November 10, 2016
In a world where millions of pieces of content are shared across the Web each day, there are only a few ways to stand out and get noticed. While you can differentiate yourself by dominating a niche, posting frequently and developing a unique brand voice, the only way to get noticed online is to publish authoritative content.
The foundation of everything that marketers seek is authority.
Do you want a loyal customer base? You need to be authoritative.
Want higher sales? Authoritative content is essential.
Want brand evangelists that spread the word about your company on social media? You’d better give them something authentic and compelling to share.
If you can’t publish authoritative content, you can’t build anything unique, and if you can’t build anything unique, you’re going to get lost in the content sea.
With this in mind, authoritative content is the only real way to succeed online today, and brands that dominate it stand a better chance of building successful online companies.
What is Authoritative Content?
Authoritative content is exactly what it sounds like: content that contains a high level of authority. According to ProBlogger, authority content relies on the following five elements:
Authoritative content demonstrates a high standard of insight, which is defined as the level of understanding an author has about a topic.
To be authoritative, content must possess not only a significant amount of useful information but also a massive demonstration of personal understanding – which is only gained when the author has first-hand experience in a particular field.
When content contains a large amount of insight, it’s more useful for the reader and succeeds at being more actionable than less authoritative and insightful content.
Authentic content doesn’t belabor a point. Instead, it aims to provide simple, actionable information to readers of all levels and experience groups. While many people believe that being authoritative also means being impossible to understand, this simply isn’t true.
Users are more willing to interact with content that presents a topic in a simple, clear, and easily understandable way than they are with dense, confusing content. Because of this, they’re much happier to interact with simple content than they are complex, jargon-dense content they can’t understand.
By keeping your content simple, you can grab and hold your reader’s attention, present your information in an actionable way, and be as inviting to your readers as possible.
Depth is critical in authoritative content. While many people confuse depth with being long-winded or jargon-dense, depth is a simple yet challenging component that requires the author of the content to understand it thoroughly enough that they’re able to distil it to their readers in a friendly and approachable fashion.
Today’s readers want actionable, far-reaching content that helps them solve their problems and gain an in-depth understanding of a topic. If the depth they’re seeking isn’t present, your customers will move on to third-party content. When your content reaches out and speaks directly to your readers and helps them learn something they didn’t know, it’s much more likely to be noticed, shared, and loved.
Today, readers want to interact with content that not only helps them understand a topic, but also helps them see how the issue is connected to other subjects. This is breadth. When your content possesses the needed scope, it’s immediately more valuable to your readers, and will be more in-demand among all of your audience segments.
To write content that has a high level of breadth, you’ll need to think about going deeper with your content. Remember – broad content helps your readers grasp new topics and make new connections, so it’s important to dig in and find new parallels for them.
Authoritative content must be relevant content. Without this, it’s no use to readers, and will simply fall flat as disappointing and boring. With this in mind, you must strive to be relevant if you want to create content that is authoritative and useful.
This means you’ll need to research and communicate with your target audience, and that you must work ceaselessly to craft content that provides interest, and value to your readers.
How to Craft Authoritative Content: 5 Actionable Tips
While authoritative content is a critical tool for getting noticed online, it’s also tough to create. Here are five tips to help you craft more authentic content, starting today:
1. Cite relevant sources in your content
One of the best ways to build authority in your content, especially if you’re just starting out, is to cite relevant sources throughout your content.
By linking your content to a pertinent and well-known blogger, business manager, or individual, you do two things simultaneously. On the one hand, you send the message to your followers that you’re connected to the leaders in your industry and that you’re on the bleeding edge of the news and events people care about.
On the other hand, you boost your content’s SEO by linking your content to high-quality sources. This sends the message to Google that your pages are relevant, authoritative, and quality.
At the end of the day, referencing relevant sources serves to boost both your on-page and technical SEO while also making it more enjoyable for your readers.
2. Tell a personal story in your content
Telling a personal story in your online content is a great way to make it more personal, authoritative, and actionable for your readers. By demonstrating that you’ve been where your readers are and that you’re compassionate to what they’re going through, you can quickly capture their attention and interest. Telling a personal story also allows you to enhance your writing and making it more compelling for both new and existing customers.
With this in mind, tell a story about a time you struggled with your company, or how you strove to build something that you have now. In addition to demonstrating your lived experience in a given industry, telling a personal story also makes you approachable and relatable.
3. Use an analogy to help your readers understand complex topics
Remember that one of the key tenants of authoritative content is simplicity. Unfortunately, though, not every concept is inherently simple. This often means that you need to find creative ways to make even difficult concepts easy for your audience to understand. Analogies are great ways to do this.
By taking an analogy and using it to explain a complex concept to your readers, you can achieve the goal of helping your audience synthesize difficult-to-comprehend information in a straightforward and streamlined way.
Additionally, content that uses analogies can be more comprehensible for your audience since it segments complex topics for them. This, in turn, encourages brand recall and makes it easier for your audience to grasp your meaning.
4. Mine your experience
Authority comes from experience, and experience is an intensely personal thing. If you have it, it’s smart to use it. With this in mind, don’t hesitate to mine your experience in your online content. In addition to helping your brand become more accessible for your readers, this approach also allows you to strengthen your personal writing at the same time.
When you’re mining your experience, remember that it’s not only the positive experiences readers want to hear. Your readers also want to hear about your undesirable experiences so they can understand who you are and where you came from. Stories of how you’ve overcome challenges can be immensely valuable to readers.
Remember that, while you may view stories of failure (or temporary failure) as weakness, your audience wants to get closer to you, and the most authoritative content helps them learn from your mistakes
5. Hire a professional to write authoritative content for you
One of the easiest ways to craft authoritative content is to hire a writer to do it for you. In addition to the fact that this relieves you from the time-consuming and challenging task of content creation, hiring a professional to craft authoritative content will also go a long way toward helping your content rank more prominently online.
Expert writers know what it takes to craft authentic content, and will be able to help you hone your voice, approach, and topics accordingly. In this way, hiring professional writers is one of the best things you can do to help your content succeed in the online world.
Authority Content: A Marketer’s Secret Weapon in the Online World
Authoritative content is critical in today’s online environment and creating it is the only way to get noticed and stand out online. Fortunately, this isn’t as tough as it seems.
By mining your personal experience, seeking to connect with your readers, telling stories, pulling from relevant sources, and hiring professional writers to craft authoritative content, you can develop a content strategy that is every bit as functional as it is actionable.
Julia McCoy is a serial content marketer, entrepreneur, and bestselling author. She founded a multi-million dollar content agency, Express Writers, with nothing more than $75 at 19 years old. Today, her team has nearly 100 expert content creators on staff, and serves thousands of clients around the world. She's earned her way to the top 30 worldwide content marketers, and has a passion for sharing what she knows in her books and in her online course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course. Julia also hosts The Write Podcast on iTunes.