It’s a long known marketing principle that when people are trying to make a decision, one of the tools they use is to take guidance from authority. “Hmm, what should I do? Ohh… this expert guy says I should do X – he obviously knows better than me”, is something like how it goes.
As many have pointed out, what’s changing in our time is who we consider an authority. At the start of the century it was the newspaper. If they published it in the paper it HAD to be right. Then it was what was on the TV… but that’s certainly out the window now.
So what do we use to make our decisions today? What do YOU use?
I think there is a long tail of authority, so to speak.
How Do You Make Decisions?
If I want to make some purchase that I care about, the first thing I will do is see if anyone I know, like a friend, has bought that thing. Code: I look for the opinion of someone I trust.
In that search I usually drill down to a friend of mine who I’m sure knows a lot about that particular thing. I wanted to make a stock purchase this week so I contacted a friend of mine that I trust… but not just any friend, a friend who is an analyst at a trading house. Code: I look for the opinion of someone who I can verify knows what they’re talking about. Kind of like my personal local expert.
Or when a friend recently was looking for an e-book reader to purchase so he was very interested in what I thought of my Kindle. I love it and I told him so, and he ended up making the purchase immediately following our conversation. Code: He was interested in the opinion of “someone like him”. “Who cares what the commercial said, Andrew is just like me… if he likes it, I’ll probably like it.”
What “New Authorities” Are NOT
What stands out about the people who I (and in the last example, my friend) take advice from is what they DON’T have:
They don’t always have a degree on the subject.
They might not have formal qualifications of any kind.
They certainly don’t call or consider themselves experts.
But they are, in our minds, maybe only at that moment, authorities.
The point is that the barrier to being considered an “authority” is the lowest it’s ever been. Anyone can establish themselves as an authority on almost any subject because, in a lot of ways, it’s not even about being an “expert” at the subject matter.
It’s about being a real person, being a real user (or having first hand experience in the subject matter) and being trustworthy.
And why is all this important? Because…
Authority Can Make You Money!
I was having a conversation with a lady earlier in this year, talking about online marketing, when she told me “I know a lot about makeup. When any of my friends want tips on their makeup, they come and ask me”. She’s not a make up artist, doesn’t work in the field, but she knows her stuff. I consequently raved at her about how badly she needs to have a blog!
So if you’re interested in making money on the internet, here’s the takeaway:
Start NOW, establishing yourself as an authority on a particular subject. Even if this is just a side project to your other work online, build a blog or a site where you write about something on which you know a lot. Have fun with it, interract with people with similar interests and work to build a following.
If you do, come a few years time, YOU could be the person people turn to for advice, and YOUR affiliate link could be the one they purchase through when they make their decisions.
Because rest assured that there are more and more people every day turning not to the TV or the newspaper or even the internet as a whole for advice, but PEOPLE, friends, just like you.
And there’s money to be made there.