By Brett Zucker
Content Is Still King. Without content you’re stuck on the sidelines. But Influence is gaining momentum, sitting very close to the throne.
Russ Alan Prince and Bruce Rogers, co-authors of the book “Profitable Brilliance: How Professional Services Firms Become Thought Leaders,” define Thought Leadership in two parts.
Definition—Part One: A thought leader is an individual or firm that prospects, clients, referral sources, intermediaries and even competitors recognize as one of the foremost authorities in selected areas of specialization, resulting in its being the go-to individual or organization for said expertise.
Definition—Part Two: A thought leader is an individual or firm that significantly profits from being recognized as such.
We’ve preached about Thought Leadership’s value in this space before. Producing mass content is one thing; establishing yourself as an authoritative voice on subject matter is a whole new ball game. In the end, the exposure your business gains is priceless. Becoming a Thought Leader doesn’t happen overnight, but if you foster a community, then your company can reap the payoff (Part Two).
Up until now, becoming a Thought Leader in your respective industry meant procuring a community which respects, trusts, and values your content. But as Google continues to tweak its algorithm to include Author Rank, tangible gains from Thought Leadership can be pinpointed.
This begs the question: What is author rank? On CMS Wire, Tommy Landry took the time to find Google’s exact verbiage:
“The identity of individual agents responsible for content can be used to influence search ratings.
Assuming that a given agent has a high reputational score, representing an established reputation for authoring valuable content, then additional content authored and signed by that agent will be promoted relative to unsigned content or content from less reputable agents in search results.”
In short, if you establish yourself as a source and authority figure by generating relevant content, your website will be prioritized by search engines. Look at it this way: Joe Six-Pack’s small auto shop may be hard to find on the Internet. But let’s say Joe writes a popular blog on his website with content about the auto industry, including lists of affordable customizations you can add to your car. His blog develops traction, commentators are discussing the best deals, and the lists are being circulated around the web. If someone then searches out “cheap custom rims,” Google will rank his website higher; thus, increasing traffic.
Don’t get me wrong, are algorithms still geared toward best SEO practices and volume? Yes, we’re not reinventing the wheel here, but Author Rank rewards those who have demonstrated influence. Creating relevant and shareable content that accumulates comments and clicks will drive traffic to your website. How the content performs on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other outlets will play a role as well. This is why, more than ever, it’s important to engage a community with your expertise and become A Voice Of Your Industry.