We often talk about ways to make your blog more popular and more visible in search results, but there is a third element that often goes missing. If you want a loyal following, try making your blog posts more authoritative. That's a fancy word for "knowing what the heck you're talking about". Journalists (for the most part) know all about sticking to vetted facts and obtaining confirmation from independent sources. Editors (for the most part) know all about making sure that the stuff that they publish is fair and balanced and backed up by the facts. Why not try some of this in your blog?
It's true that blogs are by definition personal accounts, observations or opinion pieces, but the best bloggers, those with the most subscribers, are popular for a reason. In most cases, they provide valuable, reliable information that readers can depend upon. I'll give you an example. I read Mashable every day because the contributing bloggers are good writers, they always cover the latest "tech" news first and each post is well researched. In other words, you can rely upon what you read in Mashable. Can you say that about most blogs? Here are some pointers to make your blog more authoritative.
- Stick to the facts, and include them - yes, we all enjoy a good rant every now and then, especially if it's well written, but there is usually no meat on the bone. If you have a strong opinion about something, state your case and support it with evidence. Present the other side, and tell us why we should be on your side. Your one-sided, unsupported opinion has little chance of swaying anyone.
- Illustrate your points with examples - show us the way. Include the best examples you can find to help us quickly understand your position. Show us some real data, and point out its accuracy. If your conclusions are based on a small sampling of data, we should know that.
- Build your case over multiple posts - if your subject matter is complicated, there's no need to overwhelm us with a long post. We probably won't read it. Instead, break it up into a series with each post making one of the central points of your thesis. Be the next J. K. Rowling and keep us salivating for your next published piece.
- Be fair and balanced - admit it, you're not the world's expert on your subject matter. If you were, you would be authoritative already. A little humility goes a long way. Consider the other side of the story and include it on a regular basis. For example, "a lot of people think SEO is the most important part of internet marketing, but I'm not so sure..." Then present their case (as you understand it, preferably backed by facts), followed by yours.
- Polish your blog posts - check your spelling and grammar. This is not texting or tweeting. It's traditional written communication, only shorter than a published article or book. Spend some time polishing, and your readers will reward you with their social media sharing.
By making your blog more authoritative, you will gain the respect of your peers, followers and competitors. They are far more likely to subscribe to your blog and to post comments on a regular basis. You are far more likely to attract other influencers, which in turn helps to build your personal and company brand. Most of us are not professional journalists, but the more we try to adhere to journalistic standards, the better our blogs will be.
For help turning a blog into a content marketing machine download our Blog Post Optimization Cheat Sheet.
Photo credit: ShashiBellamkonda