Editor’s note: This essay is one of three Second Prize winners of the Copyblogger Media Essay contest, for which writers had 250 words to discuss why it’s essential to be an online authority.
“Nick, your shoes are untied.”
We are taking a break at 12,000 feet on the Incan trail to Machu Picchu. It’s day two of a four day hike, rainy, and there’s a woman in my group who points out the obvious at every possible turn.
“Thanks Sharon. My shoes are untied because I’m resting.”
“Don’t forget to retie them! Also, your pants are soaked!”
Did I mention it was raining?
Meanwhile, our guide, Eddy, spoke good but broken English. Eddy saved his advice for when it counted.
How to be heard
Eddy would point down, “Slippery.”
I looked down to see some disguised loose rocks. A misguided step could send you on an altogether different kind of trip.
On the trail, Eddy’s single words became beacons while Sharon’s rambling sentences were lost on the group.
This is the power of authority and why you must have it if you intend to guide your audience.
How to be heard online
In the online world, there are millions of Sharons (no offense if your name happens to be Sharon).
These people shout the obvious, tell you what you already know, or retell you what someone else has already told you.
The world ignores Sharons.
Online authorities cause people to stop what they are doing and listen. Their tweets and posts stand out as golden artifacts in a field of gray ruins.
As an online influencer you must be constantly building authority so people don’t overlook your advice.
That last blog post you wrote: Is it a Sharon or an Eddy?
As a Second Prize winner, Nick received a one-year membership to Authority. Previously, Grand Prize winner Anthony Sills received a lifetime Authority membership plus a ticket to Authority Intensive, the content marketing experience we are hosting this May. You can read Anthony’s winning essay here.
And if you want more insight on how 270+ essays were whittled down to five winners, watch the Essay Contest Wrap-Up Hangout with Demian and Jerod. They highlight the specific elements of the winning essays that separated them from the pack.