Becoming a Recognized Authority

Becoming a Recognized AuthoritySuccessful authors, like successful parents, find ways to establish themselves as authority figures. And while I don’t know how many books business maven Guy Kawasaki has sold, or how many children he has, but it is obvious the man knows how to build a quality platform. He has spent the last twenty years branding himself as an expert entrepreneur and consultant. He has started four companies, written nine books, and has been hired to speak for the likes of Nike, Audi, Wal-Mart, Sprint, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Saturn, The Calgary Flames, The Body Shop, MIT, Forbes, and Aveda.

As I read more about Guy, I identified several key contributors to his success. Here are a few of the actions you should think about as you attempt to grow the number of people who know of you and respect you as an authority in your field–

Be for what is. Guy didn’t grow up with the Internet. Yet here he is blogging about using the social network site, Twitter, to market his website and latest book. It probably felt foreign to him at first, but he recognized how social networking is rewriting the rules of commerce, and he embraced these changes.

He is using technology to extend his platform even further. He has a website. He maintains a blog. Do you?

Think big. Most people are willing to follow, but few are brave enough to lead. Be one of those pioneers. Capture their imagination and enflame their hearts. They want to be a part of something revolutionary; they just don’t know how to get beyond evolutionary. Help them see the possibilities. Do you think Guy titled his blog How to Change the World by accident?

Appeal to the masses …and live with the classes. Technology has leveled the playing field. Your next-door neighbor now has as much access and distribution potential as a well-respected industry big-wig. As Guy puts it, “You must buy into the theory that products and services reach critical mass because mere mortals spread the word for you. Mark my words: (a) Nobodies are the new somebodies, and (b) it’s better to have army of committed nobodies and than a few drive-by somebodies.”

Guy gave away 450 copies of his new book, Reality Check. Those 450 people have a total of 140,000 “followers” on Twitter. Funny, but that’s exactly how large a platform I’ve determined it takes to make the bestseller lists.

Speak to the heart of the dog. The most important component of branding yourself as an expert is anchoring your message to the things your audience cares about. Ivan Pavlov used meat paste because he was targeting dogs, and dogs care about meat. Guy Kawasaki is targeting entrepreneurs and innovators, which is why his books have names like How to Drive Your Competition Crazy, Rules for Revolutionaries, and The Art of the Start.

Disregard the knuckleheads. If you have the power to attract, you have an equal power to repel. Don’t let your naysayers sidetrack you from where you are trying to go. Guy simply tells detractors to leave him alone. If that’s too confrontational for you, have somebody screen your emails and comments and keep you from getting sucked into unproductive conversations

You did something relatively few people in the world have ever done – you wrote a book.
You have the initiative, the knowledge and the gumption to be a pioneer. You just need to make more settlers aware of the trail you’re blazing. It can’t hurt to take some cues from somebody who is blazing a similar trail, right?

Questions about building a marketing platform may be directed to Michael R. Drew at the Austin, Texas, headquarters of Promote A Book: 512-858-0040. You can also contact Michael via email at

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