This is a guest post written by Ryan Imel of Theme Playground.
When new blogs start up every day, and old ones either rise to greatness or fall away, one can’t help but ask: what makes the difference? What makes the difference between two people blogging, on the same issue, with the same frequency? How can one of them do so much better than the other?
Because one realizes s/he is an authority.
Look at Yourself: You’re It
If you don’t share the knowledge you have, the invaluable insight your head holds, no one else will. Oftentimes individuals don’t realize what they know until someone shows it to them. This is called the Socratic teaching method. Socrates was a master of asking questions, and doing so in order to bring his subject to a realization. So, in following the great philosopher’s tradition, let’s ask ourselves a few questions.
- What do you know more about than anyone?
- When you’re with a group of friends, what’s the one thing you can’t wait to talk about?
- When you’re with a group of friends, what is it they turn to you and ask questions about?
- What do you read on a weekly basis?
- What is your main interest, beside your day job?
- If you could enter any profession in the world, what would it be?
- What are you most qualified to do?
Remember that no one will ever (ever) sit down to convince you that you’re really good at something. It very rarely happens. You have to wake up and realize what it is you can do, and then convince yourself of it regularly.
The reason people usually remember when they are complimented is because it doesn’t happen every day. Enjoy it when it does, but prepare yourself to not receive that very often. Be your own cheerleader, and it will show to those around you.
Put Yourself on Your Blog
You can’t be an authority if you aren’t putting yourself out to be seen. No one is ever anonymously famous (at least, not usually). At the very least put your name out there. Give them something to grab onto and someone they know they can call on when they need a specialist. If you look at most link backs to popular blogs, most often they go in this form:
So and so of my favorite blog…
You want to be that
so and so.
But it’s not all about putting your name on your blog. That’s a big part of it, but there’s a lot more to it. Follow these steps toward making yourself the object of authority on your blog.
- Use an about page. Start with the basics. Once you’re using your name (as described above) make sure that each time it shows up it links back to your about page. These pages are invaluable, and can be used to deliver a very careful message to your readers. Don’t waste the opportunity to show them who you are.
- Use a confident, personable photo of yourself. A picture is worth 1,000 blog posts. Give or take. Don’t underestimate the value of your mug on your blog – no matter what you think you look like. Find a flattering picture, and suck it up. This is about image, and a hidden image is worse than an average-looking one.
- Avoid being too dry or
corporate. Everyone wants to feel that they are interacting with a real person, especially if they’re after something. Consider every automated telephone service you’ve ever had to deal with. Yes, information is good – but information delivered by a flesh and blood human is even better.
If You Aren’t, Become One
Very few who (knowingly or unknowingly) claim to be authorities actually know their industry inside and out. The difference is that they say things others aren’t saying – even if they are the simplest things in the world. So step out there and say what others aren’t.
If you don’t have much to say, document your learning process. Because if you’re stepping out to learn to become an authority, I guarantee not many are doing that. In fact, here are some ideas of model blog posts that you might be able to latch onto and run with as you begin your career as an authority blogger, right from the beginning.
- Share lists of resources. Readers love lists. And understandably so. They are scan-able, digestible, and light-weight. Lists are good for you too, since a great list will be bookmarked (a great thing) and referred to later. Basically any time you create useful tips for readers they will want to remember them – use that knowledge to your advantage.
- Dos and Don’ts draw crowds. People want to know what good practice looks like – this goes for nice restaurants, foreign countries, and public restrooms. Give them guideposts as you travel, especially if it seems that you are unfairly giving them the advantage. This shows you value your readers above what’s fair.
- Publish a PDF they can save and/or distribute. Okay, so it’s not a blog post per se. But creating something a bit more conclusive than blog posts usually are can be a nice bonus for readers. Some bloggers even use these as an incentive to bring in RSS subscribers. Think of it as a mini-book. What could be more authoritative than publishing a (mini)book?