If you want people to read your blog you need to give them valuable, useful content.
If you want people to become loyal to your blog you need to give them an authority statement.
In this post I want to talk about what exactly an authority statement is and how it can have a dramatic impact on your blogging career.
I’ll also show you a few examples of people who have done it extremely well.
What is an authority statement?
First things first.
An authority statement is basically a truthful way of communicating to your audience that you have some authority or expertise in your field. Its basically something that gives people a reason to trust what you are saying.
It can be something overt or something more subtle and gentle.
You might not have thought about it but we see these statements all around us:
- A police badge/hat/horse
A police badge, hat or horse communicates authority because you associate those things with power, safety and so on. They are used to differentiate the police from regular citizens.
- A luxury watch
A luxury watch can communicate an income level or status to the people around you. This seems trivial to us but can mean a lot to a manager or person involved with other high powered business people.
- A college degree
Ever walked into an office and seen the framed college degrees on the wall? Those are there to make the person feel more authoritative.
Authority statements are extremely important for blogs. In fact, most of the time when I do blogging consults for people who are struggling to grow an audience I find that they really lack a communicated position of authority. In other words, there is no reason to read their writing.
Examples of authority statements in the blogging world
I thought the best way to help you understand this concept would be to show you a few people who have done it extremely well.
1. Shoemoney’s Adsense check
Perhaps the best authority statement in the blogging world is Jeremy Schoemaker’s Adsense check for over $100,000.
I remember when he posted this years and years ago and how quickly it skyrocketed his blogging career. With one single photo he communicated to the blogosphere that he knew about SEO, blogging, Adsense and a whole lot more.
This is a very simple and overt way to make an authority statement. And it is quite similar to the next one.
2. Pat Flynn’s income reports
Pat from Smart Passive Income does monthly income reports where he details how much he is making and from what sources.
Now, I don’t think Pat was the first blogger to do this (it might have been Darren Rowse) but I do think he does them extremely well. And the reason for that is because he talks about the ins and outs of the business. Its not just a breakdown of income sources, its a complete look at his strategy, plans and, yes, even failures.
This is an extremely good way to show your readership that you know what you are doing. And, as with most things Pat does, its done in a gentle and very unassuming way such that you feel like you are getting to know him better instead of feeling more competitive.
Are income reports a good idea?
I have to confess that I don’t think I will ever do income reports for this site. I feel uneasy talking about money (perhaps I’m superstitious) but I also don’t like the idea of people knowing that much about my business. If I start earning huge multi-million dollar amounts I’d be worried about criminals and readers getting jealous, and if my income levels dropped I’d be worried about feeling like I had to keep up appearances.
That being said, it works really well for Pat and a bunch of other bloggers who I know do it regularly.
3. Tim Ferriss’ experiments
Everyone knows Tim Ferriss – he wrote two hugely popular books about doing a lot of stuff in a small amount of time (The Four Hour Work Week and The Four Hour Body).
Now, this one is a little different because his authority statement is his whole blog. Its his photo galleries, posts and products. His whole angle is that he will try out all these insane things and then show us how to do them quickly.
Sure, Tim uses a whole lot of amazing references on his biography page to build authority, but the main bulk of the trust comes from the fact that he does all these self-science experiments and then shares them with the world.
Developing your own authority statement
The important thing now is to go away and develop your own authority statement.
But you have to be very careful that it matches your style, niche and bodes well with your readership. Here are a few ideas:
- Be gentle
I really don’t like overt statements about how fantastic you and your blog are. Try to keep it quite gentle. This could be an Australian thing but talking yourself up really turns me off.
- Use other authorities
One of the best ways to build authority is to reference other authorities who are talking about you. For example, have a look at how Greg from Sparring Mind referenced me in his About Page in order to elevate his own authority. Works very well.
If you’ve been mentioned in newspapers and big websites feel free to mention them or add their logos to your blog.
- Remember your initial reasons for starting
Sometimes if you hark back to your reasons for starting your blog you will find some kind of authority. For example, if you run a fitness blog because you lost 15kg and wanted to share your methods with others you will find authority in the weight loss.
- Use photos
Photos are an excellent way of communicating a point.
- Be relevant
Make sure your statement is relevant to not only your blog but also the authority you are trying to build. For example, telling people that you lost 10kg is a good statement for a fitness blog but only if you want to focus on weight loss.
Do you have an authority statement on your blog?
Have you ever seen a blog or website that does one really well?
If you need some help developing your own please drop a comment and I’ll do my best to make some suggestions. I’m sure the troops will as well!
Photo credit: Ed Callow [ torquespeak ]
44 CommentsJoin in. The comments are closed after 30 days.
Another great post! One of the hardest things to write is a good About Me page. And this gives me some good ideas to add to mine.
Great! Make sure you stop back to show us.
I really wanted to buy the crankybitch.com domain name 🙂 other than that I have no idea what a good authority statement would be for me.
Oh and in case you’re dying of suspense I did make it off PeTA’s mailing list.
Rachelle could you stop making me laugh all the time! Ha.
I can think of a lot of statements for you. For example, list the number of clients evicted without incident or something similar.
I will never stop making you laugh Muahahaha
I’ll evict your tenant and make jokes at the same time. That doesn’t have a pleasant ring to it. Back to the drawing board 🙂
Still it does, as usual, give me food for thought. It usually takes me a while before a brilliant brain wave occurs.
Looking forward to it.
Nice work, Tyrant. I’m currently working on it by guest posting on a bunch of different sites of different niches. The reason is, I want to show that I can write about different topics, not just on content marketing, since my site is mostly to make my freelance writing services look better.
What do you think of that, Tyrant? I mean, writing on blogs of entirely different niches.
Josh: I like that you’ve listed some of the places you’ve been featured in via your sidebar and your About page. But rather than write “Guests Posts,” why not say “Places I’ve been featured in…” The latter speaks a little more authoritatively to me. Just my opinion anyway 🙂
Really dig it otherwise!
Hmm. You have a point. Thank you.
Sounds good Josh.
But the statement is more about WHY people should read your stuff. Guest posts are great of course but you need that authority.
Josh! Great to see a familiar face for my first time on the Tyrant’s site.
(saw him in Danny’s book and on Copyblogger so I headed over to check it out.)
I feel you’re on a good path Josh, keep doin’ your thing, and looks like you’re getting great advice here.
Really loved this one and it’s an important way to really convey your expertise.
I used to do lots of speaking at various industry conferences but I’m not doing any engagements any more so I removed my “Speaking” page – to me, that used to be a big part of my authority statement.
What I have now is badges of some of the conferences I’ve been featured at and a “Media & Press” page which contains testimonials from readers, clients, and links to some of the pages I’ve been referenced on the web. I think it’s good, but still, sometimes I feel like something’s missing.
Yeah that works well bro. Nicely done.
I am still trying to work this one out. Relatively a newbie blogger, I wonder if I have struck a good balance in my authority statement or my about me page? Tyrant and others, feel free to take a look and let me know. Oh, and I am dropping the “.blogspot” in the weeks to come.
I’d put the 10 facts up the top. Nice work.
Hmm, most thought-provoking, BT. Hmm, I’m not sure if I do have a definitive authority statement. Maybe you could look at my ‘More about me’ page and give me your thoughts. I’d be much obliged. Thanks Jane
Love the feel of your site.
I actually think your sidebar is the perfect spot for your authority statement – that little bio area does it quite well.
Get rid of the bit about the blogosphere and just emphasize how your journey will help others reading.
Thanks so much, BT, especially for the compliment! I really appreciate the time you took to have a look and make those suggestions.
I’ve reworded it a bit but still don’t think I’ve nailed it.
If you have a spare minute, would be mind looking at it? I’d be so grateful.
To be a little humble Australian style, I got my horse a badge, a hat and a nice watch. 🙂 My income statements would make a good joke, though. Thanks for the thought provoking article, Tyrant.
Ha ha. Income statements joke made me laugh!
This one is right. If I can write even one post that exhibits my authority in the right manner, I am sure I will get lots of traffic and respect which is so very important.
Make sure your authority is on your site, not just your posts.
Very inspirational message! always good to be pointed in a positive direction, yes! I do believe I like authority! Oh, what did you say, honey? Sure I’ll get the garbage right out! Mr. T, thanks for all you say!
I love to read your posts. I’m building a new site aimed to beginner bloggers and how they can make a business out of their blog. Most of my knowledge is from reading. This is actually the first time I’m building my own blog and taking action. Can you think of a way I can become an authority? (I know my USP..)
I think when it is a blog about teaching someone something you really need to have some success in the field. Otherwise maybe an authority statement is not a great idea but rather you need a “travel together” type statement.
This post reminded me that I need to do some name-dropping. I’ve got a regular guest-posting gig with a more known blog in my niche. Gotta mention that when I launch my new blog. That’s where writing guest posts come in handy, because it lends you instant credibility.
One of the best examples I’ve ever seen of authority is the video trailer for Jon Morrow’s upcoming site, “Boost Blog Traffic”(Morrow is an associate editor at Copyblogger.) That video has quotes from the biggest names in the blogosphere.
A good way to build authority is to get testimonials from happy clients. If you’ve done good work, then feature quotes from your most loyal customers. “Let other toot your horn, and the sound carries twice as far.”
Yeah that video is amazing. Great reminder.
I thought you could not share your Google adsense income? That they would shut your account down, no? Thanks! Great post.
You aren’t allowed to show your CTR. Earnings is okay.
An authority statement is required if you want your readers to trust what you say. It could be as simple as “working mother trying to raise two kids” or extremely detailed like the “press kit” on the website I listed here.
An authority statement works to build and keep your readers since you can’t meet all of your readers in person so they can see how sincere you really are.
Authority statements also help with referrals, endorsements,and back links.
And don’t be afraid to tell your readers what you are not good at. Telling them what you can’t do for them is sometimes more powerful than letting them know what you can do.
Nicely put Paul.
“A luxury watch can communicate an income level or status to the people around you.”
Ya, just as some guys show off their iPhones to impress girls.
I know I’m digressing but I was very curious to know that have you designed your blog yourself? I can’t see any designer’s name mentioned anywhere.
I’ve tweaked it so much it doesn’t resemble the original in any way at all.
I see. And have you designed your logo and things like the cover of you ebook yourself?
Congratulations for the guest post on Copyblogger, by the way.
Whenever I come to a blog for the first time, I’m looking for reasons to trust or not trust them. I may not be consciously looking for these things, but after thinking about it for a second, I’ve come up with the things that give me clues as to whether or not the blog I’m looking at is authoritative:
(1) Logos – Has this person worked for some national companies? Have they provided services to big corporations that I know of? Having logos of clients served can be a good way to show authority — if those companies are widely-recognized. The fact that you provided services to Maybury Elementary School does not carry as much clout as the Walmart logo, or a national bank logo.
(2) Can I find your real name on the site? I want to be able to Google you and see if I can find you anywhere else. Have you guest-blogged on a blog I already follow? Have you written a book on your subject? Are you looked upon well in the community? Can I connect with you on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn?
(3) Site design. I work for a website design company, so I’m a design snob. If I land on your blog and it looks like 1994 (or even 2004, really), is unorganized and unattractive, I’m gone. I may want to share a link to your stuff, but if that content is on this hideous site, I don’t want to share that with my social network community.
Great article, thank you for giving me something to ponder!
Amy this is an awesome comment! Totally agree with you. Except I’m failing all three!
I am a newbie blogger, and still very much trying to find my ‘voice’.
I adore your site and as I identify ALL the things I am doing wrong, I am working to correct them. I am most definitely a work-in-progress 🙂
Thanks Natalie. Appreciate the feedback.
Hey Blog Tyrant!
Absolutely love your articles. Every single one gives me something new or some new angle to work on for my business. Well worth the time of sorting through the emails!
In this one, you’ve hit my most difficult hurdle to selling my services/products – trust. I know I’m giving value, and I know I’m being consistent in my posts and tweets, but I can’t make someone who doesn’t know me trust me via a website. However, the authority statement/about me/testimonials I have right now are not doing it. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
One quick tip I would give is that you should remove the stock photo on the homepage and put a professionally taken photo of yourself there instead. People become loyal to people and your business is a lot about you.
Hope that helps. If you want more help I’d be happy to book a Skype consult next week with you to discuss strategy.
At first I thought you meant another page right after the About page saying whatever makes me an authority on what I write about. I would have told you that you had fallen off your rocker.
I do have an authority statement however. I just have never called it that. For me it’s always been a subtitle that helps explain what I write about.
Not all people have this on their blog and then wonder why they’re getting off-the-wall comments on their posts. Excellent post.
Hi, I’m Jason and it’s my first time here, and I like what I’m seeing.
I know I’m kinda late to the part but… I’m *loving* this authority statement idea.
Not having any clearly defined experience with an ‘authority statement’ I think the closest I have to this is my “Life Lived: Priceless” image.
I’d be interested to know if you guys count this: