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When building an Authority site it is important to not follow the typical instructions of starting with keyword research. Although keyword research is important it is more important to first identify who it is your website is going to serve. How does a Hollywood trick help this process?(see step #5)
The overriding principle to keep in mind when it comes to authority websites is to pick a topic where you are in a position to help a lot of people. This has been said by many different ways by many people…
“You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.” Zig Zigler
“Your success is a measure of the number of people you helped” (paraphrased from Pat Flynns Podcast)
First Step – Write Down a List of 15-20 Topics
These topics can anything but here are 4 ways to think about them…
1. Problems you are experiencing
(free time, car shopping, landscaping, bathroom remodel, knee pain, back pain, automating investing)
2. Passions you have
(BBQ, skiing, mountain biking, family, music, fitness, personal finance, small businesses)
3. Bodies of knowledge you have
(skiing, project management, outsourcing, student debt, personal finance, fitness)
4. Fears You Have
(financial security for family, back problems in the future)
If you are struggling look in your internet history and identify websites you have recently visited and list them.
Second Step – Group the List into 3-5 Central Topics
Take the list and see what central topics are present in many of the topics identified in step 1.
- Using New Technology for Small Business – Free time, project management, small business, outsourcing
- Young Family & New Home – Landscaping, bathroom remodel, family, BBQ
- Outdoor Sports and Injuries – Skiing, Mountain Biking, Knee Pain, Back Pain, Fitness
- Age Specific Personal Finance – financial security for young family, automating investing, student debt, personal finance
Some topics which didn’t make it into a group were music and car shopping and that is fine.
Third Step – Pick a Group you have a Knowledge/Passion/Problem/Fear in
In the ideal scenario you will have a group in step 2 where you have one of everything some passion, some fear, a problem and knowledge.
When you have a group that covers all of these dimensions you know you will have enough to say to be able to build out an authority site.
Based on this criteria there are 2 Groups where I have a Passion, a Fear, a Problem and Knowledge in:
Outdoor Sports and Injuries
Age Specific Personal Finance
I believe I could build a successful Authority Website around both of these topics however because I have more interest right now in personal finance I will go with it.
My Authority Site Topic will be – Age Specific Personal Finance
With an authority site the idea is to become a tribe leader as Seth Godin would say and it is therefore important to define your tribe which is what we will do in step 4 and 5.
Fourth Step – Identify Similar Authority Sites
Here a good place to start is in your internet history or Google Reader, find websites you like to read that are related to your Authority Site Topic.
Websites I Like & Similar Sites to What I Will Make…
You can use the tool at compete.com to identify other related authority websites to the ones you like.
Fifth Step – Define Your Unique Position (Hollywood Style)
A great way to define your unique position is to hijack 2 well defined ideas to create a unique position.
In the book Made To Stick the authors talk about how this is done for pitching Hollywood movie ideas. For example, think Jaws on a spaceship = Aliens.
The unique position for my finance site will be…
Helpful, informative student Loan website dedicated to student loan repayment but with personality and community not available on government or bank websites.
Identifying these gaps in the market was the central theme of the book Blue Ocean Strategy, in it the authors discussed case studies where entrepreneurs identified the under-served intersection of 2 existing markets. This strategy was described in the offline world but is just as applicable online.
NEXT – Keyword Research
Many internet marketers I know will be shaking their head that we have gone this far to committing to a topic without doing any market viability review or keyword research.
See the next step in this Authority Site Case Study – Keyword Research and Creating Your Sitemap
Other Resources to Help You Pick Your Sites Topic
The above method seems to work well for me and some other people that have used it. However, not everyone is the same so here are some other really good posts on helping you identify your niche aka market aka tribe…