As a freelance writer or copywriter, knowing how to write an authoritative article is a vital skill. Using the right authoritative sources would significantly increase the credibility of your copies. The copywriting tips in this post will show you how to write an authoritative article.
What is the significance of authority in writing?
Your authority on a topic determines the significant weight of your writing. For readers to take your articles seriously, they need to be convinced that you know the topic well enough. The keyword here is ‘authority’. Don’t underestimate the intelligence of your audience. For someone to read a 500 word (or more) article, they are most probably capable of investigating whether you possess some authority on the topic. More often than not, readers would try to find your authority on an article before even reading it.
In contrast, you might publish a meme of 10 words and get away with it. When it comes to publishing articles, on the other hand, it’s a different ball game.
The concept of establishing authority is similar to what lawyers do in courts when they tender evidence. They call it ‘laying proper foundation‘, ie, showing a preliminary reason why such evidence should be admitted.
Common ways readers investigate author’s authority include:
Through a website info or about page
For instance, a reader who discovers an article on immigration law might try to check whether the website is owned by a law firm or legal experts. This is often done by checking the website’s ‘about page’.
Vide writer’s profile
It is not unusual for experts to publish articles or guest posts on third-party platforms. For instance, a doctor could publish an article on a news blog. This is why readers might check authors’ profiles to find out whether they possess authority on the topic.
How to write an authoritative article
1. You can show authority through your profile
The best way to show your authority on a topic or genre is through your profile. If you are an expert in a field or discipline, include your expertise in your profile.
2. You can build authority through previous publications
Another way to establish authority for your freelance writing is through previously published articles.
Imagine that a freelance writer wrote the following articles:
- How to build house
- Baking bread at home
- Top 10 travel tips
- How to pass your exams
Now imagine that another freelance writer wrote the following articles:
- How to bake bread
- Roasting a Christmas turkey
- How to make jollof rice
- Top 10 Christmas dishes
In the second scenario, you could deduce that the writer is probably a chef. You would also be interested in reading further posts from that writer. Whereas in the 1st scenario, articles written by the writer would carry less significant weight in a reader’s mind. Why? Simply because the topics are too diverse.
However, if you really love writing on diverse topics in your freelance writing career, nothing stops you from doing so. However, follow the tips below:
3. Stay away from topics that might be reserved for certain professionals
Examples of such topics include but are not limited to:
Medical topics such as medications etc. You might get away with articles relating to healthy lifestyles such as exercises, healthy meals, etc. But avoid recommending medications if you are not a medical expert.
Articles on legal topics. Likewise, readers would not take your articles seriously if you wrote a legal topic without establishing some authority to write on such topics.
Articles on engineering works. For example, you cannot publish an article about how to make fried rice today, then tomorrow: ‘how to fix your car’.
Readers might not take your articles seriously if you do not establish a significant authority on topics that exude expertise
Many readers might not take your articles seriously if you do not have expertise on the topic you are writing about. Another thing to note is that you might also be violating regulatory statutes in some jurisdictions. This is because advice on some issues is usually reserved for professionals. A notorious example is the prescription of drugs.
It is not unusual for some experienced freelance writers/bloggers to occasionally venture into topics that include some elements of expertise. However, they often use various techniques/precautions such as:
- Links to authoritative sources where they obtained esoteric information from.
- Recommendation that you should seek the advice of an appropriate professional on the topic.
Tip for linking to authoritative sources
When creating links to authoritative sources in your post/article, follow the tip below:
Do not link to hearsay
An example of hearsay is when you link to a blog post that cites or links to another authoritative source. Consider the example below:
‘www.iheardfromsomewhere.com‘ wrote that:
If you are making a statement in regard to rising stocks, you should link directly to the London School of Economics instead of ‘www.iheardfromsomewhere.com‘. Here comes another important point to note: when writing on a topic that pertains to esoteric knowledge, try to use journals for your research instead. This is because journal articles are usually written by experts.
Knowing how to write authoritative articles will keep making your articles/posts look more credible. Not only would showing your authority increase the significance of your articles, but it would also boost your freelance or copywriting career.
Benefit of sticking to a specific genre as a writer
For instance, if an organization needs a freelance writing service, it might prefer to hire an expert on a specific genre. This is because a freelance writer with expertise in a specific genre is more likely to produce authoritative content. A ‘jack of all trades’ on the other hand would likely produce content with less authority.
If you stick to a particular genre, with time you would find yourself producing contents rich in originality.
Writers on the other hand who write on diverse genres often have to do research before writing. The problem with this is that they might end up reproducing ideas that have already been published elsewhere.