Explore the concept of authority in content and how companies like DigitalOcean successfully establish it through their content strategies.
Authority is a key aspect of SEO, cemented by Google including it in their E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness) guidelines, and Authority-Led Content is a conversion-centric strategy designed to build trust as the defining factor in establishing authority, while also driving awareness among target audiences, particularly those that are naturally skeptical.
Prioritizing trust, transparency, and genuine engagement, Authority-Led Content avoids hard-selling tactics and absolute statements, fostering strong connections with readers and boosting conversions.
By fostering trust through the authority content, the company's offering can be presented without asserting it as the definitive solution, allowing readers to discover the best solution to their challenges without feeling like they've been sold to, ultimately leading to increased trust and authority.
This strategy aims to provide clarity on the importance of establishing authority and offer adaptable principles—rather than focusing on implementation steps—that you can adopt at the core of your strategy to greatly increase the likelihood of being seen as an authority.
Given the length of this post, here’s a short summary of the key points, with the full sections providing more nuanced and detailed takes.
Authority can be defined as the ability to make statements met with reduced skepticism through demonstrated expertise, proficiency, and trust. This strategy emphasizes manifesting expertise and proficiency, producing content able to withstand scrutiny, and ensuring long-term credibility and trust.
Authority is crucial for ensuring genuine refusals, leaving a lack of need, want, or funds as the only option for not buying, and removing a lack of trust as a possibility. Providing useful insights backed by expertise empowers the reader in their decision-making, leading to a better reception of your marketing efforts.
Establishing authority pertains to presenting knowledge rather than stating it, and considering the reader’s needs. Avoiding absolute statements and providing only relevant information—with different posts for different knowledge levels—leverages trust that can be used to highlight your offering. The strategy emphasizes guiding the reader to the optimal conclusion rather than trying to convince them, leading to more conversions from more trusting customers.
A Manifested Proficiency Threshold aids in guiding the implementation of this strategy, helping you assess what it takes to garner your audience’s trust, based on factors like the target audience and the immediate impact of your offering while emphasizing the importance of mindfully displaying proficiency.
Authority-Led Content is not a one-size-fits-all strategy, as highlighted by exploring the success of DigitalOcean, a popular developer blog manifesting expertise and proficiency simultaneously.
By the end, a suggested implementation tactic is presented on how to create an authority-cluster with a clear path toward highlighting the benefits of your offering, then leveraging SEO-optimized blog posts to create awareness and lead readers onto the path within said cluster. Ultimately, this should help you balance high traffic with a high conversion rate.
I believe authority is best described as: the ability to make statements met with reduced skepticism, through demonstrated expertise proficiency, resulting in trust.
Reducing skepticism is key, focusing on making claims able to withstand scrutiny. I don’t believe fully removing a reader’s skepticism is possible, and such a focus would, in my mind, result in poor and questionable implementations. I see the ability of withstanding scrutiny as a true sign of authority.
The underlying qualities of authority can be described as:
The foundation of authority, showcasing knowledge based on facts and common consensus. A lack of trust in your knowledge is a lack of trust in you.
Effectively utilizing expertise to form opinions and interpretations.
A feeling your audience has towards you—unable to be proven or disproven—determining the likelihood of them engaging with your offering.
Dividing trust into two categories can provide a better understanding of what to aim for.
Implicit trust is based on credentials or reputation, without experiencing the expertise and proficiency first-hand. This is commonly seen when meeting a new doctor for the first time.
Explicit trust is built on personal experiences, resulting in a more stable and enduring trust. This is like having the same doctor for 10+ years, also showcasing how implicit trust can be turned into explicit trust over time.
This strategy focuses on gaining authority through explicit trust, being the more resilient type.
Beyond the aforementioned reasons—namely, gaining trust and reducing skepticism—why exactly is authority so important? What are the tangible benefits of authority?
An unsuccessful sale usually boils down to either:
Establishing authority ensures that you only receive genuine refusals. For example, hiring a freelancer is generally from wanting someone more competent, better at execution, or wanting to free up time. Each of those requires trust in the freelancer.
Unfortunately, this strategy cannot help you provide readers with more funds, it is determined to increase the likelihood of gaining trust.
People generally don’t like being sold to—this is a core consideration of this strategy. Establishing authority by providing useful knowledge and insights meant to empower readers, aids in guiding readers toward deciding on your company’s offering, based on their own judgment.
Having defined the importance of authority, let’s explore how to establish it.
A crucial part of establishing authority is the way you present yourself. Making readers feel the decision is theirs involves presenting knowledge rather than stating it.
Making readers feel the decision is theirs is a crucial aspect of content marketing, and a core principle of this strategy’s approach to establishing authority. This involves presenting knowledge in a way that engages the reader and encourages consideration, as opposed to stating claims with the aim of convincing the reader.
This approach aids in establishing you as a proficient thought leader through key considerations like avoiding absolute statements and considering the needs of the reader.
Consider “the consequences of X is Y” compared to “some possible consequences of X can be Y”. The difference is subtle but significant, with the first option implying a disagreement with you, and the second option implying a disagreement with your statement.
Proposing the consequences as a possibility rather than a fact, a disagreeing reader is more likely to wonder how you got to that conclusion. Now they’re curious, rather than judgmental (bonus points for catching that reference). I’ve found this small shift in articulation helps create an open mindset for readers.
Keeping the reader engaged often comes down to providing valuable information, but a focus on addressing their concerns and helping them solve their challenges is crucial. Especially in B2B content, readers will most often be searching for a specific answer, ignoring anything not aligning with that.
It can be tempting to include as much knowledge and insights as possible, in an attempt to either showcase expertise or showcase your offering. I understand the thinking, but consider how it aligns with the need of the reader.
For example, software engineers rarely read a post from start to finish, instead opting to skim through it, looking for the answer they need. This can easily lead to entire sections of—perhaps very valuable and useful information—content being skipped, if it doesn’t align with their goal.
Essentially, every piece of information not relevant to the reader is an open door for them to leave.
To reiterate, expertise involves sharing factual, well-researched information, or, knowledge based on common consensus, often backed up by studies or scientific resources. Manifesting expertise is to foster trust in your knowledge and research skills.
As a content marketer, this is where you create your basis of existence while acknowledging all knowledge levels.
A statement like “With our offering, you can efficiently solve the problems caused by X” makes two assumptions:
I see companies state “if they don’t understand this, they’re likely not in our target audience”. While I agree with this statement, it’s missing out on the opportunity of educating people, and effectively build a larger target audience.
Addressing all knowledge levels—like explaining how X can cause problems—can result in a sub-optimal reader experience, deterring those already equipped with the necessary knowledge.
Rather, explanations like “how X can cause problems” can be covered in another post, which can then be linked to. This approach will cater your content to a wider audience without deterring more experienced readers, aiding in. Additionally, it has the added SEO benefits of targeting more keywords and providing internal linking opportunities.
To reiterate, your readers are more often than not looking for an answer, and as such, asking and answering questions is a key principle of this strategy. With each question you answer, consider what knowledge the reader may be missing, with the goal of educating them.
For example, the statement “With our offering you can mitigate the issues of X” answers the question “Why do I need your solution”. The full answer may generate questions like:
Creating a series of posts to address different aspects of a topic and linking them together, allows the reader to gain just the understanding they are missing without skimming through what they already know. Ultimately, this avoids alienating anyone while ensuring all readers understand your content.
While expertise is to present factual information, proficiency is to utilize that knowledge to offer valuable insights. Note that manifesting expertise and proficiency are not mutually exclusive, and one will often follow the other. The point is to determine the primary purpose of each piece of content, with the possibility of a second purpose.
Manifesting proficiency is where you begin guiding the reader to your preferred conclusion—that your offering is the best—and foster trust in not just your knowledge, but trust in you. This is where you create your reason for existence, answering the “What are the issues with X?” or “What are the consequences of X?” questions.
Displaying proficiency before/while making the case for your offering encourages larger amounts of trust, i.e., heightens the likelihood of genuine refusals.
Having established trust in both your knowledge and in you, it’s time to leverage that trust and highlight your solution. At this stage, it’s crucial to maintain the same level of expertise and proficiency showcased in other pieces.
This post isn’t to say that conversions are impossible without having established authority. Rather, this strategy is intended to increase the odds of a favorable conversion rate and foster genuine connections with your readers, replicating the feeling of having the same doctor for 10+ years.
Given how traffic has had no mention, it’s valid to be concerned about—you can’t convert readers if you have no readers.
The later section “From Authority to Awareness” will provide more insight into using the established content around authority, to then generate SEO content for awareness. However, this does require some groundwork in terms of creating content for authority.
The level of displayed proficiency needed to establish authority varies depending on factors such as target audience and industry, and establishing this level for your audience is a crucial part of Authority-Led Content. Remember, authority is achieved through trust, and trust cannot be enforced, but you can create more content to enhance your perceived proficiency.
This section aims to provide guidance on establishing a Manifested Proficiency Threshold required to gain your audience’s trust. These are not step-by-step instructions, and a Manifested Proficiency Threshold is not a metric to define. Rather, it’s a focus point meant to guide your efforts in understanding what’s required of your content.
It’s crucial to understand the difference between displayed and actual proficiency. Your proficiency should be evident from your reader’s very first interaction, and should in no way allow any doubt in your proficiency. Manifesting proficiency through multiple pieces of content is meant to foster trust in your proficiency, leading to trust in you, and eventually, trust in your solution.
Determining your Manifested Proficiency Threshold can be done by considering the immediate impact of your offering. This impact can be categorized into two types: disruption and optimization.
Disruption requires a change in behavior from the customer, subsequently requiring trust in both you and your technology/approach.
Optimization doesn’t require a significant change in behavior from the customer, often making it easier to foster trust in your offering.
Note that disruption and optimization aren’t mutually exclusive, as disruption often leads to optimization, and optimization is often caused by a disruption under the hood. The key is to evaluate the immediate impact.
Consider the immediate impact of buying a petrol car versus an electric vehicle (EV). For someone familiar with petrol cars, purchasing one from a new brand would be an optimization of their existing experience. Conversely, switching from petrol to EV involves a substantial disruption in the driving experience and the ownership experience as a whole.
Petrol cars may have automatic gears, while EVs have no gears. Petrol cars require the use of both the brake and accelerator, while most EVs come with one-pedal driving, using the electric motor to brake and recuperate energy. And of course, even the fastest-charging EVs like Teslas or Hyundais take at least 18 minutes for an 80% charge, whereas petrol cars can be refueled in less than a minute.
In general, selling someone a new petrol car—optimization as the immediate impact—requires less trust, while EVs—disruption as the immediate impact—requires significantly more trust. Not only will the customer need to trust the seller and the brand, but they also need trust in the charging network as well, i.e., the technology.
As in every marketing campaign, determining the target audience is essential. Although I believe it to be true, that selling EVs requires more trust in general, it can’t be argued how a company like Tesla sold a large quantity of cars almost from the very beginning.
This happened in large part due to the early adopters—the ones inherently gravitating toward disruptive solutions—and as such are more inclined to trust a new and exciting technology. Conversely, there are still a large group of people without trust in the concept of EVs as well.
Determining if you want to focus on early adopters or general adoption will greatly impact your content strategy. A focus on answering most questions within the “manifesting expertise” category before manifesting proficiency can increase the likelihood of early general adoption. On the other hand, focusing mostly on manifesting proficiency from the beginning can help appeal to early adopters.
These examples showcase opposite ends of the spectrum, and your job as a content marketer is to determine what balance between them is required for your content.
Being mindful throughout your content and considering the reader’s need is essential, as I’ve mentioned a few times already. It’s a core principle of this strategy, as absolute statements and irrelevant information can generally result in four different scenarios:
Best case scenario is the reader appreciating the additional knowledge.
Most likely scenario is the reader ignoring the information, reducing their expectations of getting relevant information, and now starting to skim through the post.
Worst case scenario is the reader perceiving the content as unhelpful, clicking off the page and finding other content.
Absolute worst case scenario is the reader being annoyed at the attempt to peddle irrelevant information, perceiving it as a marketing attempt—which all content ultimately is, but it should not be perceived as such—and forming a negative association with your brand.
Though there is a likelihood of getting reader appreciation, the negative scenarios outweigh the positive three-to-one, hence why I believe open statements and exclusively relevant information is the optimal approach.
As you work on content and receive feedback through analytics and readers, getting a deeper understanding of your audience, your Manifested Proficiency Threshold can be modified to suit your situation better. This is not something to determine at the start, to then never modify.
Before exploring a suggested implementation tactic of Authority-Led Content, it’s important to consider its applicability. Simply put, this strategy is not for everyone or every industry. For example, gambling websites generally attract visitors due to advertisements rather than trust.
This strategy is designed for those with a skeptical audience. However, even within that demographic, the strategy may require adaption
DigitalOcean, arguably the most popular blog in the developer community, have built their reputation with information, simple, and approachable content, mostly in the form of tutorials and explainers, rarely covering their own offering.
As an alternative to major cloud providers like Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and Google Cloud Platform, DigitalOcean—often referred to as “the big three”—offers a simplified yet still powerful approach to cloud computing.
Their content aligns well with this goal, given how good tutorials focus on making a complex topic simple and approachable. In this way, manifesting expertise and proficiency are synonymous.
I believe this to be a great example of having authority drive content efforts. As a developer myself, I’ve gained a lot of value from DigitalOcean posts, yet I don’t remember ever being explicitly told anything like “our platform provides a simple approach to cloud computing”, or phrases often used in marketing.
Instead, they highlight their solution only when it’s relevant. In a tutorial mentioning a firewall setup, they only highlight their offering like this:
> Note: If your servers are running on DigitalOcean, you can optionally use DigitalOcean Cloud Firewalls instead of the UFW firewall. We recommend using only one firewall at a time to avoid conflicting rules that may be difficult to debug.
There are two key takeaways from this example:
This is a prime example of mindfully presenting information and highlighting your offering, relating specifically to their audience of developers, notoriously known for their dislike of being marketed to.
It also demonstrates another key principle understood by DigitalOcean; driving conversions through authority is a cohesive strategy. They’re confident in not just their content, but their offering.
The big three cloud platforms are great in their own way, offering a huge variety of services. But, even for experienced engineers, trying to set up a Linux server for the first time can easily take 15-30 minutes. Conversely, DigitalOcean allows even inexperienced engineers to do it in a few minutes.
This allows DigitalOcean to focus on simple and approachable tutorials, merely highlighting how they’re a cloud platform, creating the association between the two. Then, the next time an engineer experiences frustration with the complexity of “the big three”, it’s highly likely they’ll consider DigitalOcean as the “easy” option. And most importantly, they deliver.
Measuring the success by evaluating individual content pieces won’t provide useful insights, as your content may not even be the last touch-point before a reader converts. Authority-Led Content is about ensuring readers associate your brand with your core values, having readers think of your offering the next time they experience the challenges you’re solving.
Lastly, I want to emphasize that I’m in no way affiliated with DigitalOcean, I’ve simply been helped by their content many times over the years, and recognize the ingenuity of their content marketing. If anything, this section should serve as defining proof of just how effectively DigitalOcean has established authority.
Though I’ve touched on the importance of fostering trust, I believe it to be crucial enough to warrant its own section.
I’ve mentioned how all claims should withstand scrutiny, however it is possible to influence how that scrutiny unfolds. Often, research involves either validating or disproving information. A minor yet significant difference in how your readers approach their own research.
Research for validation often appears as “Their statement makes sense, but let me just double-check”.
Research for disproval often appears as “Hmm, this doesn’t make sense. Let me check for myself”.
One approach is inherently positive, while the other is inherently negative. You lose control of the reader’s journey once they start researching, so guiding them toward positively-minded research is crucial. Depending on the topic, the implications of their approach can be significant.
Some topics will have seen little discussion, but heavily-discussed topics are bound to have resources supporting every perspective—also those going against your offering.
“EV battery life problems and limitations” will provide significantly different results than “Benefits and longevity of EV batteries”.
Influencing a reader’s research approach is a result of the content as a whole, but is in large part determined by how you present your claims, which can generally be done in one of two ways:
Most claims fall somewhere in between. However, the first approach can create a scenario where research doesn’t feel necessary; research is only done to validate. The second approach can lead to readers disregarding the claim entirely or doing research with a skeptical and negative mindset. Additionally, providing resources and reasoning aids in manifesting expertise and proficiency.
Acknowledging the possibility of being wrong is often key to fostering trust when combined with all the previously mentioned principles. Providing resources and reasoning can help readers understand where your conclusions stem from, likely being more understanding if they do end up being wrong. In most instances, they’ll disagree with your statement rather than disagree with you, a major factor in fostering trust.
The biggest challenge here is to be receptive without coming across as insecure. With a risk of exposing myself, these are some of the ways I’ve approached it throughout this post:
While avoiding phrases like:
I want to emphasize how I don’t view the phrasing above as “tricks for authority”. With any statement I make, I fully believe that I’m in the right. If I didn’t, I’d be wasting your time with uncertainties. However, I don’t anticipate anyone disagreeing, or if I do, I try to the best of my ability to address any disagreements.
That said, I fully acknowledge that these are opinions and interpretations based on my own knowledge and experience, and someone else may have more perspective than I have, and by extension have more insight.
Now ask yourself, what’s your reaction to this section? Does it read as someone being confident in their belief, or does it border on arrogance? Is your reaction negative or positive? If it’s negative, please reach out, I’d love to know how the phrasing can be improved. If it’s positive, then perhaps there is some sense to this approach.
I appreciate you reading up until this point. Now that all the core principles—and the subsequent considerations—have been defined, we can finally start taking a look at some actionable ways of creating authority content, then bringing awareness to it.
The steps outlined below describe what could be an optimal approach for someone with a somewhat disruptive solution, who wants to reach the largest group possible.
Remember that authority and awareness are not mutually exclusive. Content created for authority can drive awareness, and content meant to create awareness should drive authority as well. The distinction lies in the primary focus of the content.
This implementation addresses each core quality of authority individually, providing a clear path for any reader, although multiple qualities can be addressed simultaneously—as demonstrated by DigitalOcean.
The core of your content should always seek to answer questions, ensuring relevance for the reader. Using the example of a company creating a monitoring solution for Linux servers, let’s explore how to manifest expertise, proficiency, and trust.
Manifesting expertise involves establishing your basis of existence. Identify the fundamental questions your readers may ask whenever they click on a post of yours. For a Linux monitoring solution, it could simply be “What is Linux monitoring?”. This also shows how authority and awareness aren’t mutually exclusive, as a post answering that question also has the potential to rank highly for the keyword “Linux monitoring”. It can also aid in establishing authority with search engines, given the “basic” nature of the question.
Another question could be “How do I track resource usage on Linux servers?”. (Note for non-techies: tracking resource usages like CPU and RAM is a very common concern). This question can easily lead into the question “What are the inefficiencies of current resource tracking solutions?”, where you can showcase proficiency.
Manifesting proficiency highlights your reason for existence, which in this example, is to solve the inefficiencies of current solutions. Focus on why your offering is necessary rather than promoting it. Mentions of your offering come when the reader then asks “How do I mitigate the inefficiencies of current solutions?”.
Leveraging trust builds on the credibility established by answering the previous solutions. Highlight your solution when the reader asks, using other content to guide them toward asking. People prefer their own ideas, so creating a situation where the reader genuinely wants to know about your offering is highly beneficial.
Using the answer of one question to generate new questions helps address different levels of knowledge, while ensuring that your content ties together cohesively. This is what I refer to as an “authority cluster”, where every piece of content is written, specifically aiming to guide the reader toward asking about your offering. An added benefit is of course that it provides very clear internal linking opportunities.
Figuring out what questions to answer and keeping track of them requires a fair bit of organizing. To help myself with this I’ve developed a Notion doc to keep track of not just authority, but also creating awareness content and relating it back to the authority cluster—which is covered in the next section. If you’d like a copy of this Notion page, please don’t hesitate to reach out! You can always catch me on LinkedIn, or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the realm of content marketing, awareness pieces are what most marketers and writers are most familiar with, as they’re the pieces of content primarily focused on SEO and traffic generation. However, it’s important to still consider the key principles outlined so far:
The major difference with awareness content, is in how authority content should, in some way or another, provide a clear path to talking about your solution. Awareness content is about generating traffic and providing a path into the “authority cluster”.
Awareness topic ideation involves determining questions that provide answers that then prompt questions answered by your authority cluster.
For a Linux monitoring solution, such a question may be “How do I monitor a MySQL database?”. It’s not strictly related to your solution, as you only provide monitoring for Linux servers and not databases, but there’s a path. Somewhere in the post, you can link to “What Is Linux Monitoring?” with an anchor like, “... in order to monitor databases, unlike [monitoring Linux servers]”.
Possible questions will heavily depend upon your industry, topic, or niche, so I will refrain from providing more examples. The goal is to create a content strategy where, no matter the content you produce, there’s always a clear path to talk about your solution, even though it might not be addressed directly in every single post.
As you’ve seen, Authority-Led Content is a concept specifically developed with a focus on establishing authority through blog content, however, key principles like a focus on answering reader’s questions can be applied to any audience interaction.
That said, I do want to highlight some of the other ways you can build trust. My personal expertise is around blog content, hence why that’s been the focus of this post. Note that the methods described below are not necessarily alternatives to blog content, but are often something to be used in tandem.
To demonstrate how these methods may be used in practice, I’ll be using the example of a company I’m fairly certain anyone reading this is familiar with: Zoom.
One of the quickest and most effective ways to foster trust is by embracing people’s trust in other companies. As you can see, Zoom is trusted by large and well-known organizations like Formula 1, Nasdaq, WWF, etc.
If you didn’t know Zoom beforehand, it’s fair to assume a certain level of quality, being trusted by so many well-established organizations. However, remember the difference between implicit and explicit trust. This is a prime example of implicit trust.
Any trust gained by this approach relies on something not personally experienced by the audience, and great care must be taken to follow up on that trust, making it explicit.
Case studies are a common and effective way of turning the implicit trust above into explicit trust. This is where you provide deeper insight into the experience of real customers, usually coupled with statistics and testimonials.
Given that it’s still not personally experienced by the audience, it can be argued that it’s still not fully explicit trust, but it’s a great step in the transition from implicit to explicit.
Content created by someone not directly associated with your company can be a major driver of converting implicit trust to explicit trust. Essentially, why would someone talk positively about you if your solution isn’t good?
This is very much a gray area, as there are many ways of creating what seems like user-generated content, where the company is still influencing the content behind the scenes. But, truly user-generated content can be a major sign of trust in your company.
Going on a podcast or hosting a webinar has a significant advantage, as it fosters a more personal connection than written content ever can. While someone may read your byline and know you’ve written it, it’s easy to forget who the writer is once you delve into the content, trying to absorb the information. Think about this, are you currently thinking about how you’re reading the words written by me, Kasper Siig? Probably not, and I don’t blame you!
It can be argued that a writer can have a certain style, but there’s nothing inherent about letters on a screen retaining a human connection. With a podcast or webinar, it’s almost impossible to not retain the human connection. The audience is hearing your voice, or seeing your face. You won’t necessarily be performing a strict edit, cutting out a funny joke, an interesting anecdote, or you going on a tangent. Those are usually the exact reasons people listen to podcasts.
A human connection is often one of the most effective ways of fostering trust, it’s why motivational speakers care so much about body language and tonality.
In summary, these are all ways to foster trust in either you or your solution, either implicitly or explicitly. But, no matter what the approach is, always ensure that anything you say holds up to scrutiny.
Well, that’s it! It’s been quite the lengthy post, but hopefully, every piece of insight has either provided you with new insights or made some connections you hadn’t considered before. During the development of this strategy I’ve talked it over with a few individuals, and to the best of my ability have adapted it or addressed any concerns that have come up.
That said, there are some concerns I haven’t been able to fit into the main sections of the post, while still being relevant to the point, which I would like to address below. Before that, I’d like to thank you for reading through this, and I’d love to hear any thoughts you have, positive or negative. Once again, I can always be found either on LinkedIn or at email@example.com.
Although I’ve clarified throughout the post how this is not an attempt to define a generalized implementation tactic, but rather a set of core principles, I understand how you may still not be entirely sure how much time is supposed to be spent on this.
The reason I’ve refrained from a generalized implementation tactic is that the timeline is influenced by so many factors, like your post cadence, the complexity of your solution, the level of skepticism of your audience, etc.
That said, I will try to illustrate what a timeline could look like, assuming an example of wanting to create a solid foundation of authority. In this example, the company has established three questions to answer, to manifest expertise. Then, each of those questions prompts two questions to manifest proficiency, each of which then prompts two questions to leverage trust and promote your solution. 3 + 3 * 2 + (3 * 2) * 2 = 21.
I’m not a mathematician so there’s probably a better way of calculating that, but it does show that 21 pieces of content are needed in this example. With one post per week that’s just under five months. However, this assumes you want to establish the entire authority cluster at once, which may not be the case. This strategy is called Authority-Led Content very intentionally, as authority is only supposed to lead your content.
It’s reasonable that no company wants to go five months without any content focused on authority, and once again this is why I encourage you to evaluate what’s most suited for your situation. One approach to implementation could be:
I also want to point out that I don’t see authority as an end-goal. I see it as something to focus heavily on in the beginning and then maintain as time goes on. If you need to lose 20kgs of weight, you don’t lose the 20kgs, only to then stop eating right and working you. You maintain the new healthy lifestyle.
As I work primarily with startups I often get to meet people as they start out in content, and a common thought I hear is, “I want to produce content with unique insight and exciting thoughts”, and I completely understand where the thought comes from. Nobody wants to appear “boring” or “dull”. And, I see how someone might be concerned that this strategy will result in boring content. I’ll concede that “What Is Linux Monitoring?” isn’t exactly an exciting new topic.
The danger of this thinking is that it can often result in a lot of great content, with one of two drawbacks:
So yes, this strategy will most definitely result in “boring” content, but hopefully it’s clear by now why it’s useful and necessary. It’s also important to remember that, unless you’re already an established individual or entity—like Justin Welsh or Uber Engineering—it’s highly unlikely people will be visiting your blog specifically to read your newest post.
Some will! But then it’s a matter of prioritization. Do you want to cultivate a small but loyal audience? Or, a large but trusting audience?
The answer to this will depend on what your current situation is. If you’ve just started out, or are yet to publish your first blog post, then you won’t have anything to measure against. In this case, you might benefit from researching your industry and determining the average conversion rate to expect, then monitoring whether you match or exceed it. You can also set up analytics to track what links people are clicking on your website. Are they actually moving along the path established within the authority cluster?
If you already have an established blog you can follow the same tactics, but you’ll also have the opportunity to compare your conversion rate to a previous period, to see if it’s improved.
At the end of the day, this is still content, and it’s still SEO. Meaning, success is still monitored using all the regular metrics like retention rate and pageviews per user. And, like regular SEO, success may start appearing within a few weeks, or a few months.