the first place. Invite people to chat with you during the event. These are the types of informal networking events where people exchange business cards over drinks. Those drink can be followed up by emails or phone calls to arrange more formal meetings.
You will definitely need to come out of your shell for these events to make the most of them. Even if you’re an introvert, I suggest you make an appearance to help people put a face to a name.
Sponsor a community event
Sponsoring an event in your community tells people that you care for the well-being of that community. Supporting local causes is a way to give back to the community that is supporting your business. Of course, the marketing value of it is a part of the benefit to your business. With sponsorship, everyone wins. It’s a misconception that you need to have big money in your marketing budget to sponsor an event. Community organisations often offer tiered sponsorship packages.
If you want to sponsor an event or organisation but there is no available information, it may be because they haven’t used this type of revenue raising before. All it takes is an email or a phone call to them to find out if they would be open to the opportunity.
Choose an event or organisation you’re passionate about and talk to your audience about why you’re sponsoring them. Even better when your niche and what you’re sponsoring align with each other. For example, if you’re a tobacco company, you wouldn’t be sponsoring the fundraising fun run at your local public school.
Apart from growing your brand visibility and showing your responsibility towards your local community, sponsorship opportunities also increase your credibility and will engage your audience in a new way.
When you’re a guest at someone else’s podcast, much like guest blogging, you are tapping into their audience. And like media appearances, you can add it to your media kit to show your diversity. An extra bonus, you don’t have the responsibility of having to regularly produce podcasts. It’s a sit back, relax, chat type of situation.
Before you say “yes” to a new podcast opportunity, check your podcast host. Is this someone you’re happy to chat to? Does their audience complement your niche? How long have they been podcasting?
Or, you may be the one looking for opportunities to be a guest on a podcast. In which case, you should be asking the above questions as well. If they are accepting pitches from the public, there are things you want to include in your approach.
Who you are, what you do, your professional experience and previous media appearances will help convince the podcast host to engage you for an episode or two.
In either case, this is the most spontaneous of all audience expanding opportunities, so make sure you are prepared.
Being interviewed for a podcast give you the chance to talk about your business in a less formal way and let your relaxed personality shine through. A great podcast host will make you feel comfortable and will bounce questions off you to keep the interview dynamic. It’s worth keeping in touch with the hosts after your guest appearance.
Much of the above can be easily applied to radio appearances as well. TV, however, is a whole other animal.
When you want to grow your business, claiming your authority in your niche goes hand in hand with demonstrating your expertise. Any of the abovementioned methods can be used to increase your audience. One way or another you need to find ways of getting “out there” and showing people that you have the competence and ability to carry out the tasks or service you’re offering.
Even if you have a physical product-based business, increasing your brand awareness is a part of your growth plan. If it’s not, it should be.
All will help you either generate versatile content you can use in many ways or will help you in using your existing content creatively.
Many people struggle with visibility and in turn their business struggles. There is a good reason why clever marketing works. Putting yourself, your business and your brand in front of people will evoke higher engagement and brand recognition.
In service based businesses where your earning power stems from your knowledge and expertise, opportunities to prove that knowledge are the foundation of growing your authority.
Want to dive deeper into how you can create content to show off your expertise in your field? Let’s chat.