As a coach, building authority in your niche is paramount to your success. Yet, so many coaches are making waffles instead of building authority – not sure what that means? Well, that’s what we’re talking about today, how to build brand authority and position yourself as an expert.
Ever had a waffle?
Honestly, who hasn’t? They are dee-licious! They can be crunchy or chewy, depending on your preference. You can add mix-ins or toppings, and really customize them to whatever suits your taste. I mean really, you can’t go wrong with waffles.
Unless those waffles are in your marketing.
I don’t mean waffles literally, but if you’re trying to cast a wide net by not being specific on your website in regards to exactly who you work with, or you’re adapting your message constantly depending on who you’re talking to, then you’re “waffling.”
All of that waffling is KILLING your brand authority.
Let’s take a moment to talk about what that waffling looks like in your marketing.
Have you ever seen those landing pages that start with a series of questions so the visitor can “self-identify?” Yup, that’s a whole lotta waffle.
Very rarely do I see questions like these that are clearly focused and all describing the same ideal client. The majority of the time each question speaks to a different segment within a target audience as the person writing attempts to cast a wider net.
What they are really doing is diluting their message and causing confusion about what they are offering.
As a coach, you are stepping out as an expert in your industry, and your brand MUST build authority if you want to stand out as the go-to person.
What does it mean to be an authority?
As an authority, you are a respected expert in your chosen industry. Your audience recognizes you as a go-to resource and know you are uniquely suited to solve the problem they have. Authorities share a few qualities:
- They are highly specialized in the types of clients they work with.
- They are crystal clear on the problem they solve and consistently demonstrate that in their messaging.
- They have a strong point of view that comes from experience.
In short, they don’t waffle.
Let me give you a couple of examples, and let’s see if you can pick out the statement that conveys more authority.
- “I create brands for coaches, entrepreneurs, and small business owners.”
- “I’ve branded nearly 200 coaches, so I have a deep understanding of this industry.”
Which writer would you perceive as more of an expert? The one that spans different types of businesses, or the one that specializes in just ONE type of business?
If you’re a coach, then my guess is that you’d choose the second one that specializes in coaches.
How about this one:
- I will help you get more clients, and you’ll do it faster and with less stress.
- I will help you stand out from your competition, even if there are thousands offering the same thing you are.
You’ll notice that while both sound good, the second one speaks to a specific problem that the prospect is actually worried about. The first only sounds nice because everyone wants “fast” and “low stress,” but these are buzz words and it’s easy to gloss right over this statement because it doesn’t really demonstrate a specific problem the reader has.
The key in building authority is to not just call yourself an authority but to demonstrate it.
If you look at the examples above there are some clear differences. In the statements that demonstrate authority you don’t see any “ands” or “ors” or a bunch of commas. When you demonstrate authority through the specificity of the statement, it will resonate with the right people.
But, if you focus your message to just ONE idea, won’t you turn away everyone that doesn’t fit that profile?
This is a question I get a lot when I’m working with clients, and it’s true that this level of specificity can feel pretty limiting. The reality is, though, if you have the right message you will attract MORE clients because your value is so much clearer, and your message is like a magnet for those it resonates with.
If you get nervous and feel like you’re limiting yourself, that is usually a good thing because it’s a sign you’re on the right track. When you get nervous, ask yourself “Who do I want to attract?” In other words, who do you intentionally want to attract more of? If who you want to attract, matches the focused message then don’t worry about who it might “turn away!”
By being intentional about who you want to attract and focusing your message on that person, they will feel heard and you will show up as the authority they are looking for.
While all those waffles may feel more comfortable, can you see how they are hurting your credibility and your ability to reach your target client? So, let’s reserve waffles for breakfast and get more specific in your marketing!