How to develop an authoritative voice on any subject

If you’re a writer or a content marketer, whatever subject you’re communicating about, the important thing is to do it with authority. That authority has to be earned: your readers need to believe that you know what you’re talking about. In short, they need to trust you, and once you’ve won that trust, you’ll quickly find that you become a go-to commentator on the subject in question.

Find your voice and your subject matter

The subject that you’re writing about may already be decided, but if not, then there are several things to consider. The most obvious and the most important point is that you should write about something you love. If you’re not enthused about your subject, then why should your readers be? Also bear in mind that you’re going to be spending a lot of time immersed in this subject matter and you can’t afford to be bored, as being bored makes you boring.

Secondly, you need to find a unique angle on your subject. You may love football, but so do plenty of other journalists, commentators and bloggers. What makes you different and sets you apart? You need to develop a distinctive voice, and be able to bring a fresh angle to whatever you’re writing about.

Stay up to date

One way to develop into an authority is to build a reputation as the writer who always has the latest news. If you’re using the internet, then play to its strengths as a fast-moving, immediate medium that people use to find out what’s going on right now. Becoming known as a reliable source for the very latest tennis news will keep tennis fans coming back to you time and again.

It’s essential to make sure that your news stories are 100% accurate, of course, but you can also give even better value by going behind the headlines and analysing your stories, providing commentary and making connections. Just make a clear distinction between facts and informed speculation.

Reaching your audience

Know who your audience is, and work out how to reach them. Search engine optimisation can help, through the use of relevant keywords and strong images, but don’t be tempted into making sensationalistic statements that work as shallow “clickbait”. Thoughtful analysis will help you develop an authoritative voice far more effectively than pandering to the lowest common denominator in the name of short-term notoriety.

Clarity is vital

Communicate clearly and succinctly, without padding or waffle. Demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about, and explain it in a way that leaves your readers feeling that they now understand the subject a bit better. They should feel like they’ve learnt something useful, and it shouldn’t feel like hard work. Be entertaining when appropriate and engaging always.

If you’re not an expert, then talk to someone who is. Interview them from a layperson’s perspective so that your readers feel like you and they are on a journey of discovery together. At the same time, it’s important to do your research. It’s always better to know more than you let on rather than to pretend that you know more than you do. Ultimately, that is the secret to becoming an authoritative voice.