Are you sick to death of everyone telling you how to stand out in this online world? Do you ever wonder whether anyone is actually going to bother to listen to your advice anyway? I used to feel the same way.
I have never been an introvert but, after many years of successful corporate life, somehow I lost my nerve when it came to promoting myself and my own business. I knew what I was offering was valuable and I had the credibility and know-how to back it up, but I didn’t understand why people would read my writing and marketing tips when the web was completely flooded with information from people I deemed more authoritative than me.
Why would anyone listen to me?
I’ve since learned there is every reason why someone would listen to me. I changed my thinking and with it came changed results.
When I learned how to be proud of my writing and in control of my assumptions, a brand new world opened up. I connected deeply with people from all over the world and rather than chasing business, people started approaching me.
Words have a huge impact.
Sometimes as a writer, you can feel limited by how to project your message. There’s no body language and emphasis can be hard to portray. You must rely on your words to communicate your passion and value and authority. But that’s actually really ok, when you know how to harness the power of the written word. Because words have the ability to make us smile, cry, or take inspired action.
Once you find your own voice and learn how to wield it well through the written word, you will find that your readers starting leaning in to your ideas, start asking more questions and importantly, start acting on your advice.
Here’s how to do that.
1. Write with clarity and substance
Effective writing is simple, clear and to the point.
By contrast, ineffective writing rambles and confuses the reader with too many ideas.
To write with substance does not mean you must write really long articles. You don’t have to share everything you know about a particular subject in one article. The word count matters little if the ideas are sound and valuable. Aim for depth of argument rather than breadth of ideas – that is the key to substance. In fact, a Facebook post of 100 words can have true substance if crafted well; a super-practical tip or spark of inspiration can be conveyed in few words.
Substance is about adding value not noise.
So, how do you write with substance?
- Each piece of content must have a clear purpose and value-add for your reader. Decide what problem you’re solving before you start.
- Create an overview or mind map of your ideas before starting.
- Narrow down your topic further – your overview will often have multiple ideas.
- After you’ve written your content, revisit your initial purpose. Does it deliver?
Always remember that to become an authority in your space is not about how great YOU are. It’s about your readers and how you can help solve their concerns, overcome challenges or follow their dreams. You must have empathy for your audience’s situation and a genuine desire to help them otherwise your writing will fall flat.
2. Content tips to help boost your authority
Don’t worry about not having enough to write about on a particular topic, especially considering I’ve encouraged you to go narrow. There are ways to fill your articles with useful information without padding.
These 3 tips will help turn flimsy writing into persuasive and valuable content.
Tip #1. Use specific examples
Examples demonstrate how you translate theory into practice, and the more specific they are, the more easily your reader will join the dots. The abstract becomes concrete and you can demonstrate how you walk the talk, not just flap your gums!
- A big part of what I do with clients is to encourage personal storytelling. It helps readers connect with you, understand your strengths and vulnerabilities and make you more human. My blog about Telling Untruths About My Family got lots of comments both on the blog and via email, was shared multiple times via social changes and had the highest click through rate from my database of any blog this year.
This blog discusses one narrow topic and uses me as an example.
Tip #2: Statistics add weight
Whilst I’m no numbers-gal, stats do add substance to an argument. They sinew give content authority and add that factual, undeniable element.
- In my blog about Finding Time in Your Week To Write, I quote a figure from a poll I conducted with business owners. It’s simple but effective and adds authority to the findings.
Tip #3: Use quotes from experts
A strategically selected quote is a good alternative to statistics in providing support to your claims. It demonstrates you are familiar with others in your field – you kind of ‘borrow’ their authority to grow your own.
3. Fire up your words with power
Powerful writing does now mean bullish or directive writing. Powerful writing inspires readers to DO something. For example, a powerful sales page encourages readers to buy, effective social media posts make people feel something and click to read more, and a great blog motivates readers to implement the tips.
How does this happen?
Turn your inner bossy-boots into powerful content by using short sentences and the imperative (a grammatical mood that forms commands or requests, including the giving of prohibition or permission, or any other kind of advice).
This sentence: You should fire up your tribe and jump-start their actions because your readers are waiting for you.
Sounds more inspiring like this: Come on. Fire up your tribe. Jump-start their actions. Your readers are waiting for you.
Writing is transformational
When I started writing for my business I wrote clinically and guardedly. I was so worried about everything being grammatical perfect that there was no flare, no me, no reason to trust me. I didn’t know whether I had enough ideas or enough personality to connect with people.
The thing is though, that when you let go of the hang-ups, and just keep writing, you discover what resonates best with your audience, and you learn to trust your instincts and follow your passions.
You may still be thinking that you don’t know enough to continuously share. Or you might doubt your writing skills.
Here’s the truth on that:
You are unique and have unique experiences. No-one else has experienced what you have in the way you have or been exposed to the same influences as you. No-one else has built up the same body of work and skills and talents as you. So when you learn to embrace your passion and remove the fear of obscurity, you will discover your voice. But you must write to do so. The more you write the more clarity you’ll have. Your understanding of your ‘thing’ will deepen and your ideas will strengthen. I know this to be true because it was for me and it is for my clients.
It’s time. Commit to writing. Create awesome valuable content. Be useful and helpful.
Small changes first, then great wondrous things will follow.