Here are 7 ways you can establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. Use these 31 affordable tools to become an industry...
Dave Ramsey is an established expert on finance. If people like his message he's the easy choice to buy from - there's no haggling or questions. How did he get there? What practices does he, or other influencers put in place to gain followers?
In today's digital realm, influencers can pop up suddenly. Just like news can spread like wildfire, so can you. Here are 31 tools and resources to help get you started.
1. Create Authority Content
People research and get answers to questions by first going online. Will they find your authoritative articles, videos, client video testimonials, infographics, and audios? Or will they find your competitor's authoritative content?
If you're convinced you need to build your case via a repository of content online that establishes you as the industry authority then these tools can help you with ideas.
1) Portent's Content Title Generator: This tool helps you generate article/video topics by just typing in your industry. I like this one best because it gave me better results and 1 title at a time. More choices bogs me down. If I don't like the 1st idea it sends I just click the 'Refresh' button to get a 2nd idea. I can click it until I get a title I like.
2) Hubspot Blog Topic Generator: Another article topic generator by Hubspot. It creates 5 article titles or video topics at a time, allowing you to produce a week's worth of content ideas at the click of a button.
3) StripGenerator: This simple online tool creates a comic strip you can embed on your site or take a screenshot and post to your social accounts. [Comic generator]
4) Infogr.am: This website has over 30 infographic templates to choose from at the time of this writing. Easily get the data you're trying to convey into a visually appealing format. Industry thought leaders definitely use infographics as a tool to communicate and establish their expertise and authority. [Infographic builder]
2. Gain News Media Mentions
Getting news coverage on trusted media sites and industry sites or trade and professional associations has long been a default source of authority. Let's face it, if you are not getting quoted, you don't have credibility. So how do you get quoted? Go back to #1 and distribute content and press that people want to report on. You can distribute press releases about any piece of content you create, especially if that content contains data and stats appealing to the media.
6) If you don't have $600-$1,500 to spend on news release distribution, try PRLog.org, a free tool to publish out a press release. But it probably won't get picked up by the bigger news media websites. Also, you could have Viagra or dating website ads on your story which could damage your goal of achieving business celebrity status.
3. Create Authority Spotlight Articles
These are stories written by journalists about your unique way of doing business. You can research reporters who are writing stories about your industry. Then, contact them to see how you might help them or offer updated research on articles they've written. Help them first before you push your ideas on them. You'll really stand out this way because everybody who contacts them asks them to write a story about their business.
7) A cool resource where reporters are asking for research help is: Haro. It's free to subscribe to. They offer e-mail updates based on the industries you choose. So you'll only get updates from reporters asking for help, data or quotes about your industry. To set proper expectations, I've talked to many people who have sent in lots of inquiries and haven't heard back from reporters.
4. Create Expertise Videos
"Talking head", PowerPoint slides with your voiceover, FAQ, topic, and even those penciled in "doodle" videos are great video formats to establish your expertise.
You can record high-quality "talking head", FAQ, and industry topic videos with as little as 3 tools:
For PowerPoint slide videos, here are some tools you will need:
12) Screen Flow is the computer screen recording software for Mac users. The built-in microphone on a Mac works great. For PCs you might want to invest in a Blue Yeti Mic. Audio quality is more important than high definition video quality when doing Internet video. Both Camtasia and ScreenFlow can record video from the web cam. So you can show your face and talk while your viewer also sees the slides. The video of you will show in a little box in the corner.
For more robust video editing software (while still easy to use),
13) Corel Video Studio Pro X7: Windows only
14) Sony Vegas Studio: Windows only
15) iMovie: Mac users
16) Final Cut Pro: Mac users
There are 3 resources to get very powerful doodle videos created. The investment level varies with each. Usually fiverr.com will be your cheapest. It may not produce as high-level of drawing quality as you prefer. Decide what purpose your video will have and then the choice to invest less or more will become clear.
Or you can test your luck on Fiverr.com. It won't be only $5 for 60 seconds of video. But for around $100 you can get a 60 second doodle video done.
5. Publish an Industry-Leading Book
These tools assume you're self-publishing. If you're dead set on using a traditional publisher, don't pay upfront. If you're an unknown author they should pay you a smaller advance. Or, if they like your idea or table of contents they should be willing to use their resources to help you get published. In this case neither you nor the publisher would pay an upfront fee.
20) Kindle Forum: There are lots of experienced authors in here who can answer questions about publishing on Amazon and specifically Amazon's eBook format, Kindle.
21) KBoards: another community of experienced authors
22) CreateSpace: Have a printed version of your book. Amazon owns CreateSpace. CreateSpace prints your book. Some people like to hold a physical book in their hands and read that. You can likely hire somebody for $500 or $1,000 who knows how to format your book so it prints out and looks good within the CreateSpace guidelines.
23) Audible Books: Have an audio version of your book. Audible is a platform that allows you to offer your book in audio format. Amazon owns them. You can choose to record your book in your own voice. Or you can hire voice actors right off of the site.
6. Establish Social Media Authority
24) Hootsuite: This tool has a free version that allows you to schedule multiple posts on multiple different platforms. It works with the big 4 social networks -- Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn -- as well as a few lesser-known networks.
After you login, the search box is right in the top middle of your screen. Just to the right of that you'll see the word "advanced". Click on advanced.
You can put in a keyword of the industry you're targeting. You can then add in your city or zip code to find those in the industry close to you. There are lots of options here you can target.
26) LinkedIn and Facebook groups: Some are industry specific groups. Some are about the topic your business serves. You can get in here and start answering questions, solving problems, and building your reputation with these group members. This can and does lead to more sales.
27) PicMonkey: PicMonkey makes photos more interesting. This online tool has a free version that allows you to add text, crop, go black and white, and do lots of other touch-ups. It has way more options in the paid version.
28) Camera+ iPhone app: This tool is an extremely easy and powerful photo-editing tool with built in Lightbox features. You can crop, apply effects, create captions, and share straight from your iPhone.
7. Strategically Use Authority Positioning in Your Marketing Materials
I recommend you take screenshots of any articles on media websites where you're quoted or featured. Then you can use these images in your marketing materials. For video interviews you can take an "action shot" of you and the interviewer to use in printed materials. Of course, you can embed the video interview or clips from the interview in your digital marketing materials.
For radio interviews you can have a graphic designer create an image with you and overlay a text caption with the name of the show and what station it aired on.
Graphic Design Resources:
29) DeviantArt.com: You can browse their massive database of cool artwork, graphics and prints. You can buy if there's one you like. Or you can contact the designer who created close to a graphic you like and hire them to create your custom graphic.
30) 99designs.com: This is a bit higher investment starting at $299. The advantage is you're opening a contest. You describe the graphic you're looking for and lots of designers submit their design in hopes of winning the prize you pledged. You'll get super high quality graphics out of this.
31) JingProject.com: This free program allows Windows users to take screenshot images and do up to 5 minutes of screen capture video. Jing also has instant upload to their storage site ScreenCast.com. They'll host up to 2 GB of your images and video for free.
(Image via flickr)