Brian Clark, the founder and publisher of Copyblogger, a must-read blog about online marketing, has made available for download a FREE online report about authority and blogging that could change the way you do business. The report is called Authority Rules and can be downloaded here.
Clark starts off by citing the experiments of Stanley Milgram at Yale in 1963; experiments wherein test subjects were told to give increasingly dangerous electric shocks to a "learner" in another room whenever a question was incorrectly answered. There was no "learner", the ones giving the so-called electric shocks were the subjects of the experiment, but the lesson was clear: People will do things they never thought they were capable of if the right person tells them to do it.
This willingness to follow authority can obviously lead to terrible things... but if you know how to harness it for your (benevolent, of course) professional purposes it can drastically improve your business. The question is, how to use this incredible power?
Well, by blogging, of course.
Actually, what Clark says in his report is that you need a content-rich website that others can link to and Google can find:
But what is the best way to get a content-rich, frequently updated website that is easy for Google (and anybody else) to find and link to? Blogging.
And by blogging I don't mean selling, that's what you do in your 30 second radio spot or your 4x5 mailer. Nobody's going to link to your commercial. By blogging I mean teaching, educating, giving people something of value. A lot of attorneys like to be tight-fisted with their expertise until you're actually in their office writing a check. They've paid a lot of money for their education, and to give it away feels counter-productive. But when it comes to the internet, giving away your knowledge and showing off your expertise is the very best thing you can do to bring readers (and clients) to you.
Again, Clark will back me up here (or perhaps I'm backing him up). Of the ten rules included in the Authority Rules report, the one I think is most important is number two: "Don't Sell... Teach".
Selling is simply educating people about the benefits of doing business with you."
-page 12, Authority Rules
So what is the lesson here? Well the first lesson is that if you aren't blogging you should be. There is absolutely no better way to improve your online presence than frequent and worthwhile blog posts. The second lesson is don't be afraid to share your knowledge. The internet is the epitome of "what goes around comes around." Don't be afraid to be generous.
And the third lesson? Well the third lesson is that to be an authority you sometimes have to listen to an authority; in this case, it's Brian Clark.