What I learned from what everybody else learned at Authority Intensive

I have a confession. I (gasp) inadvertently took possession of someone else’s program during the inaugural Copyblogger Authority Intensive conference that wrapped up in Denver earlier this month. Didn’t notice until the flight home. The handwritten notes  on the first few pages (before I “lifted” it) are impressive and screaming with the energy we all shared and I’ll gladly return it to its rightful owner. My apologies aside, this is one example of how much we learn from each other at events like this. Check out the inspired recaps by some of my fellow Authoritarians or the many, many Twitter posts (#authority2014).


Copyblogger has a track record of delivering the best there is in content marketing. They took it up many notches at Authority Intensive with an outstanding lineup of keynotes and panelists running along four streams: design, content, traffic and conversion. When I found out that the likes of Seth Godin, Darren Rowse, Ann Handley, Lee Odden and many others were going to be in the same room I was so there along with my partner Michael.

I’m still feeling awestruck, caught up in the bubble of a unique time and place where it felt like anything was possible – where words like truth, empathy and fear were freely tossed about, considered and celebrated. I haven’t attended a lot of live events of this caliber so I may be a little naive. But I’m also changed.

Yes I was one of the people tearing up when Seth Godin came on stage. I was shaking when I stood in front of Darren Rowse to ask my ‘secret question’ after his remarkably powerful presentation. I pretty much tackled Copyblogger CEO Brian Clark for a photo op at the opening reception. And that was me posting shameless selfies with all the “famous people” in the background. It seems I got over my dread and fear of selfies while attending Authority!IMG_1064

Fear. We all experience it in our businesses. I felt it just showing up at Authority Intensive. But when Seth Godin tells you it’s okay to be afraid, to find that fear and dance with it, you dance.

Ditto when Sonia Simone described how new bloggers just have to be willing to do something badly for a while. Anything less than perfect? Now that’s scary but if Sonia says so

Then Copy Hackers  Joanna Wiebe created a whole new spectrum of fear all around a button. Who knew that “Sign up” could send clients running for the hills? Ann Handley implored us to acknowledge our customers’ fears and concerns with pathological empathy.

And who would have thought that a world renowned blogger like Darren Rowse would ever utter words like “Fear stood in front of me and blocked my way”?

If you’re paying attention to the things you already know to be true, what’s there to be afraid of? Really.

Getting past all that fear, Jerod Morris’ concept of servant leadership was as validating as much as it was meaningful. Ditto again to Tom Martin’s take on the power of prospects over popularity.

There was at least one golden takeaway from every session. Because there was so much, I had to throw it all together, shake it up and see what stuck once the radiance of Authority Intensive receded a bit into the warm glow I’m still feeling today.

The result is my personal Authority inspired to do list, made up of what I  learned from the keynotes and panelists as well as my colleagues at the event. It’s a daily plan I’ll be using to help achieve the ultimate Authority for me and my clients: Mattering enough that we would be missed if we were gone.

  1. Remember that our authority comes from our audience.
  2. Care about our customers’ problems. Emphatically. Pathologically.
  3. Invest in the most powerful optimization of all: relationships.
  4. Shine a light on what we know.
  5. Dance with fear. It means we’re onto something.
  6. Create value.
  7. Be useful.
  8. Don’t waste time on shortcuts.
  9. Focus on the audience and what we want them to do – as well as what we can do for them.
  10. Never underestimate the value of meaningful customer experiences.
  11. Show up. Show we can be trusted.
  12. Start.
  13. Take chances. Be open to failure. Start again.
  14. Remove fear and friction.
  15. Build prospects over popularity.
  16. Do the work.
  17. Do something that matters.

When I started following this copyblogger guy, Brian Clark several years ago, I knew I was onto something special. As conference host and moderator, Brian confirmed this over and over again with his honest, sincere introductions, his admissions of failures and restarts, his obvious gratitude to others who had made a difference to him and finally through something he said that made all the difference for me …

“Storytelling is how you reach people where they live.”

Thanks Brian and all of the Authority Intensive team for bringing this message home.

Other nuggets:

Joanna Wiebe Lizards Thru Doorways: Optimize Your Website Buttons with These A/B Tests

Lee Odden Be the Best Answer

Chris Garrett Design for Conversion

Bill Erickson Authority Intensive: My Thoughts and Presentation

Arienne Holland Make Sure That Your Content Communicates

Tom Martin Six Reasons You Need to Stop Focusing on Click-Thru Data

Copyblogger Authority Intensive 2015 details


IMG_1140  20140509_09314220140507_201709

Apologies for any friction as blog is currently only playing nicely with Twitter.

Comments 27

  1. darren.dematas@gmail.com'
    Darren DeMatas

    May 22, 2014, 5:20 pm

    “I pretty much tackled Copyblogger CEO Brian Clark for a photo op at the opening reception”

    Haha – I saw that! 🙂

    In all seriousness. It was great getting to meet you. I hope I can make the trip again next year!

  2. sherianglin@t-online.de'

    June 26, 2014, 7:21 pm

    Fantastic site you have here but I was wondering if you knew of any forums that cover the same topics discussed in this article? I’d really love to be a part of community where I can get responses from other knowledgeable people that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know.

    • LeanneAuthor

      June 27, 2014, 2:39 pm

      Hi Sheri, This group was created as a result of Copyblogger Authority Intensive. I’d suggest you check out Copyblogger through their website and on Twitter and Google+. You could also join circles or groups that share your interests on Google+ and LinkedIn.

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