Say It With Authority and They’ll Believe You

How well do you know your stuff? Pretty well, I hope. If nothing else, you should be able to research your topic well enough to write with authority about it.

Having confidence in what you write goes a long way toward making your site credible. If you don’t sound as though you know more than the person reading on your site, why should they buy from you?

I’ve struggled with this often myself. It’s not that I don’t know what I’m talking about. It’s that I’m not used to being assertive about it. In person I’m very quiet and not remotely assertive. I was the quiet kid in high school who always knew the answer when called upon, but never volunteered to answer. It’s a hard habit to change in my writing.

You Do Know More Than Most

If you’ve done your research on your niche or really dealt with the topic in your own life, you probably do know more about it than many of your readers. There’s a reason people look for information online. They aren’t looking for things they already know. They’re looking for things they want to know.

If you have a large informational site, you’re probably getting visitors with all kinds of backgrounds. Some are completely new to the topic and want to learn everything. Others know quite a bit, but are looking to learn more.

Write for all levels. Some topics will be of more general interest to your readers, while the basics won’t interest the more experienced readers. But leaving the beginners out means they’ll leave your site and find someone who can help them figure things out.

By the same token, the more knowledgeable readers will need content that meets their needs.

Be Honest About What You Know

Some people say fake it until you make it. I don’t like that theory.

I’d rather keep learning about the things I don’t know yet, and then teach them to others. It’s challenging, but then I’m less likely to be called out for being completely wrong.

I don’t mean don’t take risks. Just do your research and have some facts on your side, especially if you’re getting into things where there may be disagreement. Not everything is black and white, and a little controversy isn’t a bad thing at all. Sometimes even a lot of controversy is a good thing… handled professionally, of course.

You can’t be expected to know everything. Sometimes a good strategy is to ask your readers what they think. Many people love to share their knowledge but have no intention of running their own sites. Or they do, and have the perfect link for you.

It’s rather like how the sensei for my kids’ karate class puts it. He says “can’t” is a four letter word. “I’ll try” is much better.

By the same token, you don’t have to say “I don’t know.” You can say “Let me find out” instead.

Enjoy Yourself

It’s fun being the person who knows stuff, whatever kind of stuff it is you know. Have fun with it. Show your personality.  Don’t be a know-it-all, be a solid resource.

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1 Response

  1. I completely agree. When I hear people belittling themselves – especially women – it drives me crazy.