New content standards may be coming that will require you to get real, credible authors for your content if you want to stand a chance.

If you’re relying on content with fake personas, or content that was written under your own name (when you’re not an expert in the field), your website may not be ready.

I’m going to show you how to get real experts and influencers to take credit for your content. It’s going to help you build immense amounts of trust while developing a website that’s ready for E-A-T implementation.

That could be really difficult and really expensive for many niches. But what if I told you that this transition can be easy?

Let’s begin with a look into the standards we’re trying to meet (E-A-T), what relationship they have to the algorithm, and why you should care, even though they’re still on the way.

Video Version

For those who like video content, here’s a TLDR version of the article:

What is E-A-T?

E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness. It comes from this larger set of guidelines that Google publishes for its search quality rating team.

They’re a legion of Google contractors from all around the world who perform manual (human) reviews of Google’s results.

While they’re digging through search after search, they use standards like those you see in the image above to make judgments about the pages they review.

EAT description

These busy clickers then create reports that Google uses (along with other methods) to evaluate what a live user sees and experiences when searching for results.

Manual review plays an important role in the rollout of each new algorithm changes. After the update lands, Google deploys them to scour the results for unintended changes, such as bizarre returns for common searches or unintended hits to websites.

It may seem like I’m saying that sticking to rating guidelines translates directly to improved rankings. Sorry, but that isn’t the case.

Let’s look at the relationship between rater guidelines and the algorithm.

What relationship do rater guidelines have with the algorithm?

They’re related, but you probably shouldn’t assume you can judge Google’s intent for the algorithm just by looking at what they’re telling their human raters.

The rater guidelines exist to help humans judge algorithm results.

algorithm and raters diagram

As an example, the algorithm is a long way from being sophisticated enough to do most background research. If someone provides comprehensive—but entirely fraudulent—authorship information—the algorithm can’t independently verify:

•   The authenticity of an identity
•   Affiliations with organizations and institutions like universities
•   Credentials and certifications

It’s important to note that while the algorithm isn’t good at verifying these details, it is pretty adept at figuring out when they’re completely missing altogether.

A lot of raters reporting the same issue may eventually result in tweaks to the algorithm. However, making sure your content obeys E-A-T standards isn’t likely to result in immediate, measurable improvements. So, why should you care about what the process coming right up?

Why do I care?

I’ll tell you why we cared, at least: because we’re preparing for the next few years ahead.

Just because Google hasn’t figured out how to automate these verifications doesn’t mean they aren’t giving it their best try.

They’ve already begun to strike in a related area. Websites that make it difficult to find any ownership or authorship information are taking hits.

matt image for abc

Sure, Google’s strategies can change over time, but they aren’t likely to slow down or back down on this one. It’s just a good idea. Google has every motivation to keep information that might provide bad medical/financial advice away from the top of the page.

And why fight it? Your content isn’t going to suffer from having more subject matter experts involved.

Your site will be more authoritative and more credible than it has ever been.

At the same time, as much as we love trying new things, it’s hard to justify a budget for a best practice that doesn’t even work yet. We wanted to get ready, but we wanted the process to be:

  • Cheap
  • Easy to implement
  • A no-brainer win-win

If there was no way to meet those qualifications, this experiment was getting placed on the back burner until it was more relevant.

You’re reading this now, so you know we succeeded. We’ve developed a process that isn’t just future-proof—It’s already paying off.

Introducing: the Influencer Pitch

Alright, so far, you understand that credible authors may matter a lot in the future. Do you know any in your niche? Have you built long-term relationships with people who have degrees, certifications, or influential positions in notable organizations?

influencer process on illustration

Don’t worry if you haven’t because that what the process coming right up is going to help you do. You can start with just one expert, and work your way up.

In the following sections, you’re going to learn how to find influencers, how to pitch them (with an example email), and how to make the relationship profitable for both of you.

Finding influencers

Nearly every niche has influencers, and by their nature, they are not very hard to find. A search of niche-related keywords should bring up people talking about your niche, reviewing products in it, or fighting to be the first to drop news about it.

YouTube and Instagram are the best hunting ground for my niches, but certain audiences tend to gravitate to certain platforms. Use your judgment and your background in your niche to determine the best platform.

vloggers and influencers preview

No matter which one you choose, you want to focus on what you could call “budding” influencers. These are the troopers in the trenches who are starting to develop an audience but are still working their way off the ground.

I’m talking about people who post regularly, seem to put their hearts into it and care about improving, but just haven’t managed to break a couple of thousand followers, yet.

Let me show you.

First, I would search for phrases specific to my niche. For examples sake, let’s call that “protein powder reviews”. I’m going to plug that in and browse the results until I find someone who matches my criteria.

With that search, I didn’t get far down the page until I found a video I liked. I clicked the account under the video and was taken to the profile page of this guy:

Ace 1 Warrior youtube page

He has just over 1.6k subscribers, and many of his videos focus on our example phrase.

That’s only the first criteria, though. You’ll want to make a few more quality calls based on what you see around the profile page.

  • Are videos updated frequently? (In this example, yes)
  • Do the last 10-20 videos tend to stick to the brand/niche? (again, yes)
  • Does this author bring any of their own credibility problems to a relationship? (not at first glance, but naturally I’d do more homework outside this example)

Overall, this influencer looks like a good place to start.

After you find a good candidate, find out how to contact them. In most cases, you can just use the platform’s standard messaging service or hunt around the profile page for information.

In this case, you can see I easily just clicked over to the about tab and found a button for “business inquiries”.

Ace 1 Warrior page description

When you do finally reach out, you’re going to want to make them an offer they cannot refuse.

Here are some ideas and an example pitch.

Pitching influencers

The name of our game here is win-win. We’re controlling our costs by being able to offer influencers enough that they get value out of a mutual relationship. The best way to explain how we do that is by showing you how we present the first offer when we email them.

Here’s a pitch email I’ve written for a fictitious name and website. If I were in this niche, this is how I’d approach my first contact.

Disclaimer:

Subject Line: Looking for Partnership

Hey Mark,

This is Joe Burns from Fitness365.com

I recently saw that you’re trying to get a foothold in this niche as an influencer. I really like your YouTube videos and I think your work has a lot of potential.

Fitness365 is already a major force in the fitness industry. We’re currently ranking #1 on google for _______ , ________, and many similar topics.

I have the following win-win proposal for you:

In order to help you build up your authority, we’d like to publish some of our high-quality content articles in your name as the writer. Our college-educated fitness writers will ghostwrite researched and polished articles for you.

We’ll also list you on the website as a contributing author.

All we ask for in exchange is 3 videos a month that we can add to our channel. We can even do some cross-promotion to grow together.

Please let me know what you think about this offer. Looking forward to hearing your reply.

Joe Burns

Got the gist? Alright, let me just add a few notes.

For one, I think it’s really important that you identify your value in the first couple of lines, as I did. Notice I covered all the terms I rank for in the first few lines of the email.

Second, note that we’re not asking him to make a big investment. We only asked this guy to create videos because that’s already his thing. If he were breaking out with a different kind of content, we’d want more of that.

Finally, don’t underestimate the value of being published on a major site to a fresh influencer.

Authorship opportunities are just as important to ambitious influencers.

I know for sure that they’re enthusiastic, now. After all…

This pitch currently has a 100% success rate.

Leveraging authored content

OK, you’ve made some connections now, but you need to get some stuff ready before you can really benefit. First, a makeover your about page and author box.

For each influencer ready to work with you gather up:

  • Bio
  • Credentials
  • Headshots
  • Social Media Links

Depending on your niche, you may want some other media that adds credibility. For example, in the fitness niche, people are going to want to see full-body pictures that demonstrate someone isn’t just running their mouth about understanding bodybuilding.

influencer checklist

The influencer should be able to provide you with most of these, so it shouldn’t be a budget-intensive process. Just get them to the right person and get them uploaded.

When you’re ready for them to start making content, you need to provide them with some direction via a video content protocol.

Create a video content protocol

This protocol just covers general standards for creating content.

In my case, it worked a lot like this:

  • Send them 3 topics to make short videos about (I just ask them to summarize my last 3 posts)
  • Have them put together a 3-5 minute video summary
  • Post them on your YT channel
  • Embed them in the article.

That last point is crucial. What that’s going to do is allow you to pull in users who want to read as effectively as those who want to watch.

This is something I’ve already put into practice. In one of my recent posts on getting backlinks with social proof, you can see I stuck the video version right at the top.

ABC social proof screenshot

In my experience, influencers don’t scoff at being asked to do their own editing. If someone wants to be a diva about that, this process will be too involved to deliver the promised savings. Pick someone else.

When you do have a productive relationship and a few rounds of content under your belt, you can start thinking about upping the ante.

Up the ante with a coaching affiliate program

Let’s look at how you can expand on this relationship you’re already building. I’ll continue with the fitness theme by providing an example of how you could offer more to visitors.

So imagine this on a fitness site: A coaching affiliate program that lets you schedule a 1-on-1 advice session with the influencers who authored the article?

If you can pull that off, you’ll be providing not just leads, but paid sessions directly to your influencer buddy. Surely, he’d be happy to pass you a share of that, right?

coaching video chat

Exercise gurus can easily charge $100/hr for voice chats.

In my experience, 20% strikes most influencers as reasonable. That means I can make up to $20 off every call I direct to my influencer. You probably have more internet experience than them, so be a friend and help them set up calendars, Paypal integration, and all that.

That’s all. It’s not a hard process. There’s plenty more you can do with these relationships, and I’m interested to see what other people can pull off using the same thing.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if they don’t do YouTube?

It’s already a win if all you got was a name to ghostwrite for. That was the purpose of this exercise, after all. But now that you’ve made a professional connection, you can get really creative.

Don’t forget to take advantage of the instincts they’ve developed for their channel of choice. Let them review or tweak content using their experience to make it more effective. This relationship is going to pay off the closer it is to a real partnership.

You’ve got a lot of opportunities now that you’ve secured a credible author.

What if I don’t have a big enough site to attract an influencer?

That just means you need to aim a little smaller. Adjust your pitch to say something like, “I’m small, you’re small, so let’s grow together?”. Make sure you show value in other ways, such as by showing them successful websites you’ve built in other niches.

Let’s Run Down What We’ve Learned

Alright, so E-A-T isn’t detected by the algorithm, but it might be soon. If you want to get started now, you know what to do.

All you do is find influencers that are a good match for your niche and the power of your website. Pitching them is easy because you have something they want.

Develop a custom pitch that focuses on how you’ll provide value. Offer mentions on a top website, free polished articles under their name, and all the cross-promotion opportunities that may come up.

man writing in front of computer

For just the cost of producing content (on your own terms), you now have your content backed by experts. your readers will trust you a lot more.

How are my own results working? Amazing.

  • All of my websites have real writers and even doctors authoring the content
  • I have a growing YouTube channel for other big moves
  • It’s completely passive

What more motivation could you need to get ready for the future?

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"One of the most effective SEOs I've ever met"- Cyrus Sheppard

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