It's lightly edited but otherwise untouched. I've kept them on the site to show how the journey has evolved.
I was like a lot of creators when I started writing online 3 years ago.
No niche. No skill. No special way to set myself apart.
So I followed the usual plan.
2 threads a week. 3 tweets per day. Patience and persistence.
We're told consistency is the answer.
But it’s not.
Especially in 2023. You can’t expect to rise above the crowd by copying them.
So today you'll learn how to use authority assets to set yourself apart.
This one’s a 5 minute read.
Let’s dive in.
Consistency is pointless if you don’t build authority
"In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.”
- Seth Godin
Most people think attention is the answer to online success. It’s why the internet is filled with people doing stupid shit on camera hoping for a quick path to fame.
But if you want to build a business, attention’s just one half of the equation.
Reputation is the other.
Here's the plan most creators follow:
It’s not bad (certainly better than dancing on TikTok).
The problem is few people make it to the offer phase. It's hard to build that bond with a few tweets per day and a newsletter per week.
Instead, you want an asset that quickly proves you're not just another creator.
Authority assets are high-quality, in-depth resources that catapult you to the forefront of your audience’s mind.
I’ll give you examples in a moment.
But first, let’s discuss the 3 elements of a kick-ass authority asset.
1. High value
One of the best ways to compete in your niche is to show you care more than your competition.
You do this by overdelivering. Going the extra mile. Making your free content better than their paid.
If people don’t message saying, “I can’t believe this is free” about something you've built, you have a bottleneck in your business.
Now, before money Twitter grab their pitchforks and scream that likes ain’t cash, hear me out.
These are not revenue building assets. They’re relationship building assets.
People don’t invest until:
- They’re aware of their problem
- They trust you enough to provide the solution
Authority assets create this buying environment.
When you solve a problem for your reader, you create another. The next step of the journey. And because you’ve treated them like customers before they buy, you’re not seen as an expense.
You’re an investment.
2. High production quality
Value is by far the most important criteria. After all, you can’t polish a turd.
But that doesn’t mean you should neglect production quality.
If people think something is high quality, then they’ll believe it. So they pay more attention.
Now I’m not suggesting you rent out a studio and a camera crew for your next Onlyfans video (although it’s not a terrible shout).
But if you’re making a video course, invest in professional slides, lighting, and a good mic.
If it’s text based, don’t rely on a google doc sheet or Notion. Everyone’s doing that. Get it designed professionally and make it on brand.
Take a look at the e-book I giveaway for newsletter referrals as an example:
3. Easy to share
"It’s odd when I hear entrepreneurs say “word of mouth is dead” in an age where transparency and broadcasting a message in media has never been cheaper or easier."
- Alex Hormozi
The aim isn’t to get followers to consume your content. It’s to create fans who rave about it.
This is another reason we don’t charge for the authority asset.
Like creator Steph Smith says, “If you put everything behind a paywall too soon, your work can't work for you”.
So, you either make it freely available online like Julian Shapiro’s writing guide.
Or you might request emails like I do with my free courses. It depends what you’re optimizing for.
You also want to be smart about your promotion.
I use Hypefury to autoplug 4 separate courses on Twitter.
I then use ConvertKit to automatically email the rest of the courses a week after my audience sign up.
This way, all you need to do is write and robots take care of the rest.
Building your authority asset
So you’re probably wondering what the hell to build.
I can’t answer that for you.
But I can give you a good start with one question:
What does your audience need?
In my High Impact Writing course, we discuss the ‘Success Story’ of your One True Fan.
People are looking for a transformation. That transformation has obstacles. Your authority asset solves an early one.
Then your paid offer solves the next.
Take mine for example.
- Copywriting crash course: Helps my audience improve at writing by teaching the fundamentals of copy.
High Impact Writing then deep dives into how to use writing to build your audience.
- 7 steps to digital freedom: Gives a blueprint to build your business (uncertainty is a biiiiig issue for my One True Fan).
High Impact Writing then helps you execute that blueprint by giving you the skill.
- Nail your welcome email: Smaller course that teaches how to write a welcome email. But it’s actually about writing and branding techniques. I also use this as a bribe to reply to my first email - so it’s a cool flywheel for relationships and deliverability.
Again, good transition into my writing course.
But enough about me.
Let me show you 3 creators who are nailing the authority asset game.
1. Olly Richards: The anatomy of a $10m online education business
Olly is the founder of StoryLearning.
He’s written a 100+ page case study showing how he built his business.
I found Olly before he came to Twitter because someone recommended his emails. His newsletter is great. But his report blew me away.
He then started on Twitter and I’ve sung his praises to anyone who will listen.
Would I have done that from his newsletter alone?
It’s hard to rave about an email.
A case study as a lead magnet is just one idea.
Let’s take a look at a different style of asset.
2. Jay Clouse: The creator science podcast
Jay is one of my favourite creators because of his standards for quality in both his podcast and newsletter.
His interviews are brilliant. Everything is dialled in.
(The guests are awesome too, but that’s just because we recorded an episode this week 😏)
Jay is now one of the most trusted voices in the creator space. He’s set to make over $600,000 this year and his community retention is over 90% - which is obscenely high.
The podcast makes you want to be a professional creator (desire is a problem to solve).
His community is the answer.
3. Chenell Basilio: Growth in reverse
Chenell deconstructs how creators have hit 50,000 newsletter subscribers. It’s one of the best newsletters I’ve read.
Each piece is roughly 4,000 words and takes 20-25 hours on average.
Sound like a lot?
But I’ve seen her be recommended everywhere.
Hell, the fact I’m writing this now is testament to the authority asset impact. She crossed 10,000 newsletter subs in 6 months and I guarantee her audience is high quality (it takes a certain type of person to enjoy deep dives).
I’m not sure about Chenell’s monetization plans.
But already, you can see why newsletters would sponsor her. Why creators would buy a newsletter related product. And how she could offer consulting based on the knowledge she’s acquired.
"The only way to consistently grow in today's competitive marketplace is to create something remarkable and give people a reason to talk about it."
- Seth Godin
I won’t lie to you my friend.
Authority assets take time and effort. You don’t get quick bursts of dopamine from pounding out threads every week and they might not pay off.
But that’s precisely why they’re worth your attention.
If everyone’s playing one game, play another.
Zig instead of zag.
Take the time to build something remarkable. This way, when you create content, you're not just building an audience.
You're creating fans.
Take the risk,
Ex dentist, current writer, future Onlyfans star · Sharing what I learn about writing well, thinking clearly, and building an online business