Fame has become a catchall for authority. It has become a commodity in itself regardless of whether the fame is deserved or whether the person who is famous is any good at what they do.
In turn, she was then able to launch the careers of others by having them endorsed and associated by them (see Dr Phil and others).
On the other hand, you've got people like Paris Hilton, who has no obvious skills or talent other than having a successful hotelier as a great grandfather.
The interesting upshot of this fame is that many people instantly pay more attention to what these people say. They have a brand that people recognise and give what they say more credence, regardless of whether is has any merit.
This is the basis of celebrity endorsements. Because a celebrity lends their fame to a product people, buy more of it simply because that person is famous and they say to buy it.
Obviously this means to sell more of your product, being famous can be quite useful. Becoming famous is not all that easy, but the same effect is achieved by being a recognised authority and this is much easier to achieve.
To become an authority you need to:
1.Have people come into contact with your ideas or information.
2.Have people see that many others are also aware of you, and your ideas
3.Have people see that other famous people endorse you and your ideas
4.Have people see that you have some results or experience in your field
5.Have people see you as an authority
You can achieve most of these goals (1-4) in a single step. The last goal can come about of the first 4 being achieved and some ongoing marketing.
So what's the one step that you can take that will build authority, allow people to come into contact with your ideas and allow them to see how others are also exploring what you have to say?
Write a book.
Yes, I know some would say that in the era of self-publishing, Amazon Kindle and print on demand, that anyone with a crappy laptop and an Internet connection can write a book. It doesn't have the same punch as it used to for creating authority.
When you look at the slew of cheap, little info books on Amazon Kindle it certainly seems that that is true. At the same time, however, there are other books that seem to have a different aura about them. An aura of authority and expertise. So what's the difference?
The main difference is the launch process.
You see you and write your book and upload it to Amazon and sit around twiddling your thumbs waiting for people to buy it, or you can launch it proactively.
Think about this.
If you build some excitement by releasing some interesting bits of information on the same topic… have people start to engage with your content before the book is even released then they instantly get a feel for it. This is the same information that is covered in your book in much more detail.
As with all good marketing, you use this pre-launch material to build your mailing list and build a relationship with those who are interested in this subject.
When it comes time to release your book for sale you already have a group of people who are much more likely to buy it because they already have a relationship with you and your material.
This can be great for two reasons. Firstly it means you can create a rush of sales as soon as your book is available for sale. If you are selling on Amazon, your book will automatically get more attention because it is selling so well I such a short period.
Of course this also means that as people buy and leave feedback, others can see how well the book is received. May people base book purchases on the reviews left by others.
This forms the basis of your social proof. You are showing people who have not had the benefit of your prelaunch marketing that many others have also read and loved your book.
Finally, a book is a great thing to be able to give to people who are already famous or authorities. If you can get them to review it, you are creating fame and authority by association. Thier authority will rub off on you and their review will work as celebrity endorsement.
There is another way to build celebrity endorsement and fame by association that people have successfully used in the past which is even less work.
Instead of writing a book all under your own steam you can choose a subject and then ask various experts to contribute a chapter (amounting to the equivalent of one decent article) exploring one aspect of your subject.
Finding one authority to contribute to your book, others will often be happy to contribute to borrow authority from the other contributors. Everybody benefits from their contribution.
When you then add your chapter you suddenly become associated by a whole group of well know experts and readers will instantly assume that you are one of these elite simply because you are in good company.
Now, you might think that if people realise all these tricks to getting your book read by a large group of people and borrowing authority from more famous people etc. are being used that that would take away from the notoriety you receive…
But the reality is that it doesn't seem to.
People just go on believing that you are an authority on your subject and that as you are now famous (at least in some circles) that they should listen to you.
So by launching your book, getting sales and attracting some celebrity and authority you have, going back to our earlier list, achieved 4 or the five key points.
You've created content that people can consume and through it, connect with your ideas and message.
You've built a list of followers who have read your work and you've created some social proof that you are an authority by virtue of the fact that many others have read and appreciated your work.
Hopefully, you've either collaborated with some famous people on your book or you were able to get someone famous to review and endorse your book which creates some authority by association.
You've achieved a lot and remember that the root of the word Author and Authority are the same. Well done – you're on your way.
I'll cover the last stage in another article – Part 2 of “Creating Authority and a following.”