13 Authority Hacks That Give You Instant Expert Status Online

by Jason Gracia


He falls to one knee, gripping his chest. Like a brush fire, the news spreads through the crowd, causing confusion and fear.

Then three words are spoken – and panic is replaced by calm.

“I’m a doctor.”

The crowd parts to give the obvious expert space to work, ready and willing to follow instructions from the one person in the room who seems to know what to do.

This is the power of authority. It attracts attention, communicates credibility, and inspires action.

And as a blogger, you need it now more than ever.

You’re not trying to get attention in a room of 100; you’re clawing for attention in a room of 10,000,000. Every day, people are bombarded with dozens of new emails, hundreds of social media updates, countless videos and an endless stream of podcasts to consume.

It’s a noisy world. Without authority, your voice is a whisper, almost impossible to hear over everyone else. But as a recognized expert, you don’t have to shout, because people come to you. They seek you out, join your world, and consume everything you have to offer.

It’s good to have authority.

Yet how do you get it? How do you go from being just another blogger to becoming one of the obvious authorities?

Though it might seem like a mystery, it’s actually a science. If you know the right shortcuts, you can set off a psychological chain reaction that positions you as the respected source in your field.

Hacking Authority: The Shortcut to Position & Power

Our hypothetical doctor’s power stems from countless years in study and practice. But there’s more. He didn’t shyly ask for permission to help. He didn’t pass around diplomas or licenses for proof. Instead, he stepped forward and claimed the power to lead.

A brazen scammer will assert authority without the backing of proof. A shy academic may possess proof without asserting authority. A successful blogger does both.

We instinctively grant authority to those with tangible proof, but it’s also a matter of confidently asserting your power. Successfully building credibility is a combination of gaining knowledge and experience while also putting yourself in contexts that suggest authority.

So authority is part earned, part claimed.

But you don’t have to wait a lifetime before staking your claim. Using the following simple authority hacks, you’ll flip the switch of credibility in your readers’ minds and quickly rank as one of the leaders in your field.

1. Take a Stance

True authorities don’t hedge. They don’t tactfully play the middle, aiming to please both sides of the argument. Instead, they take a stance, critics be damned.

It’s scary, of course. To say this is right – and this is wrong – invites criticism, something we normally avoid like a swarm of bees. But if you want to be a respected expert, you must be willing to risk the sting.

Reveal and obliterate the myths of your industry. Proudly declare your beliefs and vision. Stand firm. Let the others play it safe as they struggle with mediocrity. You have a bigger mission.

Strategy in action

Posts such as 20 Ways to Be Just Another Mediocre Blogger Nobody Gives a Crap AboutHow to Be Smart in a World of Dumb Bloggers, and Why You Shouldn’t Create a Newsletter (and What to Do Instead) make it clear that Jon Morrow’s goal isn’t to merely please his readers. He’s here to make a difference, and to hell with any critics.

2. Break into The Inner Circle

If you are surrounded by powerful people, you become powerful yourself. The sway of association cannot be denied; we simply can’t help ourselves. “She must be important,” we instinctively conclude. “Look who her friends are.”

What isn’t obvious, however, is how a new blogger creates those powerful ties with the people that matter.

Believe it or not, it can take just one word.

When I started my first blog, I wanted to connect with the recognized experts in my field, but I knew they were busy and people nagged them for attention daily. My solution? The one-word interview.

I asked popular bloggers the following question: What do you feel is the most important quality for an emerging expert to possess? Short and sweet … and successful.

Strategy in action

I was able to associate myself with luminaries such as Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuk, Marie Forleo and Danielle LaPorte by conducting a one-word interview with each of them. And by publishing the interviews on my blog, it elevated my status in readers’ eyes.

3. Summon Your Followers

Tribes hold massive power. We all want to belong, to feel special and wanted and understood, and a tribe perfectly caters to each one of these needs. By developing an identity for your ideal audience – and turning away the rest – you give them something to belong to and a badge of honor to wear.

In return, you get authority. It’s only natural. The man or woman who calls out fearlessly to his or her people becomes the obvious leader in their minds. After all, they’re the ones who started the party – shouldn’t they get to host?

To create your tribe, define them, name them, call out to them, and serve them:

  • Define the characteristics you want in an ideal audience member – whom can you best help and whom do you most want to help?
  • If it suits your personality and your topic, give your tribe a name – a banner for them to unite under.
  • Call out to them across all your platforms by clearly defining who you cater to; people should know if they’re in the right or wrong place seconds after landing on your blog.
  • Serve your tribe by fully understanding their problems and delivering effective solutions.

Strategy in action

From Lady Gaga’s Little Monsters and Macklemore’s Shark Face Gang, to Gary Vaynerchuk’s Vaniacs, creating a tribe naturally places you in a position of authority.

4. Reveal Your Sources

When the only barriers to sharing “expert” advice online are a few clicks of the mouse, how can you tell the real expert from the fake? Simple. They connect their advice to trusted sources.

True experts have deep knowledge. They know the past, present, and future of their field. They know the trends, the myths, and most importantly, the facts. And when they mention those facts, the best and brightest also cite their sources.

The next time you’re writing a post, look outside your experiences and include material from books, journals, and studies that will add weight to your ideas. Your post will be better and your credibility will climb.

Strategy in action

You won’t find a better example of this authority hack than the experts behind Price Intelligently. In each of their posts, they feature study after study to back up their premise, removing all doubt about their authority in the field.

5. Develop Your Origin Story

Stories are powerful. Facts prove you’ve done your homework, but stories create a connection with your audience. So use elements of your own story to build a bond with your readers.

First, tell the story of your struggle. What hardships have you endured? What challenges, obstacles, or fears have you faced? People need to know that you, too, struggled. It’s the only way they can relate. Without kryptonite, Superman would be perfect – and real people can’t relate to perfect.

Second, tell the story of your search. Share the details about what you’ve done to master your craft. What have you learned and how did you learn it? Sharing your search offers proof that you’re a credible expert. You didn’t merely pull your know-how out of thin air; you worked for years to gather, test, and prove your methods.

Third, tell the story of your success. Tell us how it is on the other side by painting a picture. This is where we find inspiration. You struggled, just like us, and now you’re enjoying the success we crave? Where do we sign up?

Strategy in action

At the root of every great brand is a great story, from Apple’s creation in the fabled garage, to Brendon Burchard’s accident and resulting revelation. But the story told by Sean Stephenson is unlike any other. The tales of his struggle, his search, and his resounding success inspire millions and create an unbreakable bond with the people he serves.[SS2]

6. Restrict Access

If you’re good at what you do, people want your time and attention. The better you are, the greater the number and the more you have to turn away – there’s simply not enough time in the day to help everyone who wants it. Visitors, therefore, assume that an expert forced to turn away business must be in demand.

The non-authority, instead of turning away business, pleads for it. They open their doors to anyone and everyone; when no one’s knocking, they can hardly be choosy. There’s just one problem. Visitors assume the idle expert willing to work with anyone at any time cannot be a true expert.

The easier you are to access, the lower your authority status.

To use this psychology to your advantage, become strategically unavailable. Your free content should remain open, but beyond that introduce restrictions. Waiting lists, premium fees, and customer prerequisites are just a few of the ways you can restrict access and engineer a rise in authority.

As in high school, the harder you are to get, the more people want you.

Strategy in action

Jay Abraham used this strategy brilliantly in his early years, charging $2,000 per hour for consulting, making himself the prize to be won among his market. Ramit Sethi puts a unique spin on the principle by refusing to sell his products to anyone with credit card debt.

7. Showcase Your Skills

You can talk about it. You can write about it. You can even let others brag about it. But nothing is as effective as proving your expertise live.

Are you an online marketing expert? Hold live “hot seats” where visitors share their problems and you offer instant solutions. Designer? Bring us through the process, live on screen, of transforming an outdated look into a modern design. Life coach? Choose three members from your community for a live coaching session, on camera.

Even better, demo your expertise for someone else’s audience.

I was part of a mastermind group which included the occasional guest expert. I’ll never forget the visit by Kevin Rogers, in which he hopped from one member’s site to the next offering critiques. His talent was obvious, which naturally boosted his authority, but what really elevated his status – before one powerful word was spoken – was merely being invited by the head of the mastermind into his home. The endorsement granted him instant credibility.

Strategy in action

To make a quick name for himself, Derek Halpern launched a campaign of live website critiques for the Internet’s top brass, from Pat Flynn and Chris Brogan, to Corbett Barr and Laura Roeder. Putting his expertise on public display – along with the implied endorsement of each expert visited – catapulted Halpern to expert status.

8. Join the Establishment

Governing bodies, including those not directly associated with your industry, such as the Better Business Bureau, carry great weight and influence. They are pillars of credibility and, just like connecting with the leading experts in your field, affiliating yourself with these organizations automatically grants you part of that unquestionable authority.

If speaking is your game, you have the National Speakers Association. Cover health and fitness? You’ve got the National Association for Health and Fitness. Teach people how to get organized? The National Association of Professional Organizers is for you. These are just a few of the many associations that govern industries throughout the country. A quick Google search will help you find your perfect match.

Bonus Tip: Adding the association’s logo to your site is just one of the possibilities. Many groups circulate a monthly newsletter, giving you the opportunity to write for your governing body – a major boost. Many also have annual conferences. If you want to seriously expand your authority, you can’t get much better than speaking for the industry itself.

Strategy in action

Faith Manierre may not exactly fit our mold of a typical blogger, but she knocks this strategy out of the park. She not only links herself to the major governing bodies of her field through membership, but also through the awards won, certifications earned, and services delivered in regard to those associations.

9. Create a Signature Framework

Most bloggers are haphazard creatures, darting from one take on their topic to the next without any apparent method. And because they have no single unifying approach to their work, people can’t easily consider them an authority. They seem to adopt a slightly different viewpoint every week.

It’s another story when you stumble upon a blogger with a signature framework … a proven, one-of-a-kind system that outlines the path from A to Z. They have an approach that underpins everything they teach.

Imagine visiting a blog that offers a wide variety of posts related to gardening. Now compare that to a blog whose owner is the creator of the Home Gardening System. Immediately the feeling is different. The creator of HGS isn’t some flake tossing out interesting but unconnected material; their signature framework implies a history of deep knowledge, of understanding, of effort and investment, of trial and error, and of results.

Strategy in action

Countless writers and speakers spoke to the importance of being proactive or seeking first to understand (then to be understood). They were like everyone else.

Then Stephen Covey merged these ideas, along with five others, to create his world-renowned 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. In place of important, but unconnected ideas, he created a structure and, with that, an entire industry. It became synonymous with his name, launched million-dollar ventures and a stream of bestsellers – and it gave me the perfect example of Creating a Signature Framework.

To follow in Covey’s footsteps, begin by mapping the overall path your audience must take to achieve their desired results. Break that path down into pillars, core concepts that can stand on their own as major themes or principles. Then you simply must fill those pillars with your best tips, tricks, and strategies to get from one to the next.

10. Be On a Mission

We’ve all read posts that engage, inform, and entertain, but something more is needed to truly inspire – you must focus, not on what you do, but on why you do it. This is the secret to the blogs that loom large over their markets, the key to viral status and instant authority.

With perks like these, it’s time to reveal your WHY.

What is your mission? What do you believe in that drives your blog? What core message must you share with the rest of the world? What difference are you trying to make?

Answering these questions will lift your blog from a repository of letters and numbers to the heartbeat of a movement.

We rarely get behind a great post or video; its life soon dies after starting. But we humans were built to get behind movements. We live for them – and we grant authority status to the people behind them. It’s the reason Apple’s 1984 ad is still referenced decades later. It’s the reason Nike grew from shoes sold out of a trunk to a worldwide phenomenon.

And it’s the reason your blog will evolve into something that truly matters – with you as the authority behind it.

Strategy in action

Scott Dinsmore is the man behind Live Your Legend, the blog whose mission is to help people do work they love. As a good friend and gifted entrepreneur, I’ve followed him closely over the years. Without fail, each time his purpose expanded, so too did his brand, his credibility, and his fame. When his TED talk reached one million views, Scott Dinsmore was unquestionably leading a movement, and the world wanted in.

11. Become a Trusted Curator

Curation implies authority. When you think of a museum curator, do you see a knowledgeable historian or an enthusiastic amateur? The former of course.

In the blogging world, the round-up post is one of the pillars of popular content curation. It’s a blog post that lists the top this or top that in a particular market: The Top Ten Bloggers to WatchThe True Innovators in TechThe Top Seven Podcasts to Never Miss, etc. As the name implies, you round up the field and highlight the best and brightest.

You gain authority by connecting your blog with the top minds in your field. But also as a savvy blogger, you can use curation as an opportunity to reach out to everyone included and let them know they’re featured; this opens the door to new relationships and network connections, not to mention the likelihood they’ll share the post with their audiences.

Strategy in action

With a technique this effective, round-up posts are everywhere. Two of my favorites were brought to us by Fizzle (the brainchild of Corbett Barr, Chase Reeves, and Caleb Wojcik), and Problogger. Fizzle ran a post featuring 19 Women Who Will Teach You How to Kick Ass Online, and Problogger ran a post highlighting 15 Bloggers to Watch in 2013. Oldies but goodies.

12. Take Your Expertise Offline

With so much focus on the digital economy, we can easily forget about the larger world offline. Most bloggers wouldn’t consider unplugging and venturing into the great outdoors to build their blogs, but the combination of online and off is what actually delivers the greatest boost to authority.

Imagine Jodie, a relationship blogger who writes about marriage – like a thousand other bloggers.

On a sunny Sunday afternoon, Jodie goes to the local library to talk with the staff about holding a free talk on reviving a dying relationship. It’s valuable to the library’s members, so they’re happy to feature her and promote the talk.

Jodie lets her online audience know about the talk, getting a boost to her expert status. No longer is she simply a blogger; she’s now a speaker.

On the day of the talk, Jodie invites a friend to snap photos. She also gets attendees on video sharing their thoughts after the workshop. She adds the photos and videos to her site along with a special link to contact her for speaking opportunities.

With a few hours’ work and an afternoon speaking on the topic she loves, Jodie now stands out in a crowded market. When people realize that she not only writes but also speaks on the topic, they’ll naturally conclude she’s far more than a rookie. She’s the real deal.

How can you share your expertise offline to boost your authority online? Can you speak at a library or community college? Give a workshop in your basement?

Building your authority offline is not hard. A little effort and commitment are required, but as a reader of Smart Blogger, you’re no stranger to those concepts.

Strategy in action

Lewis Howes was a star athlete until a freak accident brought a tragic end to his career. As he gained the strength to start the second chapter of his life, he became quite the LinkedIn expert. What really kicked him to the next level, though, was taking his expertise offline. After coordinating in-person LinkedIn Meetups, Howes became the go-to guy for all things LinkedIn. As the obvious expert, he was able to turn his passion and knowledge about the platform into a seven-figure business, proving once again that great power lies at the crossover of both worlds.

13. Write a Bold Manifesto

As a history nerd, I know that Thomas Jefferson wasn’t the only voice behind the Declaration of Independence. Along with his committee partners, he was aided by dozens of earlier minds and classical documents, as well as the congress as they tore to shreds his drafts.

Many helped, but Jefferson wrote the manifesto. In turn, he was given the glory.

Millions may be in your market, men and women across the globe writing about the same things you do, but if you write the manifesto, you automatically rise through the ranks. You become one of the leaders. You get the glory.

Encapsulate your mission into a tightly-trimmed document that serves as a clarion call to your tribe. Set the tone; set the stage. Be the one who leads the charge, and your people will gladly follow.

Strategy in action

Numerous manifestos are online, but nothing compares to Chris Guillebeau’s A Brief Guide to World Domination. The document beautifully outlines his views on the world and our roles within it, roles that run counter to what we’ve always been told. It set the stage for a new paradigm and made Chris a household name in our universe.

It’s Time to Step Forward and Claim Your Authority

No matter your goal as a blogger, authority will help you achieve it faster. It will help you stand out and attract a passionate audience that supports your goals and dreams.

Authority will help you connect with the movers and shakers of your world. It can even help you build a full-time living by monetizing your blog.

And it’s all within your reach. You don’t have to ask for permission and you don’t have to wait a lifetime.

With the simple authority hacks above, genuine authority is closer than you ever imagined. You can transform yourself from an unknown blogger to a sought-after expert, with all of the benefits that come with that authority status.

I’ve seen it happen before and I’ll see it happen again. The question is … when will you step forward?

About the Author: Jason Gracia is the founder and CEO of SavvyHippo, the web design agency for certified coaches. To learn more visit savvyhippo.com.
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Written by Jason Gracia

93 thoughts on “13 Authority Hacks That Give You Instant Expert Status Online”

  1. Great article! It’s actually a lot more important in the present, especially when everyone’s elbowing each other harder than before for a spot at the podium. Knowing popular is especially important, because if they like you, why wouldn’t they recommend you to their readers? Their readers mostly like have the same profiles as yours, so it filters out the people who aren’t likely to read.

    • Scott,

      Thank you so much for your comment and insight.

      I couldn’t agree more. In today’s always-on world, the need for authority is at an all-time high. If you can’t find a way to stand out, to get your voice heard above the noise, it’s an uphill battle that likely to end in defeat.

      But when you can separate yourself from the rabble and clearly demonstrate that you are a credible authority with the ability to deliver, everything changes. You go from seeker to sought and the uphill battle becomes a fight you can win.

      Another great insight: With authority comes the know-like-trust factor. Like you said, once you’re safely inside that trifecta, chances are good that you’ll be shared with similar audiences, bringing in another wave of eager fans and friends.

      Thanks again for taking the time to read the post and for your great comment. I truly appreciate both.


      • This is one of the best articles I’ve read in months! I couldn’t believe that you mentioned all the techniques as well as the people who have actually done it. Anyone reading it, as me, would certainly be inspired to be an authority in their field.

      • Dave,

        Thank you so much. I’m glad you found value in the “Strategies in Action.” It’s one thing to talk about the inner workings of an intangible idea but quite another to demonstrate how it actually works in the real world.


  2. You don’t need permission to claim your authority. And you don’t need to publicly proclaim yourself one to be one.

    You just need to be it. Act like it. Embody it. By doing things that authorities do. (because you are one)

    Your list is a great blueprint – thanks for sharing!

    • Sonia,

      You’ve hit on one of the most common problems among bloggers: permission. So many of us are waiting for a wand to appear in the skies and, lowering slowly, tap us on the shoulder, anointing us as credible authorities. I’ve been looking at the sky for years and still haven’t seen that wand.

      As you said, we simply need to step into the role and “embody” it. (Great word!) We don’t need a certificate, we don’t need a judgement, we don’t need anything other than our ability to deliver results–that’s the key. If you can help your readers get from Point A to Point B, you are an authority on your topic.

      Just in case there are those out there still waiting for someone to say it’s OK to stand up and deliver your message, here you go: I hereby give you permission to do the things you want to do and be the blogger you know you can be. Now get to it!

      Thank you for reading, Sonia, and for taking the time to share your thoughts. It’s clear you’re not waiting around for anyone to give you permission to proceed. 🙂


  3. Not only do you wanna be a trusted curator, you wanna get on other trusted creators’ lists. If your name appears alongside other established authorities then it’s natural for readers to assume you’re an authority too.

    As Sonia commented, your list is a great blueprint Jason.

    And what I like about being an online authority is this – you can walk down your own street with ripped jeans and cabbage stuck between your teeth and nobody has a clue about the influence you really have.

    • Kevin,

      Exactly! As I outline in #2, the power of association is undeniable. From mentioning other experts in your posts and interviewing or profiling them to hosting trainings together or gathering endorsements, borrowing celebrity is one of the most effective ways to stand out as a credible voice for your market.

      Ripped jeans and cabbage? Another great point. As an online authority you’re an offline Peter Parker. 🙂

      Thanks for reading and sharing, Kevin!


      • Yep, in the online world, you don’t need a fancy car and a crisp Armani suit to show you’re an authority.

        Although I guess those things do no harm if you’re using some of the offline tactics you suggest.

        Thanks for your reply Jason.

      • That’s one of the things I love about the Internet–it’s a true meritocracy, where clothes nor cars make you worthy, but only your words and ideas.

  4. After reading the title of this post, I anticipated an article with hacks and tips for looking more “famous.” Glad to see I was wrong. I definitely think its more of a mentality that will ultimately gain you the credibility. Thanks for the post. BBT rules as usual.

    • Rob,

      While the thirst for fame is unquenchable for millions, it’s good to know you and I (and the rest of the BBT community) are looking for something more.

      You’re absolutely right: authority can be developed and boosted with the above tactics, massively so, but it must begin within. If you don’t feel it in your bones, your audience will sense it a mile away.

      This is why I teach my clients the ABC’s of authority: Appearance, Body Language, Communication.

      You must look the part of an expert, presenting yourself in a professional manner according to the norms of your industry (e.g., speaking to a group of die-hard surfers while wearing a three-piece Armani suit won’t do you any favors).

      Posture, gestures, and the like are just as important. We’ve all heard the stats…50%, 70%, 110%!…of communication is body language. People have an innate sense regarding congruency of message and movement. If your words speak authority but your body conveys confusion and uncertainty, your silent movements will shout down anything you say.

      Finally I teach my clients about the important of communicating like an authority. It takes just a second or two of audio to know whether someone is a true expert on their topic. Their words are firm and declarative; they aren’t searching for answers–they know them cold through years of experience. They never hedge, removing “I thinks” and “I feels” from their vocabulary. They speak with humble confidence, secure in the power and effectiveness of their advice.

      Thanks for joining in the conversation and bringing this important topic to the surface, Rob. Truly appreciate it!


  5. Jason — Thanks for reminding me what it takes to become a trusted authority. I’ll never forget the words of one speaker I heard at a conference many years ago. She said, “Power isn’t conferred, it’s assumed.” She meant that you don’t wait for permission, you simply assume power. As you said, you take positions on controversial topics. You take on assignments for professional organizations and work your way into power positions. Being wishy, washy doesn’t cut it.

    • Jeannette,

      Amen! People the world over are looking for certainty. With so many unknowns…in our lives, in our businesses, in our world…we crave something solid, something dependable. We find comfort in the true authority, but find nothing but squirmy unease in the wishy washy “guru.”

      After years helping bloggers and other experts grow the brands and businesses, I understand the hesitation around assuming authority. It invites judgement and criticism (Who are YOU to claim to be an expert?!), two things most people avoid like the sharp end of a stick.

      But the great game of blogging and business requires courage. It requires that we feel the fear and charge forward anyway. Easy? Not at all. But as you already know, so, so worth it. 🙂


  6. I agree totally with these points, especially the need to take a stance: ‘Reveal and obliterate the myths of your industry’. Some folk will hate you when you do. I ran a blog post last month that suggested literary agents were – as a business – institutionally incompetent and unprofessional. Not just my opinion, but based on recorded evidence of their slow response (or zero response) times to new submissions. Some people howled – how can you dare to upset agents? – but 80 commentators agreed with me. As Mark Twain might have said: the writer who offends nobody has nothing to say.

    • John,

      As a lifelong fan of Twain, your comment brought an instant smile to my face, but it’s your story that had me hooked.

      You are the embodiment of that strategy, standing up for what you believe in, breaking the myths of the industry, and weathering the backlash like a pro.

      It’s comments like yours that make all the writing worth it; they give life to an inanimate post, showing readers the power of, not merely digesting more information, but actually doing something with it.

      Thank you for the time, the comment, and the courage to lead the way in your market.


  7. Great article – and I knew it would be because Jon wouldn’t have allowed it on his site otherwise.

    #7 says to Showcase, and I totally agree. But so many people miss the boat on that one: every time they get up to speak somewhere they need to RECORD it. Video is best, but audio will do in a pinch.

    “You can’t use it if you didn’t record it.” What good is a talk to 30 or 300 if you give it once and then it dies the the echo of a pipe organ resounding in a huge church? Record it, post it, use it over and over again. Send people to it. Cut it up into smaller pieces and make it a series.

    We attract people to us because of our WHY… and it’s much easier to show them when we have videos that can be played and played and replayed.

    Charlie Seymour Jr

    • Charlie,

      Excellent addition to the piece. Audio is good, but as you said, nothing beats the power of video. It is the closest we can come to standing before our audience and speaking directly to them. It also allows an expert to demonstrate the ABC’s of authority; it’s rather hard to convey appearance and body language through writing and audio!

      I also love your tip about cutting up the video for future use. Brilliant. As Gary Vaynerchuk made clear in his latest book, different platforms require different type of content. By cutting a video into smaller pieces, screen shots, gifs, etc. you can extend the life of a single piece of content indefinitely.

      Thank you for reading, but, more important, thank you for adding such an important element to the conversation.


  8. Awesome info Jason! The whole time I kept thinking of the “South Park” character Cartman and his, “Respect my Au-THOR-ri-TAY!” Joking aside, very well done. As for the “become a curator” part, do you think it’s better to list limited lists of the best authors/content? Often when I write a post, I try to keep in mind not to list TOO MANY links so not to overwhelm my readers.

    • John,

      Haha! I love it. I can’t read the word without hearing the voice now.

      I’m impressed with your insight as you’ve asked a key question. To many, more is always better. More explosions, more food, more information. As enlightened readers (you follow Jon for a reason), you know the truth: Less, more often than not, is far more.

      People don’t want information. People want results. And they want those results without having to dig through mountains of rubbish to find the gems beneath. That’s where you come in.

      As a true expert, your job is to filter the millions of bits of information online and deliver only the best to your people…the most powerful, most important, most effective. Doing so helps them achieve the desired result while saving time, our greatest resource in life.

      This is a long-winded way of saying, yes. Keep your resources limited to the best, tossing aside anything that won’t directly serve your audience.

      Great insight and great instinct, John.


      • Thanks for the thorough follow-up Jason! I once watched a special on the wholesale store CostCo. Essentially, the CEO had the insight to limit people’s choices of product on the floor to make it easier for them. As a result, their sales have been through the roof and they are extremely successful in choosing which top products/groceries they will promote.

  9. As a new blogger this makes me look at things completely different. Authority doesn’t come to those who wait for it, but to those who declare their authority and to take action in being a leader.

    And when all else fails, fake it til you make it.

    • George,

      There’s no need to wait for authority, as long as you have the key ingredient: The ability to deliver.

      “Fake it til you make it” is brilliant advice as long as the faking centers on confidence and not on true expertise. We must value our audience at every turn; they are the foundation of our businesses and the fuel of our futures. Without them, we have nothing.

      In return for their time and attention, we must do everything in our power to help them move from where they are to where they want to be. When you do that, when the success of your audience becomes a healthy obsession, you’ll have no trouble becoming an authority–the dedication to your people will drive you to be your very best.

      You can fake the calm and the confidence, ignoring the butterflies your stomach, but you can never fake the value.


  10. Jason, you broke. it. down. Your list rocked with ideas, resources, and strategies, that I had never thought of or truly considered that I could pull off. Will def- put several of your suggestions into motion. Thanks for sharing!

    • CJ,

      Thank you so much. 🙂

      Over the years I’ve realized just how vital authority is for a brand, business, or blogger. There are so many people fighting for the attention of the same eyes and ears.

      We have no choice to stand out as a true authority if we want to get attention and grow. From the look of your site, you’re already working hard to deliver value and rank as a credible voice in your market. Excellent job. 🙂

      I want to hear about your results with the above strategies, so be sure to reach out and share your story!


  11. I just open my blog site six days ago, and with this great article jason just given out really impress me alot. definitely authority is not on demand but on command.

    • Otseakemhe,

      Congratulations on launching your blog! That is a major step, one that the majority of people never take. They hold their ideas tightly in mind, but never actually do anything with them. Starting six days ago puts you in rare company and I couldn’t be happier or more excited for you.

      As a new blogger, these ideas will definitely help. In particular 2, 5, 7, and 13 would be a great place to start. Though you’re new online, these tips will kickstart your site with a strong foundation, paving the way for growth.

      I’m proud of you for taking the leap and can’t wait to hear about your success. Congratulations once again and please reach out if you need help with anything.


  12. Hi Jason, this is one of those posts that really grabs you and pushes you forward. It would have been easy to satisfy yourself with making the point with the 13 tactics described and an exhortation to give it a try. I am sure some would have taken your word for it! However what you have presented here is not just some “run of the mill” list post, what we have here is assertions, detailed examples of how to implement them and concrete real life examples of how these tactics have worked for others. As a list of tactics alone it is worthy of bookmarking, as a how to guide it is worthy of following in detail! I am so glad that nowhere in this list is any suggestion that you should pretend to be anything other than yourself or claim abilities that you don’t have. It is a fine demonstration of how well put together and researched information can establish you as an expert!

    • Martin,

      Thank you so much for your kind words. The greatest compliment anyone can pay me is that I’m advocating honesty, hard work, and true value. “…nowhere in this list is any suggestion that you should pretend…or claim abilities that you don’t have.” Made my day.

      As for the detail and depth, that’s all Jon Morrow, Glen Long, and the incredible BBT team. They’ve set a high bar online, and it was entirely my pleasure to try to meet it. I’ve never worked with such highly-skilled professionals and truly insightful people. What a team.

      Now that you have the list of instructions, I want you to follow them. Not all at once, of course, but at least a handful and soon, very soon. My advice is useless until readers like you give it life.

      Get movin. 😉


  13. Great article Jason!
    Feels like you are speaking directly to me with what I’m experiencing. 🙂

    My blog on ‘eating low carb high fat to lose weight and regain health’ is so opposite with what the main authority teaching and most people conditioned belief. Despite many clinical evidence available and many proven success model. Your first point ‘Take a stance” has given me some comfort and assurance. And there is no middle, in the subject that I’m teaching. I appreciate your sharing!

    • Kelly,

      It takes courage to take a stance, especially when digital arrows are being shot your way, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem for you, does it?

      You’ll turn some away. The ones remaining will be your true audience, the people who want and need what you have to give. What a gift that is.

      Time is limited. The more we market to the wrong people, the less time we have to reach our ideal audience. By taking a strong stance in your market, the filter is in place. Not only will you gain authority by standing strong but you’ll also naturally attract the right and weed out the wrong.

      Keep up the great work and always find assurance in the fact that you’re sharing a message you believe in wholeheartedly.


  14. Thanks Jason. These are great advice.
    The “give your tribe a name” is something I can see in many who have a big fan base. But it’s hard to come up with such a name though.

    • Lucy,

      Great eye. Many of the largest brands online have named their tribe. It draws them together, gives them a unique identity, and makes them feel special. Powerful stuff, without a doubt.

      The name…you are correct. It can be tricky. Some come naturally from the words of the brand or business while others are chosen by the tribe itself. If you’re having a hard time landing on just the right one, ask your audience. You may be surprised at what they come up with!


  15. Excellent write up, Jason! All really good tips to “hack” authority. I like how you included the “Strategy in Action” parts for each tip, too. I knew Derek Halpern did a website critique for Laura Roeder, but not the others. Just a brilliant move on his part.

    I learned the “Reveal your Sources” from Neil Patel. I am trying to back up my claims with stats/facts/studies in more of my posts. I know Peep Laja does it at Conversion XL very well.

    Again. great post Jason! I really enjoyed it and plan to start implementing some of these tips asap.

    • Adam,

      Thank you so much for your time and compliments. It really was a pleasure putting this list together for Jon and the team. You’re right on every account: Halpern worked wonders for his brand with his live demos, Patel and Peep do an excellent job with sources, and you need to start using these tips asap!


  16. Hey Jason,

    Needless to say, great post. I loved all the pointers and could relate well with them.

    I had a question: What do you think of “numbered list posts” (such as this one) that most authority sites do? Do you think coming up with list posts by non-authorities is not that great a strategy because a lot of people are already reading that on A-list sites? Just curious, because I see them everywhere. 🙂


    • Pooja,

      People love lists. They offer a host of psychological benefits, from giving us the security and comfort of a solid, step-by-step plan to breaking potentially confusing information into bite-sized bits.

      In other words, I think doing your own list post is a great idea. And guess what…you now have a list (above!) about how to stand out from all those other list posts online.

      Offer unique content, personal stories, and firsthand experiences. Include other experts, cite studies and breaking research, and shatter commonly-held myths.

      The list posts are everywhere; you’re right about that. But with a bit of creativity and dedication to delivering massive value, your lists will quickly rise to the top of the heap.


  17. Hi Jason,
    Wow! Talk about an epic post. I was surprised when I read the part about restricting access to your peeps. You are right, however,when it comes to not enough time in the day.
    I like the strategy steps to take below each tip. Going to bookmark this post and come back because there is so much info here that it’s hard to digest all at once.
    Thanks for a great post.

    • Geri,

      The psychology of being unavailable cannot be denied; we want what we cannot have. But the key isn’t to turn haphazardly turn people away in an effort to increase your status. Instead, I want you to turn people away because they don’t fit your ideal customer profile or because you’re focusing on current clients or building your blog.

      The result will be the same–increased authority–but the trigger will be far from indiscriminate waving off of those in need. It will be your dedication to the people whose needs you can serve best.

      Happy to hear you like the strategies. I wanted to make each tip as easy as possible to understand and put to use…so I fully expect to see you putting these ideas to use!


  18. I can not believe how informative, and erudite the comments as well as the article are. There is so much valuable information expressed here, that I am gladly tweeting this post….thank you.

    • Julie,

      Thank you so much! I’m thrilled that you found value in the post and can’t wait to hear how the strategies have helped you become one of the go-to authorities in your space.


  19. Brilliant post Jason.

    I love number 5. I think that’s where a lot of the “fake it till you make it” guys get it wrong.

    They skip directly to the successful part, because there’s no struggle behind them in reality.

    The real experts I know have all gone through their struggles, or at least they say have.

    There’s a reason why the two of the most popular posts by Jon are both about his struggles (one on Problogger, the other on Copyblogger)

    • Jawad,

      You have a very good eye. Sharing your story is among the most powerful means of connection and authority online today. The fact that you picked it out of the group clearly shows your grasp of this topic.

      People want proof they can do it too. Perfection denies this. If you’re perfect, and I”m not, then your results don’t matter to me…I’ll never be able to do it. But if you also struggled, just like me, and then found a way to success…I have a chance.

      You offered a great note about truth in story. We must never mislead our audiences with false tales of pain and hardship. That is the work for scammers and spammers, not value-based bloggers like you and the rest of the BBT community. But the truth is that everyone struggles; no one steps into the world as a popular and profitable blogging machine.

      The key is to uncover the honest story that is already there, waiting to be told. No matter who you are or what you do, you started somewhere and you struggled somehow. Share that story, bring us along through the journey, and we’ll be hooked for life.


  20. So much information and lots of actionable points – I’ve had to bookmark this post for future reference, but it’s made me think deeply about being an expert. As my first blog grew I found I needed to diversify content into a second blog, which immediately meant less time to be the expert in my field for the first blog. You’ve made me think long and hard about which area I want to concentrate on most, because as a solopreneur I need to focus, unless I’m going to delegate all the back end tasks to freelancers. Thank you for making me think more strategically – about a lot of things 🙂

    • Johanna,

      I’m happy to hear the post has you thinking–the first step toward action.

      You’ve actually brought up such a good point about succeeding online (or anywhere). Throughout the years nearly all of my clients have struggled at one time or another with focus; it’s easy to be distracted by the countless options and opportunities shouting in our ears every minute of every day.

      But the real secret to getting results is to find one path and see it through to the end. It’s not easy, but it’s massively effectively.

      You can succeed split between two worlds, but chances are both platforms would suffer from the lack of time and focus. If you were my client, I would advise that you choose the topic that plays to your strengths, abilities, and passions.

      Then go all in.


  21. Superb Post Jason!
    Interesting tips I love your words “they know past, present, and future of their field. They know the trends, the myths, and most importantly, the facts”
    Inspirational tips for a blogger, I believe you are perfect on your field.
    Thank you so much jason 😀

    • Noufal,

      That’s one of my favorites. 🙂

      Flip on the news to watch an interview with a true expert and they’ll tell you what’s right, what’s wrong, what works, and what doesn’t. In a few sentences they transform from unknown quantity to verified authority. You can do the same.

      Become a student of your industry. Delve into its past, its founding figures and major breakthroughs. Discover the current trends and where it’s heading in the future. Uncover the long-standing myths that fail to hold up under scrutiny. And find the truth–what is right, what is wrong, and why.

      When you do that, you’ll have no problem transforming from an unknown quantity into a verified authority.


  22. Hi Jason,
    Superb Post of authority hacks. All tips mention is, this post is awesome and more useful to get a quick boost in your authority. I will definitely try to implement these tips to grow my authority.
    Thank you for sharing these awesome tips…. 🙂

  23. Jason, your tips are definitely spot on.
    The question i want to ask is what steps can I take in developing a mission statement.

    Also are mission statement different from unique value proposition.

    I ask because there is a conscious need for one to stand out from the crowd and if you can get this set up, it becomes easier for you to achieve your goals quickly as it primes you to achieve the authority status.

    If you have a book or article that could help me articulate this better I ll deeply appreciate.

    Thanks once again Jason

  24. Jason,
    your post is one of the most resource-laden posts ever. Fits in perfectly with Jon Morrow’s work.

    Love your “Strategy in Action” sections!

    I took more time to work through it all, converting it into actions, than with any other post I can think of.

    Absolutely superior quality.

    Which reminds me – my turn to get going on “Instant Expert Status Online.” So I better get going … but not without quickly chipping in on #11. Become a Trusted Curator.

    Just how successful curating can be, the best example in my book is http://www.swiss-miss.com/ (335k monthly visits). The blog (estimated value 250k$) is all her own yet 99% of the contents, curated.

    • Beat,

      You are too kind, my friend. I give as much as possible simply because you deserve it. Nothing is more valuable than time. By reading my post, carefully, you are giving me you a slice of your life, never to be reclaimed. In light of that fact I have no choice but to deliver.

      I love your example of curation. It just goes to show you how valuable a service it is and how quickly it can lift you through the ranks of online experts.

      Thank you again, beat, for your time, appreciation, and contribution.


  25. Dear Jason,

    Wow. Thank you. I’m learning SO much through CopyBlogger and now B-School. My message used to be pretty much all over the place. And I would cater to just about anyone. Not anymore.

    Thank you…
    Now to put this to good use!

    • Peggy,

      What a great lesson you’ve learned. When you talk to everyone, no one hears you. It’s like standing in a crowd and yelling, Hey person! But when you dive deep and focus on your ideal customer, your vague calls for attention turn into, Hey, Sally Smith in the red shirt and yellow shoes! (She apparently works at McDonald’s.)

      Keep learning. More important, keep doing.


  26. Great post, John. Excellent in so many ways and full of resource and materials we can put into practise now. Absolutely loved the point on “Taking your expertise offline” and “Writing a bold manifesto”. The latter one would be a little tricky to do and probably difficult at first but once you have it, I’m sure it speaks a lot in terms of authority.

    Another thing I may add? Writing guest posts like you did, John. Epic one. You’re an expert in all that you do and I appreciate it. Thanks. 🙂

    • Aqulah,

      I’m not certain who John is, but I’m sure he’s a wonderful guy with a lot to offer. 😉

      Thank you for reading my post and taking the time to share your comment. As I always say, without readers like you, writers would be sad and lost.

      I’m happy to see you liked the ideas behind offline expertise and manifestos. In today’s online-obsessed world, people forget just how powerful the non-digital world can be. Merging the two realities makes for quite a foundation of authority.

      Few things kick off a blog on the right foot as effectively as a manifesto. It’s the ideal way to introduce yourself and your brand, make your message and mission clear, and set the stage for what’s to come. If you haven’t created one yet, I highly suggest you get moving!

      Guest posts…can’t argue with that. With a few well-placed and well-promoted guest pieces, you can flip an unknown blogger into a household name overnight. Great addition.

      Thanks again for sharing and give my best to John!


  27. This is one of the most complete posts on the subject of authority I’ve seen in a long time. Definitely bookmarking this. I’ve been blogging for almost nine years now, and I can attest how hard it is to get traction. Back in 2005, when I first started, I would routinely have posts picked up by the big guys. Now it’s hard just to get comments. The current reality is you need to be bold, step forward, and create unique material. The days of regurgitating keyword laden tomes is over. Now you actually have to create something worth reading.

    • John,

      “The days of regurgitating keyword laden tomes is over.” Amen.

      You’ve pinpointed the worst/best news we face as bloggers and online businesses. It’s as crowded as ever. There are more people saying more things in more places than ever before in history. A challenge, to be sure.

      But it’s crowded with mediocre material and regurgitation–that’s the great news.

      For true authorities with unique, effective approaches, the space is wide open, as it always has been. Amazing will always rise above average. It’s the worst of times if you’re not good at what you do, but oh-so-exciting if you are.

      As you implied and Franklin said so smoothly, “If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading or do things worth the writing.”


    • Dave,

      When Seth Godin brought the idea of Tribes back to the forefront, I don’t think most people realized how relevant the concept was to groups of all sizes. Whether you’re dealing with 10 like-minded people or 10,000, the psychological underpinnings are the same.

      People want to belong. People want to feel special. People want to be led by a trusted adviser. By stepping into that role and building your own clear-cut tribe, you’ll instantly gain the credibility and authority everyone craves.

      Thank you for taking the time and best of luck to you and your tribe-building efforts!


  28. Jason – this is quite possibly THE MOST awesome blog post I’ve ever read in my life. This format is amazing, easy to understand and full of multi-reinforced supplemental and complimentary stuff that I’ll be reviewing it over and over again. Thanks so much for putting this together, putting it out there and for showing me how (and why) to create raving fans!

    • Carlos,

      You are too, too kind, my friend. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and its format, but Jon and his team have produced many amazing pieces. I’m merely honored to be a small part of the BBT landscape.


  29. Great post….thanks for sharing,

    I have used a lot of these, and will now use a lot more.

    One to add to the mix is to interview someone who has been through your program and can vouch that you are the man (or woman), but say it in such a way that creates a real emotional connection with the audience.

    I help people quit drinking and there is nothing as magical as helping someone change their life and then hearing them talk about it with such emotion.

    Lee Davy

    • Lee,

      Though not applicable to most bloggers without programs to offer, you are correct that well-crafted testimonials are a powerful means to establish authority and credibility in a market.

      Congrats on your success and best of luck to you with your continued mission.


  30. Thanks for the tips. Very relevant and useful. If you are recognised as an authority in your field you will attract more business than you can imagine.

    The trick is to become recognised. The more authority you have in your market or niche, the more likely people are to select you as their preferred supplier, and the less likely they are to consider price as a factor in their purchase decision.

    Nice Work Jason!

    Graham Apolony
    Big Note Marketing

    • Graham,

      Thank you so much for reading. You’ve mentioned many great reasons for building your authority, reasons why I wrote the post in the first place. As for the trick to being recognized…follow the tips and you’ll be there in no time.


    • Ravi,

      Association is one of your most effective authority ‘hacks.’ We can’t help but transfer credibility from one person to the next when they are connected, even by a thin line.

      We must always use it ethically, as association can be triggered without consent (featuring experts who have no idea of your existence). But when you commit to honesty and integrity, with a bit of borrowed celebrity mixed in, you’ll have an authority trigger that delivers every time.

      Thank you, Ravi, for taking the time to read my piece and share your comment. I truly appreciate it!


  31. Hi Jason,

    Great article! Had a discussion with my co-founders earlier today. What are the do’s and dont’s when it comes to linking to other peoples work? Your #4 – Reveal Your Sources.

    PS: what is a brush fire? Is it the end result of really fast painting? 😉

    • Jake,

      Thanks for dropping in. When referencing another’s work, I would keep the following things in mind.

      1. Get permission for longer citations. If you’re going to use a large block of copy or an entire piece, I would seek permission from the author before publication.

      2. Don’t overdo it. Connecting to outside work is a powerful means of building authority, but don’t overdo it.An article bursting with information you didn’t discover–with little personal contribution–can undermine your authority. Give us your expertise, with outside assistance sprinkled in.

      3. Never take it out of context. Twisting people’s words has never been easier, which means you have to be diligent when citing the words and work of others.

      4. As for the specifics of citation, include the source’s name, title of the piece, and link to the original page.

      Hope this helps!


  32. Hi, thanks for this. Trying to make sense of it all and this helps with some clearly written ideas.
    The offline work is very important, most of my athletes’ Mums are best contacted via print, or word of mouth. Having a physical pamphlet to give them works wonders.

    • James,

      You are absolutely right. As the world beats a path to the Internet, the offline realm becomes less crowded and, as a result, more important.

      We’re all expecting an email or tweet or post, but a letter? An in-person meetup? A talk in front of living, breathing humans??? Those things stand out because of their rarity and they can make all the difference when you’re going up against online-only bloggers.

      Take it offline and there’s no telling what you can achieve.


  33. Speaking of taking a stance… I personally think #11 is overrated. Sure, curated posts are a way to show your authority, but it’s becoming less and less so. These post resemble list posts (well, they basically ARE), and everyone gets so many lists posts thrown in front of them every day it’s going to be hard to stand out among that sea of numbers!

    By the way, Jon if you read this, every time I tried to share this post on G+ via your social plugin on the left, I couldn’t scroll down to press “Share” because the plugin would automatically bump me back up to the top of the G+ sharing screen. 🙁

    • Bree,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts. Though I wasn’t exactly speaking to the need for criticism in taking a stance, I’m glad you went there. It’s a chance for me to further explain the principle.

      The key is not so much in curation as it is in connection. As I stated in the post…

      “You gain authority by connecting your blog with the top minds in your field. But also as a savvy blogger, you can use curation as an opportunity to reach out to everyone included and let them know they’re featured; this opens the door to new relationships and network connections, not to mention the likelihood they’ll share the post with their audiences.”

      In truth, this has never been more powerful.

      The fastest way to build an audience is OPP…other people’s people. They already have the eyes and respect of your target community. By getting in front of that crowd, by way of the leader, you gain instant authority and traction. And one of the best ways to get in front of that audience is through a round-up post featuring the expert’s brand, blog, or business.

      It was one of my most effective means of building an audience of 135,000 subscribers with my first business, and helped me gain thousands of new followers in weeks with my next.

      It’s powerful, effective, and as relevant today as ever. You merely have to know how to do it right and do it well.

      Thanks again for your time and attention. Best of luck to you…


      • Jason, thanks for the clarification!

        That really is the key difference. I see far too many bloggers just saying “Here’s what I liked on Etsy this week!” when none of those connections are going to help them (unless, of course, they blog about online retail/e-commerce and those favorite Etsy products were by very popular creators who also have their own site).

      • Bree,

        Exactly. The curation has to make sense in the larger picture for the effort to pay off. It has to connect with their brand and open the door for connections with higher-rung brands and businesses.


  34. Hello Jason,

    This article was like an eye opener. It reminded me that I should be posting connected stuff ie. let’s term that as ‘micro-niched’. Brilliantly explained how authority can be gained. Thanks a lot for posting this here !

    • Prerit,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read the piece and share your comment. I’m thrilled to hear you’ve found value in its message. That is my hope for every word I write, so you’ve made my day.


  35. I don’t know how to thank you poster. It’s just brilliant. I will this article 20/10 a 200% success in delivering a real solution for us.
    Keep this quality up.

  36. These I like, they are like an instruction on how to become a God of Online Marketing. I can’t really point out one particular hack from the list, because I think they are all invaluable in a way. There’s got to be more posts like this one.

    • Stan,

      When used correctly and ethically, you certainly can rise through the ranks with speed and efficiency. I appreciate your taking the time to hop into the conversation and share your thoughts. Now get to building that authority!


  37. Again so much value.
    I love number 9: Create a Signature Framework.

    Definatly have to work in that one. Want to leave my mark in the world, in order to do that I have to stand out. I believe a signature framework will help me establish that.

  38. Excellent advice and examples. It’s important earn authority in your field. You don’t want to be confused with the proverbial “kid in the basement” who runs a blog, as opposed to the expert who happens to use a blogging platform to communicate his/her message.


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