Finding your area of authority

Every company wants to grow a tribe of followers.

The challenge is knowing how to successfully lead that tribe.

To do it well, you need to have something to say to your audience that’s relevant to their lives and not just to your business.

One of the reasons this is so difficult is because we’re afraid of either end of the spectrum.

— Melanie Deziel, Director of Creative Strategy for Time Inc.

“On one side, if you only talk about your products and services, you seem really cold and disconnected from your audience and their needs. On the other end of the spectrum, some folks wonder, ‘if I tell stories that are too far away from my products, my services, and my offerings, then what’s the value, what’s the return on investment on that?’,” explains Melanie.

That’s why finding your area of authority is a key factor to delivering authentic content that resonates with your core target. Listen to the podcast, or read on for case studies and top tips.

Melanie shares a successful case study about the shoe company, Cole Haan, and its partnership with the New York City Ballet.

Cole Haan was coming out with a new ballet-inspired slipper but the company decided not to make their product the focus of their promotion.

Instead, through photos and videos, the company shared stories about what it takes to be a ballerina, the pain of training hard, the camaraderie, and competition.

“It was wildly successful. It saw a lot of traction among the dance community as well as just average readers who were curious about ballet and interested in the arts.”

Melanie attributes the success to the fact that Cole Haan told a story from a higher altitude.

Cole Haan was willing to take a step away and say, ‘Yes, we could talk about our shoe and all of the wonderful things about it but why does someone wear a ballet shoe?’ Probably because they love ballet….” says Melanie.

When a company doesn’t produce stories with only a goal to sell products, and instead brings value to a community through its authoritative storytelling, it deepens the relationship with that audience.

Melanie’s top tips for finding your area of authority

1. Brainstorm with your team to find your area of authority. What are your stories you want to tell? Which experts can you quote?

2. Identify your buyer persona: always think of your audience before you create content.

3. Put yourself in the consumers’ shoes before you create content. Would they click? Would they read? Would they trust? Would they share?

4. Use to scout out what your competitors and partners are doing in the native [?] space.

5. Study, learn, embrace, and collaborate with others. Sign up for industry newsletters, connect with others, and support each other.

6. Understand your authority and what to write about: Think of your brand’s area of authority as concentric circles, with your product at the center. Consider how consumers use your product, and how it makes people feel at the outermost ring.

Melanie says the gold standard for creating content in your area of authority is, “You really have to be able to put yourself in the consumers’ shoes.”

Learn more about Melanie Deziel

Melanie Deziel is the Director of Creative Strategy for Time Inc. Hear how she’s helping brands create branded content that’s featured in major media traditional publications.




The Overlap League