The Definitive Guide to Creating Content: Build Authority and Influence

Create content jointly with influential individuals. By co-creating content, you will build your authority and influence.

Many people focus on creating content on their own websites or social media platforms to establish their personal brand or promote their products and services, which may come across as self-centered and boastful, especially when they talk about their own achievements, expertise, and success.

This approach may not yield the desired results.

In a recent Office Hours episode, I explained why creating content solely on your own site may not be the most effective strategy.

By co-creating content with influential individuals and sharing it on their sites, you can multiply your impact and establish yourself as a trusted authority in your field.

The Downside of Self-Promotion: The Douchebag Effect

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I have written an article on a highly reputable website that explores the reasons why you should not work on your own personal brand and why I am not an influencer.

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People are more interested in hearing others talk about you rather than you talking about yourself. Therefore, relying on others to speak highly of you is a more powerful and authentic way to build credibility.

Leveraging Authority: The Key to Building Influence

Instead of being perceived as a self-promoting “douchebag,” it is more effective to create content on someone else’s platform. But how do you determine whose site to contribute to? Look for authoritative figures or “LIGHTHOUSES” in your industry, individuals who have established themselves as trusted sources and have a large following. By interviewing or co-creating content with them, you can borrow their authority and instantly gain credibility within their community.

For example, if I am aspiring to establish myself as a LinkedIn ads expert, I could simply state that I possess extensive knowledge about LinkedIn. However, there is a more effective approach. By associating myself with AJ Wilcox, widely recognized as the world’s leading authority in LinkedIn ads, I can let his presence speak for itself. When I am seen hanging out with AJ Wilcox, it automatically communicates that I have a certain level of expertise in LinkedIn ads or that he trusts and believes in my abilities.

The Multiplying Effect: Growing Your Brand through Collaboration

When you contribute content to an authoritative figure’s website or social channels, it’s essential to consider what kind of content should be on your own platforms. The answer is simple: their content. By showcasing collaborations and sharing valuable insights from industry experts, you can attract your target audience’s attention and foster trust. This approach enables you to amplify your reach and establish yourself as a knowledgeable authority, all the while leveraging the existing audience and reputation of the authoritative figure.

Let me illustrate with a real example.

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Recently, my friend Danny made a post on Twitter. He shared his experience of spending time with a billionaire in Florida, witnessing the lavish lifestyle of mansions, boats, and private jets. Despite having only 9,000 followers, his message gained considerable attention. The post reached 19,000 people, received 200 likes, and generated numerous shares and comments.

What Danny did on his Twitter, website, LinkedIn, or Facebook was co-create content with another person. By associating himself with this billionaire, others who know the individual might think, “Wow, Danny is hanging out with a real estate billionaire! They must have some connection.”

I’m not suggesting that you should actively seek out billionaires to collaborate with; that’s not the secret. However, if you do happen to meet someone of influence, perhaps at a conference where many people take photos with celebrities, it won’t carry much authority. People can see through such contrived interactions.

In our case, we were fortunate enough to be invited to the billionaire’s house and spend quality time together. We intentionally captured the experience on Danny’s cell phone. Over five hours, we filmed various content, avoiding the use of the billionaire’s professional podcast studio or high-end camera equipment. We believe that content performs best when it feels natural and organic rather than forced or staged.

Instead of creating content within the confines of a podcast studio, we opted for a casual setting—eating lunch and hanging out in the living room, engaging in a relaxed conversation that happened to be filmed. Through interviews, we leveraged the online authority of the individuals involved, allowing them to share insightful snippets while showcasing accompanying pictures.

What Danny is doing differs from being a boastful person. Instead of simply saying, “Look, I’m with this incredibly wealthy and successful guy,” he employs reverse psychology, expressing his vulnerability and fear in this unfamiliar situation. This approach creates empathy among the audience.

Alternatively, he can attribute advice or insights to a mentor, giving credit to someone more successful. We all have individuals around us who excel in different areas, and by edifying these individuals, we can boast in a non-arrogant manner.

And generally, the individuals that we edify will reciprocate in kind, like when Andrew Cartwright, the CEO of Capital Velocity, edified me!

The act of co-creating content enables the multiplication of its impact in various ways, allowing for greater reach and influence.

Inception: Harnessing the Power of Co-Creation for Success

To understand the power of co-creating content, we can look at success stories from different industries. Nike’s rise to prominence, for instance, can be attributed to its strategic partnership with influential figures within the inner city. By distributing Air Jordans to individuals like drug dealers, Nike sparked a trend that led others to follow suit.

Similarly, finding your own “Michael Jordan” or ‘LIGHTHOUSE’ figure can significantly impact your brand’s growth. By associating with established authorities, you can gain immediate credibility and generate interest in your offerings.

The Art of Co-Creation: Building Authority Systematically

To leverage the benefits of co-creating content, it is crucial to approach it systematically. By establishing relationships with CEOs and entrepreneurs, we can create a network of authoritative voices.

Similarly, this is how Perry Marshall and I co-authored the bestselling book, “The Definitive Guide to TikTok Advertising,” which surpassed even well-known social media influencers like Gary Vaynerchuk.

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The Topic Wheel: Driving Sales through Trust

In any business, trust plays a crucial role in driving sales. The Topic Wheel concept can help you strategically build trust and authority around your product or service. By identifying six topics of interest covering both your business and personal interests, you can then seek out authorities in each of those areas and co-create content with them.

For instance, if your topic is social media, collaborating with influencers like Jake Paul can enhance your credibility. By co-creating content with experts on multiple topics, you can reach a broader audience and strengthen your brand’s influence.

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How the Topic Wheel feeds the ‘Funnel,’ which in turn lets you identify and amplify the ‘Greatest Hits.’

The Network Effect: Growing Together

As you connect with authoritative figures and co-create content with them, you will notice a remarkable intersection between their topic wheels and yours. At higher levels of success, various industries often intertwine, and influential individuals tend to have connections across different topics.

Once you reach a certain level of success, the world seems to shrink. Individuals who excel in one field often have connections with top figures in other domains, such as music, athletics, and business. They seek to surround themselves with Olympic athletes, renowned musicians, and similar high achievers. This interconnectedness forms a tight-knit community.

Currently, we are in the process of developing Jarek’s book and creating content involving him and other individuals. Corey plays a crucial role in uplifting Jarek’s achievements. Rather than Jarek boasting about his own success, it is Corey who speaks highly of him.

Similarly, Jarek expresses admiration for Corey, and together, they foster a mutual, respectful environment where they uplift each other in a non-arrogant manner.

This collaborative approach allows us to generate a diverse range of compelling content that can be put through our Content Factory to drive sales.

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The Content Factory and the Topic Wheel Intersection


Creating content solely on your own platform may not yield the desired results, as it can come across as self-centered and boastful. Instead, by collaborating with influential individuals and sharing content on their platforms, you can multiply your impact and establish yourself as a trusted authority.

The act of co-creating content allows you to borrow the authority of established figures and instantly gain credibility within their communities. By associating yourself with respected individuals in your industry, you can showcase their expertise while building your own reputation. This approach fosters trust and attracts your target audience’s attention.

Furthermore, sharing valuable insights from industry experts and showcasing collaborations enables you to establish yourself as a knowledgeable authority while leveraging the existing audience and reputation of others.

It’s important to approach co-creation systematically, identifying authoritative figures and topics of interest that align with your brand to broaden your audience and strengthen your brand’s influence.

As you connect with influential individuals and co-create content, you’ll notice how different industries and topics intertwine at higher levels of success. The world becomes smaller, and a tight-knit community of high achievers emerges. By tapping into this network effect, you can expand your reach and impact even further.

In conclusion, the power of co-creating content with authoritative figures lies in its ability to enhance credibility, broaden your audience, and establish yourself as a trusted authority. By adopting a collaborative approach and showcasing the expertise of others, you can multiply the impact of your content and build a strong personal brand in today’s digital landscape.

Dennis Yu
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.