Need Credibility? Establish Authority!

Need to sell more? Of course you do. We all do.

To get it done, you need credibility. You need to be perceived as an authority.

Here's a quick way to generate a ton of authority.

Pick a Topic. Any Topic.

Well, not just any topic. Try to think of stuff your customers need to know. Things like, how your product or service benefit them.

What can it do for them? How does it help them solve their problems? How does it make their lives easier?

That's all they're really going to care about anyway.

Do a Brain Dump

An easy way to organize your thoughts is with a mind-mapping tool, like XMind.

Using the tool, start with one central idea -- your product. From there you'll expand outwards in a branching fashion, noting everything you know about your product.

So now expand the map by listing every benefit or drawback your product has. Make each a leaf node off the main topic.

You can include things like:

  • Saves time.
  • Reduces cost.
  • Solves problems.
  • Makes life easier.

Notice how all those points are customer-oriented? Think about everything from the customer's point of view. Focus on the benefits your product has for your customer, not just bells and whistles.

You might even compare your product to the competition. "It's better than XYZ's." If the other guy's is better though, that's probably not a good idea. No sense shooting yourself in the foot.

And you might want to include at least some of your disadvantages though. People really do appreciate the honesty, and you'll score a couple extra authority points.

But don't list anything relating to your products cost. Trying to sell on "cheap" or "expensive" is almost never a good idea. Leave the pricing for later. That's what your sales page is for.

Dump Harder

Now expand the map further by adding a second layer of nodes.

For each of those benefits nodes, add nodes that support the claims.

You didn't think you could say "It solves your problem" without proving it. Right? Well, here's your chance.

Include things like:

  • Testimonials.
  • Case studies.
  • External links.
  • Past customers.
  • Current customers.
  • Number of products sold
  • Number of customers served.
  • Number of social followers.
  • Number of email subscribers.

And anything else that supports your claim that the product actually has benefits.

List as many proofs as you can for every benefit.

Create Some Content

Now it's time to do some writing.

Every benefit node on your map will become a new web page describing that particular advantage.

Remember:

  • Tell them what you're going to tell them.
  • Tell them what you're telling them.
  • Tell them what you told them.

Start with a solid headline. Direct and to the point is best.

Then lead with an introduction of the benefit and how it helps your customer.

Use the proof nodes as sections. Give each a clear, concise subhead. Then lay on the proof.

You don't have to use every proof for every benefit, but keep in mind that the more outlandish the claim, the more proof (and sections) you'll need.

So, saying something like "only one of its kind" won't take much proof if nobody else is making them. But, saying "best there is" will take a whole lot more if you're trying to stand apart from a crowd.

Better to just stay away from superlatives. They're pretty subjective anyway, and most people's radar just filters them out.

Finish with a close reminding them of the benefit and summarizing the proof.

You might even put a call to action here.

Stitch It All Together

Finally, create a cornerstone page.

The cornerstone is another new web page, just for the product itself. Here you'll want to do a general overview of the product and its benefits.

Again, start with a solid headline and intriguing intro.

Split your benefits up into two or more groups. Each group gets its own section. Each section gets its own subhead and discussion.

And again, make your subheads direct and lead with something you'll use your benefits pages to "prove". Don't go into too much detail here. Let the benefits pages do the heavy lifting. You might even want to just use bullet points instead.

Finish with a summary and definitely include a call to action. If they've made it this far, get those people on your mailing list.

Put It Out There

Now you can use your cornerstone page as a landing page.

Send it to your email list. Tweet about it. Link it in your forum and email signatures. Use it in your IRC signoff. Anyplace you can think of.

Just don't be spammy about it. You'll ruin your credibility before you've even had a chance to gain any.

That one link opens a gateway into your authority.