How to Write with Authority
Why do some blogs get traction while others languish?
And why are some people recognized as experts and others aren’t?
One factor is this: the ability (or inability) to write with authority.
If you’ve ever come across a new blog, you can usually tell within a few seconds whether the person is an expert… or “not quite there yet.”
Without analayzing one blog vs. another, you’d never know what makes the difference. With that in mind, here are a few tips for how to write with authority and project yourself as the expert you are.
Tip #1: Challenge commonly held beliefs in your market.
Every market has its “sacred cows”: beliefs so strong they are considered fact.
Can you challenge these beliefs?
Can you offer a different (better) point of view?
If you can, do it.
Not only will it get people’s attention, it will help to establish your authority.
After all, who challenges the status quo?
Usually, it’s either fools or experts. And as long as you’ve made your case effectively, most people will consider you an expert.
Tip #2: Write about your subject from a different perspective.
With a gazillion blogs out there, you have to find a way to stand out and attract readers. One way to do it is by “seeing different.”
Instead of re-stating the obvious, how can you make a new observation… or cast an old observation in a new mold?
Warning: This will require you to think.
If all you do is think easy thoughts and write easy stuff, you’ll never cultivate the voice of authority. Rather, you’ll cultivate the voice of “everybody else.”
Which is why writing with authority takes effort. And courage. Specifically, the courage to think hard thoughts and write about challenging subjects.
Tip #3: Say something worthwhile. And say it like you mean it.
First of all, you need to say something that your audience finds worth reading.
And second of all, when you make a point, say it like you mean it. Don’t hedge your bets.
If you’re hedging, that implies you’re not fully committed. You’re not really an expert — you’re just trying “expert” on to see how it fits.
Writing with authority requires you to commit. It requires you to take a stand and not back down.
This might make you uncomfortable. That’s okay. Get used to being uncomfortable. It’s good for you.
Tip #4: Don’t give attribution when it’s not necessary.
All that you are and all that you think is a collection of everything you’ve ever heard, read, or experienced.
Which means you could probably attribute every word you write to somebody.
For instance, my views on life go back to a series of teachers starting with my parents.
Do I need to give my parents and all my teachers attribution every time I write about something?
No. I don’t.
That’s why, if you already know something as a fact, avoid giving attribution. To do so steals your authority and transfers it to the person you’re giving attribution to.
Let’s look at a hypothetical example:
“John Doe says procrastination is the single greatest reason why people don’t get things done.”
Clearly, we don’t need to reference John Doe. Simply say, “Procrastination is the single greatest reason why people don’t get things done.”
Much stronger, isn’t it?
Obviously, if you’re quoting somebody verbatim, you need to give attribution. Otherwise, it’s not necessary. And the more attributions you leave out, the more authority your writing will have.
-Ryan M. Healy