Pollinating: How To Build Your Authority Beyond Publishing

We all know that publishing—the act of consistently sharing your well-positioned ideas and point of view with your ideal audience—is essential to build market authority.

But here’s the thing.

There’s more to building authority than pushing out public content—even when yours is wildly received.

You want to start pollinating.

In nature, pollinators—like say bees and hummingbirds—convey pollen (a fertilizing element) from one plant to another.

In building authority, your ideas are the pollen, which you want to carry to those most likely to be receptive.

Unlike publishing, it’s more of a one-to-one exercise. You’re not blasting out content, but listening carefully and connecting—human to human, pollinator to pollinator.

Because that’s how we discover (and build on) resonance with our fellow pollinators.

Where to start?

While it’s tempting to focus on the big names in your space, you’ll get more traction by focusing on those with whom you resonate. For example:

Gatekeepers. These are the folks with the keys to an audience that will dovetail with your ideas. They might be editors of an industry publication, host of a pivotal show or have built a tribe of engaged followers ripe for your point of view.

Idea mavens. These are the thinkers and writers that influence your ideal audience. You resonate with their ideas, their style and their voice. They may be firmly established or just getting started.

Peers. These are the others in your space—perhaps including clients—who are making an impact on the people you want to reach. You respect them and can see how your worldviews overlap, even if you sometimes “compete”.

Make a list of the leaders you know and respect in each of those three categories, separating the easy asks from the big stretches.

Starting with the easy asks, set up a get-to-know-you phone call (that you’ve prepared for by doing your homework and connecting the dots between you).

Tip: if you have a podcast and the other is a known “celebrity”, skip the call invite and ask them to guest on your show. You’ll not only get 45 minutes of uninterrupted get-to-know-you time, you’ll also have built a digital asset for you both.

And then follow-up on every single promise you make in those calls. Rinse and repeat.

Once you make pollinating a natural part of your work, it’s like putting your idea spread—your authority—on autopilot.

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