Why You Need To Lead…

Why You Need To Lead…

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Pop quiz: What’s the best traffic generation advice you’ve seen online?

  • Write great (epic) content?
  • Social Proof?
  • Guest Posting?
  • Social Media?
  • Be everywhere?

Or how about:

  • Become a leader?

Personally, I’ve seen a lot written on the first five (and more), but not too much on the last one.

But what is it that you want online?

I mean, if we look at it logically for a moment:

… you want more readers,

… and you don’t just want your readers to be passing strangers,

… you want them to like what they read and come back again,

… and again,

… you want them to be followers.

And in order to follow, what do those followers need?

Someone to follow.

A leader.

(that’s YOU by the way)

So, now that we’re all agreed on that, let’s take a look at how you might go about becoming one.

A Brief Definition

Leadership is about trust and authority.

Trust is about being consistent, honest, operating with integrity and showing up on a regular basis – in short, being trustworthy.

Authority is what we’re going to look at in a little more detail here.

Different ‘Types’ Of Authority

Did you know there are different ‘kinds’ of authority (or you might also try substituting the word ‘power’ for authority if you want to do further research on this)?

Let’s have a quick look at some of these:

Expert Authority

Expert Authority (or ‘Expert Power’) is derived from someone knowing their subject matter – i.e. just like the label says, they are the ‘expert’.

Or at least they are perceived as an expert.

That is enough to gain authority and credibility.

(For any pedants out there:

I know to be a ‘true’ expert, it’s said you need to have 10 years of experience in something.

So if we cared a great deal about semantics (I don’t know about you, but I don’t), then we could say someone declaring themselves an ‘expert’ in Pinterest for example would be exaggerating their expertise slightly.

They are probably more of an authority, but it hasn’t been around long enough for anyone to be an expert.

Technically.)

So, back to the point – for Expert Authority, we just need to be perceived as an Expert.

To be perceived as an expert, how much expertise do you need?

Well, more than your audience has is often more than enough.

If I have been blogging for 2 months and you have been blogging for 2 years, then you are likely all the expert I need.

With the speed of the online world, perhaps someone with 20 years experience would be a worse bet in any case because he might start telling me about floppy disks and MS-DOS.

The way to portray Expert Authority online is by writing great content consistently.

Ana is a great example of expert authority.

It’s because of the expertise that shone through in Ana’s content that I checked out more content on TGC.

It’s then because of the consistency of that great content she had me very quickly convinced that she was an authority… and I’ve been reading her blog ever since.

Now that is expert power.

Take a look at some of Ana’s content from about 1 year ago (for example her awesome post: 202 Bite-Sized Tips To Insanely Increase Your Blog Traffic), which is about when I started online, and you’ll be looking at the same series of posts that completely wowed me and still does.

In fact, further proof of Ana’s expert authority is evident in the stats she shares in her recent Monthly Income Report.

That one is a little different as she covers a period of absence, but it clearly shows that though her traffic dropped quite a bit whilst she was away, it shot up again as soon as she came back.

In short, it was Ana’s established authority that helped her to get back on track after her break so quickly.

Referent Authority

Referent Authority is authority that is given to you via charisma and interpersonal skills – often via association with others.

Srinivas Rao is a great example of referential authority.

Someone told him (I think it might have been Yaro Starak) that the best way to grow his brand was to interview people.

Whilst, at the Blogworld Expo Srinivas took the opportunity to do just that.

By showing up early and often, he was able to interview many well known bloggers.

He later turned all of those interviews into a podcast called BlogcastFM.

Srinivas now has plenty of authority and is known as a great connector because of all of the people he’s developed relationships with through his interviews.

I’d imagine that finding new people to interview is much easier for Srinivas now because of the referent authority he’s built up thanks to the interviews he’s had so far.

A perfect example of referent authority.

Absolute (or Legitimate) Authority

Absolute or Legitimate Authority comes with the position or status a person holds.

I only mention this here because in the corporate world this is a very common form of authority.

People in the corporate world have this kind of authority because it is a part of their job and is therefore very deliberate, structured authority.

It’s an interesting comparison, but though some people will have this kind of authority in online business, that will most likely only be between people within their business.

When we are talking about traffic generation and building an online brand for that purpose, this is not likely to be a type of authority that you can rely on – i.e. because your audience doesn’t work for you.

Reward Driven Authority

Examples of this would be paying for traffic or offering ‘prizes’ (i.e. rewards) to influence your audience to take whatever action you’d like them to.

This can work well in the online world and there are several examples.

One great example which comes to mind is when the reward is coupled with building social proof.

The problem with reward driven authority is it’s often short term. To maintain authority in this way, you would need to keep on giving rewards.

Which ‘Type’ Is Best?

‘Best’ is probably a combination of the first two above, but it also depends upon you.

Great content without any relationships or charisma whatsoever very often goes unseen.

On the other hand, poor content even with great relationships probably won’t be shared.

By all means, use rewards to build engagement, but then do something with that engagement.

Rewards work well for people who already have authority via other means, so the influx of traffic from the promotion is likely to convert into loyal followers because of expert or referent authority.

Reward driven authority alone will not result in getting followers who stick around (so put out some great content first).

What About Social Proof?

A quick word on social proof.

Social proof is basically another form of referent authority, and is extremely powerful.

It’s basically people saying that they like and trust your brand and making that fact public.

Social proof is the display of this information for all to see (e.g. when you display the number of facebook ‘likes’, tweets, comments, followers, subscribers etc.)

These metrics (if high enough) will compel others to come along and check what all the fuss is about.

The best explanation I heard of how social proof works was from something Pat Flynn mentioned in one of his podcasts (which you should check out if you haven’t already).

He gave the example of being in a food market and one of the stalls having a massive queue, with the others being relatively empty.

Which stall would you be drawn to?

In fact, I think he in turn got this example from Sterling & Jay of Internet Business Mastery (check out their podcasts as well).

Leadership: It’s Not About Telling People How It Is

You don’t need to tell people how it is, like you are the final authority on everything.

It’s more about being comfortable in your own skin.

In this sense, trust is more important than authority.

Especially Online.

Why especially online? Because there are so many people trying to ‘fake’ authority; to get more traffic, more sales etc.

Have you ever had the feeling that the more someone declares to you how great a deal something is or how genuine they are, the less you feel inclined to believe them?

Sometimes the quality of what you do say plus all the things you don’t say are much more powerful than spoiling great content with a bunch of unnecessary validations.

The Challenge of Online Communication

Online communication is really easy, but it’s also really tough.

Eh?

Let me explain…

We have an amazing reach, but we also have less of people’s attention.

We lose 95% of our communication skills online because we don’t get to use our body language, we don’t get to build rapport in the same way and we don’t get to use tonality or eye contact to build trust and enhance our message.

We only have our words.

10 Actions To Further Your Leadership and Enhance Your Online Brand

So, in light of what we’ve just covered above, here are 10 actions you can take right away to build your authority, enhance your leadership, and in the process significantly enhance your online brand:

1. Go through old content, add more authority

  • Check for fluff and remove.
  • Check the formatting.
  • Remove distractions.
  • Check that your message is clear.
  • Proof read.
  • Give examples to back up your statements.
  • Be confident and make sure that comes across in your content – nobody remembers fence-sitters.

2. Build (genuine) relationships with appropriate people

Do this, repeat, and build on it.

If you’re stuck with how much to do this, start with spending as much time away from your own site as you do on it.

And here’s some help from Danny Iny:

3. Check that your site content ‘looks’ authoritative

A blog is not a presentation, a book or a lecture.

We are dealing with limited attention spans and need to bear that in mind when writing content.

Make your articles scannable and highlight appropriately key phrases and affirmations that add authority. :-)

More reading on the topic:

4. Check that your site design looks authoritative

A professionally designed website will carry much more authority than a poorly designed DIY website.

There is nothing more off-putting than a dodgy looking site.

Especially if you’ve got some of those funky animations hopping around in your sidebars or banner ads.

Ana’s resources for a well-designed site:

5. Update your bio on your site

You’d be surprised how many people check you out.

If people aren’t just leaving, they are probably just as likely to be going to your about page or your bio next as anywhere else.

Make your bio genuine and confident.

Make sure you include all of your relevant experience which supports your brand.

If you’re unsure, go and check the bios of others you respect in your niche to get some ideas.

Note from Ana: And here’s another idea to get your readers clicking: add an “ABOUT YOU” page on your blog.

This great idea comes from David Crandall’s new Brand Superpower site, which I, by the way, love:

david crandall about you page

6. Use your photo

Make sure you put your photo on your site and, unless you’re in the business of selling circus toys, make sure it’s not too goofy.

People buy people and they want to see who they are dealing with.

Also, make sure you use your photo as your Gravatar; if you don’t know what it means or how to get it, read Ileane Smith’s Establish Branding For Your Blog With A Gravatar.

7. Check your social media profiles

Make sure your social media profiles are clean, complete, professional and consistent with your brand and your content.

Put links in all of your social media profiles (these are all free backlinks).

Speaking of getting social media profile backlinks, check out this great post from Kristi Hines, social media queen herself and the author of the most useful guide on blog promotion I’ve ever read:

Also, here’s the recent YouTube tip from Lisa Irby:

8. Say more with less.

That means less self promotion.

Play with different formats of content to find what suits you, but err on the side of brevity (people have a limited attention span, remember?)

If you’re making videos, try making them short.

The same goes with audio and if you are going to write relatively long articles (like this one or longer), then make them scannable so that they are at least easy to digest.

9. Be genuine when promoting others

In addition to the above, do promote others, but do it only in a genuine way.

Add value for your readers.

Don’t do a list post, which is not really relevant to what you‘re saying just hoping to get the attention of the people you’ve listed.

If you are genuinely helping people, then they are more likely to share and if the post gets shared, the people you have mentioned are more likely to drop by and say thanks.

If you mention someone in a post, do so appropriately, don’t claim to be best friends if you’re not.

Just write what seems natural.

10. Make sure to show proof of your authority

For way too long I had connected Facebook and Twitter to my site, but completely ignored LinkedIn, despite having a much stronger network on LinkedIn from my previous corporate career.

I somehow saw that as separate, relating to a previous life and my new online journey was all about getting to know how to use Facebook and Twitter (and more recently Google+).

In fact I think as far as social media is concerned a lot of people overlook LinkedIn, and they really shouldn’t; just take a look at this post:

Final Thoughts

OK, so we all know this part is called the “call to action”.

So whatcha gonna do?

Hint: I’ve given you 10 very actionable tips above ;-)

Or if you don’t want to take action on those right now, you could always leave a little comment…

Also, here’s a little something to get your thinking going:

Alan

Husband, Father, Coach, Writer, Investor (in roughly that order :-)). You can find Alan at Life’s Too Good, where he shares both his professional expertise and his personal journey to financial freedom, since retiring from corporate life in 2010.

traffic generation cafe comment below

Google+ Comments

70 Comments (click here to leave a comment)

  1. Hi Alan,

    I’m brand new to TGC (If I may abbreviate) and just now roaming around older post. Thus the belated comment. Just wanted to compliment you. Awesome piece. It’s now in my printed out stack (old school sorry – I like printed hard copies) and part of my guidance objective which is meant to set the path of blog evolution – meaning what I should aspire to become. Long way to go but the first step……

    Commentary is great and in itself also full of gold nuggets. Adding my 2 cents to the characteristics of a true leader…… is one who leads by example.

    • Hey Lucas,

      pleased to meet you!

      Thanks for your generous comment & I’m really pleased you liked this article enough for it to make it to your stack!

      Thanks also for adding your thoughts to the discussion.

      Give me a shout if there’s anything else I can help you with and if I can, I will.

      take care & best wishes,
      Alan

  2. Hi Ana and Alan,

    That’s a really great guest post! Well done. To me a leader is someone who knows where they are going, knows how to get there and is willing to show others the way!

  3. Thanks Dewane,

    it’s really kind of you to say that.

    … and I agree!

    ;-)

    You make a good point too – most people are an authority to somebody on something.

    Plus as I said in the point about Expert Power above, in a lot of cases, you don’t need to be the worlds greatest expert to help me or be an authority to me – you just need to know sufficiently more than I do.

    P.S. If you like Kick-Ass – read the post below and tell me what you think ;-)

  4. Great post! I am still learning so much and people like you and Anna have given me a wealth of information! Thanks so much.

    • Hey Sheila,

      thanks so much for your comment & kind words – it’s when people like you take the time to leave a comment that it makes writing & sharing this stuff worthwhile,

      take care & best wishes,
      Alan

  5. Hello Alan,

    Interesting that you say you have only been online for a year. I already since you have Referent Authority. Being a guest writer on Ana’s Blog is indicative of the fact that you bring much to the table for the blog world.

    Your point about keeping videos short and how the attention span of readers is short is so wise. I used to record videos over 5 minutes long and wondered why they were not pulling well. I dropped down to 3-4 minute video length and now I am getting more viewers.

    See you online!

    • Hi Danielle,

      I think that’s more down to Ana’s generosity than me – I haven’t done much guest posting and Ana was kind enough to consider my article I’m guessing without particularly looking at how ‘big’ I was in a blogging sense.

      With all of her tools and tricks I couldn’t possibly have hidden that from her if I’d tried – my blog is just teeny by comparison.

      That being said, the content of the article above is not from blogging, it’s from years of experience so I’m comfortable writing about this stuff. I’ve haven’t been in the blogosphere for long but I have been a consultant for many years.

      Plus the world is spinning so fast these days, that in any case perhaps a year isn’t so short anymore.

      Thanks for your kind words Danielle & I’m glad you found this of some value.

      • Ana Hoffman

        Yep, he almost broke my arm twisting it. lol

        But seriously, I second Danielle’s opinion, Alan – you appear to be an online authority more than you think.

  6. Well I never…

    I love how different people have different favorite bits of this article. I like ‘no fluff’ too. In fact, my wife uses that expression a lot and I stole it from her.

    Thanks for the kind words David, I’m glad you found the advice of value,

    take care & best wishes,
    Alan

  7. Thank you for this post, and thanks for emailing about this one, Ana. I’ve been doing a lot of research about becoming an “authority” and how I want to go around it, and this provided some good reference points for where one “type” ends and another starts.

    It seems like a blending of two or three (or all) is the smartest way to go about becoming an expert, but I have a clearer idea of where I want to start now. : )

    Thanks again . . . now I need to go visit all the links in this post. LOL!

    • Good point Lindsey,

      these types are obviously not mutually exclusive. There’s actually an awful lot to good leadership and this probably just scratches the surface (honestly, I’m not just saying that to get you to ask me more ;-)).

      I also believe the commonly held notion of leadership is changing in today’s world as more channels of communication open – but perhaps that too is a slightly different topic.

      thanks for the comment & best of luck in whatever changes you decide to make (plus do feel free to drop me a note if you think I can help and if I can, I will).

  8. Hi ,

    Reading this article reminded me of my management lessons at College, like we learn lines of authority in Management. The list is very impressive and informative. Truly helpful and guiding towards adopting the approaches.

    Thanks for the post,

    Sanjib

    • Hey Sanjib,

      no probs dude, thanks for taking the time to comment and for your very kind words – very much appreciated,

      take care & best wishes,

      Alan

  9. Alan,

    While reading this post I kept thinking that I really have a hard time being a leader but…

    1. You helped me realize I can probably do it. My goal online is to simply show people that money can be made legitimately; no scams just hard work. Through this process I hope to learn the process myself, make money and teach others how I did it and they can too. I hope that is a leader.

    2. If I really want to I can be the first follower. But I think that would work better offline in social situations. If you are right behind the leader you don’t get the recognition because frankly you are helping the leader do his job at online income, thus not making the money like the leader would.

    I like to refer people to other leaders but if this keeps happening won’t they leave and seek out leadership with them?

    ~Allie

    • Hey Allie,

      no, I wouldn’t worry about that.

      Your comment made me think of 2 things too:

      1. Assuming that the people you are mentioning are worth recommending, then it’s absolutely a good thing to do for a number of reasons – and it absolutely does convey authority. Consider the reverse – I’m sure you know that someone who doesn’t mention anyone else and talks only about themselves loses a lot of authority (even if they really do know stuff)… if you are constantly mentioning good resources, experts and leaders, then you become the go-to place for those referrals so yes it’s worth doing

      2 – To refer it back to the above article, aside from showing that you’re comfortable in your own skin and confident enough to refer others (plus being a nice person and the kind of person that people appreciate and want to work with – that I know you are) you are building reputation and a kind of authority by doing this and the ‘type’ it relates to above is referent authority

      3. Haha, bonus! I’m not so sure people are ‘seeking out’ leaders, more experts. Therefore the concept of leadership is more situation or context sensitive and it’s about having the right level of authority where you need it and when you need it – the good news this doesn’t have to be in the more stereotypical ‘leader’ role as you mentioned in your comment, great leaders understand followership too

      convinced?

  10. you definitely covered some types of authority that i have never really thought about. I am definitely guilty of being lazy and not utilizing all that is available. Well i am off to connect my linkedin profile to my blog. been meaning to do it for a while, hehe

    • Not a bad choice for a first action point ;-)

      Again, Ana can probably tell you this much better than I ever could but it’s probably a good thing to do in terms of SEO in any case,

      take care & thanks for the comment,
      Alan

  11. Great article Alan, and so very important.

    While I love to write, I know that many of colleagues (one in particular) doesn’t enjoy reading and would much prefer to listen to what I have to share.

    This was one of the reasons I decided to podcast, and share content with people who, like my colleague, preferred to digest information via audio. [In fact, I wrote about it in my most recent article].

    The 5-7% of the population who enjoy ‘listening’ to content, may very well be my ideal client, and I could potentially be missing out on connecting with them if I rely on writing alone.

    Anyway, I’m off to read through your suggestions again.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks Annemarie,

      Interesting comment and you’ve got me thinking. I also want to do some more audio at some point but have a consistent ‘theme’ for the audio rather than jumping around in terms of topics.

      anyways, where you’ve got me thinking – same rules apply for audio (or video for that matter) – and where it’s critical to be genuine perhaps if an ‘even-more-so’ is possible, even more so in audio as you are conveying more than just words, you then have tonality etc and more of your ‘voice’ that you need to work with – so perhaps even more so again on video?

      Having done podcasts, do you have any thoughts on that?

      • Yes, I totally agree Alan – this is so very important.

        Personally, audio came in third for me with regards to the way I communicate, however years of telephone coaching and leading of webinars has honed my verbal communication skills.

        My podcasts involve me interviewing guests, so I often have to ‘sense’ where the guest is at, and use my voice to lead, calm (because often they are as nervous as anything) and just gently direct the call. After a few minutes, people forget where they are and just speak quite naturally as if they were chatting to a someone they had known for ages. In fact, after 20 or 30 minutes when the interview concludes, people often comment how quickly it went and how much they enjoyed themselves.

        I believe this is very important, as the listener then very much feels part of the conversation and connects with myself and the guest. It’s all about building and maintaining rapport and of course a person’s interest.

        Tonality, pace, mirroring and all of those communication skills are very important, as well as laughter. Otherwise people end up getting bored.

        The words you use are very important as well. Every listener should believe you are speaking directly to them and are very much part of the conversation.

        It’s interesting that you should ask the question as I have had a number of colleagues that would now like to start their own podcasts and have asked me how I do it. It’s something that I’ve been doing for years so now it comes quite naturally (hey, what can I say – I love to talk!!) so know I need to look at exactly what I do, so that I can teach this to other people.

        Hope that gives you some ideas to move forward. Feel free to pop across and listen to one of my podcasts if you like? Or even come on the show and be a guest! I hope Ana doesn’t mind me leaving the link here: http://www.ambitiousentrepreneurnetwork.com We’ve only just launched the new platform last week, however I do have a few shows there you can listen to.

        Thanks Alan!

        • Sure Annemarie, I will come over and say Hi in the next few days,

          and I’ll definitely consider your offer of an interview but only because you promised to make me laugh (which was last known to happen in 1987).

          a bientot,
          Alan

  12. That is an amazing idea about having an “about you” page. I really like that. I have never heard that before. I’m going to check out the one you referred to. Thanks!

  13. kevin

    Great article, I especially like the explanation of social proof and what the purpose of it is. Also, very informative list for building your brand and authority. I agree that providing visitors to your site a professional and crisp looking product, instead of poorly designed lay out can help out significantly.

    • Thanks Kevin,

      if you want to read more about social proof and there is a great book by Robert Cialdini called ‘Influence’ – it’s quite an old book but still very relevant – definitely worth a read.

      in case you do get a copy, let me know what you think…

      thanks for the comment,
      Alan

  14. What a great post. There is so much useful information here about what it means to be a leader online. I think your definition of leadership is right on. There is a moral responsibility to being a leader which you mentioned here by being honest, trustworthy and full of integrity.

    I’ve noticed that the more honest I am online the more people follow me and like what I’ve written. And that means being open about your setbacks as much as your successes. I think that shows there is a real person behind the writing. People can see through it when you’re not being genuine and that can really damage your relationship with readers.

    Your breakdown of the types of authority is great. It’s interesting to see how many types you can really fit into. It’s made me reflect on my own style.

    • Hey Steve,

      thanks for the kind words, though to be honest I’d say of all people you don’t need much of the advice in this article (maybe the awareness of the different ‘types’ in case you hadn’t heard them but that’s about it).

      You know I love you’re writing and you gotta be one of the nicest, most honest and genuine people I know.

      take care dude and thanks again for the comment,

      Alan

  15. Sunil - Wealth Building

    great post – there is certainly no one size fits all solution. the key is to identify your strengths and play to them.

    to me a leader is simply someone who has followers. there are leaders on every level. as a blogger with a readership, you and I are leaders in our own way.

    we lead different people in different ways who are interested on different topics. similarly, we follow other leaders who specialize in what they do best.

    it’s interesting how things come back to a full circle.

    ps: the video really resonated. I have seen it several times before in various leadership meetings and self development conferences. it never gets old because it’s right on!

    • I agree with all of your comments Sunil.

      – and nice point about full circle – some of the best people I’ve worked with who I’d consider great leaders weren’t in leader roles, yet were leading by empowering others, promoting them and enabling wonderful things to happen.

      Put a great leader in the most junior role and they can often still manage to inspire and be a catalyst for change (e.g. with expert power).

      thanks for the great comment,
      Alan

  16. The video really put leadership into perspective and demonstrates the fact that it is the followers who influences the movement and make things happen.

    • Exactly – leadership is just the start. It’s tough to be a great leader but a really great leader embraces followers too – and a really really great leader knows how to be a great follower themselves if needed too!!

      i.e. this one is about Authority – but there’s also something to be said about Trust, Community (speak to Marcus Sheridan for a great example of how to build a community) and Followership too… (but I couldn’t an article about all of these or you’d all just fall asleep cuz it’d b 2 looooong)

  17. Blake

    Howdy Alan,

    Amazing post. For the newbies: This is what you should read when you think you have the potential to becoming a leader one day. Well-explained.
    And oh, I love that video so much. Thanks for the great insights!

    • Again, hats off to Ana for the video – but I love it too (apart from the fact that it sums up pretty much everything I said in my article in 2 minutes flat),

      glad you got something from it anyway – p.s. the next part is to learn how to be a great follower too (as that can also be very powerful).

      take care & best wishes,
      Alan

  18. Kelvin Wealth

    Thanks Alan for this really elaborate post…

    I really never knew there were different kind of authority because all I just hear is Authority… Thanks for showing me and explaining the different kinds of authority.

    And also I have got alot of actions to take from your 10 actions to further my leadership and online brand..

    I’m going to be doing Actions 1,2,7,9 and 10…

    Thanks once again Alan

  19. hello alan,
    the tips you suggested here are really nice specially the relationship building and the site designing. building relationship is i think the most important factor which decides wheteher your blog is a success or not. you cant do anything alone. you need an audience and support and secont the site design is really important and thesis framework is i think the best as it is seo friendly and looks great. if you apply the things you mentioned you are definitely a good leader
    thanks for these tips

    • No probs prabhat and I’m glad you liked the article,

      – and you’re right, relationships count for a great deal, whether online, offline, friends or business – at the end of the day, people buy people.

      take care & best wishes,
      Alan

  20. Hi Alan,

    I don’t know how to say this but you got a really great and amazing post. Everything a person is looking for on how to be a great is just right here.
    I love the idea of that video. It’s a little awkward in the beginning but soon everyone’s following you. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hey Mace,

      thanks for the kind words – though ‘how to be great’ might be flattering the material a little too much. Nah… I’ll take it ;-)

      thanks & thanks again to Ana for adding the awesome video. I love that too,

      so are you going to do a naked dance then outside your inn?

  21. Alan, excellent job you did here man!

    One thing I sure tried to use to my own advantage as much as I paid a tribute to people like dear Ana here with my latest eBook; I have not nearly built the credibility and authority to ensure the success of the book like these guys have, but having them included as contributors to the book….the proof is indeed in the pudding, right?

    I especially liked the 10 action steps you listed! I have a couple of things that’s going to keep me busy for a while indeed. What I’ve always liked about visiting TGC: I ALWAYS leave here with more work on my to-do list than I had before I came here! How cool is that!

    That’s exactly what I want to accomplish over at UlitmateDomainManager…leave my readers with action steps and great value to go and implement what I gave them to nibble on!

    Another awesome reason why I absolutely LOVED Ramsay’s post called “Why I Don’t Publish Often And Why You Shouldn’t Either” I think…epic posts like these just don’t come every day but boy will it keep you busy for a while!

    So I’m off the Ramsay’s pretty face for the next thing…my About Me page for my new site! How cool is that!

    Keep up the good work you bunch of wonderful inspiring people!! Whooot whoot!!

    • Thanks for the kind words Ruan,

      yep – I like to try and give actionable advice and knew that’s what TGC is all about and Ana has done for ages, so I wanted to include some action steps,

      really glad you liked it & got something from it,

      take care & best wishes for the e-book,

      Alan

  22. Hi Alan,
    very comprehensive list here. When you say that a blog is not a presentation or a book…I think it depends on the type of blog and what each person tries to accomplish with it. I have seen some great blogs that have great traffic from people that just tell stories or thoughts that run through their head every day.
    And about authority, many try to fake it but it just shows and there is no way to fake it for too long.

    • Hey Mariella,

      you’re right – though if people are writing just what pops into their head every day then they are likely adding a lot of personality to their site which makes it unique and personal.

      What I meant with that comment is with a presentation, book or lecture, you generally have a different ‘hold’ on your audience e.g. a presentation or lecture is usually ‘attended’ for a known duration, and generally a book is something someone sits down with for a good read (note I said generally) – whereas with a blog, normally you don’t get to choose how long you have your reader’s attention for.

      You do have a good point though – that’s not to say that blogs which are like books, lectures or presentations don’t exist.

      Plus I agree entirely with your point about authority – let all the fakes be found out… any fans of ‘fake it til you make it’ – it’s not the way to go, plus these days there’s no need to pretend – genuine counts for a lot…

      by the way, just to be clear (I’d better say this as I am at the traffic cafe) – I’m not claiming to be an expert here about traffic or blogging (that’s Ana) – but I do have something to say about, well… authority (and leadership) ;-)

      … and also followership if you’d like to know about that too!

  23. LOVE this post (and not just because you mentioned me). Super actionable and cuts through the garbage messages that I see a lot of.

    In fact, that’s what I love so much about your site. Have continually been impressed by what you do and the laser sharp focus on your subject matter in each post (and as a whole). Even though I may not comment often, your site has a bookmark on my iPad for my non-interactive reading time…which I get tons of value from!!!

    Keep up the amazing work!!!

    PS – I thought this quote from the video was top notch: “When you find the lone nut doing something great, have the guts to stand up and be the first person to join in.”

    • Ana Hoffman

      Yeah, yeah, yeah, David – I bet the mention didn’t hurt at all! ;)

      You always impressed me as the kind of person that would do just that – have the guts to stand up and be the first person to join in.

      PS What happened to your gravatar?

    • Thanks David (& Ana)

      – & as you can probably tell by the post I couldn’t agree more re: the value in the content Ana provides on TGC (and has been doing so for some time) – some of the most thorough and practical SEO & traffic advice there is around in my book!

  24. Annie Andre

    Alan,
    That video at the end was ‘P-E-R-F-E-C-T”
    I loved your break down on leaders. Is it 10 years or 10,000 hours to become and expert? Or are they the same? I’ve hear 10K hours.

    Being a leader is and can be hard just for the fact that you often stand out for the crowd and people poke and make fun or become your biggest nay sayers. I’m not a born leader but I like to try to be different. Lately i’ve been getting a lot of negative emails, naysayers which feels like hate email. All thanks to that house hunters international show i was on.
    . saying things like, how can you do that to you kids and drag them around travelling and living abroad. or “waht about the kids education”. Or “you’re not realistic” or.or or.

    It takes some will power to just look away, ignore the naysayers and then keep moving forward. That and a lot of red wine. But i would rather be a leader some of the time rather than a follower all the time..

    • Hey Annie,

      I agree – I can’t take credit for the vid though, Ana added it at the end and I love it too… I spent a while writing this and everything I say is pretty much captured in a 2 min vid at the end… go figure… ;-)

      and I wouldn’t worry about the nay-sayers, take it as a sign that you’re doing something right. Most of the time when people are judgemental about things like that they are making all kinds of assumptions that are invalid anyways.

      I know how much you love your family and the best person in the world who will judge what’s best for them, protect them, nurture them (and give them awesome experiences they are really lucky to have along the way) is you.

  25. Alan,

    Great article… I like where you write, “Say more with less”

    One thing all us Blogging Blowhards could with a little more of is brevity…

    Thanks for some great thoughts!!

    Ryan H.

  26. Alan,

    Thanks so much for the kind words and shoutout. I always jokingly say “I don’t know a thing I’m just the byproduct of people far smarter than me.” All joking aside, your breakdown of developing authority is extremely insightful. It shows us that there are multiple paths to the same destination.

    • Hey Srini,

      I know you always say that because I listen to your podcast! ;-)

      Plus I think it’s time to change that tagline – you do what you do very well – I know from experience that being able to facilitate great conversation is not easy – plus you had the initiative to do it in the first place.

      In any case, you’re more than welcome – thanks for being a great example to us all,

      take care & best wishes,
      Alan

  27. Ian Belanger

    Hey Alan,

    Great post! I especially liked where you talked about leadership online:

    “You don’t need to tell people how it is, like you are the final authority on everything. It’s more about being comfortable in your own skin. In this sense, trust is more important than authority. Especially Online.”

    I absolutely agree, it is more about trust online. There are sooo many fake “gurus” on the internet today, that it is hard to scrape through the BS and find useful info.

    But, when people do find a real authority, they tend to follow and share everything that person does, and that is powerful.

    Thanks for sharing your insights Alan and have a great day!

    PS. Thanks for mentioning my website Ana, much appreciated!

    Ian from IM Graphic Designs

    • Thanks Ian,

      Yep, I have to admit I am a little too cynical for my own good sometimes, there is so much ‘fake’ online that I have developed kind of a ‘fake radar’ that goes off…

      that being said, I also find it astonishing (still being relatively new to the online world) just how much amazing information there is being shared online (which as I said, is kind of what led me to read and then re-read TGC in the first place).

      Also, I reckon the longer you have been around and the more you read, the more obvious the fakes become from those who are genuine,

      thanks for the comment Ian & I’m glad you liked the article,

      take care & best wishes,
      Alan

    • Ana Hoffman

      Almost wanted to send your comment into spam, BT – didn’t recognize your pretty face. :)

      I would’ve left a comment on that post I linked to, but looks like you’ve started closing comments on older posts. How’s that working for you?

    • Wow look at that! A bunch of all my favorite people all in one place! ;)

      Off to your “About Me” expertise now Ramsay….need “About Me” ticked off from my to-do list by the end of this beautiful day!