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How to Implement an Authority Strategy with Alastair McDermott

February 19, 2024
The Recognized Authority Podcast Cover

The podcast that helps experts & consultants on the journey to becoming a recognized authority in your field, so you can increase your impact, command premium fees, work less hours, and never have to suffer a bad-fit client again!.

Alastair McDermott - host of The Recognized AuthorityAre you tired of relying solely on word-of-mouth and referrals to drive your business? Do you dream of commanding premium fees and attracting better clients? The secret is to establish yourself as a recognized authority in your field. But how do you actually achieve this?

In this episode of The Recognized Authority podcast, host Alastair McDermott dives deep into the practical steps required to implement an authority strategy. He covers:

  • The crucial foundations of positioning and messaging
  • Crafting an effective content strategy that resonates with your audience
  • Creating high-quality, evergreen content that demonstrates your expertise
  • Leveraging AI and interviews to streamline the content creation process
  • Distributing your content through your website, social media, and beyond
  • The importance of consistency and building a body of work over time

Tune in to learn Alastair’s framework for transforming your expertise into authority, attracting better clients, and commanding higher fees.

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Show Notes


authority marketing, content strategy, positioning, messaging, content creation, content distribution, lead generation

Key Insights:

  • Establish a solid positioning and messaging foundation before building a content strategy
  • Pick a tight niche or focus area to become known as an authority in
  • Create evergreen, educational content that helps solve your audience’s problems
  • Consistency and building a body of work over time is crucial for authority building
  • Use interviews and AI tools like ChatGPT to streamline content creation
  • Distribute content through your website, social media, and other channels
  • Attracting inbound leads allows you to command premium fees and work with better clients


  • Use AI and voice dictation tools to create content strategies and streamline content creation
  • Leverage interviews with experts as a shortcut to creating high-quality content
  • Gate some content behind email opt-ins to capture leads
  • Repurpose and reuse content across multiple formats and channels
  • Approach content creation with the mindset of building an evergreen body of work


  • Steps for implementing an authority strategy:
    • Establish positioning and messaging
    • Build a content strategy
    • Start creating content
    • Publish content on your website (some gated, some ungated)
    • Distribute content on social media
    • Create more content consistently over time

Learn more here:

Get your free website checklist here.

Guest Bio


content, create, website, content strategy, authority, positioning, talked, episode, prospective clients, work, expertise, experts, based, referral, recognized, strategy, clients, tighter, professional services, podcast

Voiceover, Alastair McDermott


Alastair McDermott  00:00

Hello, and welcome to episode 159 of The Recognized Authority. Today I’m going to talk about how to actually implement authority marketing in your professional services firm in your consulting firm in your expertise based business. So whether you are an independent consultants, or you’re a principal consultant in a firm, or you’re a partner in a firm, and you want to become known as a recognized authority in your field if you want to become known as thought leaders, because what that allows you to do is that allows you to command premium fees have more free time, work with better clients work on bigger projects, all of those things. That’s why we want to become known as the go to in our field become known as a thought leader or a recognized authority. So today, what I’m going to talk to you is how to actually implement that.


Voiceover  00:49

Welcome to The Recognized Authority, a podcast that helps specialized consultants and domain experts on your journey to become known as an authority in your field. Here’s your host, Alastair McDermott,


Alastair McDermott  01:00

today’s episode is brought to you by WebsiteDoctor, which is my other brand alongside The Recognized Authority. WebsiteDoctor is a small web design agency that focuses on creating websites for professional services, experts, consultants, and people in the b2b Professional Services expertise space. And in fact, that’s where The Recognized Authority came from. When I wanted to create a, an add on or focus on the authority building part of the puzzle. WebsiteDoctor still runs in the background, and we’ve been building websites since day one in 2007. In fact, I’ve personally been building websites since 1996. So Been there, done that bought that T shirt. So if you’re looking for a website for your expertise based business, then check out website and schedule a call with me, I’d love to chat with you, and see if it’s a good fit. The link is in the show notes or you can visit website Doctor all spelled And now on with the episode.


Alastair McDermott  01:52

In the two previous episodes in this series, I talked about first, the trust building passive websites, which are used by the vast majority of firms in the expertise and professional services base. And those passive websites, they simply meet the bar of looking professional. And that’s all that you need to do, what your website when you do most of your lead generation and most of your business development through word of mouth and referrals, because all of the trust is coming through that referral. So you don’t need your website to do any heavy lifting in terms of building trust. If you want to know what that bar is what you need to have the elements you need to have on your website to meet that minimum requirement, then check out episode 156. And also check out the checklist that I have. It’s linked in the show notes here. It’s a website audit checklist, which will allow you to audit your own website and go through it. And I have a lot of follow up information that will help you to basically do a self check on your website, just to see if there’s anything missing that you don’t have already in place. Okay, the other type of website is the more active inbound lead generation Authority building website. This is the website that you need. If you want to be seen as a thought leader, if you want to be recognized as an authority in your field, if you want to generate inbound leads from cold prospective clients who haven’t got a warm referral to you. And I talk about what the elements are that you need to have in some detail on the last episode, and that is episode 158. And just to give you a very, very quick recap of that, the active website, it needs to attract in, bring in new prospective clients, it needs to build trust with them and captured leads. So those are the things I think about that it needs to do. And in terms of actually bringing in those clients attracting potential new clients, you have to have content. And this is where authority marketing is content marketing. It’s also education, marketing, because that content is educational. Typically, in a business context, that’s the type of content that we’re creating that actually provides value for our prospective clients. And because you’ve created this content, you can then share it out on social media, or you can do some search engine optimization, both of those things will potentially bring in new prospective clients to you. And if you’re just starting out, I would suggest that social media is far easier than search engine optimization, but I do want to mention it because it is something that can be effective. And then calls to action having some sort of lead generation mechanism that builds trust and captures leads. So that could simply be offering some sort of resource, a free guide a checklist a white paper, having something that nurtures them. So having an ongoing email, auto responder, something that that sends them emails that follows up on the free resource that you provided to them. So all of this must be based on a solid foundation. And that foundation is your positioning. And so what I’m talking about here is how you position your business in the marketplace, how you describe what you do and who you do it for. And quite often, people who are doing referral word of mouth type strategies are much more generalist than those who are doing inbound authority marketing. And that’s because you can, you can be more generalist, when you are doing a referral based strategy, when you would do a inbound authority strategy, you want to become known as The Recognized Authority in your field, you actually have to pick your field, you have to pick what you want to be known for. And so that usually means niching, down, specializing and having tighter positioning. And there’s a lot of fears around that. And I talked about that on several episodes, and also on the specialization podcast. So you can find out a bit more about that. But the key thing here is, if you’re thinking about an authority building strategy, then you will need to have some pretty tight positioning as in, you solve a particular problem or tight set of problems for a particular type of clients. And usually, but not always, that is one problem for many clients, many different industries, or picking a group of problems for one industry, or even picking one problem for one industry. And you can see that you’re kind of getting tighter and tighter with your positioning there. Now one way to think about this, and this can help with, with the fears around specialization, is to think of this as what you lead with. This is something I learned from Christo when I talk to him on Episode 69, I think of the podcast, which spent 90 episodes ago, we spoke about becoming known as somebody as a key person of influence thing, because the phrase he used, but he talked about, what do you lead with as in what do you put outside on the sign outside your door, because that can actually be different than what you do inside the door, you can actually offer other services, but you need to become known for something. And so that’s where you’re positioning. And then the messaging that you have around that positioning is really important. Now the other thing is, what I have found with all of the firms and experts who I’ve talked to who have done this, and through this process is they start out being nice on the outside, whereas they have very tight positioning on the outside, but they offer more services behind the scenes. And then as they develop over time, they actually start to cut down the different services that they’re offering behind the scenes and actually get more tightly specialized behind the scenes as well, because it gives you economies of scale and deeper expertise and things like that. That’s something that you can do, you know, later, you can let that develop naturally over time. But you do need to have that nice positioning. And I talk a bit more about this on the specialization podcast. And if you need some help with this, specifically, I have tons of resources, send me an email, you can send me an email at Alastair at the recognized, you can find the spelling of that in the show notes. And if you send me an email, I have tons of resources, I’ll be happy to send you on some some free resources to help you with this. Okay, so that’s the first thing is the positioning. So we’re talking about here on this episode, we’re talking about how to actually implement an authority strategy. So the very foundational step is you must have some type positioning. And the reason why it’s so foundational is because that positioning informs the messaging. So the actual text copy that goes on your website that people will see when they come to, to learn more about you, or discover you through your content. And it will also inform the content strategy. So the actual topics that you’re talking about in your content. And that’s why your positioning is so crucial is because it impacts directly on the content that you’re creating. Because you can’t be too broad with that content. Otherwise, it will start to feel too bland, it will feel like you’re covering too many different topics. So the first key point is the positioning. And then the messaging on top of that of the position like writing the positioning statement, unique value proposition, things like that. That’s the first step. The next thing then is to build a content strategy on top of that. And the way that I think about this, I think of it as what is your core message, knowing who you are targeting, what the problem is that you’re solving for them or the transformation that you’re helping them to achieve? What are the content themes that will get that across? And what are the content formats that you want to go with? Like what like for example, you’re listening to a podcast here Now I did an a live demo of this on my YouTube channel and on LinkedIn, about three or four months ago, where I actually created a content strategy using ChatGPT. And the voice dictation feature, I did this as a live stream. And we created a really great content strategy based on Now basically, the important thing here is if you’re using these tools, you need to give them a lot of input, the more input you give them, typically the better output you’re going to get. But you can go watch the live, that I did the live stream. And it’s called creating an effective content strategy with AI, live demo. And you can find that in the show notes as well. Creating an content strategy is the next step after the positioning and then the messaging. One other thing I like to do at this point when we’re working on messaging positioning and content strategy, is talking about point of view. Because your unique point of view, is what’s going to differentiate you from your competitors and help your content to stand out. And that is super important as well. And so that’s something that I would suggest that you think about what are the kind of core things the way that you think are the core things that make up your background that gives you a different perspective, or gives your firm a different perspective. And sometimes that can be to do with your location, it can be to do with your personal background, it can be to do with the history of the firm, it can be a lot of different things. But there is something that is providing this unique viewpoint that you have. We’ve talked about your positioning your messaging, your content, strategy and point of view, and the content strategy, including things like you know, your content pillars, that the major themes and topics, the the content format, the next thing is to actually start creating content that you put on your website. And I think it’s important to put it on your website, you can you can just put it on social media, some people do that. But I think that having the website as a hub for all of this content, and being able to control control, the call to action that you have on there is the is the really valuable part of this. If you’ve gotten to this point, now you’re ready to actually start creating content based on that foundation that you’ve set up. And so the next step is actually to start creating pieces of content. And that process, you can approach this process in a whole range of different ways. And it’s going to depend on a bunch of different factors. So it’s going to depend on your own experience with creating content, it’s going to depend on your experience in the field, if you are starting out in a new niche, or niching, down much tighter from previously, or if you have been quite specialized already, all of those different factors go into how you approach this. But there’s two different ways I think that you can approach it. And one of those is you can start by creating larger pieces of content, which are these Cornerstone pieces that you will continue to refer back to over and over again. And that’s one way and typically, that’s something very Evergreen. And in fact, that’s something I should mention, like in this world, I think you’re crazy not to create evergreen content, I think that all of the content that we make as experts should be evergreen or as close to Evergreen as we can possibly make it because it’s a lot of effort to make content. And if we’re creating this ephemeral content that is new cycle based, then it’s here today gone tomorrow, it’s the same amount of effort to create that as it is to create something that is still going to be relevant in three, four or five years time.


Alastair McDermott  13:47

One tip or approach that I like to take to content creation with my clients is actually based on my podcasting experience. And that is to use interviews. And the reason why I find that useful is because quite often experts or principals of consulting firms are very busy people who don’t have a huge amount of time. And also don’t have time to sit down and write. And that’s what a big part of this content creation process requires is time to write. But there is another way to kind of shortcut that. And that is to have somebody interview the expert. And by using the right questions, and doing a little bit of strategic pre planning, you can be interviewed by somebody. And that could be somebody who works with you. It could be somebody like me, but basically what what’s happening is you’re using a an interview format, where you record that you can then transcribe that and use all of the AI tools that we talked about. And one of the things I will say about AI is it is really good when you provide high quality input and high quality input, like the transcript of a conversation with an expert And when you’re able to provide that kind of input, then you can actually turn that into things like blog posts, white papers, articles, things like that. And so what we’re talking about here is we’re talking about creating valuable content that demonstrates your expertise, and actually helps your prospective clients with the problem that they’re facing, that you help them with. And so what you’re doing is you’re helping them to solve a piece of the problem, you’re helping them to gain insights into the problem area, or the transformation that they’re trying to achieve. The next thing is to actually publish this, you’ve started to create some of this content. Where are you going to put this? Well, ideally, you you multipurpose it, so you put it on your website, and you also put it out on social media, for example, you can put it out on something like LinkedIn, which is the professional network professional social media of choice for folks in this professional services, b2b space, and putting it on your website, you can put it on your website. And depending on the piece of content you’ve created, if you’ve created some sort of Cornerstone, very high value piece of content could be a white paper, a report could be something like a checklist or a tool. If you create something like that, you may want to put that behind some sort of opt in email opt in. So you may want to gate the content in some way. And that is absolutely legitimate. And that’s a legitimate approach, you could also choose to put some of your content behind a gate, an email, opt in and put some of it on gated, and the authority building approach. That is to have some content that people can browse without having to opt in, because they haven’t crossed the bar, typically of trusting you enough with your email when they come to you cold for that first time. And so you want to have something for them to consume in terms of expert content. But you can also then say, Hey, I’ve got something that is more premium, which is available, if you do the email opt in. And there are also other things that you can do to incentivize email opt in. So for example, you can actually build in email into it by making it an email course, for example. That’s one strategy that I’ve used personally in the past, you can give follow up advice or resources in the email autoresponder and mention those in the email opt in. So what you’re doing is you’re taking this content that you’ve created, however you’ve created it, either you’ve written it yourself, you’ve recorded as videos, or you’ve had you’ve taken, you’ve done an interview and taking the transcription of that and, and you have converted that and rewritten that, maybe got a person to rewrite it. Or maybe you did that with AI and then sanity checked it afterwards. By the way, I would recommend that you do always sanity check everything that I produces for you, regardless of what kind of input you’ve given us. But you’ve created this content you’re putting on your website, it may be gated it may be on gated if you’re putting it on something like a blog. And you can create these shorter pieces of content and put them at a blog is a really great place on your website, because it’s kind of informal. And some people like that some people don’t like that lack of formality. But what it does, it gives you a place to put your content on your website. That makes sense where you have different types of content on there, because their blog posts, but you could also rename your blog, you could call it for example, you could call it insights or thinking or something related to the fact that it’s you know, you could even just call it simply articles, if you want it to be less informal than calling it a blog. So now that you have your content, on your website, you have maybe some Cornerstone content, you’ve got other piece of content. And there’s two next steps. One next step is to distribute the content. So content distribution is crucial. If you write something, create something published something you need to put it out into the world. So when you start out, Google probably does not know about you. And so put it out in social media put out in all the social media channels he can. And I would think about trying to make it search engine friendly, but I wouldn’t focus on that particularly not at the start. The next thing is, after distributing is create more content. I think this is the biggest issue that I see is where people create one piece of content, put it out into the world and it doesn’t make much of a dent in terms of attracting much traffic or making much noise. And so they say okay, content marketing doesn’t work Authority building as a strategy. Inbound Marketing doesn’t work. And that’s the issue here is this is a layered approach. Everything that you create is built on On top of the previous layer, so every time you add a brick to the wall of your body of work, every extra blog post everything that you create that goes out there, it sends signals to your audience about who you are what you talk about the consistency, the quality, it also sends signals to the social media networks and to Google, and to all of those algorithms that tells them, this is what this website is about. And so it’s, this is very much Rome wasn’t built in a day, it’s not going to start happening quickly. And this is one of the reasons why I encourage people to take an approach where they make it easy to create content, because you do need to create content on a regular basis, and on a consistent basis. And you need to be publishing content on a consistent basis. The good news is, you can reuse this content, you can also repurpose it, you can create it one time and reuse it later. And I know that this sounds like a lot of work. But to keep your eyes on the prize. Remember, if you can establish yourself as a thought leader as the go to person as a recognized authority in your field, that can help you to command premium fees for your services. Because clients are willing to pay more for the knowledge and insights of a recognized authority, you can attract higher quality clients who value your expertise and are more likely to follow your recommendations. And that makes your work more enjoyable, and makes client relationships more productive. And you can have more impact for your work. So it also unlocks the ability to change your business model, because you start to generate more leads. And having more inbound leads means that you can look into different business models, for example, having more information products, there’s a lot of benefits to doing this. Yes, it does come with work. But the the other side of that work is a whole range of benefits. So that’s it for me for today, I just wanted to give you a brief overview of how to actually implement this authority strategy, how to actually become known as recognized authority in your field. And I wanted this to tie back to the previous two episodes so that you can start out with your making sure that first of all, that your website meets the bar of a looking legitimate for a referral by strategy. So you’ve got to meet that bar first. And then looking at how do you upgrade it to add the elements, the active lead generation elements? And then how do you actually start to implement that strategy in terms of creating content? And how you do that with your website. So I would love to hear your questions. If you have questions on this topic, if you’d like to me to dig into any specific elements that I talked about here that I haven’t already. Also do, please check out the show notes because I do have tons of resources. And I also have so many resources now that I don’t even have links to all of them. But if you send me an email with a question, I’d be happy to link you directly to any of the resources that I do have. I’ve got lots of free workbooks and blog posts and episodes that might be useful for you. If you’re facing a challenge in any of these. I’ll also be happy to get on a call and chat with you about your particular strategy. If you think that my help would be useful. Okay. Thanks for listening. See you next time. Don’t forget to rate and review the podcast that really helps and helps motivate me in continuing to produce the podcast. Thanks, folks. Have a great week.


Voiceover  23:42

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