Building brand authority requires creating quality content that establishes your credibility. Think of it as street cred for the internet.
Many organizations struggle with this part of establishing their bona fides because they try to take a short cut with their content creation. They get sucked into the game of producing SEO keyword stuffed drivel that prioritizes search engines over the humans reading it.
It’s nearly impossible to shape a stellar impression of your brand if visitors to your website and social media feeds are greeted by inferior content.
Google finally has realized the error of its algorithm’s ways and has set out to correct course. By now, most people have heard about Google’s Helpful Content Update. If you’re among the few who missed the newsflash, here’s the long and short of it: Google is going to start rewarding content that puts people first, not search engines.
Good thing for me that my business motto is, “People First. SEO Second.” I’ve always put readers first when writing content for myself or any of my clients.
Getting people to your website or other online content is only the first part of the battle. If your content sucks, they won’t stick around (or come back) for more.
Building brand authority takes time and skill. One of the tools in your growth strategy should include HARO. We’ll talk more about that later. First, let’s break down why you should care about brand authority.
What is brand authority?
Brand authority is all about trust. Not just trust in your product or service, either. Brand authority should extend to include how your current and prospective customers view your organization as a trustworthy source of information.
You may have heard branding strategists and other marketing professionals talk about establishing yourself as an industry leader or niche authority. That’s just a fancy way of saying when you post something online, people believe it.
Let’s say you’re a physical therapist with a large customer base and online presence. If you create a social media post about a new product to help with stretching that can reduce the risk of injury, your followers won’t doubt your recommendation because they believe you’re an expert on the matter. That’s brand authority.
Why do I need to build brand authority?
Organizations that want to be successful care about brand authority. If no one trusts your brand or has doubts about buying your products or services, they’re going to spend their money elsewhere.
Trust goes beyond encouraging people to try your brand. It’s a critical component of keeping customers once you have them in the fold.
Brand authority mustn’t be confused with brand awareness. You can know a brand exists, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you want to buy their products. An organization can be stellar at getting their name and products out there. However, that doesn’t mean they have a good product or service that people trust and rely on.
Unilever is a great example of brand authority. Under former CEO Paul Polman, the company redirected its focus from profitability to sustainability. The result was a positive social impact through its Unilever Sustainable Living Plan that reinforced the company’s business integrity and resonated with consumers.
Although its focus wasn’t on profitability, Unilever managed to increase its earnings over the eight years it spent concentrating on profit through purpose.
What is HARO?
As previously mentioned, HARO is one of the most effective ways to build brand authority. If you’re wondering what the heck HARO is, let me explain.
Help A Reporter Out – HARO for short – pairs journalists and other media outlets with reputable sources they can quote in their articles. Media outlets like ABC News, Chicago Tribune, Fox News, Reuters, The New York Times, Time, and Wall Street Journal all rely on HARO to find industry experts for their articles.
You must sign up for a membership to reap the benefits but it’s worth the effort. There are four membership levels from which to choose:
How does HARO build brand authority?
Now that you know what HARO is, you’re probably wondering how you can use it to build brand authority. It’s quite simple. Depending on the plan you’ve chosen, start looking for opportunities that fit your niche.
Let’s say you’re a pediatrician interested in growing your practice. You could use HARO to find opportunities to speak to local reporters about health and wellness issues affecting children. Once you see a good fit, submit a response to their query through the platform and wait to see if they select you.
The Write Reflection™ has had great success getting clients featured as industry experts using HARO. We’ve matched brands with journalists from high authority web domains, bloggers, and sites with the most interactive followers.
Tips for increasing your chances
As you can probably imagine, there are a lot of brands vying for attention on HARO. You must find a way to help your brand stand out in a crowd if you want to be chosen as the industry expert. Here are some tips for making it happen:
How do I use HARO to build brand authority?
It’s all about the backlinks, baby. A lot of organizations take short cuts when trying to get backlinks, including using Black Hat SEO techniques. Quick results can end up hurting your brand authority in the long run. It’s best to avoid them and build links the right way.
Some HARO journalists and media outlets provide backlinks to your business website or other online presence in their stories once published. Known as an earned backlink, it redirects their readers to your website or social media accounts to learn more about you.
Not only can you use HARO to establish yourself as a brand authority, but you also can use it to boost your SEO rankings with Google the right way. It’s a win-win!
How do I get started with HARO?
While it’s entirely possible to set up your own account and pitch yourself to reporters in HARO, you might want to consider hiring a professional to help you navigate the platform to increase your chances of success.
The Write Reflection has helped other clients build brand authority using HARO and other reputable methods. Reach out today to schedule your no-obligation consultation.
Shari L. Berg is the owner/operator of The Write Reflection, and a writing professional for 25 years.