From Authority to Awareness

Example of an authority cluster

Creating authority is but one part of getting new customers, it’s the part that established trust in you as a company and ensures genuine refusals. However, all this great content is useless if nobody sees it, so it’s important to also make great content that can boost people’s awareness of who you are.

In this post, you’ll be taken through a short example of how you can establish your presence with an Authority Cluster, which can then be built upon with pieces focusing on awareness. This implementation addresses each core quality of authority individually, providing a clear path for any reader, although multiple qualities can be addressed simultaneously.

The Three Steps of Authority Content Ideation

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.

Bringing Awareness to Authority

authcluster - Morningscore SEO tool

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:

  • Avoid absolute statements
  • Answer your reader’s questions
  • Provide resources or reasoning

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

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.

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