How to Boost Your Speaking and Consulting Career Through Perceived Authority

I had the honor of being the keynote speaker at the Thrive Winter Workshop 2023, organized by the National Speakers Association (NSA),  where I spoke and demonstrated how perceived authority could be built by leveraging the power of short-form videos.

Importance of Perceived Authority

short-form video

Despite being almost 50, I have a best-selling book on social media, specifically TikTok, co-authored with Perry Marshall.

Our book on Facebook ads has sold over 700,000 copies, which helped contribute to its success. We also have the top-selling book on Google ads.

My secret to achieving this success is simple: I interviewed a group of young adults and asked them to explain to me, in simple terms, how they obtained 6 million followers on TikTok and secured brand deals.

I humbly sought their advice, as I believe we can always learn from others, regardless of their age or experience.

 For instance, I have had the pleasure of spending time with Jacob Hastings, who is new to his job and has never before been on stage and asked my friend, Perez Hilton, to shout out for him:

“Greetings, NSA team! My name is Perez Hilton, and I wanted to send you a video message. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend in person, but who knows? Maybe I’ll surprise you all and pop up.

I wanted to take a moment to commend Dennis Yu for being a superstar who surrounds himself with other superstars like Jacob Hastings. Jacob, you’re an outstanding social media expert, and I have no doubt that your speech will be fantastic. Your advice is always valuable, and I know you’re busy with video production and clients, but I encourage you to have fun and inspire others.

Remember, having someone like Dennis on your team is a blessing, and as the saying goes, teamwork makes the dream work.”

A shout-out from Perez Hilton carries more weight than Jacob Hastings proclaiming his expertise as a 23-year-old graduate and social media specialist and life coach. Despite possessing valuable knowledge, Jacob’s credibility increases significantly when someone of authority, like Perez Hilton, vouches for him.

Jacob helped Shep, Richard, and me during the break with our TikTok accounts since we lacked knowledge in that area. Having other authoritative figures endorse you as a speaker is crucial for getting more bookings on stage.

Talking about your skills without any support comes off as arrogant and unpleasant.

For example, a video on my Facebook has received 130,000 views. Here’s Grant Cardone talking about the best one-minute video tip:

So why would I choose to feature Grant Cardone instead of talking about my own skills in making one-minute videos?

The reason is social proof. Grant Cardone has more followers, and having someone else speak on your behalf is always more effective. In addition, this creates a perception of authority, which is crucial in short-form videos, like on TikTok.

Building Perceived Authority

I will show you how to build perceived authority around the hook, who is speaking, where it’s being said, and what’s interesting.

Let me give you an example of how I built perceived authority in a TV interview with CNN. They called me in to debate Mark Zuckerberg about privacy and Cambridge Analytica. I was nervous in the first 10 seconds, and my tie wasn’t straight. But when the interviewer introduced me, I was on live TV and couldn’t believe it.

My 10-second appearance on TV gave me the high authority, and my friends and colleagues recognized me for it.

The point is that we all have moments of high authority, and it’s essential to create perceived authority in our short-form videos.

You possess a range of high authority moments, such as your speaker reel, on-stage footage, coaching clients, LinkedIn recommendations, and testimonials. As we connect during this break and get to know each other, remember that these moments can be powerful fuel to secure more speaking engagements.

Let me share a little secret with you: A Dollar Day Strategy.

I leveraged a clip of myself on CNN and targeted individuals who work at the Washington Post, CNN, NPR, and the LA Times. By doing so, when someone searches for “Dennis Yu” and “LA Times,” they will see me on TV or being quoted. This micro-targeting approach helps me control what these editorial, publisher, or conference organizer audiences see about me.

And I achieve this for just a dollar a day.

I’ve built my entire career on creating perceived authority through these means, regardless of whether the footage is from 10 years ago or when I had hair. For example, this approach worked for me in securing Nike as a client for their global conference.

By showcasing my work with Adidas on stage and using clips with their permission, I targeted Nike’s marketing team, ultimately booking the speaking engagement.

You too can apply this strategy to your speaking business, even if you haven’t appeared on TV. The key is to establish authority in your topic.

The Content Factory

Let’s now discuss what this framework entails. We offer a course called “TikTok for Real Business Owners.”

Let’s briefly go through the course, which spans a whole week. It’s not about being famous or showcasing your dancing or singing skills. Instead, it’s about sharing your expertise and breaking down your long-form content into micro pieces that will tell the algorithm what you want.

Do you want engagements, coaching clients, book promotion, podcast interviews, or bookings? You can use Zoom calls or three-minute interviews to create your long-form content, which will then be chopped up into small pieces that will go into your Content Factory.

short-form video and content factory

As a speaker, entertainer, or personality, you’ll produce content and build relationships. However, you’ll also need someone to process that content, such as a virtual assistant, someone from Fiverr, or even your son or daughter.

The repurposed content will be pushed out to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, or any other social media platforms you use. You don’t have to create specific content for each platform because you’re not trying to become an influencer. Instead, you’re using these platforms for business purposes, such as getting booked for $50,000 keynotes.

Once you find a winner, the content stays in the promotion category, and you can use it for years.

There are four stages that all your content needs to go through. The first stage is production, followed by processing, repurposing, and promotion. You’ll also need to use different tools for each stage, and these tools are constantly changing. For example, while AI deep fakes and GPT chatbots are excellent tools, the way to beat them is by starting with the purest signal, such as relationships and video content.

We’re having dinner tonight with Shep Hyken and some other folks at Ruth’s Chris, and we will capture that and feed it through the content factory. This way, we’ll use actual real content rather than synthetic media and let the AI enhance it.

Technology is a multiplier, and it has evolved from the simple landing page sales page and Google SEO to longer-form pieces of content broken down into smaller pieces.

So, for example, you might have a webinar, a YouTube video, or a podcast, and you can pull out little one-minute highlights to use as an appetizer or movie trailer to attract people to your speaker page or products and services.

Compelling Statement – The Hook – to Grab People’s Attention

short-form video

You need to begin with a compelling statement to grab people’s attention. Start by reflecting on your achievements and think about the outcome you’ve produced. You only have three seconds to catch the viewer’s eye, so keep it concise. Then, in two seconds, briefly explain how you accomplished your success. Finally, introduce yourself and end with a call to action. You have 15 seconds to do all of this.

Here’s an example. “With one LinkedIn comment, Richard landed a $10,000 speaking gig. A simple piece of advice on someone’s post was all it took. They shared it with their boss, who then hired me to train their company. I’m Richard Bliss, and I offer LinkedIn training services that can help you achieve similar success.”

Posting on Social Media Channels

I will take this content and post it on all social media channels because the content is independent of where it is shared. Therefore, I will create a post and boost it for a dollar a day, with the caption “Richard Bliss’ LinkedIn sales secret,” and target National Speaker Association followers as lookalikes. So the next seven days, you will be Richard Bliss all over the place.

The Mix of High Authority and Amateur Content

If you have a clear value proposition highlighting the results you’ve achieved with corporate executives, you can target these people with a mix of high authority content and amateur content, which surprisingly converts well. Even if you have a professional image, amateur content can still be effective.

Here’s an example to illustrate my point. Caleb Williams, whom I refer to as my Lighthouse, is a well-known figure among insurance advisors and serves as the main speaker for the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors.

By collaborating with Caleb on content creation, we achieved an exceptional 38% link click rate on an ad I ran. This is a remarkable improvement compared to the average click-through rate of 0.2%. Through leveraging Caleb’s authority, we developed a landing page that resonated with our target audience, despite them being unfamiliar with me.

One-Minute Video Masterclass

Here’s an excerpt of what Caleb said in the video:

“In this one-minute video masterclass, I am thrilled to share with you the power of one-minute videos. It is particularly special to me because Dennis Yu was one of the first people to guide me in marketing, and we often shared the stage together. He emphasized the significance of one-minute videos...”

Inception with Ads: Leveraging Authority for Effective Marketing

I will now demonstrate how to use inception with ads. My target audience is members of NAFA, who know Caleb Williams as a shining poster boy. By co-creating content with him, I can leverage his authority instead of relying on my own.

This has resulted in numerous speaking engagements for me, with this ad running for over a year and still achieving a 38% click-through rate.

We offer free content, collect email addresses, and continue to sell other services, such as coaching and speaking engagements. By using older content, we’re able to leverage authority effectively.

Do you have a target list of people you want to reach, such as conference organizers or industry associations? Inception is about manipulating your audience to see exactly what you want them to see. Think about how you can use this approach.

What topic do you want to rank for or be known for? See who the top creators are on TikTok or YouTube for this topic. By mirroring their content, we can create similar videos that resonate with the audience. We can collaborate with them or react to their videos to gain more visibility and potentially go viral.

The Unique Power of TikTok – Spark Ads

Let me tell you about World Gym, one of our clients. It’s a famous bodybuilding gym where Arnold Schwarzenegger and other bodybuilders used to train.

Although they previously tried corporate advertising, they found that the most popular videos about World Gym were made by regular people, not fitness influencers.

So, we decided to reach out to those people and offer to sponsor their posts, also known as Spark ads. This feature is unique to TikTok, as other social media platforms don’t allow for this type of sponsored content.

TikTok recognizes that many businesses and speakers don’t have the time or desire to create content, so letting your audience do the work for you is crucial.

By sponsoring posts made by fans, we don’t need a whole social media team or agency. Instead, we reach out to the influencers we like and offer to promote their posts for a small fee.

This approach allows us to outsource social media and collect positive content from our fans. So, who are your fans, and what positive things are they saying about you? Collecting and utilizing their content can be an effective way to promote your brand.

Using Descript for Deep Fake AI

Finally, using Descript, I will demonstrate some deep fake AI. Let’s say we record this initially with the camera and transcribe it using Descript. “Hello, my name is Jacob from the NSA, and I would like to express my gratitude to Jamie, Shep, and everyone in San Antonio. You guys are amazing, and my favorite food is Panda Express.”

We will now use AI’s deep fake technology to modify the text, such as replacing Jamie’s name with someone else’s. For example, let’s use the name Mike instead. Then select “Over Dub” to record the modified text, such as changing the location from San Antonio to Chicago.

The purpose of this demonstration is not to scare you with AI technology but to emphasize the importance of personalization and follow-up when communicating with clients. By creating one video, you can generate multiple customized messages. Therefore, it is important to start with authentic content to stay ahead of AI-generated material.

This recording is live in March 2023, but it may be difficult to distinguish between what is real and what is not a year from now.

About NSA

NSA is a professional organization for individuals who speak professionally or aspire to become professional speakers. It was founded in 1973 and is based in Tempe, Arizona. The organization has over 3,500 members worldwide and is dedicated to advancing the art and business of speaking.

Dennis Yu

About the Author

Dennis Yu
Dennis Yu is co-author of the #1 best-selling book on Amazon in social media, The Definitive Guide to TikTok Ads.  He has spent a billion dollars on Facebook ads across his agencies and agencies he advises. Mr. Yu is the "million jobs" guy-- on a mission to create one million jobs via hands-on social media training, partnering with universities and professional organizations.You can find him quoted in major publications and on television such as CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NPR, and LA Times. Clients have included Nike, Red Bull, the Golden State Warriors, Ashley Furniture, Quiznos-- down to local service businesses like real estate agents and dentists. He's spoken at over 750 conferences in 20 countries, having flown over 6 million miles in the last 30 years to train up young adults and business owners. He speaks for free as long as the organization believes in the job-creation mission and covers business class travel.You can find him hiking tall mountains, eating chicken wings, and taking Kaqun oxygen baths-- likely in a city near you.