How Becoming an Authority Can Even Save Your Life

Image of The Copyblogger Essay Contest Winners Poster

Editor’s note: This essay is the Grand Prize winner of the first-ever Copyblogger Media Essay contest, for which writers had 250 words to discuss “why it’s essential to be an online authority.”

Imagine you’re 30,000 feet in the air.

You and the Copyblogger team are flying to SXSW, listening to Brian Clark talk about the upcoming presentations and everybody’s pumped up.

But before you land at AUS, the plane crashes and everyone’s stranded in the middle of nowhere.

As the CEO and content marketing expert, everyone looks to Brian for direction.

Unfortunately, marketing knowledge isn’t going to be much help here.

Do you have what it takes to survive?

When the shit hits the fan, titles don’t matter.

People listen to the person that can help them. The expert on the subject.

So, when the plane goes down, if someone else on the Copyblogger team is a survival expert, to heck with Brian, you’re going to listen to them.

Why? They’re the authority.

Many marketing folks want you to think the tactics they promote will make people pay attention to you. The truth is, in today’s marketing environment, the tool doesn’t matter as much as the trust.

It’s essential to be an authority because …

You need people to know, like, and trust you to be successful online.

The best way to do that is to be seen as a trusted resource. An expert on the topic. Someone who answers people’s questions and helps solve their problems.

Survival is only possible with one weapon … authority.

As the grand prize winner, Anthony received a lifetime membership to Authority as well as a ticket to Authority Intensive, the content marketing experience we are hosting in May.

Later today at 12:00 CT, join Jerod and Demian for the Copyblogger Essay Contest Wrap-Up. They will discuss why this essay was chosen as the winner plus other observations after reading the 270+ essays that were submitted.

Watch the Essay Contest Wrap-Up Hangout

About the Author: Anthony Sills specializes in writing about the SMB sector, marketing, and HR/employment trends. His work can be found in blogs such as TribeHR, Infusionsoft’s Big Ideas, as well as American Express OPEN Forum. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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  1. Great choice, I have to say.

  2. Sheer awesomeness. This is an excellent article. While reading the article I was gripped in the middle of the crash and it connected well with how authority can *really* help. I think Authority is the ultimate survival weapon. Great job! This article is “Copybloogger” type material. Love it to the core – as much as I love Copyblogger writings.

  3. That was brilliant, Anthony. This will be one of a select few inspiring articles I’ll be keeping in my back pocket through 2014.

    Cheers to your success!

  4. Excellent, excellent choice. Did Anthony write the headline, too?

  5. Well done, Anthony! What a fantastic piece. Congrats on the win!

  6. Tell a story, make a point. The essence of good copy. Add in the suspense of a plane crash and you have a winner. Awesome job, Anthony.

  7. A very worthy winner!

  8. Thank you all.

    I’m still excited about the win and a little shocked to see my writing and byline live on Copyblogger! I’m looking forward to today’s Essay Contest Wrap-Up Hangout to learn what I did right and hear more about the other winning essays.

    • Awesome job – Anthony! You deserved it. Great storytelling and a clear point was made.

      I’m still jealous – but less bitter at you now that I’ve read your winning post. 😉

    • Congrats on a tight yet gripping story.

      Sometimes, brevity really *is* the soul of wit.

      Good job dude.

    • Anthony,

      Loved everything about the article. There was mystery, intrigue and insight all combined into one.

      Congratulations on the well deserved award.


  9. Hi Anthony,
    I love this post. Love the way you write your posts. Thanks for sharing this post. Hope to read more interesting information from you. Great job!

  10. Mind Blowing, You really nailed it Anthony :-) Congrats

  11. And he wrote in 250 words. Amazing!

    These competitions are truly intriguing to use readers. :)

    – Samuel

  12. Nicely done, Anthony! And great Christmas present. :)

  13. Well done Anthony.

    Now I don’t feel as bad that I came in 270th place.

  14. Good Choice! Made me think.

  15. Congratulations, Anthony! You must be feeling like the rockstar you are this morning!

    250 words isn’t much of a runway, but you certainly made the most of that precious real estate to tell your story and make your point.

    I had a feeling that the winning entries would receive the Copyblogger Treatment. I think that would be as valuable as a byline on Copyblogger…well, almost.


  16. Compelling story telling in so few words. Awesome sauce.

    +100k internets for creativity. Minus a few for grammar.

  17. To me, this is the essence of writing – being able to grab people, make them think, and convince them to consider a topic from your perspective. Plus, to be able to do it in fewer words than most mere mortals would need is one of the most important traits of a quality blogger. Thanks for sharing this!

  18. I see why Anthony won. He DID answer the question clearly and with an emotional connection. Well done! And it was a genius idea to include the staff at Copyblogger and links to past articles in Copyblogger. Friggin’ genius.

  19. That essay was original and totally fascinating. Definitely the grand prize winner. Congratulations to Anthony.

    Can’t wait to read the others!

  20. Great piece, Anthony! Talk about using every word to its utmost. And even more importantly, thank you for cutting through the cloud of marketing that so often surrounds these topics to get to the real value of it.

  21. Awesome job, Anthony. I was eager to read the grand prize winner who beat me out to the Authority Intensive :)

    Great choice for the winner.

  22. Congratulations! I like your to the point, analogy on Authority.

  23. This is great – the concept of using tricks and tactics is becoming outdated, and being a genuine authority on the subject is what matters. And so it should!

  24. Awesome job..congrats on your success..merry christmas…:-)

  25. Good on ya mate!

  26. Yep, well this is why Google+ is so handy these days. Google Authorship – take full advantage of it all.

  27. Excellent article Anthony.

    Your question really hit my mind.

    “Do you have what it takes to survive?” – Yes, I believe that it’s very important to have something that people want. Because this is the reason why they will come to you again and again.

    Even if you want to make money, you need people to trust you. Only then, they will purchase the products you may recommend to them. This will help you earn continuously. You must also have good knowledge on the subject you talking about. After all, if you have what it takes to survive, you will survive. Otherwise, you won’t. So everyone needs to try to be an authority.

    Really Great post. A Small one, but really inspiring and motivational.

  28. Congratulations, Anthony! Well done and a well-deserved win! Look forward to meeting you at the Authority Intensive.

  29. I have been trying to tell this to my clients for years that marking is often about becoming the authority in their specific niche by providing useful, actionable content. I love the comment, “People listen to the person that can help them” — a simple summary of the “search scent” philosophy of how people search for solutions on online and connect with companies. Seams like Anthony Sills has found a way to make himself an authority on this in 250 words.

  30. Marlene McPherson :

    Anthony, congratulations!! I applaud you on being a great survivor and winner. You have provided a great read for us. Thanks for such your insights and your template! Congratulations again.