#091: Scott Aughtmon on Taking the First Steps to Becoming an Authority in Your Field

You’ve heard the advice before…

Position yourself an authority in your field … and business will start coming your way.

I think many of us understand this idea conceptually. But it can be hard to figure out exactly how to become that authority.

And the negative self talk and self-sabotage doesn’t help (“Who do you think you are? You’re no expert! You’re no authority!”).

Sound familiar?

This is a big topic, and it’s one I’d like to cover in more detail over the next few months. But today, I wanted to at least kick-start that discussion.

My guest is Scott Aughtmon, a consultant and blogger who writes about content marketing, and the author of the book 51 Content Marketing Hacks: Extraordinary Lessons on Creating Content That Will Help You Sell More and Gain More Customers.

Our conversation may not answer all your questions. But I hope it gets you thinking in the right direction — and that it sets the stage for additional episodes on this important topic.

The notes that follow are a very basic, unedited summary of the show. There’s a lot more detail in the audio version. You can listen to the show using the audio player below. Or you can subscribe in iTunes to get this show delivered straight to the Podcasts app on your smart phone, tablet or iPod.

Tell us about yourself

Scott is a consultant and blogger who writes about content marketing on his own site and for the Content Management Institute. He wrote the popular blog post and infographic, “21 Types of Content We All Crave.” He’s also the author of 51 Content Marketing Hacks.

How can changing pronouns change our business?

Most people spend too much time marketing WHAT they do and not enough time marketing WHO they are.

An example: Dr. Phil McGraw. He’s not the world’s best psychologist. But because of “who” he is, he has best selling books, well-paid speaking gigs and no shortage of clients. His transition from regular psychologist to superstar psychologist happened because his “who” changed, not his “what.” His skills didn’t change. How the market perceived him changed.

Why is “who” so important?

  1. When you’re perceived as an expert, you’re more desired and you can charge more.
  2. Who your customers and associates are also influences how you’re perceived. Again, this makes you more desirable so you can charge more.

The word “expert” intimidates some people. How do you define the term?

You don’t have to wait for someone to declare you worthy. You’re worthy when you’re worthy.

You don’t have to be the most knowledgeable person in the whole world on a particular subject. You have to know more than your client, but you don’t have to be an industry leader.

Outside of their area of expertise, most people have a grade 6 level of understanding. To a 6th grader, an 8th or 9th grader looks like a genius. All knowledge is relative.

How can we begin to change how we’re perceived?

Focus on two areas:

  1. HOW you and your business are perceived by your prospects
  2. WHERE you and your business are seen.

For example, in 2001, Scott and his wife had their first child. They needed to find a way to live on one salary. He created a book on how to survive and prosper in a recession. He interviewed top business and sales and marketing experts and wrote the introduction and conclusion himself.

Through this process, he not only built relationships with influential people, he also became associated with them because his name was on the book. It changed how people perceived him.

You can use this technique too. Reach to experts in your own niche and ask them for an interview. Many will say yes because everyone wants exposure. Once you have a few people onboard, it will be even easier to book the others.

Tell us how we can use “where” to change people’s perceptions

In 2010, Scott noticed that content marketing was getting big. He approached the Content Marketing Institute with an idea for an article. They liked it, and Scott started writing for them. He found that the content he created for CMI got exponentially more exposure than the content he created for his own site.

That’s the power of “where.” Get yourself featured on other people’s platforms. Everyone needs content and all kinds of sites need guest posts.

How do you come up with topics to write or talk about?

We don’t have time to think anymore. We’re all going non-stop. You get new ideas when you take the time to think. Put time aside for a daily walk or something similar. You’ll be surprised at what you come up with.

To generate new topics, you need to feed your mind. Read lots. Listen to podcasts. Capture your ideas when they pop up.

You can mash ideas from podcasts or books with your own experience. Come up with your own unique angle for topics already covered.

Meditation is also helpful. Instead of emptying your mind, pull up simple topics and chew on them. Go deep. You’ll come up with new ways to think about and present them.

How can you use content to build an audience?

Being good at what you do WON’T make you successful. You have to build your audience.
You have to build your audience.

You build your audience when you interview experts and when people interview you. Writing for publications builds your audience too.

It’s never been easier to build an audience. Blogging is the new printing press. YouTube is the new TV. Podcasts are the new radio. And it’s all free. You just have to choose one.

Is there anything else you want to emphasize?

When you’re building an audience, focus on subscribers. Not listeners or readers or viewers.

Subscribers allow you to build relationships. You can keep in contact and build trust.

If people like your content but have no way to sign up for more, that’s a lost opportunity.

Where can listeners learn more about you?

Scott’s website: recessionsolution.com

Twitter: @rampbusinesses

Scott’s book: 51 Content Marketing Hacks: Extraordinary Lessons on Creating Content That Will Help You Sell More and Gain More Customers.