As a professional blogger, one of the best things you can do is add an authoritative voice to your blog posts. Here are five strategies to use.
In order to garner a little more respect in the world of writing, some professional bloggers like to add an authoritative voice to their blog posts. I’ve been told that my writing carries with it a certain professionalism and authority, and other bloggers have asked me how I make it happen.
1. Treat Your Blog Posts as Articles
Authoritative writing starts with mindset. It would be nice if bloggers received respect, and I try to own the term “professional blogger” in order to show that I’m not ashamed of what I do, but the reality is that it’s still easy to slip into the idea that something you write is “only” a blog post.
Start thinking of what you write as articles, and you will be more likely to write as though you are creating a piece of professional content. If you want an idea of what an article looks like, grab a newspaper or visit the homepage of a newspaper’s website. This should provide you with a little inspiration. Get in the “article” mindset, and your writing will develop an authoritative tone.
2. Use Facts and Figures
Back the information you present with facts and figures. Of course, it’s best if you can get your facts and figures from reliable sources — or at least sources that most people consider “official.”
Report statistics and study findings from sources like the government, peer-reviewed research, and studies conducted at reputable universities and think tanks. While any stats can boost your credibility, you might lose something if one of your readers discovers that research findings are skewed due to funding from an interested party.
Try to be transparent about where you get your information, and do what you can to verify the reputation of the source. This requires a little more work, and is one of the reasons that I charge more when someone asks for reputable sources in a blog post or article.
3. Interview Experts
One of the best ways to give your blog posts a more authoritative voice is to interview an actual authority in the subject.
HARO is a great resource for finding reputable experts to interview. You can also look for experts at academic institutions. It’s usually not hard to track down the authors of academic research papers, since they are usually listed — along with their schools — on the documents. Just find the faculty page at the school, and you are set.
As with looking for reputable statistics and facts to add to your blog posts, interviews can be time consuming. Be prepared for this reality, and schedule a block of time for interviews.
4. Write Succinctly
It’s true that sometimes a longer blog post is necessary. Plus, the word around the blogosphere is that Google likes longer blog posts. However, your writing is more authoritative when it’s succinct. It’s difficult to reconcile the realities of a Google-friendly word count with authoritative writing.
The good news is that you can be succinct and still hit an acceptable word count. This is where stats and expert interviews can help. With these items to beef up your content, you can write authoritatively, reaching your desired word count without resorting to fluff.
5. Use Proper Spelling, Grammar, and Punctuation
When it comes to articles and blog posts, the last word in professionalism, especially if you want to present yourself as a “journalist,” is the AP Stylebook. It’s optimized for your digital device, making it easy to use. I refer to The Elements of Style for solid writing help.
While it’s impossible to be perfect all the time, it does make sense to strive to eliminate spelling, grammar, punctuation, and usage errors. And try to avoid exclamation points. There is almost no reason to include an exclamation point in authoritative non-fiction writing.
You don’t have to follow the AP Stylebook exactly, or be an expert at Chicago, MLA or APA style. My own “style guide” for my writing combines elements of different styles in an effort to create an experience that is convenient for the reader and that meshes well with online writing.
Use proper spelling and grammar, and the style isn’t as important. Try to be consistent to boost your authoritative voice.
It takes extra time and effort to add an authoritative voice to your blog posts, but if you want the increased credibility that often accompanies a trustworthy blog, it’s worth what you put into it.