Eric Wendt

In content marketing, authority translates to trust.

Search engines are shifting away from using traditional SEO tactics to rank pages in favor of considering high-quality content that demonstrates expertise. Meanwhile, consumers have more websites to choose from than ever. Writing authoritatively allows marketing professionals to establish command of a topic or industry and cut through the noise of competitors. Authoritative content presents businesses as thought leaders that search engines and prospective clients alike can trust.

Use the following advice to better craft authoritative content:

Know your topic

There’s no point trying to establish authority if you don’t understand what you’re writing about. Of course, in-depth knowledge and writing talent do not always go hand in hand. In these cases, you can leverage staff expertise. Interviews, for example, allow you to combine industry knowledge with a writer’s skills. A well-written Q&A with a high-ranking executive is more valuable than a blog that doesn’t provide in-depth insight. Additionally, social media and other tools enable you to search for what others are saying about a specific topic or event.

Perfect your voice

A writer’s “voice” is essential to demonstrating authority. Put simply, writing with an authoritative voice means composing with confidence. This relates back to truly understanding what you’re writing about – someone with limited knowledge likely won’t be able to explain a topic easily.

Tips for writing in an authoritative voice include:

  • Writing simply: An expert should be able to break down complicated concepts into straightforward prose.
  • Removing qualifiers: Weak language chips away at authority. Avoid using overly complex words and sentence structures.
  • Staying active: Writing in active voice inherently gives your words more impact, portraying your content as dynamic.
When you don't write with authority, you'll wind up speaking to an empty room.

Write in a voice people will want to listen to, and your audience will begin to grow.

Prioritize usefulness

Authoritative writing is about giving, not selling. It can be difficult to pass up a potential sales opportunity, but instead of touting your products and services, your content should help readers.

Before writing about a topic, put yourself in the shoes of a potential reader. Ask yourself what content you would find most beneficial. Whether it’s a unique take on pertinent news, an actionable tip or a simple explanation of a complex industry trend, put relevant, educational information ahead of a sales pitch.

Back up assertions

Writing with authority doesn’t simply mean sharing opinions. You should certainly let your personal experience and individual insight color your writing. But it’s equally important to show readers you can back up what you’re saying.

This can be accomplished by:

  • Using trusted sources to support claims.
  • Inserting statistics that illustrate specific points.
  • Quoting industry thought leaders with authority on certain topics.

Taking these steps will also allow businesses to easily build up outbound links, which have a positive impact on SEO, according to a study from Reboot Online Marketing. This is especially true when businesses associate themselves with other authoritative websites.

Bring something to the table

It’s important to add something new to the conversation. Writing about a hot topic in your industry is a great way to leverage awareness. However, if you’re only summarizing what’s already being said, you’re not maximizing your own knowledge and experience. Don’t be afraid to explore issues and offer insights based on your own expertise.

Use the right platform

Different content assets lend themselves to specific goals. While you can certainly demonstrate authority in blog posts, whitepapers represent an opportunity to drill deeper into complicated topics. Meanwhile, eBooks work best as more visual representations of complex subjects. Keep in mind which platform makes the most sense for any given topic. Also remember that content variety is a great way to keep readers engaged.

Be consistent

Regular content production is key to getting noticed and staying part of the conversation. The word of an industry authority who rarely shares their thoughts doesn’t hold much weight, especially when compared to someone who regularly updates their website with quality content. While it’s true quality is more important than quantity, it’s vital to routinely publish content to remind both search engines and readers you are a relevant authority in your space.