Yes, Virginia, there really is one single quality that separates people who do well online from those who don’t.
Doing well does mean different things depending on your business or group, for example:
- Selling more products
- Signing up more clients or recruiting more members
- Receiving five stars at customer review sites like Yelp
- Getting more resumes from qualified job candidates
- Increasing donations for your non-profit organization
And the one quality that helps you achieve all these goals and more online is not the beauty of your website, the number of social media accounts you have or the amount of money you spend on Google pay-per-click ads.
It’s the authority you’ve built up with your online audiences.
That’s what business guru Seth Godin says, anyway. And as a wildly best-selling author who’s studied hundreds of businesses, he should know.
First, what is authority? It’s what helps you stand out from all the spammers, scammers and junk salespeople that the Internet has enabled, Godin points out:
We opened up the world of media to anyone who wants to talk, connect or sell. We gave everyone free stamps, free paper, a free broadcast license.
When your customer gets a hundred emails every day, why should she read yours instead of just deleting it? It’s because she trusts you. She knows you’re not just trying to take her money and run. She knows you can be trusted to offer some information, product or service that she really wants.
That’s authority. But how do you get it?
Authority comes from consistent generosity, from truth telling, and from empathy. It comes from showing up. It comes from telling your truth and consistently sharing your point of view.
Be opinionated. Use your real name. And a photo of your face. Offer good advice. Don’t expect anything in return except respect. Show up and participate in discussions where you can offer real value.
Do all that, and you’ll build authority. Build authority and you’ll succeed online.
One quality. It really is as simple as that.
— Erik Curren, Curren Media Group