6. Have I added any examples, research, or quotes?
We’ve talked about the importance of visual content; this tip is about helping people visualize what you’re talking about. Just as “a picture is worth a thousand words,” an example often illustrates a point far better than a few more paragraphs could.
Sharing research is another ideal way to beef up your authority. With stronger authority, people are more likely to trust you. They’ll be predisposed to agree with you, which is a powerful persuasion technique. Original research is a great way to create content campaigns that can run throughout the year and year after year. Orbit Media Studios has its annual blogging survey; Content Marketing Institute has its annual content marketing benchmark survey.
Quotes are another way to convey authority, but by leveraging other peoples’ authority. For example, if most of us spouted off our opinion about a complex issue that we had no authority on, few people would care. They’d think, “Who is this person?” and be gone.
However, an executive at a major company can spout off their opinion about their industry, because they’re in a position of authority and power. Despite our lack of authority, we can get people to believe our message – we just borrow what other people in authority have said and line it up with our argument. So we punctuate our content with quotes from influential people and voilà: Most people will now accept our opinions, even if we’re not industry giants.
We did this in this post with quotes from Larry Kim and Ann Handley, two major influencers in marketing.
Reach out to influencers to get original quotes or contributions from them. Many are far more friendly and willing to help than you’d think. This gets you great content and excellent advice, and it means when your content is published, the influencer will probably share it.
7. Is this written as clearly as possible?
The corollary to this question is: Is there an editor around that I can run this by? If you’ve got one, celebrate – and use them. Way too few posts get seen by actual editors.
Worried they’ll bust out a red pen on you? Please let go of that. Never fear a good editor. This person is going to make you look smarter. Who doesn’t want that?
But even before you bring your piece of content to an editor, try to make sure it’s written as plainly as possible. This means untangling a few sentences, but it also refers to jargon.
Could a newcomer to your industry understand your piece? Could your mother? The best writers manage to pull off the almost impossible – write in an engaging, educating way for both to the experts and to the newbies in their audience. In the same post.