5 Steps to Creating Authoritative Content
by Jen Boucle
SEO folks have said so from the beginning, and content is still king online—but the content that attracts readers and motivates them to answer a call to action is now unquestionably not just any old content, but rather content that’s perceived to be authoritative.
And it’s not just search engines that like well-written, unique, and authoritative content; potential customers and clients do as well.
Some of that equation is easily accessible:
- Working with a seasoned writer and editor—and if you’re not, then you should be!—ensures that your copy will be well-written.
- Matching your content closely to the needs and interests of your subscribers ensures that your copy will be unique.
Making it authoritative, however, is a whole different issue. Who decides what is authoritative? How are thought-leaders chosen? How can you be sure that what your company is publishing will have the ring of authority?
It’s more important than ever to stand out from the crowd, and new content is pouring into and out of the internet every day. Credibility and a reputation for excellence are established when you create content that answers important questions in your field, suggests new ways of becoming and staying successful, and gives readers tangible help.
Here are five ways for you to create authoritative, outstanding content:
- Give your content a great context. In other words, don’t put the content in a context that degrades it. Adding ads to your website or blog is unprofessional and makes the content itself difficult to access. Stick to one idea per page, with a professional design around it that is simple enough to make the content (and not the website design!) stand out.
- Cultivate ambassadors and evangelists for your content. No doubt you have happy customers or clients; send them copies of your latest content and ask them to share it. If they really like your product or service, then they’ll be happy to spread your word around as well, and may use that very content to refer others to you.
- Keep your focus. You cannot be everything to everyone, and in any case no one trusts someone claiming to be an authority on everything. You need to plan out your content strategy as carefully as you plan every other part of your marketing campaigns, and that means planning and researching the topics you’re going to cover in your content. What you want to do is be sure that you can both completely and competently cover the topics you expect to maintain. You can always enlarge your scope gradually as you go along.
- Get your content reviewed and commented upon. Make sure that you’re constantly building an audience for your content. Submit articles to niche/trade publications, and respond immediately to any comments they receive there. Who are the established thought leaders in your vertical? Take the time to ask for the marketing equivalent of peer review: a review of or comment on your article that you can place on your website.
- Remember your target audience. The focus isn’t just on topics: it’s also on who is reading—or who you want to have read—those topics.Remember that your job here is to create niche content that’s designed specifically for certain consumer groups. By generating top-notch materials for this specific audience, you’re more likely to stand out as an authority in your industry.
If you can follow these five tips, then readers are more likely to respond to your message and will view your website or blog as an important resource for information, news, and products. It’s not far off to say you are what you post. What do potential customers learn about your brand when they read your content? What have you published—and, almost as importantly, what have you publishedlately?
A generation ago, the proverbial “hard sell” worked. It doesn’t anymore: consumers today are all about sharing, discussing, reacting, reviewing, and recommending. And if you provide authoritative content, you’ll be encouraging positive sharing and driving people to your brand, service, or product.