“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” I borrowed that quote from Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut to introduce the concept of crafting authority content for websites and blogs.
First off, I do not believe anybody reading this is only pretending to be a freelance writer. If somebody pays you to write, then you are a freelance writer. You get commissioned by clients to craft writing that engages readers so that it can achieve its purpose. Your article’s purpose may be to inform, educate, convince, or simply entertain. Crafting authority content helps you, your clients, and your audience.
Components of authority content
There are 4 components to authority content:
Authority implies power, but a website or blog article has no real power to force its audience to take an action. Yet many writers successfully produce content that convinces a large portion of its audience to follow the page’s call to action. Your article might have one or more actions as a goal. Those goals should be clearly defined before you craft your title or write the first sentence.
Common actions might be clicking a link, buying a product, subscribing to a mailing list, or simply changing an opinion. Some writers simply want to entertain their readers so some of them share the site on social networks and bookmark the site to revisit in the future.
Your ability to convince your audience to take an action, even if it is just reading to the end of the article, gives you authority.
It goes without saying that you need to produce quality content to engage readers or retain clients. Average Internet readers will not worry about using AP vs. Oxford standards for comma placement in lists. They will notice
obvious grammatical errors or structural problems though.
Quality Internet copy depends upon more than just writing a grammatically correct string of paragraphs. The definition differs depending upon the type of writing and even the specific website or blog. This article does not intend to define quality, but simply to tell you that you need it.
Trust and influence
Trust and influence work together. What encourages millions of Internet users to unthinkingly purchase from Amazon or browse CNN’s website for a curated selection of today’s current events? People visit, bookmark, subscribe, and even do business with popular online businesses because they consider the sources reliable.
As a freelance writer, you do not command the resources that these large companies do. But you can still establish trust and influence. The list below touches on some of your tools.
- Credible sources
- Trust factors
- Established credentials
- Personal experience and story telling
- Reasonable arguments
- A clear call to action
- Content Branding
Amazon is an example of a very popular ecommerce website, but it is hardly the only ecommerce site on the Internet that offers good customer service, product reviews, reliable shopping, and a large selection of items. There might be smaller, more specialized sites that can even offer a better solution for certain customers.
Amazon became famous as a large online book seller, but now millions of people visit the site to buy anything from fine jewelry to pool supplies. Jane’s Fine Jewelry or Joe’s Pool Supplies may provide expert service and a better selection, but still may not sell as many products as the giant retailer. That is because Amazon has done an excellent job of branding itself.
In fact, Jane and Joe may even sell more products through one of Amazon’s retailing programs than they do on their own site. If the owners of these mythical companies are smart, they may even leverage Amazon’s fame to help brand themselves. An entire other article, or even a book, could describe and demonstrate good examples of that
Branding comes down to what you say about yourself and what others say about you.
Do search engines care about branding?
As early as 2008, the prior CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt said, “Brands are how you sort out the cesspool.” By cesspool, he was obviously referring to a number of low quality websites on the Internet. Some of these sites obviously ranked high for certain search terms despite the fact they had little authority in the eyes of actual human searchers. Several years later, some of them still do, but Google has become particularly notorious for trying to sort and rank a huge volume of websites and reduce SPAM.
You can establish your own brand, either as a company, unique domain name, or even as a writing professional. If you can associate your brand with influence and trust, you will already have gained authority before readers digest your first sentence. This may help you get found by new audiences as they search for you on Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.
Why is content authority important?
Content authority does not really come from pretending to be credible, but by being credible. The real meaning of the Vonnegut quote above is this: you are how you act.
Content authority can not only help you get found by readers, potential clients, and search engines, it can also encourage them to look for you. Relevant, engaging, credible, and well-structured articles do their jobs. In the end, this means that you will have more jobs to do.
About the author:
ML Katz is a freelance writer with several years of experience producing and distributing content for the Internet. Visit her website at MyWriteSites.com. She also has written novels that you can find for sale on Amazon.